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Secret Avengers

Secret Avengers Spotlight: The Human Torch

Rick Remender discusses a new role for Jim Hammond and how godhood will suit the original android hero

By Ben Morse

When Marvel’s original super hero team, the Invaders, banded together during World War II, they counted Jim Hammond, the first Human Torch among their proud number.

Many decades have passed since those glory days and the Torch spent more than a few of those years out of commission, but when writer Rick Remender and artist Gabriel Hardman take over SECRET AVENGERS in February, the android hero will once again be pressed into service by an old comrade.

“When we find Jim, he’s a bit directionless,” says Remender. “The ‘future’ is a very strange place for him and he doesn’t have many people left. So when Steve [Rogers, aka Captain America] approaches him to be an Avenger, he jumps at the opportunity. He’s a man out of time, and this offers him some purpose.”

On one of their earliest missions, this new iteration of Secret Avengers will encounter the Descendants, a mysterious group that will put the Torch in an odd and uncomfortable bind right off the bat.

“Jim [is] Marvel’s first android, and that’s a very important thing to be given some of the storylines I’m building for the future,” Remender teases. “Jim Hammond is a god to the Descendants. This fact forces him to make some difficult decisions. A man out of time who doesn’t fit in is suddenly put face-to-face with an entire species built on his sentient automaton technology, and they make him a very attractive offer.”

Provided Hammond can resist the lure of the Descendants, Remender sees The Human Torch as being a very valuable asset to his Avengers team.

“I see him as one hell of a field leader,” he says. “They’re put in a situation in the first story where he’s forced to sort of take this role. And I like writing him as a bit of a no-nonsense type, always focused on getting the job done. The team will become a family of sorts for Jim. The Lighthouse will become his new home base. I’m seeing him as a very integral part of the Secret Avengers moving forward and a wise old captain for Hawkeye to turn to.”

During his Invaders heyday, the Torch had a love-hate relationship with former rival Namor befitting of their fire vs. water personas. As an Avenger, he will enter into a similarly adversarial dynamic with a new teammate.

“I like putting characters in mismatch situations where the teammate they’re working with isn’t someone they naturally have a lot in common with,” Remender confesses. “In the Descendants story arc, the Torch and Captain Britain end up working together. At first they are bickering, debating the merits of science-based powers versus magic-based powers. But during the story they’ll discover that perhaps they’re not so dissimilar. They have more in common than they originally thought; they’ll either become great friends or bitter rivals by the end of issue #25.”

Human Torch Digital Comics Spotlight

MARVELS #1: The origin of The Human Torch retold

INVADERS #21: The Human Torch battles alongside the Invaders

FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #4: Jim Hammond clashes with his successor, Johnny Storm

NEW INVADERS #9: The Human Torch makes the ultimate sacrifice

THE TORCH #2: The return of Jim Hammond

Stay tuned for more Secret Avengers Spotlight and be sure to get SECRET AVENGERS #21.1 on January 25!

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The return of the original Torch