A week ago I brought you a review of one of the stories in Strange Tales #101. This week, The Human Torch continues being the star of the featured story. This time we have him in “Prisoner of the Wizard”
The story is an enjoyable read, however I do feel it overlooks an all important fact about our hero, on the part of our antagonist. That is, he is apart of a team, whom he can call on for help. I do feel this is also overlooked at least in part by the writers in the issue, as I will explain as I review.
The story is a simple one; and somewhat classic. it is of a villain that can’t stand the thought of being 2nd to anyone, and therefore must prove he is better than our hero. With a motivation of pure ego, and a drive to go to any length to support it.
Our Antagonist this time is a brilliant man whom goes as the Wizard. He is an inventor, Magician and chess champion. But he decides he needs to be more, and needs to defeat the human torch.In this story he set into motion a plan to do so, to capture and frame The Human Torch.
The Story is a bit on the week side; with a few flaws that just rub me the wrong way. Such a smart man would have, and should have at least considered the fact that The Torch is apart of a team, known as the Fantastic Four. with the help of but one member of the team is what leads to his downfall in the end. in some ways this is accounted for with Johnny’s last line.
The Wizard sure was a brain… But he made the mistake of not realizing that no matter how smart a guy is, he can’t ever think of everything!
But surely Johnny’s membership into the Fantastic Four should have struck such a smart man. I feel the story was forced down this road by the desire to make The Human Torch the solo hero of these stories, and not additional adventures of the team.
Just like last time, I feel the art and coloring meshed well with the story, it is well done, without being overdone. While the art did not let me down,it also did not exceed my expectation’s in any way at any time.
In some way’s that makes this issue a good basis for general comparison, meeting just the minimum of what I expect. Nothing more, nothing less.
Originality & Continuity
This story does not live up to my standards for originality or continuity. The human torch is on a team, and yes he can have adventures alone and apart from the Fantastic Four but there are a few key flaws with this story and that concept.
While the torch was captured, and the wizard was masquerading around as him committing crimes, you would think the Fantastic Four would investigate this. if for no other reason then he is there teammate. but let me include reasons why they should have just for the sake of it.
- He is there teammate
- Mr. Fantastic feels responsible for each member of the team
- Sue Storm is his sister
- The Thing would love the opportunity to teach The Torch a good hard lesson.
- what the torch does will undoubtedly come back to reflect on the team
But no mention of such was made, or no reason given as to why they didn’t. A simple explanation could have dealt with this; someway to make at least Mr. Fantastic and The Thing unavailable.
Characters & Development
These stories in strange tales is a wonderful opportunity to develop the Johnny Storm / Human Torch character. it is now my obligation to say, I do not feel this story did in the slightest. Not one of his friends has yet been given so much as a name, and he doe not seem to be growing much outside of the Fantastic Four stories.
I feel this issue is a chance that was wasted to help build the character; and wasted on a plot that was lacking at that.
Come back October 15th 2011, and we will be able to see if the wizards return was any better.