Strange Tales #116:The Human Torch In The Clutches Of The Puppet Master!

Review By:


For today’s comic book review I read Strange Tales #116,  for this first post, I am reviewing “The Human Torch In The Clutches Of The Puppet Master!”  in this Strange tale,  we have the human torch falling under the effects of a surprisingly alive Puppet Master, and forced to hit on Alicia, so that the Puppet Master can get the two to fight against each other. With no surprise the Puppet Masters plan seems to be working, what can possibly go wrong? 


As far as comic book stories go, this one was only adequate, While it did account for everything we would require for such a story, some things pushed at the limits of our understanding both for the fiction and for our characters.  Such as simply writing out Mr. Fantastic and Invisible girl by then not getting the phone on their way out.  That just does not cut it for me.


The story may have come out better if the artwork was any good.  but for this story Dick Ayers was far from the top of his game, and this issue showed that quite well.

The puppet Master

The Puppet Master seemed to have a clearly defined look, he himself resembled one of his puppets,  looking like a smoothly carved character, until this issue, where he looks nothing like that,  yes you can tell its him, but he seemed to loose what makes his look so unique.

The Thing

The Thing had the same problem, Yes he “looks” like a rock, but he does not look like the thing,  and the change is far from an improvement.  and left me almost feeling that this is not the Benjamin Grimm I have come to love.

Originality & Continuity

This is where the story does come to be good,  it does both fit in well with continuity while also being quite original. The first page says this was based on an idea by Tommy and Jimmy Goodkind, and if their reading, they did  have a good idea, I just feel that it was implemented badly.

Characters & Development

In this issue, the only real positive development we see is that there is a strong friendship between The Thing and the human torch,  so strong that the puppet master can’t easily get them to destroy each other. Leaving him to have to try harder.   but is this knowledge really a development?

Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Girl

There one panel appearance however, was worse for their characters and the development of the story, then just leaving us to wonder why they did not get the phone, would have been. Can you picture them just choosing not to get the phone?  If they had been out, or anything it would have been better.  Then you would think that they would have given Alicia her own Signal Flare as well, just encase she ever needed help.  Lets hope in coming stories they find a better way to leave out characters that they feel should be mentioned but not involved. 

Book Information:
Cover Date: Jan 1964
Read At:
  • Stan Lee
  • Dick Ayers
  • Geo. Bell
  • R. Holloway
  • Based upon an idea by: Tommy and Jimmy Goodkind
Review Ratings:
Originality And Continuity&#9733&#9733&#9733&#9733&#9734&#9734
Character And Development¼&#9734&#9734&#9734&#9734&#9734
Bad Calls¼&#9734&#9734&#9734&#9734&#9734
Stories Referenced:
Locations And Things:
  • Idlewild Airport






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