Doug here, back with another short preview of an essay that I hope will make the cut for the upcoming book of Avengers analysis and opinions, Assembled! 3. This time I'm showing great disgust at the plight of the relationship between Crystal of the Inhumans and Johnny Storm, the Human Torch of the Fantastic Four. Throughout the Silver Age, these two teens seemed destined for each other. But as the Bronze Age dawned it became apparent that this was not to be. I'll be honest -- at times I've been as preoccupied with this turn of events as I have been that Peter Parker never married Gwen Stacy! And I don't even know what to make of Archie Andrews about to wed Veronica Lodge!
Much of the essay is written as a timeline:
Take a look now at a summary of some key events that “led” (does anything truly “lead” to an event that pops up out of the blue?) to the Wedding of Crystal and Quicksilver:
FF 45: Dec. 1965. Art by Jack Kirby/Joe Sinnott, story by Stan Lee (unless otherwise noted). First appearance of Crystal; the Inhumans (notably Gorgon) appeared in the previous issue. Happening upon Crystal in a deserted, desolate alleyway, Johnny remarks, “Wow! I must be seeing things! What’s a vision like that doing in a deserted neighborhood? She almost doesn’t even look real – sort-of like something out of a fairy tale! I hate to be disloyal, but she makes Dorrie Evans seem like a boy (page 8)!” Ah, love at first sight, as Crystal then proceeds to kick his butt for startling her. Johnny then daydreams about her, and steals away to the same alley later the next night to hopefully encounter her again. He does. Apparently the love at first sight is hers as well, and Crystal takes Johnny home to meet her family.
FF 46: Jan. 1966. Crystal professes that she doesn’t want to be separated from Johnny, “no matter what (page 14)”. Earlier in the issue, the FF come face-to-face with the Inhumans – it’s like meeting “the Addams Family”, more or less. When the Inhumans seek to flee in order to rehabilitate the fallen Black Bolt, Karnak remarks to Crystal that the Torch is their enemy. She cries, “No! You’re wrong! He meant us no harm! I know it in my heart (page 13).”
FF 47, 48: Feb.-Mar. 1966. Crystal and Johnny become near inseparable as the FF have to leave the Great Refuge – Stan Lee teen angst in the Spidey tradition!! Reed remarks, “She’s oblivious to everything else! She only has eyes for Johnny (#47, page 18)!” Incidentally, Johnny twice refers to her as “Chris” in #47.
FF 81: Dec. 1968. Crystal debuts in an FF costume, declaring that with Sue in post-partum recovery due to the birth of Franklin (in the previous month in Fantastic Four Annual #6), “someone has to take her place on your team (page 1)”. Of course, since it’s her “debut” issue, she saves the team from the Wizard by demonstrating her command of Earth, Wind, and Fire (the elements, not the band).
FF 95: Feb. 1970. Medusa comes to take Crystal back among her people. Johnny protests loudly – “You can’t do it, Crys! You can’t leave me – to go back to them (page 11)!” Crystal replies, “Oh, Johnny – Johnny! Do you think I want to go?” As Medusa takes Crystal away (by force), Crys calls back to the Torch, “Wait for me, Johnny – I’ll come back to you – (page 12).”
And there you have a bit of an introduction to my problem. You see how I feel? All of this angst, the emotional attachment, and then BLAM-MO!! Up in smoke. Pick up a copy of Assembled 3 when it hits the shelves to see where I take this!