The original Human Torch was created in Brooklyn, New York in the late 1930's. He was an android invented by Professor Phineas T. Horton. At first, Jim was kept in a safe oxygen-free glass tube. When Professor Horton showed his design to the world in a science fair, people applauded, but also feared him. However, disaster struck as soon as Jim was freed from the glass tube. He burst into flames, causing fear all over the science fair. Unable to control his flame, he flew away and unintentionally wreaked havoc all across Manhattan, burning everything he touched. Professor Horton was ordered to destroy the android, but couldn't. Jim fled and took refuge in abandoned farmhouses to keep away from those who feared him.
Eventually, Jim managed to control his flame and wound up in various situations that caused him to do battle against small-time criminals. Hammond wanted to learn more about the human race and what made them human, but above all, he wanted to find out the difference between right and wrong. It was for this reason, Jim applied for a job as a street police officer in New York City. During this time, Jim came to know ordinary people and even made some new friends. However, Jim always had to be careful not to give away his secret identity as the Human Torch. Jim fought the good fight and helped in fighting crime as a police officer while also maintaining good ties with the police as the Human Torch. However, Jim's biggest challenge had yet to come.
Jim Hammond, the original Human Torch, first appeared in Marvel Comics #1 (1939), making him one of the first Marvel characters--and its first true superhero.
Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four developed powers visually similar to those of Jim Hammond, however, he lacked the ability to make his flames radioactive. He chose the codename Human Torch to honor the memory of the WWII hero.
Camp Hammond was also named after him. After the first superhuman Civil War and the passing of the Superhuman Registration Act, a superhuman training facility was built on the site of the Stamford explosion. A statue of Jim was erected at the base with the inscription "Jim Hammond, The Human Torch, The First of the Marvels. He Showed Us That Heroes Can Be Made."
Major Story Arcs
Battle Against the Sub-Mariner
In a fit of rage against the human race, Namor, the Sub-Mariner attacked Staten Island on a beautiful summer day. The commotion soon found the attention of Jim Hammond. He found Namor and confronted him. A brutal battle erupted with the two flying high above the city. Namor fought as best he could, but eventually had to give up and flee from the scene. He then however took hostage an old girlfriend as well as fellow police-officer to Jim. Namor brought her into a recording studio, where he waited for Jim to make a move. And Jim made a move. In an unbelievable fight, Jim managed to defeat the Sub-Mariner and saved the day. This day became the day that people no longer feared, but applauded Jim as a hero.
It however was not the last time that Jim and Namor would clash. In one of the worst days for New York City in the 1940's, Namor called upon a giant tidal-wave with witch he flooded the city. Luckily, no casualties were reported. This time, however, Jim knew Namor went too far and defeated him once again. Although Namor was defeated, something strange happened between the two. Namor, seeing Jim's anger, finally started to see Jim's perspective and even started to accept Jim. This first insight even had Namor later accepting the human race itself. After that, the two became uneasy allies.
During one of Jim's missions, he met a young boy named Thomas Raymond. This boy, calling himself Toro, had powers similar (yet inferior) to that of Jim. Toro would eventually lose his family in a horrible accident. After that, Jim took Toro under his wing as he became sort of a sidekick to the Human Torch.
World War II
Then came the War. For a while now, Jim and Toro had been fighting Nazi spies on the homeland. But after the attacks on Pearl Harbor, they also saw the necessity of taking the fight to them. With many other heroes having appeared over the years, Jim and Toro would join forces with the now-uneasy ally Sub-Mariner (Namor), Captain America, and Bucky Barnes to form the Invaders to fight the Axis forces of World War II. Other heroes like Union Jack, Spitfire, Robert Frank, and Miss America would soon join the Invaders' ranks. The team fought many battles and saw horrifying images of the cruelty that the Third Reich was capable of. During their adventures, Jim started having feelings for teammate Spitfire, although she only seemed to have eyes for Captain America. Nothing came of it, though. The team had a long war-mission, starting with the allied invasions during D-Day right up to Berlin, Germany. Towards the end of the War, Jim met and killed Adolf Hitler. Effectively ending World War II. After the war, Jim helped form the All-Winners Squad.
