“I still want the Torch to be fundamentally the star of the book, simply because he’s the flashiest character. But I’m trying to avoid the kind of favoritism that I bestowed upon, say, the Wolverine in The X-Men or the Scarlet Witch in The Avengers.”Writer/artist John Byrne
(From Amazing Heroes #1, June 1981)
ReviewTitle: “Mission for a Dead Man!”
Synopsis: The Human Torch goes on a mission to clear the name of a deceased lowlife — and runs into Hammerhead instead!
Writer: John Byrne
For his second issue as writer/artist on the Fantastic Four, John Byrne decides to take a little side trip with this solo outing featuring the Human Torch. It’s another fine done-in-one tale (even if it feels more like a Batman story), but an odd pick for a creator trying to put his stamp on a team book. After a strong debut (see review of FF #232), it would have been nice to see Byrne continue to develop his take on the team dynamic here. But, again, it’s a fine story, and the art, as expected, is strong.
Cool factor: With back-to-back strong issues, Byrne gives notice his run on FF might be something special.
Notable: This issue’s “Bullpen Bulletins” explains why there are two different styles of cover-price boxes on then-current Marvel comics: If the cover price and issue number are in a diamond, the book was distributed via the direct market; if they are in a rectangle, it was distributed via the traditional newsstand system.
“We’ve all taken as much of your itching and groaning as anyone could expect us to — .”The Human Torch, to his buddy, the Thing. Itching and groaning? Really? (Well, the Thing does have a rather noticeable skin condition … .)
FANTASTIC FOUR #233
Published and © by Marvel, August 1981
Cover by John Byrne and Terry Austin
Collected EditionsFantastic Four #233 is reprinted in:
Editor’s note: This review first appeared on Comics Bronze Age, July 14, 2009.