DiDio & Lee Say Early "Rebirth" Response is 'Uncharted Territory' for DC Comics
COMIC LEGEND: The Beyonder was not originally going to appear in the Fantastic Four story “Hero.”
Reader Mark P. has written me a few times over the years about the following legend (including just a few days ago, after I had already planned on running this legend this week – talk about a funny coincidence!):
Back in 1985 Marvel ran the late unlamented Secret Wars II. During the infinite number of crossovers during this time, there was an issue of Fantastic Four (#285) which was a Human Torch stand-alone tale. In this, a young boy was the Torch’s biggest fan and ended up setting fire to himself. The Torch of course gets very upset and decides not to be the Torch anymore, but the Beyonder suddenly appeared and took him back in time to change his mind. My question is that, since this appearance of the Beyonder doesn’t really seem to fit in with the characterization of him from the rest of the mini-series (He appears much more knowledgable and self-confident), could it be that he was a toss-in for a story that possibly could have been originally written for the Watcher? I can easily see the Watcher talking to Johnny Storm as the Beyonder did in that issue.
In the story, we see a doctor writing up a report about the death of a young boy…
We then see this Human Torch-obsessed fan’s home life and the circumstances that led to his demise (almost certainly Byrne was working off of the urban legend about kids wanting to light themselves on fire because of the Torch)…
We then see the doctor contact the Torch…
Then Johnny decides to quit because of the boy’s death…
Then the Beyonder shows up and convinces him not to, by showing him the boy’s private life and how the Torch was an inspiration to the boy and the Torch shouldn’t blame himself for the kid’s death…
The Torch ends up agreeing with the Beyonder.
Mark is correct that the story originally did not include the Beyonder. In fact, Byrne was adamant that it NOT include the Beyonder, but Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter insisted that it did. Byrne even offered to write a separate story to tie in with Secret Wars II if Shooter would let him keep the Beyonder out of this story, but Shooter would not agree to that arrangement and insisted that the Beyonder be put into THIS story, and so it goes. Byrne even later offered to do a special version of the issue for reprints without the Beyonder but that offer was turned down.
Anyhow, it was not the Watcher who Byrne would have used, Mark, but just the doctor. She would have supplied the information from her research about the boy (talking to his mother, etc.). It’s too bad, as the story would have likely been stronger without the Beyonder’s invovlement.
Thanks for the suggestion, Mark (only took four years to have it answered! Speed!) and thanks to John Byrne for the information!
On the next page, was there really a team up of Captain Marvel and the original Human Torch…in 1964? In Brazil?!
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