After the War
This team of superheroes went on to fight for some years during the late 1940's and early 1950's. Some time later, Jim was captured by one of his enemies and placed in stasis in the Mojave desert. He remained in a coma for a few years until a nuclear bomb testing during the mid-1950's awoke him. Having been gone from the scene for a few years, he learned that his old teammate and friend Toro had been taken captive and brainwashed by the Soviets. As soon as he found out, Jim went to rescue him. The mission was a success and after that, the two restarted their plight as superheros. Jim however soon learned that the radiation from the bomb that awoke him from his coma, had vastly increased his powers and he once again had trouble controlling them. After some time, his powers were no longer under his control. In fear of causing damage to the people he swore to protect, Jim made the ultimate sacrifice. He went back to the desert and used up all of his energy reserves to effectively burn himself out of power. This act deactivated Jim and he seemed to have been lost for good.
Human Torch and the West Coast Avengers
More then 50 years later, the remains of the Human Torch were found and rebuilt by the Mad Thinker, a present-day adversary to the superhero teams of the Fantastic Four and the Avengers. He gave Jim a new memory so he would not think of himself as a hero anymore, and then sent him off to kill the Fantastic Four. After being defeated, he returned to the Mad Thinker's lab refusing to be involved in murder. Feeling that, new memory or not, Jim's real persona was to strong, the Mad Thinker disabled the Human Torch's ability to control his powers and he let Jim burn himself out once again. Immortus later created a duplicate of the Human Torch which was taken by Ultron. Using this body and the brain patterns of Wonder Man, Ultron created the Vision. Some time later, the original Human Torch was finally resurrected by the Scarlet Witch and Toro's widow, Ann Raymond. Jim woke up in a new era filled with technological wonders such as telephones, televisions and computers. Sadly, most of his friends had long since died. Even his old friend Toro seemed to have died, or at least vanished off the face of the Earth. With nowhere else to go, Hawkeye and the Scarlet Witch invited Jim to stay with the Avenger's West Coast branch. He happily accepted and became a full-time member of the superhero team for quite some time.
Oracle and Heroes for Hire
Eventually, Jim lost his powers during an adventure with his old teammates from the Invaders. Jim saved the life of his old teammate Spitfire, but at the cost of his own powers. Not soon after, Jim left the West Coast Avengers and became chief of security at Oracle Inc., a company ran by his old teammate Namor. He also briefly became the leader of the Heroes for Hire team which was funded by Oracle Inc.
Finding the fit of leadership interesting, he and some of his old World War II buddies funded and became the heads of a new organization called the V-Battalion. Although the organization already had its roots in the late 1950's, it became somewhat of a peacekeeping organization when Jim Hammond joined the group. They had a floating headquarters, much like the S.H.I.E.L.D. heli-carrier. They even had their own hero in their ranks, Citizen V, in honor of an old War-friend of Jim's, whom died during the earlier days of the War.
The New Invaders
After some time, Jim's powers came back, at least in a small way. Not soon after that, he left the V-Battalion and started a new group of Invaders, calling themselves the New Invaders. The group consisted of old war heroes such as Spitfire,Thin Man and the Blazing Skull as well as newcomers Union Jack, Tara and U.S.Agent. The group was however not long-lived. During one mission, Jim again sacrificed himself in order to stop a great evil from entering Earth. The whole superhero community mourned the loss of a great hero, but not just that; they mourned the death of the first true superhero of Earth.
Some months later, after the superhuman Civil War and the 50-States Initiative, a superhuman training camp was established by the Initiative that was named Camp Hammond, in honor of Jim Hammond, the first and the best superhero.
Captain America and a revival
Some months after the funeral, enemies from the past to the new Captain America at the time, Bucky Barnes, stole Jim's body in hope of bringing him back to life as a tool of murder. Luckily, with the combined powers of Bucky, Namor and the Black Widow, Jim's body was retrieved and laid to rest once more.
