- Professor Horton said it was an accident that I burst into flame. But what if he knew... What if he intended this -- he already knew what you were doing? My creator, Phineas Horton, was Jewish. You burned them. You did this! You, would claim to be masters of the world. This. This is why I am the way I am. Let this be a taste of eternity. So you will know hell when you get there.
- -- Human Torch src
The Human Torch is one of the first superheroes of the Marvel Universe, his history spanning over 70 years of publications. Below is an abridged version of his history. For an unabridged accounting of his history, see Human Torch (Android) (Earth-616)/Extended History.
The original Human Torch began his existence in 1939 in the laboratory of Professor Phineas T. Horton, one of the pioneers in the field of artificial intelligence and robotics. The culmination of Horton's research was an android who mimicked virtually all of the functions of a human being, including independent thought, but was composed entirely of synthetic materials.
The one flaw in the android's design concerned the photoelectric solar cells which covered every square inch of his body and served as his power source. The cells were too volatile and caused the epidermis of the android to burst into flame upon contact with air but without harming the android itself.
Horton revealed the Torch's existence to the public at a press conference in November 1939, at which he demonstrated how the Torch would burst into flame if he introduced a small amount of oxygen into the transparent container in which he was confined. The news media proclaimed the Torch to be a potential menace, and so Horton buried the android in his supposedly airtight tube within cement until such time as he could find a way either to prevent the android from bursting into flame or learn how to control its flame.
There was a slow leak in the tube, however, and eventually enough oxygen entered so that the android's flame ignited explosively, permitting him to escape. Wreaking havoc in innocent exploration of his environment, the android, inaccurately dubbed the Human Torch, soon realized the panic he was causing and, unable to control his flaming power, doused his flame in a swimming pool. In his infancy, the Human Torch was duped by a crook named Anthony Sardo into committing crimes. Realizing what he was doing was wrong, the Torch confronted Sardo and during the fight was doused in nitrogen which was the catalyst that allowed him to control his flame from that point on.
In attempting to bring Sardo to justice, the criminal was killed in battle. When Horton suggested that the two use his powers to obtain fame and fortune, the Torch rejected this idea leaving Horton's home a flaming inferno which seemingly killed the scientist, however he would resurface later alive and well.
In the year 1940, the Human Torch began earning a reputation for himself as a champion of justice. He had a number of solo adventures including a clash with Martians, mad scientist Dr. Manyac and others. He gained an early ally in a police officer named Johnson and began using the name "Jim Hammond" as an alias. The Torch soon decided to take up a job as a New York police officer.
After a number of assignments the Human Torch became lonely, sought out Professor Horton and asked for his advice. Horton told him of Fred Raymond, an Asbestos expert and his wife Nora. Both were terminally ill and raising their son Thomas "Toro" Raymond. When visiting the Raymond home to learn what Horton was alluding to, the Torch found the Raymond's being terrorized by the criminal known as Asbestos Lady. The Torch fought off Asbestos Lady and her minions. Noticing that Toro had slept through the entire battle, the Raymond's told him how their son was apparently immune to fire. After the meeting with the Raymond's the Torch soon left vowing to keep a secret eye on them in case Asbestos Lady threatened them again.
Soon after his induction into the police force, the Human Torch had the first of many clashes with the Atlantean mutant known as the Sub-Mariner. Their battle raged across New York City and eventually the Sub-Mariner gained the upper hand when trapping the Torch into an airtight container. Ultimately the Sub-Mariner was convinced to let the Torch go and leave by police woman Betty Dean.
The Torch soon began to question what it was like to be human and sought out his creator. Finding an old photograph in the ruins of the place of his birth, the Torch visited a former colleague of his "father", Fred Raymond, and decided to visit his family again. By this time Fred was distraught over the fact that his wife Nora was deathly ill and that his son Thomas had gained mysterious flame powers. Somehow thinking the Torch was to blame, Raymond ordered the Torch to leave his home.
ToroThe Torch soon found himself working with an unlikely ally, the Sub-Mariner to stop an invasion of Imperial Japanese forces who were attempting to dig a tunnel to Alaska. This alliance proved to be short lived as the Sub-Mariner soon attacked New York City again, but was brought down by the Human Torch and Captain America.
Hearing a radio report about the death of Toro's parents in a train wreck, the Torch suspected it to be the work of Asbestos Lady and rushed to Toro's aid after hearing he was adopted by a local circus owner. On the way, the Torch was confronted by Asbestos Lady and her minions who managed to douse his flame and toss him into a tanker filled with water. Despite being trapped in water, the Torch was able to flame on part of his body to create enough heat for the steaming water to burst open the tanker. Asbestos Lady and her men attempted to escape but were captured by the Torch and turned over to the police.
