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MHR: Golden Age Human Torch Datafile

April 8, 2013

The Golden Age Human Torch is actually a “synthetic man” built by Phineas T. Horton. Horton’s creation lives in a large vacuum tube, for when it comes into contact with oxygen, by some unknown and uncontrollable process, it bursts into flames! Horton’s colleagues convince him to bury the thing and seal it in concrete until he can devise a way to fix the problem. But before that can happen, a crack allows oxygen to seep in, and the Human Torch busts free from his concrete prison!

Marvel Comics #1

Marvel Comics #1 (Oct. 1939), the first comic from Marvel precursor Timely Comics. Cover art by Frank R. Paul.

The Human Torch runs about, unable to control his flames and wreaking havoc. As he’s trying to douse himself, he gets captured by a criminal named Sardo (guys with weird names, or is it a nickname?, abound in these stories), who then tries to use the Torch as part of a fire protection racket. But on his first “job,” the Torch realizes what’s what and goes after Sardo. After Sardo’s demise, the Torch learns to throw and control fire, and to turn off his fiery body. He’s put on trial for the destruction that he caused, but Horton vouches for him and secures freedom for his creation. However, when the Torch displays his new-found control for Horton, the inventor can only see dollar signs. The Torch, vowing to never be used again for criminal or even selfish means, runs away into the night.

Soon he picks up a teen sidekick, Toro, who has the exact same powers and appearance as the Torch, despite being human. The Torch & Toro go on to fight crime as part of the local police department. Somewhere along the way, the Torch picks up the name “Jim Hammond,” although I’m not sure where or when that happens.

After the war, the Torch’s powers become unstable and he deactivates himself to protect others. In the Silver Age, he is revived to fight the Fantastic Four, but he refuses to kill Reed & co. Later, Ultron retools the Torch’s body to make the Silver Age Vision, although Ultron overwrites Hammond’s mind with the brain patterns of Wonder Man. Later on, it’s revealed that the Vision was actually made from the Torch’s “spare parts,” and the Torch is rediscovered and reactivated. He continues to be a minor character running around the Marvel Universe into modern times.

The Human Torch was one of Timely’s big three sellers (along with Cap and Namor), and was also part of the very first comic book crossover when he got into a fight with Namor (whose stories were in the same book). Up until that point, there was no shared universe, and each headlining character existed in their own little world.

The android Torch is very similar in powers and appearance (when on fire) to Johnny Storm, the human Human Torch from the Fantastic Four. One difference is that Hammond doesn’t have Johnny’s “nova flame,” or at least, hasn’t had a reason to unleash such power during the war. And it should be noted that his flaming body melts bullets before they hit him, making him immune to gunfire as long as he is able to maintain his fiery form.

As their powers are so similar, we can use Johnny Storm’s datafile as a starting point.

Human Torch
Jim Hammond [public]

Solo d10, Buddy d8, Team d6

Hotheaded Hero
“No One Will Ever Use Me!”
Synthetic Man

Flame Form
As Johnny Storm’s Flame On! except:
– downgrade Supersonic Flight d10 to Subsonic Flight d8
– remove the Nova Flame SFX

Combat Expert d8, Crime Expert d8

Carry a Torch
1 XP when you snub your romantic interest because you are an unlovable machine.
3 XP when you rescue your romantic interest or otherwise display your feelings through deeds and not words.
10 XP when you finally confess your feelings to your romantic interest, or when you decide that you must always be alone and encourage your interest to pursue love elsewhere.

Guiding Light
1 XP when you and your sidekick use your Buddy Affiliations together in a Scene for the first time.
3 XP when you defeat a character that dealt stress to your sidekick.
10 XP when you decide to abandon your sidekick for his/her own protection, or when you declare that your sidekick has earned his place as a full-fledged hero and part ways with him/her.

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