SPOILER WARNING: The following story contains specific story details from "Fantastic Four" #600, in stores today.
Surprising few, Marvel Comics revealed this morning that its First Family has been made whole once more with the return of the Human Torch in "Fantastic Four" #600, arriving in stores today.
Johnny Storm was last seen in January's Issue 587, falling in battle against a horde of Negative Zone aliens in a heavily publicized development that led to the title's March relaunch as "FF" and the addition of Spider-Man to the team roster.
But as superheroes are wont to do, 10 months later, the Human Torch is back, rejoining Mister Fantastic, the Invisible Woman and The Thing for the special 50th anniversary issue. The 96-page celebration, titled "Forever, Part 1," also marks the return of the "Fantastic Four" as a series, a title not seen since February's Issue 588.
Tom Brevoort, Marvel's senior vice president of publishing, assured The Associated Press that this week's issue will make it evident that the Human Torch wasn't merely hibernating or comatose. He was D-E-A-D.
"Yes, he did die," he says. "He died a couple of times."
However, he continues, readers won't "feel cheated or disappointed in the slightest," as writer Jonathan Hickman has had the character's return worked out for months.
He adds that Hickman will write both "Fantastic Four" and "FF," with the former centering on the four central characters and the latter continuing its focus on the Future Foundation and other players.
Check back with Comic Book Resources later this morning for an interview with Hickman about the landmark #600 issue, the return of the Human Torch and more.