Strange Tales #112 once again features a solo Human Torch story. In this issue, the Human Torch finds himself under assault via TV personality, Ted Braddock, who is accusing the Human Torch of being a hot head and a show bout who wants attention. Naturally, the Human Torch is insulted by this, even though previously he had went out of his way to try to get everyone’s attention by doing tricks in the sky, which basically reinforces Braddock’s accusations. While it’s obvious that Lee is trying to set the Human Torch as being misunderstood hero, but that setup doesn’t really work when you show the individual doing exactly what he’s being accused of.
Meanwhile, the story shifts to the Eel, breaking into Charles Lawson’s laboratory via a helicopter and running off with basically a mini nuke. This again basically continues Lee’s trope of unsecured laboratories containing incredibly powerful weapons. Also, what is the deal with this villain? I mean his motivations are unknown, which is fine, but his powers are pretty lame. Basically he has a slippery electrified suit.
On top of issues with the villain, the story has some serious problems beyond this point. First off, the whole concept of an atomic bomb that explodes after an hour of being removed from the bag unless a button is pressed. First, this plot vehicle is just plain ridiculous, even for a Silver Age comic. Beyond that, it’s clear from events in the comic that there is no way all of that happened within an hour. While this challenge that the Human Torch is supposed to overcome makes no sense, I do like the idea that the Eel is portrayed as being in way over his head.
Unfortunately, the issue is further dragged down by Lee’s overreliance on a character developing a gizmo to track down an individual based on vague explanations. In addition, the outcome of this issue just doesn’t work, because the idea of a noble sacrifice was pretty much negated by failing to fully demonstrated what happened to the Human Torch and also my mentioning a magical restorative ray being available. Still, if you can look beyond these flaws, this is one of the better Human Torch stories in this series.
- Cover Artists: Steve Ditko
- Writers: Stan Lee
- Pencilers: Steve Ditko
- Inkers: Steve Ditko
- Letterers: Sam Rosen
- Editors: Stan Lee