Taking in Toro as his ward, the Torch was teaching him how to use his powers. The Human Torch and Toro clashed with many foes such as the Brain, Blackjack, the Hag, Dr. Smart, and arsonist Hawk Rivers. By this time, Toro had allied himself with a members of Bucky's Sentinels of Liberty fan-club to form the Young Allies. The Torch often worked along side Captain America to assist the Young Allies and get them out of trouble.
On December 7th, 1941 American authorities learned of a joint attack on American soil by Imperial Japanese Navy, subversive Atlantean and Nazi forces. One of these attacks was on Pearl Harbor, and the Human Torch and Toro were sent on this mission to help turn back the invasion. It was a day that would stand in American history as the aftermath would end with the United States officially entering World War II. So horrified by the senseless destruction caused by the Japanese forces, the Human Torch and Toro fought back in the days following the attack on Pearl Harbor, attacking Japan directly slaying Japanese Admiral Nodope in the process.
Returning to the United States, on December 22, 1941 the Human Torch and Toro were assigned on in secret as part of the security for Dr. Anderson, one of the men involved in Operation Rebirth the experiment the created Captain America. When Anderson was captured by Nazi spies and forced to use his knowledge to empower their agent Master Man. Tracking Anderson to the secret Nazi lab, the two heroes were to late to stop the empowerment of Master Man. The super-strong Nazi easily bested the two heroes and the Nazis fled after shooting Dr. Anderson. Rushing Anderson to a hospital, the Torch and Toro soon met with Captain America and Bucky.
Realizing that the Nazis were plotting to attack a ship carrying British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to the United States they rushed to the scene. There with the assistance of the Sub-Mariner, the heroes stopped the Nazis and when Master Man's powers failed him captured the villain and turned him over to the authorities. After his rescue, Winston Churchill suggested that the group band together, suggesting they call themselves the Invaders. In the aftermath of that battle, President Roosevelt officially sanctioned the group.
With the Invaders, the Torch clashed with foes such as Brain Drain, U-Man, and Basil Frankenstein creation. When the Invaders were captured by the Red Skull and brainwashed, Bucky formed the Liberty Legion to counter for his friends, eventually freeing them from the Skull's control.
Returning to England with the Invaders, the Torch clashed with Baron Blood, and fell in love with Jacqueline Falsworth. He eventually rescued her from Baron Blood but she did not seem to see his feelings for her. Following Baron Blood's destruction she required medical attention. Rushing Jacqueline to a military hospital, and blood transfusion from the Torch empowered Jacqueline and she then joined the group as Spitfire. The Invaders then clashed with the Face, but were rescued by Goldstein, who managed to transform himself into the Golem of Jewish lore, and the Crusaders.
Soon after the Crusaders incident, the Invaders were given a headquarters in England within Big Ben. Torch, Cap and the Sub-Mariner were then given a mission to capture three Nazi agents: the Hyena, the Shark and Agent Axis. The Torch was dispatched to capture the Hyena, but was captured by the villain who extracted some of the Torch's blood to use to empower Nazi agents. Before the Hyena could eliminate the hero he was teleported away by the cosmic being known as the Grandmaster. Finding himself transported to Nazi occupied France with Captain America and Sub-Mariner, the three heroes were used in a cosmic competition between the Grandmaster and the future warlord Kang and pitted against three of the modern era Avengers, Yellowjacket, Black Panther and the Vision. The Avengers easily defeated the three wartime heroes thanks to the Vision's phasing powers. As the Avengers attempted to explain to the three Invader what was happening they were whisked back to their own time. The Grandmaster then returned the Invaders back to where their three foes had met and easily defeated them. The Torch recovered his stolen blood. The Torch's memories of his battle against the Avengers soon faded from his memories.
Post World War II
Though the original Captain America and his sidekick Bucky were seemingly killed in action, secret replacements for them served alongside the Torch and the rest of The Invaders in the All-Winners Squad during the postwar years. In 1949 American criminals seeking to destroy the Torch obtained a chemical known as Solution X-R from Soviet intelligence. One criminal sprayed the solution over the Torch and Toro, dousing their flame and paralyzing them. The criminals then buried the Torch beneath the Nevada desert. However, the criminals had accidentally chosen to bury him beneath a future atomic testing site.
