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Make Mine '39

Torch: Flame Back On

Writer Mike Carey talks about bringing one of Marvel's original super heroes back with TORCH #1

By Marc Strom

TORCH #1 cover by Alex Ross
On September 2, the first flame of the Marvel Universe re-ignites.

Written by Mike Carey and drawn by Patrick Berkenkotter, with covers and supervision by Alex Ross and packaged by Dynamite Entertainment, TORCH #1 helps bring the original Human Torch back to the Marvel Universe in a big way.

According to Carey, the creative team had "a lot of reasons" for wanting to bring the Human Torch back now:

"Because it's the 70th anniversary of his first appearance. Because recent events in CAPTAIN AMERICA have brought him back into readers' minds. Because AVENGERS/INVADERS gives us a springboard. But really the answer is: Because we want to. Because the Torch is too cool a character to lay gathering dust somewhere. It's as simple as that."

Not everyone interested in resurrecting the Torch has the best of intentions, however, as the Mad Thinker sets out to revive the hero for reasons all his own.

TORCH #1 art by Patrick Berkenkotter
"He has a commission, and this is a way of fulfilling it," explains Carey. "But he's looking for more than that. Underneath the pragmatic motives, I think he wants to make up for dropping the ball the first time around. He had the Torch in his power once before, and he didn't succeed in getting to the bottom of how he was constructed and how the same technology could be exploited elsewhere. This time he has a bigger plan, bigger ambitions. The Torch is a steppingstone to something else."

The aforementioned AVENGERS/INVADERS series featured the return of Toro, the Human Torch's teen sidekick, to the modern day Marvel Universe, but the transition hasn't gone so well for the young hero.

"He's going through a sort of private hell," relates Carey. "He's been dead long enough that all the people he knew have adjusted to him not being there. His wife is in another relationship, his sister has moved years before and he can't even find her, his friends are either dead or elsewhere.

"He looks at a world in which some of the super teams-Norman Osborn's Avengers, for example-seem to be scarier than the villains they're fighting, and he sees no place for himself there. He's not aiming to get the Torch resurrected-he doesn't even see that as a possibility. About the only thing he can think of doing is something profoundly negative in a way, and reckless-and it has unexpected consequences."

As part of Marvel's 70th anniversary celebration, revisiting the Human Torch, who first appeared in MARVEL COMICS #1 in 1939, also represents the return of one of the original Marvel heroes.

TORCH #1 art by Patrick Berkenkotter
"He's one of the first generation of super heroes, the ones who defined the new genre and gave it a distinctive shape," elaborates Carey. "Everything that followed flowed on naturally from that; from the Torch, Namor, Cap, and those early stories of super heroes as the world's peacekeepers. The paradigm has changed many times since, but all the later elaborations used that as their starting point. The Torch is one of the tiny number of iconic figures who was in there on the ground floor."

Beyond providing the covers, Alex Ross will also serve as a consultant on the series, and Carey says his conception of the character helped to shape the story in a large way.

"Alex was the initial impetus for the series," Carey divulges. "He knows and loves these characters from way back, and the resurrection of the Torch, following on from AVENGERS/INVADERS, was part of his master plan. Collaborating with him is great, because he brings so much to the table: an encyclopedic knowledge of the characters and their back story, a sense of their personalities and trajectories, [and] an inexhaustible store of ideas."

Closing out, Carey gives readers a tease of what they can expect further down the line in the eight-issue limited series:

"The series is a mix of new and old, past and present, building inexorably to a confrontation between the Torch and a character who is sort of his dark mirror, in some ways: an indication of what he might have been. Those scenes are going to be amazing."

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      [quote@Goldhawk I'd like to see a new team with the (original) Human Torch, Captain America and Namor. Hey, if Wolverine can have multiple teams, why not these guys (and others, and make a new Invaders or All-Winners Squad) :)[/quote] Amen, brother.


      I'd like to see a new team with the (original) Human Torch, Captain America and Namor. Hey, if Wolverine can have multiple teams, why not these guys (and others, and make a new Invaders or All-Winners Squad) :)


      This sounds great, I'm definitely going to give this a try.


      Sounds like something I could get my teeth into, provided it dosen't gain the tagline [i] Dark Reign: Torch[/i] .