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Human Torch Comics Vol 1 25

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Appearing in "Trapping the Masked Monster"Edit

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Synopsis for "Trapping the Masked Monster"Edit

The Human Torch and Toro pay a visit to Captain Davis, one of Torch's friends who works at Fire House Thirty Seven. During their visit they learn that the Captain's son Tom has been staying out late and acting strange. The conversation is cut short when a fire is reported. The Torch and Toro follow along to the Eat Shop, the sign of the blaze. Learning that here are people trapped inside, the Torch and Toro melt their way into the building and find a hidden gambling room. Most of the people inside are dead, but among the survivors is Tom Davis. After the survivors are cleared, and the fire is put out, the Torch and Toro go back inside and learn that the hidden gambling den was sealed and locked from the outside, so that whoever started the fire left all the gamblers inside to die.

Going to the hospital, they visit with Tom to learn what happened. Tom explains how he started going for fun but eventually became heavily indebted to the owners of the illegal gambling ring. On the night of the fire, the manager told them through the PA system that he would unlock the doors and save them, but got a call from his boss and was ordered to take the money and run before the police showed up and leave those trapped inside to die. The manager is a man named Mr. Smith who had a scar running down the side of his face. The Torch believes that "Smith" is an alias but is confident he'll find the man responsible. He and Toro go to police headquarters and search the files and find no files on a man with a scar on his face. They then go back to the scene of the fire to look for clues.

There, the Torch finds an interesting slip of paper in one of the desks but is slugged from behind by a man with a blackjack. Toro attempts to rope him in, but the man is shot dead by an unseen shooter who then flees. When the Torch revives they search the dead man for identification, but find a diagram for the electrical work done on the gambling room. They go and question the electrician who did the work. When they tell the electrician, Elmer Bright, what happened he tells them that Mr. Smith had hired him on behalf of his boss, a man called Clavven.

With this information, the Torch and Toro narrow down the possible owner to two men: Charlie Clavven a numbers racketeer, or Windy Clavven who has had shady business dealings in the past. They first pay a visit to Charlie Clavven at his home, and both he and his daughter profess his innocence, telling the two heroes he has gone straight. When they go to a pool hall where Windy Clavven hangs out, Windy also denies being involved. The Torch and Toro then leave to continue their investigation. Meanwhile, at a nearby bar, a man is trying to drink to calm his nerves. However he soon panics and runs out into the street where he is run down by a car. Passing by, the Torch and Toro land to investigate and they identify the man as Ricky Mason and finds a life-like mask with a scar on it's chin. They take the mask to Tom who identifies it as the face of Mr. Smith.

The Torch and Toro then put out a fake news bulletin that announces that Ricky Mason has been arrested for questioning prompting both Charlie and Windy Clavven to go out. At the apartment of Ricky Mason, the Torch and Toro set up a dummy. A masked man breaks into the apartment and shoots the dummy, prompting the Torch and Toro to attack. The shooter manages to get away by activating a trap door under the two heroes. He tries to kill them by shooting into the pit, but the Torch melts the bullets with is flame. As the pair free themselves the Torch deduces who the killer is. They track the killer to his home, and the Torch reveals him to be Elmer Bright. When Bright is turned over to the police he admits that he disguised himself as Charlie Clavven in order to frame him. When asked how he figured it out, the Torch explained that he recognized the wiring in Ricky's house to be the same work done in the gambling den, and that implicated Bright as the mastermind behind the operation.

Appearing in "Death by Prophecy"Edit

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Synopsis for "Death by Prophecy"Edit

The Human Torch and Toro are out on a walk when they hear Futura, a fortune teller, warn people on the street that the Earth will end in an explosion. The two heroes dismiss this as the ravings of a crack pot and go about their day. That night, Futura's prediction has made it into the paper. As the Torch reads over it their apartment is suddenly shaken by an explosion from upstairs. They rush up to the next floor and find that a bomb had gone off in the apartment of a man named John Earth. They find John dead in his apartment and when the Torch looks around he finds that someone left the two gas jets on his stove going, leaving him to wonder if the death was accidental, suicide or a murder.

The next day the Human Torch goes to visit Futura and asks her of her involvement in John Earth's death. She denies having anything to do with it but predict that it will happen. Sitting in her chair she gets another vision, telling the Torch that a man named Lionel Langston will die the next day at noon, when he is struck down by a car. Recalling that Langston is a writer for "Behind the Scenes" Magazine, they rush off to his house and find that Futura has already called and warned him. The following day even though Langston decides that he is going to stay in his apartment until afternoon, the Torch and Toro to keep an eye on him. As noon approaches, the Torch sends Toro off to keep an eye on Futura. After the boy leaves, the Torch spots a toy car heading into Langston's office. Before he can stop it someone knocks him out from behind. When the toy car enters Langston's office, he goes to pick it up and is electrocuted from a live war attached to the toy. When the Torch revives he finds he is too late to save Langston. When Toro returns, he tells the Torch that Futura never left her house. The Torch then suddenly realizes that Langston's writings have been taken from his typewriter.

The Torch and Toro then rush to the office of "Behind the Scenes" Magazine and speak to the owner Arch Murdock. Murdock tells them that he just got a call from Futura 10 minutes earlier and she said that he would die from poisoning. He suddenly begins to succumb to poison, but he quickly tells the two heroes about a bottle of baking soda which they use to save his life. After saving Arch Murdock, the two heroes then rush to Futura's fortune telling office. However, before they arrive, Futura sits in her chair and is told by a voice that the Torch and Toro will be cooked to death. When the two heroes arrive Futura flees from them and manages to escape.

