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Human Torch Comics Vol 1 27

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Appearing in "Meet the Asbestos Lady!"Edit

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Synopsis for "Meet the Asbestos Lady!"Edit

The Asbestos Lady sits in her room lamenting about how it has been almost a year since her unsuccessful plot to kill the Human Torch and Toro and begins plotting to get revenge against the two heroes.

Meanwhile, the Torch and Toro return to police headquarters after their most recent case and announce that they are taking a vacation. The pair take a train and they are soon visited by a disguised Asbestos Lady who asks to sit with them. As they make idle chit-chat, the Torch finds the woman they are speaking to familiar. Before he can recognize her, Asbestos Lady springs her trap. She activates a switch that apparently ejects a passenger from the train. When the Torch and Toro flame on and speed after the man, they fall directly into Asbestos Lady's trap. They are ensnared in an Asbestos lined net and forced into the river below and left to drown. With the Human Torch and Toro out of the way, Asbestos Lady and her gang go on a crime spree netting a massive profit. Meanwhile, the authorities scramble to find the whereabouts of the Human Torch and Toro, without success.

However, the Torch and Toro survived the attack, as prior to the Asbestos Lady's crime spree the two heroes managed to free themselves. Unable to flame on, the Torch and Toro use their powers to super heat the water causing it to bubble and rocket them out of the water. Freed of the Asbestos, the Torch and Toro flame on and capsize a boat of Asbestos Lady's men and streak off to stop their employer.

Elsewhere in the city, Asbestos Lady is preparing for her next crime. Having fashioned a suit that imitates the Human Torch's powers, she sends one of her minions to attack Fort Wright and rob it of the gold bullion, hoping to frame the Torch for the crime. The robbery goes off without a hitch, however the fire caused by the attack alerts the real Human Torch and Toro to Asbestos Lady's location. They arrive just as Asbestos Lady and her goons are looting the Fort. The arrival of the real Human Torch confuses Asbestos Lady who cannot tell them apart. While the real Torch knocks out his impostor, Toro goes after Asbestos Lady. A stray fireball from Toro causes the roof to collapse, knocking out Asbestos Lady and her goons and the Torch and Toro turn them over to the police.

Later, as the Torch and Toro head off on vacation again, the Asbestos Lady is in prison vowing to get revenge against the heroes once she is free again.

Appearing in "Mystery of the Old Curiosity Shop!"Edit

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Synopsis for "Mystery of the Old Curiosity Shop!"Edit

In an attempt to relax, the Human Torch has taken up knitting, however one night his knitting needle breaks. He and Toro then rush to Madame Defarge's Curiosity Shop for another one before it closes for the night. When they arrive the shop appears closed but the front door is wide open. The two heroes enter the store. There they walk in on Defarge and her assistant Alphonse who is about to attack them with an axe. Defarge tells Alphonse to stand down and informs the Torch she has no more knitting needles and asks them to leave and reminds them it would not be wise to barge into her store after closing time again.

With no cases that evening, the Torch and Toro decide to go to see a play as they were given free tickets to a show by producer Jay Burr. They go back stage and Burr agrees to honour their request and asks them to wait back stage while he gets the tickets. There, they spot two of the three Bourbon Sisters. They remark how one is a singer, the other is an actor, and note that the third sister -- who always wears a veil -- is not present. The girls are troubled as they have received threatening notes saying they will be silenced by garrotte along with a ball of yarn and a pair of knitting needles.

The Torch and Toro overhear this and they recall that the girls are descendants of King Louis and recall how King Louis and his family received similar threats before facing the guillotine. The pair decide to keep an eye on things to make sure there is no trouble. As the play commences, the Torch and Toro spot someone trying to light one of the sisters hair on fire. The Torch and Toro remove the burning wig and then rush to the dressing room and spot Alphonse attempting to strangle the other Bourbon sister. When they try to stop him, he uses a fire extinguisher on their flames and flees the scene. With the threat gone, they wonder if Yvette is okay. The veiled third sister appears and reveals that she also got a threatening note with ball of yarn and knitting needles.

Examining the knitting needles, the Torch recognizes them as the ones that were sold at Madame Defarge's curio shop. There they are confronted by Alphonse who tries to douse their flames with a chemical bomb, but the Torch grabs it before it can explode. When Madame Defarge attempts to stop the heroes, the Torch quickly rushes at her ripping off her dress, revealing the one worn by Yvette Bourbon underneath. Realizing that she is the third Bourbon sister, the Torch deduces that Yvette was trying to kill her sisters out of jealousy of their beauty and talent. When Yvette tries to flee the scene she trips, and ironically, lands into a guillotine which promptly lops her head off. With the threat over, the Torch and Toro tell the two sisters the whole thing.

