One member of Marvel’s Fantastic Four just tried to enjoy a night out and accidentally caused serious damage to a major part of New York City.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Fantastic Four #37, available now from Marvel.
The sheer power and potential of the cosmically empowered Fantastic Four make the team some of Marvel’s most potentially volatile figures, capable of causing chaos around the entire globe if they were to be left unchecked. It’s this level of power that’s been amplified in one member — and New York City is already having to deal with the fallout.
Fantastic Four #37 by Dan Slott, Nico Leon, Dono Sanchez-Almara, and VC’s Joe Caramagna feature the Human Torch accidentally causing some serious trouble for the city of New York — revealing just how dangerous he’s really become lately.
The Human Torch is currently in a tough place. On top of the emotional rollercoaster he’s been stuck on due to his affair with Victorious and the subsequent collapse of his relationship with Skye, Johnny Storm was also bombarded by a new ray by Doctor Doom. In revenge for his night with Victorious, Doom effectively overloaded the Human Torch’s powers. He can no longer turn off his flame abilities, making him incredibly dangerous to even just be around. Reed Richards has tried to crack the problem but has so far been unable to figure out how to get Johnny back to a level where he can control his abilities. This has left him Johnny devastated, alone with his regrets over the collapse of his relationships and his recent mistakes.
In Fantastic Four #37, he ends up taking the chance to get out of the protected bunker in the Baxter Building — even if it means remaining in a powerful suit to keep the heat from overwhelming everyone nearby with intense heat. He goes and spends time hanging out with Spider-Man, with the pair’s long-term friendship allowing Peter to try and reach out to Johnny (and of course fall flat on his face when he more or less forces Johnny to explain the situation with Skye to him). But the two still spend the night speaking at the Statue of Liberty — at least until Johnny’s intense heat melts one of her arms off, leaving the pair to scramble to find the rest of the team for help.
Luckily, this means Spider-Man and Human Torch arrive in time to help contend with the Profiteer’s attempts to capture (or, failing that, kill) Jo-Venn and Nikki, the Grimm’s adopted children. Webbing up the massive ships and keeping them from firing, Spider-Man and Human Torch are nominally the heroes of the hour. But it turns out they desperately came seeking assistance with their accidental destruction of a major American landmark. While it’s a fun beat to end the issue on, it’s also a reminder of how dangerous Human Torch has become. Even when he’s near buildings, he’s a threat — and could cause serious distrust and fear if he’s accidentally destroying landmarks by just being near them.
With the Marvel Universe at a crossroads — and events like Inferno and the upcoming Reckoning War set to throw the current status quo into chaos — having one of the Fantastic Four’s most famous members accidentally doing serious damage to one of New York’s most iconic locations likely isn’t helping public reception. It’s notably the same kind of damage Surtur accidentally committed in the animated What If…? series, but at least he was able to repair the damage alone. Human Torch needs to learn how to get his powers back under control soon — or he might risk causing serious chaos for the entire hero community going forward.
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