Episode 26: The Limits of Humanity (Strange Tales 102) -- Nov 1962

  
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In this episode:

In one of their most important episodes, Mike and Ed discuss what drives the smartest and most accomplished man in the world to throw it all away on a vendetta against teenage superhero Human Torch. Is something larger going on with the psychological effects on regular humans due to the existence of superpowered humans, gods, and monsters?

In this issue:

Bentley (“the Wizard”) Whitman is a world regarded genius inventor who decides that he has to match up with the Human Torch as a test of his greatness. He stages a calamity requiring the Torch to rescue him and, after being rescued and showing the Torch around his house, captures him.

The Wizard then impersonates the Human Torch, attempts a brazen midday robbery, and releases prisoners from the state prison.

The Torch escapes from his cell and confronts the Wizard. 

The Wizard has photos proving that the Torch is innocent, and dangles them in front of him. He dares the Torch to fight him to get the photos out of his hand, and thereby reveal his secret identity. Rather than do that, the Torch floats the photos from the Wizard’s hands, defeating him. The Wizard is then taken into custody.

We then learn that Sue Storm, the Invisible Girl, assisted her brother by taking the photos from the Wizard’s hands, fooling him into thinking the Human Torch had another mysterious ability.

Assumed before the next episode:

The world is shocked that the Wizard broke bad… and why.

This episode takes place:

After the world has learned that the Wizard threw it all away to match wits with a teenager who can light himself on fire.