Appearing in "Murder Deadline!"Edit

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Synopsis for "Murder Deadline!"Edit

The Sub-Mariner comes to shore for a meeting with his newspaper reporter friend Betty Dean. Betty is upset as she is being harassed by millionaire Vincent King who has been asking her to marry him. The situation has gotten so bad, it has made the gossip columns of the newspapers. She tells Namor that King has threatened to get her fired from her job if he doesn't marry her. Namor decides that he has to do something and tells Betty that he will handle King himself and dives into the water, unaware that a police officer overheard their conversation.

Arriving at Vincent King's mansion, the Sub-Mariner hears gun shots and rushes inside. There he finds a man prowling around King's residence. The man knocks out Namor with a vase and flees the scene. When Namor revives he finds the body of Vincent King and the murder weapon. Not wishing to eliminate the finger prints, Namor picks up the gun with a rag just as Captain Oscar Tooley and the police arrive. Tooley instantly suspects the Sub-Mariner as the killer of King, telling the hero that one of his beat officers overheard him say that he was going to "handle" King, and they caught him at the murder scene with the weapon.

Professing his innocence, Namor convinces Tooley to give him 12 hours to capture the real killer or he will turn himself in. Tooley accepts, but doubt that Namor will succeed. Searching the house, Namor finds a drawing of an ugly man and suspects that this might be the man who murdered King. Searching King's office, Namor finds his bank book and learns that King had been writing checks for large sums of money every month. He also finds a picture of his sister Judy and wonders if she can shed some light on the situation.

Namor calls Betty and learns that Judy works at the Lotus Club as a singer and rushes there to get some answers. He walks in on Judy and her lover Howard as they are talking about something that "nobody suspects". Hearing this, Namor accuses Judy of murdering her brother, however Judy had not heard the news and becomes very distraught. Howard explains that they were secretly getting married as Judy's brother forbade it. Deciding to allay his suspicion for the time, Namor asks Judy who could have killed her brother. She tells him that her brother often gambled on the Fortuna, a gambling ship owned by Arch Cannon that is located off the five mile limit. Namor is about to leave when he walks into a man coming into the dressing room. Judy introduces him as stage acrobat Leonard Lajo.

Namor then swims out to the Fortuna and confronts Arch Cannon about the murder. Cannon denies any involvement, telling him that King paid off all his debts. As Namor leaves the ship someone tosses out a note telling him that he knows who the killer is and to meet him at the ships bow. However, when Namor arrives his mystery informant has been murdered. Namor decides that Arch really is involved and whirls around to find that Arch has a gun trained on him. Namor easily subdues Arch and his goons, but when he tries to show them the dead body it has disappeared.

Namor dives to try to find trace of the body overboard, but finds nothing. He swims back to shore and spots Howard exiting a launch. He confronts him to find out where he had been. Howard denies being on the Fortuna and tells him Judy can vouch for him. When they go back to Judy's dressing room they find the place in shambles. They ask Leonard what happened and he tells them that she saw someone come off a boat and was excited and went to call the police. Namor calls Captain Tooley, who tells him that Judy had not called. By this point Leonard decides to go home, and lets slip that there was two murders that night, making Namor realize that he is the killer. Namor tries to follow him but some men knock him out and take him prisoner.

He wakes up in Leonard's home tied up with Judy. They are confronted by Leonard, who explains that he is also a contortionist and causes his face to shift back to it's original shape (that resembling the drawing found in King's house) and explains that he was the only witness to King getting in a bar brawl in Cuba which ended in the death of the man he was fighting with. Leonard then blackmailed King, forcing him to pay large sums of money to keep his mouth shut. However when King was beginning to consider turning himself in, Lajo murdered him. He explains that the other man he murdered was one of Arch Cannon's men who overheard Lajo blackmailing King at the Fortuna one night.

With his plot exposed, Lajo turns on the gas in the house and leaves Namor and Judy to suffocate. However, Lajo made the mistake of leaving a pitcher of water out and Namor knocks it over, revitalizing his strength and allowing him to break free of his bonds. Namor then rushes upstairs and easily beats Lajo and his men and turns them over to Captain Tooley. When Betty arrives to get the story, she scolds Tooley for suspecting Namor was guilty of the crime.

  • In the story "Meet the Asbestos Lady!" it is established that the Human Torch and Toro had clashed with her previously. This plot threat is not visited until 30 years later in Invaders #22 published in 1977.
  • The Sub-Mariner story "Murder Deadline!" ends with a narrative that the character of Captain Oscar Tooley would be reappearing to match wits with the Sub-Mariner in future stories, however such tales never materialized and this is Tooley's only appearance.


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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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