Appearing in "The Return of the Human Torch"
- Phineas Horton (Only in flashback)
- U.S. Army
- Adolf Hitler (Only in flashback) (Death) (Cameo)
- Murder Inc gang (Only in flashback) (Cameo)
Synopsis for "The Return of the Human Torch"
The headquarters of the Crime Boss are infiltrated by the Human Torch, whom the criminals thought they got rid of in 1949. The Crime Boss tries to employ the same weapon he used to stop the Torch before: Solution X-R. Spraying the Torch with the chemical snuffs out the hero's flame and immobilizes him, however the Torch's flame is now stronger than before and he uses it to melt through the chemical spray and quickly subdues the Crime Boss and his minions.
With the battle over, Chief Wilson and a police officer arrive on the scene and are surprised to see the Human Torch after being missing for years. The Torch explains to the Chief his origins and how he fought in World War II, eventually killing Adolf Hitler himself. After the war he met his partner Toro and the pair began fighting crime until they went up against the Crime Boss who used Solution X-R to immobilize the two heroes. The Torch was taken out to Yucca Flat, Nevada where he was buried in the desert where he remained inert for years. However, a nuclear bomb test bombarded him with radiation that increased the power of his flame, making him stronger than ever before and allowing him to break free of his prison to get revenge.
Not knowing what happened to Toro over the years, the Torch threatens to burn the Crime Boss if he does not tell him what happened to boy. The criminal relents and informs the hero that Solution X-R was given to him by communist agents and that after they "eliminated" the Torch they handed Toro over to commies. With recent reports of a strange fire-ball seen flying over Korea, the Human Torch flies there and confronts it, realizing that it is his pal Toro. As it turns out Toro had been brainwashed by communist agents into fighting for their side. With his enhanced powers the Torch easily defeats his partner and rushes him back to the United States to get medical treatment to reverse the brainwashing.
As he is turning Toro over to hospital, Chief Wilson arrives and informs the Torch that his daughter Mary has been captured by a new leader of Crime Syndicate known as the Butcher who demands the Torch's surrender. The Torch agrees to turn himself over and to go to the arranged meeting spot in Knob Hill and allow himself to be sealed in a steel casket. With the Torch trapped inside, the Butcher has the casket lifted with a helicopter and dumped into the ocean. Toro, having been cured of the communist brainwashing arrives at the scene and flies down into the water and uses his flame powers to free the Torch. The pair then track down the Butcher to his hideout where he is keeping Mary Wilson. When the Butcher attempts to escape in his helicopter, the Torch and Toro blow it up with fire balls.
They then take Mary back to her father where the two partners announce that they are going to resume their crusade against crime.
Appearing in "Back from the Dead"
- Red Skull (Albert Malik) (First appearance)
- Professor Reinstein (Only in flashback)
- Captain America (Steve Rogers) (Only in flashback)
- Bucky (James Barnes) (Only in flashback)
- Red Skull (Johann Shmidt) (Only in flashback)
Synopsis for "Back from the Dead"
The Red Skull watches footage of wartime battles between his predecessor and Captain America with his minions. With the reel done, he tells his followers that Captain America is dead and that they can begin trying to establish an international crime syndicate.
Meanwhile, at the Lee School Professor Steve Rogers tells his students the origin story of the World War II hero Captain America. However when class lets out some of the kids don't believe the story and begin mocking Captain America. Taking offense to this Bucky picks a fight with the boys but it is broken up by Steve. Taking Bucky into New York, his young friend asks why he doesn't come out of retirement to prove the kids at school that he is not make believe, but Steve tells him that Captain America's work is done. However as they listen to the radio in the car they hear reports that the Red Skull has returned and allied himself with the Communists and that he has invaded the United Nations building where he has taken the delegates hostage.
Seeing this as a reason for Captain America to return, Bucky reveals that he has hidden their costumes under the car seat in case they would ever need them again. Changing into Captain America and Bucky, the two heroes rush to the UN Building much to the surprise of those gathered outside. Smashing into the UN Building's main assembly, Captain America and Bucky battle the Red Skull and his forces. However the Skull and his minions are easily trounced and the hostages freed. The delegates thank Captain America and welcome him back.
The next day at school the news of Captain America's return has reached the children who now have proof and new found respect that Captain America has returned, much to the delight of Steve and Bucky.