After these events, Torch finally seemed to have found peace. However, nothing was further from the truth. Toro, the long dead partner of Jim, was hurled into present day earth during a time-space adventure with the New Avengers and was soon visited by the Golden Age Vision, now named Aarkus. He told Toro to go look for Jim, since the Mad Thinker had once more taken hold of Jim's body. The Mad Thinker had revived the Torch and used him to do his dirty work for him, while studying him and his powers at the same time. In the end, Toro and the Golden Age Vision managed to defeat the evil scientist, but could not capture him. Jim was once again restored to his normal self, and it seems that Torch and his old partner Toro are finally back together as a team once again.
Cap recruited Jim to be part of his Secret Avengers right after handing the reins over to Hawkeye. Jim joined them on their search for Ant-Man (Eric O’Grady) who went missing while on a mission. They tracked him to The Core, where a group of synthetics just like Jim calling themselves The Descendants were plotting world takeover.
He was so damaged on this mission that the Secret Avengers needed to put him in a stasis tube while he repaired himself. Ant-Man, reborn as a member of the Descendants and calling himself Black Ant, released him so that Father, leader of the Descendants, could finish repairing him. This gave Father the opportunity to convince Jim to join his cause.
Jim led a group of Descendant goons against New York City, merging the citizens with tech, but Captain Britain was able to bring him to his senses. Jim defected back to the Secret Avengers. With his abilities, he was the only one able to destroy the Orb of Necromancy that gave The Descendants life. Guilty over his initial betrayal, Jim left the team.
Agent of SHIELD
After the Descendants debacle, Jim was lying low as a small town mechanic until he was hunted down by Tanalth the Pursuer. She was looking for a Kree device called God’s Whisper that was stolen from the Nazis by Jim, along with Bucky and Namor. Captain America and Bucky came to his rescue after Bucky had been attacked by Kree, as well. Bucky learned that the Kree had Namor on Hala. So, the team heads to Hala with the help of Aarkus’ teleportation powers. They were immediately apprehended, and to escape, Jim would take out the Kree army with his control over his radioactivity.
Once back on Earth, Jim accepted Cap’s invitation to join SHIELD.
As an Agent of SHIELD, Jim investigated the kidnapping of his old sidekick, Toro, with the help of his Invader friends. Toro had been held in a SHIELD facility since experiencing terrigenesis. He was taken by an alien posing as a German terrorist in control of a Deathlok army, but his real target was Jim. He used the same nanotech he was using to control the Deathlok’s on Jim, but when the alien was killed in crossfire, Jim went mad and fell off the grid.
With the help of their new friends, Radiance and Iron Cross, the Invaders search for Jim. According to Iron Cross, Jim presents a difficult situation as a synthetic man rather than a cybernetic one. The nanotech never took hold of his body but is causing the “noise” that is driving him crazy. In order to drive them out, Jim is forced to fly high and burn the tech out of himself.
Jim Hammond was assigned to be guardian of the Future Foundation kids after SHIELD had taken custody of them. The Fantastic Four lost their guardianship of the kids after they were sued by New York when creatures from Franklin's world escaped through the Baxter Building. As guardian, the kids came to him about their friend Dragon Man, who was set up for decommissioning. An agent told the kids that it wasn't really killing Dragon Man because Dragon Man is synthetic thus not alive. Jim did not care for that excuse.
Jim promises to save Dragon Man and allows The Future Foundation kids to use their computer savvy to locate him. Once located, Jim leads the Foundation after him, and they bring him to Camp Hammond. There, SHIELD catches up with them, and Jim catches hell from Maria Hill. Nevertheless, Maria Hill agrees to officially list Dragon Man as deactivated as long as Jim keeps him out of the public eye.
Camp Hammond is unfortunately attacked by The Quiet Man, who was the mastermind behind all of the F4's recent misfortune. He had been experimenting with Franklin's dreamscape, manifesting monsters and alternate reality Avengers. Jim called in favors from Namor and Sam Wilson to investigate, which led them to reteaming with the F4. With Sleepwalker's help, Jim Hammond entered the dreamscape with Namor, Sue, and Franklin to stop The Quiet Man
In the dreamscape, Jim and his teammates face off against the Psycho-Man. He was controlling the monsters, so Jim and the others had to protect Franklin, while he concentrates and negates this imaginary world. Franklin succeeds, and the team outrun the erasure back to their home world, where The Quiet Man changed his appearance and disappeared.