1950sIn December 1953, the blast of an atomic bomb dropped on the site freed the Torch, and the radiation reactivated his flame. The Torch resumed his crimefighting career and his partnership with Toro. In 1955 the Human Torch sensed that the radiation from the bomb was causing him to lose control of his flame, and that he would eventually "die" by burning himself out. After bidding farewell to Toro, the Torch flew to a desert in the western United States where he tried to destroy himself by overloading his solar cells in a single burst of maximum output flame. The Torch succeeded in burning himself out and plunged to earth to lie insensate.
The first duplicate was discovered by the criminal genius called the Mad Thinker, one of the world's leading experts on robotics and androids. Using his knowledge of androids, the Thinker restored most of the Torch's original synthetic tissue and nervous system. The Thinker partially restored the android's memories but coerced the Torch into battling the Thinker's enemies, the Fantastic Four (which counted a new Human Torch among their number). On realizing the implications of what the Thinker wanted him to do, the Torch sacrificed his artificial life to save the Fantastic Four from a sneak attack by the Thinker's computer Quasimodo. The Thinker fled, and the Fantastic Four left the Torch's body in the Thinker's laboratory in Nevada.
The other duplicate was recovered by the robot known as Ultron who sought to use the Torch as a vessel of revenge against his creator Henry Pym and the super-hero group known as the Avengers. This recreation of the Human Torch became known as the Vision and ultimately became a long time member of the Avengers.
Avengers West Coast
The Mad Thinker buried the Torch in a nondescript grave. The hero team Avengers West Coast revived the Human Torch when in the course of investigating the Vision's origin. They invited the revived Torch to join their team, and he gratefully accepted.
However, he served for only a short time before taking a personal leave of absence, during which time he lost his powers to save the life of his aged comrade Lady Crichton. He then semi-retired from adventuring and served as Head of Security for Oracle Inc.  Hammond later returned to join the Avengers' West Coast branch as reserve member, and served alongside the team on a couple of adventures.
Heroes for Hire
Months later, he agreed to lead the re-launched hero team Heroes for Hire with Iron Fist and Cage, behind-the-scenes in an office capacity as CEO of Oracle, Inc., Namor's business representation in the States that acted as parent company for the Heroes. After spearheading several adventures, Hammond was revealed to be used by the villainous Master to destroy the Heroes for Hire, although the Heroes triumphed over their foe and rescued Hammond, who recovered. During this time, Hammond recovered his ability to throw fireballs, although the full extent of his powers remain lost. When the unscrupulous Stark-Fujikawa Corporation bought Oracle and began restructuring Heroes for Hire, Hammond resigned.
Hammond returned as part of the New Invaders, taking the young android Tara under his wing. He ended up sacrificing his life to save this new "Lady Torch." The majority of the Invaders left the team after this.
In the months following the "Secret Invasion" of Earth, Hammond's inert body was discovered in the UN building by retired Chinese scientist, Zhang Chin. Chin's agent, the Man-With-No-Face, recovered the body and brought it back to Taipei where Chin modified Jim's DNA and cell structure into a virus. Chin intended to use this virus to eradicate half the world's population, so that resources could be better controlled. This incident prompted Captain America (Bucky Barnes) and the Sub-Mariner to go to China to rescue their old teammate's remains. They succeed in stopping Chin and made sure that Hammond received a proper burial.
Later exhumed by the Mad Thinker, the Torch was used in experiments involving the "Horton Cells" that made up his body and in the process was revived as a living weapon the Thinker intended to sell to A.I.M. Though set on a course for destruction, the Torch was stopped by his formerly-deceased ex-sidekick Toro and the Thinker's control was lifted, though the interaction with rogue Horton Cells developed by the Thinker led to the Torch's body degrading. Not wanting to sit around waiting to die, the Torch assisted Toro in finding answers about his parents, leading the duo to South America and the Nazi colony of New Berlin.
Torch later on joined his fellow Invaders member Namor at Utopia to fix a section of the island. Hammond then questioned his own usefulness in today's modern world. When Anole and Rockslide asked him if he killed Hitler he answered that he did.
Joining the Secret Avengers
When Steve Rogers became America's new Top Cop, he formed a secret team of Avengers to perform the missions the Avengers could not without tarnishing their image. When the team changed roster, Cap wanted Jim to join, along with Venom, Giant-Man and Captain Britain. Unfortunately, he was badly damaged on his first mission against the Father and his Descendants, a group of machines based on Hammond, and left comatose in a stasis tube at the team's HQ, the Lighthouse, while repairing.
He was later freed by the Black Ant, an agent of the Descendants and finished being repaired by the Father, who convinced him to join his side. He then led an army of robots during a raid on New York, with the goal of forcibly assimilating the human race through the use of nanotechnology and give the control of the world to the machines, robots and cyborgs.
