Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Flame On!

Before Spider-Man became the regular headliner, Marvel Team-Up often gave the Human Torch top billing instead. Two of the issues with Johnny Storm are of special interest to the Defenders.

While on the lookout for a villain with temperature powers, Human Torch saw Iceman in the area. Jumping to the wrong conclusion, the Torch tried to apprehend the mutant hero. The battle of fire against ice was reaching a stalemate when the other X-Men arrived and cleared up the misunderstanding. Human Torch and Iceman then joined forced against Equinox, a criminal with hot and cold powers (Marvel Team-Up #23, coinciding with events in (Defenders #15-16).

When an evil spirit took possession of his friend Wyatt Wingfoot, the Human Torch enlisted the help of demonologist Daimon Hellstrom. After ridding the spirit from Wingfoot's body, an over-zealous Hellstrom announced plans to kill Wyatt Wingfoot just the same. The Human Torch intervened, of course. And though his flame powers were little match against the "soulfire" of Daimon Hellstrom, the fight lasted just long enough for the Son of Satan to come to his senses instead of committing murder (Marvel Team-Up #32).

Even when Hellstrom used his mystical talents for good, those powers were nevertheless evil in nature—and could get the best of him. (This was particularly true early in his career, and it explained Hellstrom's initial reluctance to assist the Defenders in Giant-Size Defenders #2.)

Marvel Team-Up. Vol. 1. No. 123. July 1974. "The Might of the Frozen Inferno." Len Wein (writer), Gil Kane (artist), Mike Esposito (inker), Glynis Wein (colorist), C. Jetter (letterer), Roy Thomas (editor).
Marvel Team-Up. Vol. 1. No. 132. April 1975. "All the Fires in Hell…!" Gerry Conway (author), Sal Buscema and Vince Colletta (artists), Artie Simek (letterer), Janice Cohen (colorist), Len Wein (editor).

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