Marvel has kept the secret of who would die in the Fantastic Four #587 for the longest time, even going so far as offering up a bagged copy of the issue to keep those from spilling the secret too early.  With all the secrecy, it’s surprising that the company sent out a press release (and had an AP story) revealing all the details of the death of one of the founding members.

We’ve got the spoiler filled information… after the jump, so you won’t be Russelled.

Press Release

“FLAME OFF!”  In a move sure to shock comic fans worldwide, Marvel unveiled that its ever popular super hero the Human Torch will meet his demise and die heroically in Fantastic Four #587, hitting stores tomorrow (Wednesday, January 26th). Concluding the “Three” storyline that captivated the mainstream media and industry press alike, this issue and the death of such a renowned character from the First Family of comics signals the beginning of major changes for the Marvel Universe as the Fantastic Four lose one of their founding members.

“Jonathan Hickman [writer of Fantastic Four] came to us two years ago with a vision for evolving the characters and concepts introduced to fans 50 years ago in Fantastic Four #1 – and quite frankly his vision blew us away,” said Tom Brevoort, Marvel Entertainment SVP of Publishing. “The death of the Human Torch is the first major move in this incredibly exciting evolution of the legendary Fantastic Four franchise and a necessary part of the larger story we will be telling featuring the beloved characters moving forward.”

But the story doesn’t end there– February’s Fantastic Four #588 brings the long running series to a conclusion as the Fantastic Four disband and the surviving characters must discover their new roles in the Marvel Universe. Just what’s next for the surviving members of Marvel’s First Family?

Fantastic Four #1 debuted in 1961, kicking off the “Marvel Age” of comics and dramatically increasing the popularity of super heroes. As the progenitor of Marvel Universe, the Fantastic Four set a new tone for super hero comics with its nuanced characterization, reflection of real world fears and progressive depiction of super heroes. Through the years, the Fantastic Four have been involved in many of comics most important & memorable storylines, from the introduction of Galactus to the chart-topping Civil War and now the upcoming event Fear Itself.

It all begins with the shocking death of the Human Torch in Fantastic Four #587, in comic stores Wednesday, January 26th, 2011!

FANTASTIC FOUR #587 (NOV100584)
Written by JONATHAN HICKMAN
Penciled by STEVE EPTING
Cover by ALAN DAVIS
Rated A…$3.99
On Sale – 1/26/11

FANTASTIC FOUR #587 SPOILER VARIANT (NOV100585)
Written by JONATHAN HICKMAN
Penciled by STEVE EPTING
Cover by JOHN CASSADAY
Rated A…$3.99
On Sale – 2/2/11

FANTASTIC FOUR #588 (DEC100592)
Written by JONATHAN HICKMAN
Penciled by NICK DRAGOTTA
Cover by ALAN DAVIS
Rated A …$3.99
FOC – 1/31/11, On Sale – 2/23/11

via Marvel

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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33 Comments

  1. brainypirate
    January 25, 2011 at 8:14 am — Reply

    I just saw the AP story and figured Marvel was going to Pissed Off — but they sent out their own press release? WTF??? So much for all the special packaging, etc….

  2. diagnull
    January 25, 2011 at 8:40 am — Reply

    Go Nova, Johnny!

    Oh well, I guess as much. Reed died before, the Thing did too and he’s almost in Wolverine territory for being too essential to kill. Killing Sue would be the easy way out and would have too many “women in refridgerators” connotations.

    In some way, compared to them, Johnny is the least developed. If they let Johnny stay dead and out of the picture for a couple of years, it might be a boost to his popularity when they (inevitably) bring him back.

    When they do, I think he should go solo or join another team though. Johnny with the FF is not as interesting as Johnny with Spidey or his other Amazing Friends.

  3. Jonathan Cadotte
    January 25, 2011 at 8:42 am — Reply

    I don’t know, I’m probably wrong about this. But I smell red herring.

  4. chillidawg72
    January 25, 2011 at 8:59 am — Reply

    Maybe they’re killing him off because the same guy plays Captain America in the movies.