Appearing in "The Sub-Mariner Returns"
- Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner (Main story and recap)
- Betty Dean (Main story and recap)
- Venusians (First appearance)
- The Venusian's leader (First and only known appearance; dies)
- Numerous unnamed others
- U.S. Government (Main story and recap)
- President Harry Truman (Only in recap)
- U.S. Navy
- Admiral Saybrook (First appearance)
- Numerous unnamed sailors
- Cathy (First appearance)
- NYPD (Mentioned)
- Leonard McKenzie (Mentioned)
- Princess Fen (Only in recap)
- Kriegsmarine (Only in recap)
- Nazis (Mentioned) (Only in recap)
- Geronimo (Invoked)
- Good Lord (Yahweh) (Invoked)
- U.S. Marine Corps
Races and Species:
- Humans (Main story and recap)
- Atlantean-Human Hybrids (Main story and recap)
- Atlanteans (Only in recap)
- Venusians (First appearance)
- Robots (Mentioned)
- Rats (Mentioned)
- Earth (Main story and recap)
- Pacific Ocean
- United States of America (Main story and recap)
- Washington, D.C. (Main story and recap)
- New York (Main story and recap)
- San Diego (First appearance)
- Naval Base San Diego (First appearance)
- San Diego (First appearance)
- New Zealand (Mentioned)
- Australia (Mentioned)
- India (Mentioned)
- The Philippines (Mentioned)
- Antarctica (Only in recap)
- Southern Ocean (Only in recap)
- Atlantis (Only in recap)
- Atlantic Ocean (Only in recap)
- Venus (Mentioned)
- Oracle (Mentioned)
- U-boat (Only in recap)
Synopsis for "The Sub-Mariner Returns"
A cargo ship pushing through a raging storm along the South Pacific is pulled toward a coral reef by a magnetic energy that causes it to sink and all hands are lost at sea. A week later in calmer weather another ship suffers the same fate. With more and more of these bizarre sinkings the United States government orders all shipping routes altered to avoid the region while the Navy is deployed to investigate the cause.
In New York City, Betty Dean and his roommate Cathy are relaxing at home. Reading the story about the shipwrecks prompts her to consider that her old friend the Sub-Mariner would be ideal for a mystery like this. When Cathy asks her who the Sub-Mariner is, Betty recounts his origins and how he became a friend with her and eventually helped all humanity during World War II. She explains that after the war Namor was awarded the highest civilian decoration by the President and eventually retired to return home and try to rebuild his civilization.
With Namor's past explained to Cathy, Betty gets on the phone with Admiral Seabrook and suggests that he summons the Sub-Mariner, Seabrook agrees and puts out the call. Four days later Namor arrives at Betty's home and Betty explains to him the situation. Intrigued, Namor agrees to accompany Betty to the South Pacific to investigate the strange shipwrecks. There they set up camp on a small island and Namor dives into the water to investigate the wrecks. He is shocked to find robots stripping metal from the sunken ship and going into a cave in the coral reef. Namor returns to the surface and tells Betty what he saw and tells her to radio it in, convinced that this is something too big for him to deal with alone. However, when their story is not believed Namor goes to handle it since he is the only one willing to do so.
Namor attacks a group of the robots but they fight back and knock him out. The Sub-Mariner is taken to their leader and when he is revived the leader explains that they are from the planet Venus and that they had come to Earth as they believed that the human race to be one of weaklings. However, upon finding a human being of great strength who can also breath under water the Venusian leader has come to re-evaluate this belief. Namor manages to break free, and swims out of the cave to one of the sunken ships. He opens the cargo hold and fills the cave with it's load of coal trapping the Venusians below. Namor then digs a single tunnel for them to exit from and orders them to surrender, fighting back any Venusians that try to escape.
The Venusian leader then surrenders and agrees to come to the surface. There Namor forces him to order his minions to return to Venus. After their rocket takes off the Venusian leader suddenly falls over having gone inert. When the authorities finally arrive they find their story fantastic, but Namor and Betty turn over the inert form the Venusian leader for examination and leave the Navy officials to puzzle it out on their own.
- This issue marks the return of the Human Torch, Sub-Mariner and Captain America who were all last seen in 1949 when their titles were phased out.
- The origin story that the Human Torch offers a grossly simplified and at times inaccurate account of the origins of the Human Torch and how he met and partnered with Toro. The Torch's origins depicted here state that the Torch had control over his powers right away and instantly wanted to fight crime, in direct contradiction of the origin established in Marvel Comics #1 and expanded upon in other later tales. This story also suggests that the Human Torch did not partner with Toro until 1949, and that he fought World War II and killed Hitler alone. This contradicts Toro's first appearance in Human Torch #2 which most other sources have established happened in 1940. In addition, What If? #4 and other sources that recount Hitler's death in World War II clearly place Toro being present at the time.
- Although the characters in the Captain America story are named Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes as per the retcon from Captain America #153, these characters are really William Burnside and Jack Monroe the men who replaced the original Captain America and Bucky in the 1950s. Additionally the Red Skull depicted here is really the communist impostor Albert Malik as retconned in Captain America #155.
- Likewise the Captain America origin story presented here is a greatly simplified retelling of the origin revealed in Captain America Comics #1. As per the retcon mentioned above, the origin story can be considered a flashback appearance of the real Steve Rogers and not William Burnside the man who posed as Steve Rogers in the 1950s.
- A large portion of the Captain America story, "Back from the Dead" is reprinted in Captain America #155.