After Captain Britain made him come into his senses, Jim fought against the Descendants, and when Hawkeye couldn't, he destroyed the Orb of Necromancy, the artifact which gave life to the Descendants. Jim flew away, with the weight in his conciousness that he killed an entire race.
Jim located in the small town Blaketown, and kept a low profile as a garage mechanic, until Tanalth the Pursuer confronted him to recover the information of the location of one of the fragments of the Gods' Whisperer. He was almost defeated by the Pursuer and killed after she recovered the information she needed, but was saved by the arriving Captain America and Winter Soldier.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
The original Human Torch possesses the mental ability to control ambient heat energy and the physical ability to envelop his entire body or portions of his body with fiery plasma without harm to himself. (Plasma is a super-heated matter that exists in the atmosphere of stars).
Ordinarily, when aflame, the Human Torch is enveloped by a low intensity flame of low level plasma (reddish, approximately 780 Fahrenheit), which ranges from 1 to 5 inches from his body. He can, however, generate much higher levels and flames about himself. The Torch refers to his highest, hottest levels of plasma that he can create as his "nova flame." The exact temperatures that his "nova flame" can attain are not known.
At an average rate of expenditure of energy, the Torch can stay aflame for about 16.8 hours. In his younger days, he could only maintain his flame for much briefer periods, and sometimes exhausted it while in combat. He cannot maintain his "nova flame" for as long a time as he can maintain his ordinary flame. The Torch can release all of his body's stored energy in one intense, omnidirectional "nova-burst," which can reach about 1,000,000 F, and which is similar to the heat-pulse of a nuclear warhead detonation, with an are of total devastation of about 900 feet in diameter. (The Torch has claimed that he can destroy a small moon with his nova-burst.) This violent discharge uses his entire reserve of energy (except for the necessary to keep him alive) at once, entirely exhausting his flame power. He generally requires at least 12 hours to recover entirely from such a feat.
The Human Torch can generate shapes composed of fire from any point on his body. (He usually employs his hands to "sculpt" the flames.) He can form fire into long streams, spheres, or even more complex shapes like letters in skywriting. These flames-objects will only remain their shapes as long as he concentrates upon them. The objects will only burn about 3 minutes before expiring unless the Torch continues to infuse them with energy. The temperature of these fiery projections is generally around 2,800 F (near the melting point of iron).
The Human Torch's plasma has a high hydrogen content, and is surrounded by an exuded cloud of mono-atomic hydrogen atoms. This hot cloud provides sufficient positive buoyancy for him to float. With mental stimulation of his flame, he can provide enough lift to carry 180 pounds. By forming a jet from his feet, directed behind him, he can achieve speeds up to at least 140 miles per hour.
The Human Torch has the ability to mentally control the ambient heat energy within his immediate environment, even when he himself is not aflame. He can reduce objects' temperatures (if they are in a normal range for existing on Earth's surface) to about 30 F, raise them to several hundred degrees, or extinguish open flames. His radius of influence is about 80 feet. The heat energy he takes from the environment is absorbed into his own body. If he takes in a critical amount while he is not aflame, he will become aflame. There are unknown limits to the amount of flame he can absorb into his own body harmlessly while he is himself aflame. He has been shown interfering with the thermal gradients of heat seeker missiles so he could cause them to change direction.
The Human Torch's flame is supported by the presence of oxygen, and thus is extinguished in low air pressure or a vacuum. The Torch's flame can be extinguished by smothering materials, such as water, sand, fire-fighting foam, and heat-resistant blankets, unless his flame is at such an intensity that it immediately vaporizes such materials on contact. If hit with small amounts of water, up to about five gallons, the Torch can turn it to steam with relatively little effort. More water than that could extinguish his flame at its normal level, and he would have to wait until he could evaporate the residual moisture before re-ignition.
The Torch's light output is mostly in the infrared and infrared region of the spectrum, and is invisible to the unaided eye. Less that 10% of his total power output is in the visible portion of the spectrum. Thus, the Torch, when aflame, is dimmer than one would expect of so powerful an energy source.
The Human Torch is unaffected by heat and flames, including his own, even when part of him is aflame and the rest of him is not. His flesh cannot be scalded or burned by any heat source whose level is below that of his maximum output. The original Human Torch can telekinetically control not only flames and flame objects that he himself creates, but also flames he did not create.
The Human Torch possesses the normal human strength of a man in his middle twenties who engages in moderate regular exercise (however as an android he may of had slightly higher strength and/or endurance).
