In the midst a frantic week for the Comic Book Industry, The Outhousers take some time to recognize the impact and contributions of a member of Marvel's First Family who made the Ultimate Sacrifice to ensure that the future of the planet lived on.
On January 25th, 2011, Jonathan Lowell Spencer Storm, better known as Johnny Storm, or the Human Torch made the ultimate sacrifice to save his Niece, Nephew, Best Friend , The Future Foundation that his Brother-In-Law had Invested all of his hopes for the future in, and The Earth at large from an Annihilation Wave that would've torn It asunder. At the time of his death, he was 49 years old (in Real World Time). Johnny Storm was created by Stan "The Man" Lee and Jack "King" Kirby (R.I.P.) . He met his untimely demise in Part Five of "Three" (Titled The Last Stand), created by Jonathan Hickman and Steve Epting.
From an early age, Johnny Storm was destined to live a life of adventure. Not only was he drawn to fast cars, stupendous thrills, and beautiful women, Johnny would also show a dangerously massive heroic streak by rushing into a Burning Building to save the lives of two of his friends. After barely being passed over becoming the latest in a long line of Ghost Riders, one could say that it was only a matter of time before he became a real-life Superhero, something that would happen after a fateful ride into outer space with the 3 people that would become the pillars of his life. A ride that would truly change his, and his fellow explorers lives, forever
As a member of the Fantastic Four, not only was he one of the pioneers of the legendary Age of Marvels, but he became one of its earliest champions. In the beginning of his career, the Fantastic Four were first explorers of the unknown, which would lead Johnny to become part of discoveries that would give him experiences that most people could never hope to comprehend. With such a strong commitment to better mankind, however, it wouldn't be long before he and the others would use their skills and gifts to help save humanity from those who would enslave it. Because of this, Johnny would be a major part of countless victories over an adversarial gallery that includes Mole Man, Mad Hatter, Puppet Master, Terrax, Blasstar, Super Skrull, Devos the Devastator, their opposite numbers in the Frightful Four, the would be Milky-Way Conqueror in Annhilus, and one of history's most iconic masterminds in Doctor Doom. Despite all of this, Johnny's defining moment would come when he would make a truly historic flight to the Ultimate Nullifier, ensuring that Earth would survive against Galactus. It is these accomplishments (along with countless others), that allowed Johnny both the seal of approval from the Original Human Torch (Jim Hammond), and the rewards of a superstar's life, something that he didn't always handle with the most maturity.
When talking about Johnny Storm's story, one cannot gloss over the double tragedy of his early childhood, where he lost his Mother to a Car Accident and his Father to self-destructive cycle of actions that landed him in Jail. Those two events above all else helped to define Johnny's personality, and with the fame that was allotted to him as member of the Fantastic Four, he would find an outlet to live a life that allowed him to not face the responsibilities of growing up. Fast cars, Stupendous Thrills, and Beautiful Women were all his by the boatload, at times it seemed that Johnny Storm lived nothing but a Party that went on 24/7. Even when he tried (or was pushed) to assume more responsibility, Johnny never took the bull by the horns. Despite his gallivanting ways and tumultuous love history, (which would include Inhuman Princess Crystal, Frankie Ray and Atlantean Princess Namorita) Johnny Storm would eventually marry and settle down with Alicia Masters (Step-Daughter of The Puppet Master), who turned out to be the Skrull Female named Lyja. Despite the relationship having an extremely dubious foundation, the two would engage in an on and off again relationship for quite some time, a relationship that actually caused Johnny to think about his actions, and even grow up a bit. Tragically, this relationship came to an abrupt end when Johnny seemingly sacrificed himself along with many other heroes to defeat Onslaught. When he returned home, Lyja was nowhere to be found, and Johnny would soon find himself even more entrapped in the life he lived during his early days as an Adventuring Hero.
When everything is said and done, Johnny's death could also be attributed to the fact that he never received any lasting Character Evolution on a Macro-Creative level. Unlike the other members of the Fantastic Four who became vastly different characters in ways that increased their long-term viability, Johnny Storm essentially remained the same character he was in 1961, without any real compelling characteristics to help his own viability. Inability to find a true direction for him allowed him to become little more than wall-paper in his own book, or worse, being Marvel's Answer to Paris Hilton. When Hickman decided to only write 28 lines for him in the 14 issues he was creative steward to Jonathan, it became quite easy to see the writing on the wall when it was announced that a member of his storied team would die in the latest storyline. Despite the lack of suspense, the Human Torch showed no fear when it became time to make the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that his loved ones, and the Earth at large, survived.
Jonathan Storm is survived by his Sister, Susan Storm Richards (better known as The Invisible Woman of the Fantastic Four); his Brother-in-Law , Reed Richards (better known as Mister Fantastic); his best friend and adopted brother, Benjamin Jacob Grimm (better known as The Thing); his niece and nephew, Valeria and Franklin Richards; and a very good friend in Peter "Spider Man" Parker. Jonathan is also survived by the newly formed Future Foundation, Hundreds of Friends in Superhero Community, and countless legions of fans, admirers, and former one-night stands. To end this obituary, the writer would like to acknowledge that death in the Marvel Universe is never truly final for icons of Jonathan's stature, and if nothing else it should provide a glimmer of hope for those who are praying for a resurrection of some sort. However, if this truly is the last time he has uttered his amazingly famous catchphrase of "Flame On", then it is this writer's hope that those he sacrificed himself to protect will always remember that sacrifice, and aspire to live life with the same fearlessness that The Human Torch showed in his final moments.
As a special tribute, this video is commemorated to not just Johnny, but to those Comic-Book characters that have lost their lives in varyingly senseless manners over the past 6 years. To Ryan Choi, Holly Granger, Garth, Grant Albert Emerson, Owen Mercer, Gehenna Hewitt, Kurt Wagner, Jericho Drumm, Bill Foster, Ralph and Sue Dinby, Ted Kord, and countless others, you were all killed far too soon, and we will never forget you.
See you at Tha Crossroads
Written or Contributed by: SilverPhoenix