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Human Torch Comics Vol 1 32

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Appearing in "Double Cross In Death"Edit

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Villains:

  • Joe Esterban

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Synopsis for "Double Cross In Death"Edit

Robert Dammer stands before the court for a murder of his friend Harry Stone, a murder he did not commit. His pleas of innocence and claim of a frame up are not listened to and he is sentenced to life in prison. As he is being dragged away by the bailiffs drag him away, his girlfriend Frances promises she'll try to help him clear his name. After five long months in prison, Robert waits for the response to his request for an appeal but soon learns that it has been turned down. Desperate to be free so that he can clear his name, Robert then sneaks into the back of a laundry truck leaving the prison and escapes. When the news reaches the newspapers it is read by Joe Esterban, the crook who framed Robert and his gang. When his gang expresses concern, Joe is not worried and plans to deal with Dammer if he gets in his way. When they suspect that their man Pigeon might talk if forced they decide to deal with him.

Meanwhile, Robert has broken into Pigeon's house and threatens, demanding that he change the testimony he used to frame Robert and land him in prison. However, before he can get Pigeon to talk, Joe Esterban and his men burst into the room with guns drawn. Robert then jumps out the apartment window and flees Joe's men as they chase him in a car with guns blazing. The shooting attracts the attention of the Human Torch and his new sidekick Sun Girl who give chase. While the Torch uses his flames to force the car to crash, Sun Girl helps the Torch round up the men inside. However, Joe Esterban manages to talk himself out of being arrested by explaining he was chasing after Robert Dammer, however the Torch does manage to confiscate their weapons. Watching this from an alley, Robert fears that if Esterban doesn't get him the cops will.

He flees to the home of his girlfriend Frances house and convinces her to help him clear his name. He explains to her that Joe Esterban likely killed Harry because he wanted them to pay protection money for their business but Harry refused and that he was framed for the murder thanks to Pigeon's false testimony. Frances agrees that the best way to clear Robert's name is to get the Pigeon to tell the truth. Coincidentally enough, the Pigeon calls and tells Frances that he needs to speak to him right away. Robert decides to go, unaware that this is a trap being placed by Joe Esterban, ignoring Frances' suspicions that it will be just that. With Robert going off into trouble, Frances gives a call to the Human Torch to see if he will help.

When Robert arrives at the Pigeon's apartment again he is quickly nabbed by Joe Esterban and his men. Robert tries to fight back but he is badly outnumbered and is knocked out. Joe then decides the best way to deal with this situation is to also kill the Pigeon as well. Meanwhile, the Human Torch and Sun Girl have taken Frances' pleas seriously and rush to the Pigeon's apartment building. However, they find it deserted but one of the locals tells them that he saw the Pigeon being led into a black car that then headed toward the river.

The Torch and Sun Girl rush there and arrive before Esterban and his men can force Robert and the Pigeon over a cliff into the river below in cement shoes. During the fight, Esterban manages to fatally shoot the Pigeon. The Torch quickly incapacitates Joe. When the police arrive, the Torch convinces the Pigeon to make a confession before he dies. With Joe Esterban and his men apprehended, they are sent to prison and Robert's name is cleared.

Appearing in "The Burning of Rome"Edit

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  • Nero (First appearance)

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Synopsis for "The Burning of Rome"Edit

The Human Torch tells some fire facts, recounting how Nero ended up burning down Rome.

Appearing in "The Roulette of Destiny"Edit

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Synopsis for "The Roulette of Destiny"Edit

At the Cozy Nest, a fancy restaurant, the owner Spade Brown has a date with Niki Mallon a young and wealthy young lady and asks her to marry him. Before she can answer, Spade is called away as there is a visitor for him. He slips off to his office to meet with a man named Slim who refuses to pay any more protection money that he has been collecting from local fishermen. As Slim walks out the door, Spade orders his minion to eliminate him.

Meanwhile, at the home of Niki's father, fishing industry magistrate Joe Mallon paces back and fourth explaining to the Sub-Mariner and Namora that he does not wish his daughter to marry Spade Brown, as he is a shady character. However, Brown has managed to avoid arrest because there have been no tangible evidence to prove that he is involved in the local protection racket. Suddenly the house is riddled with bullets shot from outside. Everyone ducks to safety and when Namor opens the door Slim slides in, fatally shot. As he dies he tells the trio that he was shot by Brown's minions who wanted to silence him for what he knows about their racket and that he is courting Niki. Joe is furious and storms off to the Cozy Nest where he tries to confront Spade, but Spade is a better fighter and easily out steps Joe's punch. Unaware of Joe's criminal background, Niki is horrified and tells her father that he is ruining everything. Shamefaced, Joe returns to his home.

Later that night Joe and Namor wait for Niki to return home. When she does, she does so with Spade Brown. When Joe tries to warn Niki that Joe had a man murdered and about his protection racket, she refuses to believe him and decides to take up Spade's marriage proposal. However, Joe tells his daughter that if she marries Spade that he will disinherit her from his fortune. She tells her father that she will marry Spade no matter what and they both leave. However, in the car Spade reveals his true intentions and that now that she does not have access to the family fortune, leaves her on the side and then tells her that as a consolation prize she can have his old ship "Lady Luck" and drives off laughing.

Disowned by her father, rejected by her lover, and with nothing but an old gambling ship to her name, Niki decides to prove to her father that she can make it in the world. She consults the Sub-Mariner and Namora about her plan to convert the old ship into a restaurant, spending all of her money to do so. The ship is a successful business, and Namor and Namora try to convince Niki to reconcile with her father. However she refuses to do so until she can prove to her father that she can make it. However, Spade Brown soon shows up with the police and tells her that since she does not legally own the ship he is repossessing it. With no other choice, Niki has to turn the ship over to Spade, but Namor vows to fix the crook once and for all.