After a version of the Squadron Supreme killed Namor, Jim put pressure on Cap and his Avengers Unity Squad to do something about this new team. The Avengers Unity Squad was no match for the Squadron, so Jim had to step in. His ability to make his flames radioactive gave him an edge against Hyperion. However, before he and his SHIELD army could fight them, Thundra whisked them to Weirdworld.
Not that it mattered. Jim and his SHIELD squad waited for their return and took quick action once the Squadron revealed themselves again. He took on the members one at a time, saving Nighthawk for last. Unfortunately, Nighthawk invented a new gadget to take away Jim’s powers. It only worked on his fire powers though and left behind his ability to control radiation.
After Hydra attempted to take over the US with a brainwashed Captain America, Jim and Toro ended up on a list of political dissidents. They went to Atlantis to get sanctuary from their old friend, Namor. Unfortunately, Namor had decided to work with Hydra in order to keep Atlantis safe, so he had his men imprison Jim and Toro.
They were broken out of their cell by Namora. She disagreed with Namor’s collaboration with Hydra. She convinced Jim and Toro to accompany her and her defectors to the armory so they could destroy the weapon that could make Namor a threat to Hydra. However, she secretly meant to take advantage of it. Upon hearing this, Jim destroyed it himself, leading to the capture of the rebellion, including Jim again.
During the public execution of Namora for treason, Jim and Toro were freed by Bucky, who had been posing as an Atlantean the whole time. During their escape, they saw that Namora loyalists had interrupted the execution and overpowered Namor’s loyalists, proving that Atlantis was against the collaboration with Hydra.
Namor admitted that the collaboration was questionable, but he still kicked Jim and his Invader teammates out of his kingdom anyway
War with Namor
Jim Hammond was reminiscing with Captain America about their Invaders days for a book Jim was writing. He mentioned he wanted to portray Namor as he was: heroic. Jim was concerned with his current actions. Namor had recruited a group of aquatic based superhumans, the Defenders of the Deep, and murdered employees of Roxxon. Cap was holding a grudge, but Jim convinced him that Namor needed to be confronted by the Invaders, not the Avengers.
With Bucky, the trio did recon on Namor. They learned that he was planning an attack and was spending time with Xavier around the time he was amnesiac. They went to an old war buddy of Namor’s, Randall, on his deathbed and got the full story from his daughter, Nay. Namor was like family. He left one day with Xavier who was trying to ease his rage. Xavier was overpowered by Namor's emotions and caused damage to his psyche.
Now, Nay’s son, Roman, was his mole in the Navy. He planned to attack Atlantis so Namor had a reason to counterattack. Upon learning this information, Jim rushed to the naval base to try and stop him. However, Namor attacked Jim on the way there, beheading him. Namor’s attack on America was successful, turning a number of Maine residents into water-breathers.
With his body beyond repair, Jim’s head was given to Tony Stark. While the other Invaders tried to fight and reason with Namor, Stark was rebuilding a body for Jim out of old Iron Man armor parts. Once completed, he re-entered the battlefield where Namor defected to the Invaders against Machan, Namor’s psychic trauma at the hands of Xavier personified. The fully assembled Invaders were enough to stop Machan from submerging the whole world in water.
Korvac's quest for godhood led him to uniting a number of Iron Man villains in order to head to Taa II to find a big enough power source to reignite his full potential. Among their ranks was also Jim Hammond, whose body was rebuilt for hearing Korvac out. When Jim rejected Korvac's narrative, Controller used a slave disc on him.
Jim Hammond is capable of dynamic pyrokinesis.
He can transform his body into a plasma-like state. He is able shoot and mentally control fire, as well as the general ambient energy of his immediate environment. He can also use that control over fire to propel himself through the air.
What sets his pyrokinesis apart form other pyros is that he can adjust the radioactivity of his flames causing sickness in his enemies.
As a synthetic being, Jim ages very slowly, if at all. He has looked relatively the same since WWII. He also does not need to breathe oxygen to survive, however, it is necessary for his fire abilities.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Jim Hammond made a brief cameo in Captain America: The First Avenger as a synthezoid on display in an oxygen deprived glass tube at the Stark Expo.