Incredible Hulk and the Human Torch: From the Marvel Vault #1: Review

Jul 2011
Karl Kesel, Karl Kesel

Story Name:

Moon over Mayhem

Review & Comments

4 stars

Incredible Hulk and the Human Torch: From the Marvel Vault #1 Review by (March 8, 2023)

Review: Karl Kesel and Steve Ditko sort of collaborated on this MARVEL TEAM-UP issue and it’s quite offbeat. For one, Johnny Storm narrates it so it has more of a wise guy edge to it, including some self-deprecating humor. The story is fairly entertaining and there’s the added bonus of being able to spot some Ditko breakdowns beneath Kesel’s brightly colored art. There seems to be more of a moral lesson for everyone by the end along the lines of “no one is as smart as they think they are or as dumb either.” Added bonus: Torch’s flames are extinguished against his will four times in this story, a possible record. Overall entertaining story.

Comments: One of five older comics issues which for some reason were not completed or published until 2011, often pairing classic artists with new talent; they are collected in a TPB titled FROM THE MARVEL VAULT. Includes intro by Karl Kesel, explaining how he came to complete an unfinished MARVEL TEAM-UP inventory tale begun by Steve Ditko.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Incredible Hulk and the Human Torch: From the Marvel Vault #1 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Leaving a coffee shop, Johnny Storm comes upon a bank robbery. Turning into the Human Torch, he quickly apprehends the crooks and turns them over to the police. Still as the Torch, he flies into a window of the Baxter Building and ruins an experiment by Reed Richards. Reed scolds Johnny, telling him to use his common sense to see how everything works together….

At the Experimental Energy Labs (Exel), scientist Taylor Linnik is about to reach a breakthrough, he inexplicably shuts out his wife/collaborator Cassie Linnik, who is distraught. The reason? He is secretly working with the Wizard to perfect his Magnetic Energy Converter which will harness the magnetic force of the moon, converting it into cheap, clean energy, which the Wizard will take credit for….

Coincidentally, Bruce Banner is sitting in a diner not far away, reading about Magnetic Energy Conversion and he knows Cassie Linnik; the proprietor is angry that Bruce is reading but not ordering anything so he throws him out of the door. This triggers Bruce’s transformation into the Hulk and he wrecks the diner; the proprietor calls the police, who have to witness Hulk throwing their car into the diner, destroying everything. Hulk leaps away into he woods where he falls asleep and reverts to Bruce Banner….

Johnny Storm arrives at Exel; the Wizard, spotting him, accuses Linnik of having betrayed him to the Fantastic Four but, no, Johnny was sent by Reed to examine their new prototype gyroscope. The lead scientist is disappointed and insulted that Reed Richards did not come himself but Johnny surprises him by demonstrating quite a bit of scientific knowledge. Cassie makes a final appeal to Linnik and he continues to brush her off so she tells him she is leaving him….

Bruce Banner arrives at Exel, wanting to see Cassie Linnik but the guard denies him entry. Cassie comes out and Bruce calls to her but the guard shoves him and Bruce hits the electric fence which again causes Bruce to become the Hulk. Cassie, who knows about Bruce’s plight, tries to calm Hulk but the guard shoots at him, further enraging the Green Giant. An alarm goes off; Taylor Linnik sees Cassie in danger and rushes to her. Johnny likewise but when he flames on, the sprinkler system engages and his fire is doused. Outside, Cassie again calms the Hulk but a newly dried Johnny turns into the Human Torch and attacks Hulk. Hulk claps his hands, blowing out the Torch while the others yell at Johnny that Cassie had the situation under control. Meanwhile, inside the building, Wizard activates the Magnetic Energy Converter which massively increases all of his powers. Outside, Torch burns up all the oxygen around Hulk’s head, causing him to pass out and return to his Banner form. Wizard gloats over Johnny a while, then shuts down his flames, taking off for some unspecified mayhem. Johnny flames on and tries to destroy the Converter but Wizard had shielded it. Johnny’s next plan is to attack Bruce Banner, forcing a change to the Hulk; Torch then generates images of himself, drawing the Hulk to the Converter and smashing it. The feedback reverses the polarity of the Wizard’s suit, causing him to soar beyond the stratosphere. Torch tries to rescue him but passing into space extinguishes his flame. He plummets to Earth and Hulk catches him. Hulk leaps off while everyone else ponders the lessons learned.


Karl Kesel
Karl Kesel
Val Staples
Mark Bagley (Cover Penciler)
Danny Miki (Cover Inker)
Paul Mounts (Cover Colorist)
Plot: . Layouts: Steve Ditko. Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Bruce Banner
Bruce Banner

(Robert Bruce Banner)

(Bruce Banner)
Human Torch
Human Torch

(Johnny Storm)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)

> Incredible Hulk and the Human Torch: From the Marvel Vault: Book info and issue index

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