Meeting with Joe, the Sub-Mariner informs him that Spade has converted the ship into a gambling boat and has moved it beyond the 3 mile limit. The come up with a plan to ruin Brown: By gambling and ruining him financially. Joe goes to the ship and challenges Brown to a round of roulette, winner takes all. However, when Joe loses his fortune, he realizes that Spade cheated and kicks over the table, revealing that it is rigged. Before Brown and his men can kill Joe for revealing their scam, the Sub-Mariner and Namora arrive and beat them into submission. After the authorities have taken Brown and his men away, Niki and Joe reconcile. With their job done, Namor and Namora return to the ocean.

Appearing in "Bodyguard for Murder"Edit

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  • Tiny Shaw

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Synopsis for "Bodyguard for Murder"Edit

When fighting promoter Twig Mallory has been stabbed to death in his office, Detective Skip McCoy is called in to investigate. Arriving at the scene, an officer tells Skip that the coroner concluded that Mallory was murdered about five hours ago.

Skip then interviews the two likely suspects: Tiny Shaw, a former boxer who was acting as Mallory's bodyguard, and Pamela Pierce his secretary. Shaw explains that when he arrived at Mallory's office Pamela had not arrived for work yet so Twig sent Tiny to drop off a letter, when he returned he found Mallory stabbed to death. Pamela explains that her car broke down and is guilt ridden that her boss was murdered.

As the body is taken away Skip deduces that Tiny Shaw is the murderer and arrests him. When Shaw confesses he asks Skip how he figured it out. He explained that Tiny placed himself at the scene of the murder at 9:00, however based on the coroner's report Mallory was killed around 8:00, and thus could not have been alive to give Tiny the task of delivering the letter.

Appearing in "Jazz Murders"Edit

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Synopsis for "Jazz Murders"Edit

At Timmy Jordan's dance club, his partner Scortch Liddel is pleaded by his girlfriend Linda to leave and pursue his music career, petitioning him that Timmy can find a new club manager. However, Scortch refuses because Timmy has been crippled and needs someone around to help him run the operations. He also points out that his notoriety as a trumpet player helps him to get people interested in Tim's National Jazz Foundation. When Linda points out that this keeps him from playing himself, he tells her that she doesn't understand and leaves to attend to club business.

However, at the home of Timmy Jordan, the seemingly crippled friend of Scortch, sinister dealings are afoot. He meets with Mr. Cort, one of the benefactors of the National Jazz Foundation. As they discuss matters, he invites him to take a closer look at a wheel that he imported from the Congo, a torture rack. When Cort looks at it his back turned to Jordan, Timmy suddenly gets out of his wheelchair and sneaks up behind Cort and then attacks. Subduing Cort with the help of his assistant, he explains that he recovered from his automobile accident long ago, but used the wheelchair and phony handicap to work his own racket. Namely, using the Jazz Foundation to coerce wealthy Jazz enthusiasts (using the innocent Scortch Liddel as his mouthpiece) and tricking them into signing over to an insurance policy that benefits the foundation so that Timmy can cash in. Clubbing Cort over the head, he then ties the man to the wheel which spins him around so fast that it causes his brain to hemorrhage, and unless someone spots the broken blood vessels in his feet, they will suspect that he died of natural causes. They then take Cort's body out and stage it to look like he died in his car.

Nearby the Human Torch and Sun Girl are riding back home from investigating the death of a man named Anson, who also apparently died of "natural causes". Sun Girl asks the Torch if he finds the death suspicious, and he comments that the insurance company is suspicious of the death at least. However they soon come upon Cort's body as well and later at the office of the coroner they notice that the blood vessels in his feet have burst. Finding this way too suspicious, they decide to investigate the Jass Foundation and question Scortch Liddle. At the club, Scortch tells Linda that he has somehow lost his famous trumpet. Scortch explains that he must have left it at Timmy's house, and Linda chastises him, telling him that a real musician lives with his instrument and that he should start doing so again. She threatens to break her insurance policy with the Jazz Foundation if Timmy doesn't release Scortch from it and let him play his music.

This is overheard by the Human Torch and Sun Girl as they enter the club and they learn that the Foundation is run by Timmy Jordan, not Scortch Liddle as Linda leaves. They compare notes to Scortch and when he is told that both Cort and Anson are dead, they realize that Linda might be in danger. Linda meanwhile confronts Timmy and demands to be released from her insurance policy and for him to turn over Scortch's trumpet. Timmy reveals that he can walk and has her butler subdue her. However, before he can do the same for her that he did to his other victims he calls Scortch and tells him to come by the mansion. However suspecting trouble, the Torch rushes ahead while Scortch and Sun Girl follow behind.

The Torch arrives at the scene and rescues Linda before she can be strapped on the wheel and subdues Timmy and his butler in a circle of flame. By the time Scortch and Sun Girl arrive the Torch has forced a confession out of Timmy. With Timym turned over to the authorities, Scortch promises Linda that he will focus on his Jazz music as long as she promises to marry him and run the club.

  • This is the first issue of Human Torch Comics that does not feature Toro as Human Torch's sidekick who has been in every issue since Human Torch Comics #2. Here he is replaced with Sun Girl, as at the time Timely Comics was creating female super-heroes to pair up with their male counterparts in order to appeal to female readers. Toro's absence is not explained until Saga of the Original Human Torch #3 which was not published until 1990.


  • No trivia.


See AlsoEdit


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Footnotes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks



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