The original Human Torch has been popping up all over the place during this 70th anniversary of Marvel Comics. What a fitting time for this character's renewed exposure since he was one of Marvel's first superheroes, gracing the cover of Marvel Comics # 1 back in 1939. In fact, this comic was recently reprinted and features the Torch's origin.
The recently concluded Avengers / Invaders series had the Torch traveling forward in time from World War II to the present. At the series conclusion, Toro, the Torch's sidekick had been given a new lease on life in the present day.
A new 8-part series, The Torch, picks up this thread and develops it. The series begins with the original Human Torch still in the grave, but a rebirth is promised. Meanwhile, the shocking never-before-told origin of Toro is unfolding. With three issues now under our belts, I'm hoping that Toro will turn out to be the Torch's real son--but we'll see.
This new and excellent series is co-plotted by Alex Ross, who also does the beautifully painted covers. Ross was the artistic talent on Marvels a few years ago which retold the history of Marvels' heroes, including the origin of the Human Torch, through the eyes (or eye) of a photo-journalist.
The new series, Marvels Project, also retells the history of Marvel's Golden Age, this time through the eyes of the original Angel. Three issues into this eight-part series and I can see why Ed Brubaker is considered one of the best writers in the business.
Here we can see how the plots revolving around Nick Fury, The Human Torch, Sub-Mariner, the Angel, and the Ferret intersect at various points. New origin details and deeper character development of all these characters help us to better understand how they became who they are and why they behave as they have. All this and World War II espionage too! What more could you want?
Further Golden Age exploits of the Torch can be found in Human Torch 70th Anniversary issue which includes a newly written story set in the Golden Age and some back-up reprints including the first meeting of Torch and Toro.
In summary, here is a categorization of some recent appearances of the Human Torch:
Origin Reprinted or Retold:
Marvels (now in trade, art by Ross)
Marvel Comics # 1 70th Anniversary reprint (includes all original back-up features as well)
Marvels Project 1-3
Golden Age Exploits:
Human Torch 70th Anniversary
Golden Age Marvel Comics Omnibus collection (reprints Marvel Comics # 1 & Marvel Mystery Comics 2-12; $125; around $80 from Amazon)
Avengers / Invaders (time travel to the present) (completed 12-part series)
The Torch (rebirth)