    • Antonio Sanciolo
      January 25, 2011 at 2:04 pm — Reply

      the pissibility of this scares me…

      • Antonio Sanciolo
        January 25, 2011 at 2:05 pm — Reply

        errr… “possibility”
        “o” is too close to “i”

  5. January 25, 2011 at 9:06 am — Reply

    It was obvious to a point, but still I had a feeling they would go with Sue. Until that is, I read ‘I am an Avenger’ #4 and Johnny was talking about being the only FF member to never get a spot on the Avengers. No doubt in my mind after reading that.

  6. January 25, 2011 at 9:09 am — Reply

    I kind of hope this isn’t a red herring, but part of me still thinks they’ll do the cheap & cliche thing of killing Sue. It’d fit nicely with Marvel’s overall vendetta against marriages that aren’t PR stunts.

  7. January 25, 2011 at 9:36 am — Reply

    Looking at the last panel- why doesnt he go all nova and shit? He’d wipe out everyone in that scene and then some. Fine, give Johnny a heroic death, but lets not forget about a core power that he has consistently used for 40 years.

    Of course, I havent read it yet, so maybe he just did use it, and hes being overwhelmed after by the next wave.

  8. Obsidian
    January 25, 2011 at 10:21 am — Reply

    Marvel’s hate on marriages notwithstanding, I don’t really see why Johnny’s death would break up the team as opposed to Sue’s. I mean, like most people have noted, he’s not that integral a piece and remains the least developed character. Sue’s death, on the other hand, would rock everyone to the core and would easily create rifts. Johnny would have lost a sister, Ben would have lost a dear friend and Reed would have lost his wife… I see that more easily breaking up the team than Johnny’s death. Unless, of course, it was Reed’s fault that Johnny died. With Sue still in the picture, I just see her saying that it’s important to perhaps stop super-heroing but crucial that they stay together and support each other through the grief. Johnny dying confuses me as a catalyst for the destruction of the team.

  9. ssmetzer
    January 25, 2011 at 11:42 am — Reply

    I hope you guys talk about this on the next podcast.

    Even though deaths in the Marvel and DC universes are rarely permanent, it does make an interesting ripple in a book’s history.

  10. TaZ
    January 25, 2011 at 12:10 pm — Reply

    He gets eaten by bugs?

    He dies heroically getting eaten by hordes of mutated BUGS?

    You have GOT to be kidding me! I mean, I’m glad that I had Torch as my guess in the poll but…swarmed to death without a can of RAID?

    However, it will be interesting in seeing what they do with Mr. Smart-Ass…I mean Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman. Ben Grimm’s already an Avenger and I’d see him going full time with Luke Cage and company now. Would Sue Richards continue as a “hero”? She and Reed are, after all, parents of young kids (one that’s been young, been adult, been young, been adult, time travelled, been an Omega Level mutant and that was before he was potty trained; the other has a creepy kinda Terra-like thing going on with Dr. Doom. Maybe it’s time she considered spending more time at home? Just a thought.)

    I’m guessing we’ll see Reed not shave and eat for several days, growing his trademark 3 o’clock shadow and blaming himself for having stuck a teenage Johnny Storm on a dang space-ship in the first place. Reed’s had a guilt trip about everything for 50 years (my Lord, has it been that long???) So why stop now?

    As far as Johnny dying being a catalyst for the destruction of the team, I do see that. He’s been the one constant of the group. Others have “filled in” to make it the “four as required by charter” over the years (Medusa, Crystal, Luke Cage, She-Hulk, Storm, Black Panther, and Namor to name a few) but there’s almost always been a Human Torch. Reed was the Brain, Sue the Soul and Ben the Conscience of the group but Johnny Storm was the Heart and passion. Pardon the pun, but if you take out Storm you take out the “fire” from the group. Reed’s lost a son-figure, Ben a “buddy” and Sue her “baby brother”. I can see that causing a group of people that have litterally been to Hell (and several other dimensional neither worlds) to say “Enough”.