Searching her parlour for clues, the Torch discovers that a voice speaks out whenever someone sits in the chair. Finding a secret compartment, the Torch and Toro find a miniature phonograph that plays whenever someone sits in the chair. Realizing that someone has been manipulating Futura, the Torch and Toro deduce that Arch Murdock must be somehow involved. Before they can go, some men burst into the room and knock them out with chloroform gas. The two heroes are then taken to a warehouse where they are put in a massive pressure cooker to be baked alive.

However, the two heroes revive and the Torch manages to knock open the safety valve causing the pressure to blow them out of the cooker, freeing themselves. They rush upstairs where they overhear Arch and his men gloating over their numbers racket and how they used the Futura fortune telling hoax to eliminate Earth and Langston who found out about it. The Torch and Toro round them up and then turn them over to the authorities.

Appearing in "The Lost Son Fraud"Edit

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  • Racketeers

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Synopsis for "The Lost Son Fraud"Edit

The Human Torch and Toro are flying over the city when the Torch spots an elderly couple who have a letter blown out of their hands by the wind. The Torch recovers the letter to the grateful couple. They explain that their son went off to fight the war in Europe and was reported killed in action. However just recently they were contacted by letter that their son was captured and held in a German prison camp. He suffered brief amnesia but recovered and is currently recuperating in a hospital in Italy and needs money which they are mailing out to him. The Torch asks them why the letter is addressed to an American PO Box, and they tell him that it is a general delivery that is shipped to Europe. The Torch also learns that they have already sent their "son" $500.

Finding this suspicious, the Torch goes to the local Army Records Bureau and learns that there is no such hospital in Italy, confirming the Torch's suspicions that the elderly couple are victims of a fraud racket. The Torch goes to the Central Post Office and learn that the PO Box is signed out to a Thomas J. Smith. Knowing this is likely an alias, the Torch and Toro stake out the box and when a man comes to collect the mail they quickly capture him. Before they can get any answers out of the man, the two heroes are struck by a car and the man escapes. When the Torch and Toro come around they find a scrap of paper that has a coded message.

Meanwhile, at the hideout of the racketeers pack up their things and prepare to leave for the west coast. At Grand Central Station they are confronted by the Torch and Toro, who deciphered the coded message, deducing it was a train schedule. However, the gang is prepared for them and douse the two heroes with fire retarding foam and leave them tied up in their room with a gas pellet that will eventually smother them. The Torch is able to use a coat hanger to push down the sprayer on a bottle of seltzer, firing it through the keyhole to get a passengers attention. The passenger then opens the room door and rescues the Torch and Toro.

The Torch and Toro then rush to the previous town where the racketeers got off the train and easily round them up and turn them over to the FBI.

Appearing in "Ghost Hangman"Edit

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Synopsis for "Ghost Hangman"Edit

At Rivertown Penitentiary, George Munson is being hanged for murder. He professes his innocence and vows to come back from the grave and get revenge against those who falsely accused him. When the lights briefly go out, he says it is a sign, however he is hung and apparently dies.

Sometime later, after a party the Rivertown hangman returns home, laughing when the party goers caution him about Munson's death. He is horrified when he is confronted by the apparent ghost of Munson who then hangs him from a tree. The handman's dying screams attract the attention of the Sub-Mariner who just swam to shore and the hero rushes to his aid, but is too late. Namor is knocked out from behind and tied to the tree to be hanged as well. However, before the Ghost Hangman can kick out the rock from under Namor's feet, the Sub-Mariner snaps the branch and chases after the ghoul, but he manages to escape. Returning to the dead body, he is met by the townspeople and the sheriff who tell Namor that this is the fourth death that night. Namor learns that the other people killed were the prison executioner, a prison guard and the prison doctor.

Namor decides to investigate this case further and while walking along the beech he spots a hangman's noose set up in the water with a note from the Ghost Hangman with a clue to his next murder. Namor deduces that the clue is about fish and chips and learns that the meal is served at Al's Diner. He rushes there and learns from Al Brown's niece that he had gone out in his schooner earlier. Namor then swims out to the ship, but arrives too late to stop the Ghost Hangman from hanging Brown as well. The Hangman is ready for the hero this time and has two attack dogs pounce on him. After Namor subdues the dogs, he is knocked out by a trunk as the Ghost Hangman escapes again. Namor takes down Al Brown's body and finds another clue pinned to his shirt. Deducing that it has to do with the best school fish running fisherman, the Sub-Mariner asks around and learns that he best man in the area is Tubby Bates.

Namor rushes to Bates' dock and questions him. Tubby explains that he, Munson and the most recent victims were crew aboard the "Golden Boy" a cargo ship that was shipping a large amount of jewels. When the ship sank, Tubby, Munson, Brown and Nils were the only survivors and sought to claim the jewels in salvage once the heat was off. Tubby realizes that Munson wanted to kill the others, but would perhaps spare him because Tubby had saved his life the day of the sinking. However, a gunshot is fired and Tubby is fatally gunned down.

Namor finds a map of the location where "Golden Boy" sank and swims to it's location. There he finds divers at work trying to raise the ship. However, he is called into the ships interior by Munson who shows him that he has Al Brown's niece hostage and threatens to drown her if Namor interferes with his plans. Namor surrenders and Munson prepares to hang the hero again. However, Namor swings on the rope smashing a porthole causing the water tight room to flood. Namor breaks free and then brings Miss Brown and Munson to the surface. There Namor finds that Munson is not a ghost at all, but is alive and well and disguised himself with a mask. Turned over to the police, Munson explains that he managed to cheat the death sentence by offer the prison staff a cut of the jewels if they helped him fake his death. Having no intention to split the money with anyone, Munson then developed the Ghost Hangman persona and murdered everyone who knew about the jewels. Back in police custody now, Namor tells Munson that he will face the same fate that he escaped: a hanging.

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Footnotes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks



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