Stan Lee Answers Who Would Win in a Fight Between Namor and the Human Torch

Journey Into Marvel – Part 74



Extremites, it’s hilarious that I find myself in a loop discussing Johnny Storm’s ego. Last issue was the official moment when the Human Torch’s ego became his comeuppance. In today’s issue the two greatest egos of the Marvel Universe face off: Submariner and Johnny Storm.

A well crafted character, even one who has a large ego – maybe especially one that has a large ego — shows some vulnerability on occasion. Even a massive dick like John Constantine, Frank Castle or Bruce Wayne is shown to have some vulnerability. But Johnny Storm is just a punk kid, and to this point in the Marvel Universe, Stan Lee, and the others who have written him, paint him only as a punk kid.

It’s fitting that the punk kid goes up against Grandpa villain.

The Submariner is written just as much as a pighead as the Human Torch. However, he has a secret vulnerability that is not present in Storm. Namor is the last of his kind and this gives him a loneliness that is accessible.

When I saw the title page of this issue I wanted that Submariner would give Johnny Storm a licking. Extremites, that’s what he does.

Namor emulates a puffer fish. And we get a free Marine Biology lesson from Stan Lee!

Namor emulates a puffer fish. And we get a free Marine Biology lesson from Stan Lee!

Johnny Storm decides to challenge Namor to a fight so the rest of the Fantastic Four can see that he is not some useless kid, which is an opinion held after the last issue. He flies to the middle of the sea. Torch finds Namor in the depths and goads him into a fight. Namor doesn’t want to fight. He says it would not be right to challenge an inexperienced and rash child like Johnny to fight. But Storm is determined and pointless fight ensues.

Who’s really the villain here?

Namor is just minding his own business on the bottom of the sea when this flaming joke of a teenager comes along and insults a very powerful being.

This issue bears the traits of one of Stan Lee’s fan pleasing gimmick stories. I am sure he got a lot fan letters asking the hypothetical: who would win in a fight between the Human Torch and Submariner.

It’s an inevitable pit up right? Water verses fire, young verses old, American Freedom verses European Bloodright; t’s a conflict that is aching to happen. Who wins? It’s nearly a draw between the two until it’s clear that Storm wont let sleeping dogs lie and goes for the final knockout punch even though his power is overextended and he is far from home. Namor delivers the knockout and Johnny is taken back to land via dolphin transport.

What did I learn from this inevitable pit up? Johnny Storm is a bully. Namor is not a bad guy. He makes sure Johnny Storm gets back to New York all right and does everything in his power not to give in to a fight with the Torch. Johnny comes off like a massive jerk

This issue is well written, even has some great moments of art, and Don Heck (who is slowly taking art duties in Strange Tales over from Jack Kirby) shows us that Sue Storm can look like a woman when someone with talent draws her.

Until next time, Extremites, I remain: Julian Munds.

Story I Read:The Master of Flame vs. The Monarch of the Sea!!” (Strange Tales #107 Apr. 1963)

Rating: 2 out of 5

Pros: Namor, great art, and the detail in the fight is entertaining.

Cons: This story is really a nothing plot. There’s a lot of filler in this one. Namor gains a skill to replicate any fish he wants for this fight and then an editorial note revokes that skill. Odd.

Next Review:The Incredible Hulk” (Fantastic Four #12 Mar. 1963)

Last Review:The Threat of the Torrid Twosome” (Strange Tales #106 Mar. 1963)



About Julian Munds

I possess a degree in Theatre and Drama from the University of Toronto. I own my own theatre company called Snobbish Theatre. We focus our work on new versions of classics.

Posted on April 28, 2015, in Comics, Marvel, Namor: The Submariner, The Fantastic Four and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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