EquipmentFormerly Avengers Identicard
Formerly Avengers Quinjet
- The general public was unaware that the original Human Torch also used the identity of Jim Hammond.
- It has been identified that a number of the wartime tales released to the public during World War II was done in the form of comic books and were often altered to aid in American propaganda to boost American support in the war effort. As such many of the Torch's wartime adventures -- particularly those involving the Young Allies -- may not be factual accounts but rather sensationalized fictionalizations based on true events. How much is true and how much fabrication has yet to be examined.
- In Young Men Vol 2 #24(12/53, page 4 panel 2), The Torch says,"You remember, Chief [John Wilson], that I was born in a test tube [a vat is shown] during the last world war..." In Namor the Sub-Mariner #20(11/91, page 27 panel 2), Professor Horton is seen growing the Torch in a transparent liquid filled tube as his tendons and muscles are seen because he has no skin and in Invaders #7(7/76, page 6 and panel 3), is said "Horton, who birthed the Torch inside a huge airtight test-tube".
- The Initiative training facility, Camp Hammond, is named after the Human Torch. Furthermore, a statue of Hammond on the grounds bears the inscription "JIM HAMMOND, THE FIRST OF THE MARVELS: He showed us that heroes can be made". When the camp was shut down by Norman Osborn, an angry mob tore down the statue.
- Marvel Comics #1 (1st appearance)
- Human Torch Comics #1 (meets Toro)
- Fantastic Four Annual #4 (1st Modern appearance)
- Invaders (Volume 1) #1-41 (as a member of the Invaders)
- Marvels #0-1 (Golden Age history recapped)
- Saga of the Original Human Torch #1-4 (Golden Age history recapped)
- Avengers West Coast #50 (joins the West Coast Avengers)
- New Invaders #9 (Dies)
- 527 Appearances of Human Torch (Android) (Earth-616)
- 128 Images featuring Human Torch (Android) (Earth-616)
- 22 Quotations by or about Human Torch (Android) (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: Human Torch (Android) (Earth-616)
- Fan-Art Gallery: Human Torch (Android) (Earth-616)
- Characters killed by Human Torch
- Human Torch article at Wikipedia
- Human Torch article at Toonopedia
- Human Torch profile at the Marvel Directory
- Human Torch profile at the Marvel Universe
- Human Torch profile at International Hero
- Human Torch index at Comicbookdb.com
Discover and Discuss
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- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Saga of the Original Human Torch #1
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Marvel Comics #1
- ↑ Marvels #1
- ↑ Marvels Project #1
- ↑ Marvel Mystery Comics #3
- ↑ Marvel Mystery Comics #4
- ↑ Marvels Project #2
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Invaders #22
- ↑ Marvels Project #3
- ↑ Marvel Mystery Comics #8
- ↑ Marvel Mystery Comics #9
- ↑ Marvel Mystery Comics #10
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 Marvels Project #5
- ↑ Marvel Mystery Comics #17
- ↑ Human Torch Comics #1
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 Marvels Project #6
- ↑ Marvel Mystery Comics #18
- ↑ Human Torch Comics #3
- ↑ Marvel Mystery Comics #19
- ↑ Human Torch Comics #4
- ↑ Marvel Mystery Comics #20
- ↑ Young Allies #1
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 Young Allies Comics 70th Anniversary Special #1
- ↑ Marvels Project #8
- ↑ Marvel Mystery Comics #31
- ↑ Giant-Size Invaders #1
- ↑ Invaders #1
- ↑ Invaders #2
- ↑ Invaders #3
- ↑ Invaders #4
- ↑ Invaders #31
- ↑ Invaders #5
- ↑ Marvel Premiere #29
- ↑ Invaders #6
- ↑ Marvel Premiere #30
- ↑ Invaders #7
- ↑ Invaders #8
- ↑ Invaders #9
- ↑ Invaders #10
- ↑ Invaders #11
- ↑ 41.0 41.1 Invaders #13
- ↑ Invaders #14
- ↑ 43.0 43.1 Invaders Annual #1
- ↑ Avengers #71
- ↑ Avengers: Forever #8
- ↑ Fantastic Four Annual #4
- ↑ Avengers #133
- ↑ Avengers #53
- ↑ Avengers: West Coast #50
- ↑ Namor the Sub-Mariner #31
- ↑ Captain America (Volume 5) #44-48
- ↑ Secret Avengers #25
- ↑ Secret Avengers #35
- ↑ Secret Avengers #37
- ↑ All-New Invaders #1
- ↑ Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z hardcover Vol. 5
- ↑ Avengers: The Initiative #2
- ↑ Avengers: The Initiative #23
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