A Tangled Web: Best Friends Forged In ‘Spider-Man And The Human Torch’

by Tony Thornley
Cover by Paul Smith

One of the best things about a shared universe is the friendships that can form between two heroes. One of the most endearing in the Marvel Universe is Peter Parker and Johnny Storm. However, Johnny had no idea who was under the mask until 2005, in Spider-Man/ Human Torch.

This series is actually Dan Slott’s first full length Spider-Man story. He had found other ways to slip Spidey into his other series, such as a team-up with Ren and Stimpy (yes, really!) and She-Hulk suing J Jonah Jameson on his behalf. This however was the first titular Spider-Man series he wrote before joining Amazing Spider-Man with #546 alongside Ty Templeton, and a host of inkers and color artists.

The series chronicles the friendship between Peter and Johnny throughout the decades. In the 60’s they one-up one-another. In the 70’s they swap villains. In the 80’s they go for a joy ride and visit the Wakandan embassy (with the Black Cat in tow). And in the modern era Peter finally unmasks himself after they team-up out of costume!

Slott has always had a great grasp on Peter Parker and his supporting cast, and this series was clearly a tryout for his later work on the series. He’s able to capture the feel of each era. It’s a fun read, and absolutely worth checking out for it. He builds the growth of the leads’ friendship naturally despite the jumps in time between issues, and leans into continuity.

The biggest star here though is Templeton. Normally when you see extra inkers and color artists on a series, especially a mini series, it means there are delays. Here though, it emphasizes the little things Templeton does to make sure the story slots itself into the appropriate era.

It’s not a complex story- it’s five one-shots that build up to the revelation to Johnny that Parker, this twerp that’s complicated his life more than once, is Spider-Man. It’s a lot of fun, and a great stand-alone. It’s one I would hand to anyone early into their journey into the Marvel Universe.

Spider-Man and the Human Torch, Marvel Comics, 2005, written by Dan Slott, pencils by Ty Templeton, inks by Nelson, Tom Palmer, Drew Geraci, color art by Felix Serrano, Sotocolor, Greg Adams, Jon Rauch, letters by Dave Lanphear.

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