Episode 71: Who is Irresponsible Now? (Strange Tales #112) -- August 1963

  
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In this episode:

Mike and Ed discuss the irresponsibility of the Department of Energy - why were they storing an atomic weapon in New York City, how did they allow it to be stolen by a common criminal, and why did the bomb have a deadman switch that caused it to explode an hour after being exposed to air? Also, are we demanding too much of our teenage superheroes in comparison?

In this issue:

Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, shows off his marvelous abilities high above his hometown of Glenville, and to his surprise no one pays attention to him. In fact, they are annoyed. Their annoyance at the young showboater is confirmed on the news that night - Johnny is showing off and undermining the police, apparently, in the process. The public has turned on Johnny, feeling that he is just a grandstander, and not a true hero. Johnny investigates further and learned that the police are grateful for his help. He speaks with the newscaster who is drumming up negative vibes about him, Ted Braddock, and finds that his charm does not work on this crusty journalist. Public opinion continues to sour on the Torch. That evening, a man dressed in a purple body suit and mask who goes by the name the Eel robs a famous inventor of a mystery invention. It turns out the Eel is actually a janitor at the local aquarium, who has decided to turn to a life of crime. But to make matters worse, it turns out that the mystery invention is a miniature radioactive atomic pile - an atom bomb - and the deadman switch has been pulled by accident. Johnny springs into action to find the Eel, and eventually tracks him down. They battle - the Eel has a surprising amount of cool weapons, for a middle-aged custodian - but Johnny defeats him, takes the bomb, and flies into the sky with it above the bomb, pulling the harmful radiation skyward with him in a risky maneuver that pays off and saves the town (if not the Eastern seaboard). Sadly, Johnny Storm is reported deceased as a result of this wild mission, and the world mourns. But on the same newscast, he is reported to be alive. Braddock changes his tune on Johnny - but the Eel remains at large.

Assumed before the next episode:

People are recovering from the wild swings between disliking the Torch, mourning his death, and celebrating his recovery.

This episode takes place:

After Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, has been reported to be alive and well after saving millions of people from being disintegrated by an atom bomb.