The first two issues featured Thing and then Invisible Woman and Reed, now this issue is Human Torch!
- Spoiler: show
- A tornado is heading toward a town in Wisconsin but Johnny Storm remembers Reed telling him that the funnel forms when warm air rises into cold dry air. He heats the air above and the tornado dissipates, saving the town. He returns to New York where superheroes are illegal and everyone hates the Fantastic Four for what they did. With new facial hair and dye he disguises himself with an alter ego: Jonathan Fairweather, retail employee. He is late to work and gets sent to maintenance just one week after he had been allowed on the sales floor. This job is the only one he can get with no documentation, and it isn't bad except for the scummy owner Mr. Merrill. One day Johnny sees a boiler about to blow in the basement but he relieves the pressure using his powers. His co-workers tell him not to say anything about the safety conditions because the owner might retaliate by deporting them. Johnny decides to confront Merrill as Human Torch instead. Merrill recalls an encounter they once had when he was a Maggia goon and the Human Torch threatened to burn his face off if he didn't give up information. Merrill later heard Human Torch brag on tv about how he has complete control of his powers and has never hurt anyone with his flames. Merrill now knows Johnny would never really burn him. He begins punching Human Torch in the face and sure enough Johnny does not retaliate. Merrill kicks him right out of the window and the next day it is on the news. An emboldened Merrill cuts the salaries of all his employees. Fairweather announces to his co-workers that he is really Human Torch...but they already know. He then convinces them to help him get back at Merrill. They go on strike and when Merrill appears to threaten to fire them all the Human Torch makes an appearance. He backs into a meat freezer and after Merrill enters the others shut the door. Torch now says that yes he won't burn Merrill, but he can still consume all the oxygen in this sealed room. Merrill sees this as another bluff, believing Torch won't really suffocate him, and starts hitting Johnny again. Torch just laughs because he says he is just a bright flaming distraction anyway. The other workers have raided Merrill's home and office to find evidence of his corruption. Merrill says he owns the police but Torch says he has made some friends in federal law enforcement over the years. A desperate Merrill tries to purposefully burn himself so Torch gets blamed, but Johnny brags again about his total control of the flames. He then burns through the roof and makes his exit. Merrill gets taken down and the workers get paid a fair wage by the new management. Johnny Storm however needs a new secret identity. While thinking about this he gets a phone call from his sister. She says they found Ben and Alicia but something is wrong. The final page we see Reed and Sue standing on a highway with traffic blocked by a giant dome shape on the horizon that looks like Ben Grimm's rocky skin.
I said in earlier issues that if the quality remained so high I would keep reading these solo stories forever. Well...the quality is already down lmao
Not that this story is that bad, it is just the first two issues were so good that this pales in comparison. I mean it is predicated on a guy figuring out Human Torch won't really burn him, but can't Johnny just punch him or choke him out or something? Hasn't he learned how to fight after all this time? It is barely a moral question when the guy is already kicking you off of a building lol. But alright whatever, there was some lines about teamwork and such and it was fine. Storm's alter-ego was pretty funny. Really the coolest part was North building a story around a nameless goon from a single issue 40 years ago! Bravo!
On to the real mystery in the title which apparently they claim they will reveal right away unlike Amazing Spider-Man that has been making us wait for damn near a year to find out the events that set up the volume. Grumble grumble grumble