Johnny launches his own investigation into the murder of one of his old high school bullies. How's the Maggia involved?
Mission For a Dead Man!
Byrne's second issue of the FF was a murder/mystery tale wherein Byrne made the improbable (but good) choice to make Johnny Storm the detective of the story. The story opens at Deeden State Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison where criminals were sent to die for their crimes. Once such criminal is George David Munson who presents a priest, Father Albert Vito, an envelope to give to Johnny Storm aka The Human Torch. Father Vito shows up two weeks later at the Baxter Building and is escorted to the FF's headquarters by Susan Richards (who kinda scares the bejeezus out of him by appearing out of thin air). The two of them walk straight into a harsh and dirty skirmish between Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm, The Thing (NOTE: Byrne kind of threw back to the early days of the FF by seemingly constantly having Ben and Johnny at each other's throats!). Sue and Reed Richards break the fight up and Father Vito delivers his letter to Johnny, who realizes that the letter is from an old neighborhood bully who wants Johnny to clear Munson's name of the crime for which he was executed. His investigation eventually leads him to a final battle with long-time Spider-Man foe---Hammerhead. Johnny discovers the mobster is wearing a strength-magnifying exoskeleton, which Johnny puts out of commission. Hammerhead jumps off the roof and Johnny pursues, but finds no signs of the enigmatic mobster. In the end, Johnny gets enough info to clear Munson of the crime and gives Munson's mother the news that Munson was innocent of the crime he was executed for.
- Features the Hostess Cup Cakes Ad, Spider-Man VS. The Human Computer!
- Bob Budiansky was assistant editor on this issue.