Young Men comics: The Human Torch

Young Men #25

Marvel Comic Book: "The Return Of...The Human Torch" (02/01/54)

As the city was hit with a major crime wave, the Human Torch and Toro foiled a bank robbery while it was in progress. After capturing the criminal gang, the heroes took them to the police station, but they thought it odd that none of the gangsters appeared to be older than 20.

While flying over an old-age home that had been boarded up, Toro recognized it as the place where his Uncle Julius lived. They checked with the building's supervisor, who told them that he closed down the home because all of the residents were gone -- Uncle Julius and several other elderly tenants left and had never returned, and they left no forwarding addresses.

The Torch and Toro decided to investigate the mysterious disappearances further, so with the help of the police department's disguise experts, the two masqueraded as a couple of old men. After hours of hobbling down the city's streets, the "old men" were approached by a young hoodlum, who told them he had once been an old man of over 70 himself, but he had his youth restored, and offered to take them to a place where they could get the same treatment.

The young hoodlum drove the disguised heroes to a large mansion outside the city and introduced them to Dr. Markov. The Torch and Toro joined with a large group of old men and women and listened to the doctor speak. Markov told them how he would make them all young again -- all they would have to do is work for crime. Markov then demonstrated his Age-Converter to the group, rejuvenating an 80 year old man into a 20 year old.

But the Human Torch wondered why Markov used his machine for crime -- he could easily make a fortune with it honestly. After several old men were rejuvenated, it was the disguised Torch's turn. The Human Torch burst into flame before Markov could pull the switch, and Toro flew after the young hoodlum, who revealed himself to be Toro's missing Uncle Julius!

The Human Torch strapped Markov into the Age-Converter and asked him why he was peddling youth while he himself remained an old man, threatening to activate the machine if Markov didn't answer. Markov confessed that all those made young by the Age-Converter remained young for only 30 days...then they crumbled into dust.

Hearing this, and realizing that soon his life would be over, Uncle Julius pulled his gun and started shooting the Age-Converter -- he wanted no one else to make the same mistake he did. The gunshots caused the Age-Converter to explode and start a fire, from which only the Human Torch and Toro were able to escape.

(male Ar) -- Jeffr_2bya