  11. diagnull
    January 25, 2011 at 12:24 pm — Reply

    I’d like to see a last minute swerve and have it turn out that the Fantasti-Car is the one to be killed. Think of the drama!

    • rick
      January 25, 2011 at 2:37 pm — Reply

      …or H.E.R.B.I.E.

      -RmL

      • diagnull
        January 26, 2011 at 10:44 am — Reply

        H.E.R.B.I.E. NOOO!!!

  12. Dude X
    January 25, 2011 at 1:22 pm — Reply

    Don’t worry, according to Stephen or Matthew’s theory about Franklin Richards being able to alter reality in the Marvel Universe (unknowingly), Johnny will be back within two years.

  13. Matthew
    January 25, 2011 at 1:55 pm — Reply

    i guessed right. an impressive feat having not read marvel for 7 years.

  14. January 25, 2011 at 2:42 pm — Reply

    Maybe its a FAKE story to throw people off, and when everyone looks, its something else :)

  15. brainypirate
    January 25, 2011 at 2:55 pm — Reply

    I just don’t get why Marvel would spoil their own story, especially with all the anti-leak precautions they’ve been taking. What do they gain by giving away the ending?

    • JacinB
      January 25, 2011 at 5:02 pm — Reply

      Do you remember how well the issues sold when they published up front that they were going to kill Captain America … ?

      It’s like that.

  16. jd
    January 25, 2011 at 4:24 pm — Reply

    So let’s see….next month will be “3” #1 or FF# 588.
    588+12=600!

    Johnny Storm returns in FF#600..”back to original” numbering.

  17. lordrandy
    January 25, 2011 at 4:40 pm — Reply

    Now, who’s gonna meet spidy @ The Statue of Liberty? Sure going to take Ben’s big ass some time to climb that thing.

  18. Slappy
    January 25, 2011 at 7:10 pm — Reply

    Yes!!!
    cough up those Luthor Dollars!!!

  19. January 25, 2011 at 7:59 pm — Reply

    I wonder how long he’ll stay dead?

    • Alisha Mynx
      January 25, 2011 at 10:36 pm — Reply

      Real years or comic book years? =p

  20. Jonathan Cadotte
    January 25, 2011 at 11:16 pm — Reply

    Personally I think having Reed bite the big one would have more effect. Even if he’s gone down in the past, with this much hype around it, they could spin it differently. Sue would be torn apart with her husband gone, Ben would throw himself into the Avengers trying to avoid the thought of the loss, and personally I think that Johnny is the only character who could possibly make a run at being a solo hero, thus having his own book.

  21. Steven Allen
    January 26, 2011 at 7:26 am — Reply

    Interesting indeed. not having read FF for many years this is pretty huge for me. But..until i see a dead body being buried in a cemetary and a gravemarker..i’m not going to be convinced. :)

  22. January 26, 2011 at 9:37 am — Reply

    ok- so I read this last night. Not to spoil more but- come on. That ending. So wide open. He could totally be alive and captured, not dead. Or escaped or whatever.

  23. Russ Catt
    January 26, 2011 at 1:27 pm — Reply

    Let’s just wait for the next writer/editorial team to come on board.
    Somehow, I doubt there will be a “Gwen Stacy” rule put on Johnny staying dead.

  24. Ricco
    January 27, 2011 at 11:05 am — Reply

    Meh, not like anyone cares, it’s just the Fantastic Four, now if they killed Wolverine for all of five minutes people would be up in arms!

    • January 27, 2011 at 8:31 pm — Reply

      Meh, not like anyone cares, it’s just the Fantastic Four, now if they killed Wolverine for all of five minutes people would be up in arms!

      Such cynicism, Ricco… You have been hurt. You have been hurt. Who hurt you, Ricco? WHO HURT YOU???

  25. TheLastAvenger
    April 13, 2011 at 1:04 am — Reply

    So the Human Torch dies today………20 bucks says he’s brought back in under 5 years!

    • TheLastAvenger
      April 13, 2011 at 1:10 am — Reply

      And a extra $5 if it’s Dr. Doom who reivives the Human Torch just to rub it in Reed’s face.

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