Some comic books are silly, some are serious. Either way, it's commonplace to find plot holes all over the place.
The Golden Age of comics started off this tradition with stories that made little sense like the time Superman tore down buildings in a slum (without evacuating them) so that the government would have to rebuild nicer ones in their place or the time Superman tied an innocent football player to a bed so that he could impersonate him to thwart a sports gambling ring. There are many instances in the Golden Age where a hero will go through the wall or ceiling instead of using a door. Property destruction was not a consideration back in the day and was the prerogative of the superhero.
One recent discovery from the Golden Age takes this to a whole other level of ridiculousness.
The story is part of The Human Torch (1940) volume and is in issue #3 according to the cover or issue #4 according to the indicia inside. That's the first bit of silliness. This really sets the precedent for how little sense this comic book makes as you turn the pages.
This issue includes stories about the Human Torch (Jim Hammond), Namor, the Sub-Mariner and the Patriot. Let's look at the story about Namor the Sub-Mariner. Bear in mind that it's early on in his comic book history even though it seems as though they ran out of ideas for him.
The story starts off by explaining that a medium sized town in the far reaches of Alaska is experiencing an influenza outbreak and they desperately need a new serum from the 'States' (because Alaska was only a territory back then). The States try their best to get the serum to the town by plane, train and ship, but without being able to get through due to the weather conditions.
Hmmm... #1 - The land dwellers decide that Namor is their solution. At this point in the comics, Namor and land dwelling humans are enemies. Namor is hunted by the authorities on land most of the time. They might have thought of the Human Torch first. After all, the comic was named after him. Maybe he was busy?
Hmmm...#2 Either way, they call on Namor to help out. Somehow humans have a way of contacting Namor. Perhaps, on a shell phone. How did that conversation go?
"Hey Namor, I know that we try to arrest you most of the time, but we need your help. We can give you a 'get out of jail free card'! What do you say?"
"I'm just hanging out at the seahorse racetrack not having much luck, and since you asked so nicely, a change of scenery would be nice."
Hmmm...#3 So Namor shows up eager to help out. And instead of taking one of his flying ships, he decides to swim to Alaska with a backpack of the 'magical' serum. You need enough for thousands of people. Take one of your ships! Not a backpack.
Hmmm...#4 As he swims to Alaska presumably through rivers and creeks until he gets to the ocean, he gets trapped unconscious in the floating chunks of ice near the town. Should I remind you at this point that this story is in a Human Torch comic book and he might have been a better choice for this mission since he can fly, control fire and wouldn't get stuck in ice?
As Namor is trapped in the ice, planes from a nearby base go out searching for him and end up flying blindly in a snow storm. The controls on one of the airplanes gets jammed by ice and crashes. Namor is bumped awake by the floating ice chunks and sets off towards the glow of the burning plane. He saves the pilot and as Namor heads to the town, a new threat looms.
Hmmm...#5 Huge icebergs are moving to crush the town. Like instantly. (Guess no cares about influenza now.) It's also gone from being a medium sized town earlier to small coastal city.
Hmmm...#6 Namor takes the last remaining plane to get a bird's eye view of the situation. (Now he decides to fly!?!) He gets the brilliant idea to drop incendiary bombs on the icebergs melting them and sending water rushing into the streets. This starts the flooding. On top of that, many bombs miss as they are blown of course by the storm destroying part of the town with small fires.
Hmmm...#7 To fight the fire, Namor lets loose more bombs freeing water that was damned by the icebergs, but it floods the town with too much water. The townspeople scramble to the rooftops for shelter as the water rises.
Hmmm...#8 The water in the town begins to turn to ice when Namor thinks to break the ice and look below spotting the town's gasoline supply. With torch in hand, Namor blows up the gas tanks thus melting the ice of the bergs permitting the flood waters to recede into the sea. Problem solved!
Hmmm...#9 Now that Namor has destroyed the town with flood and fire likely killing most of the inhabitants, it's time to deliver the serum to the hospital. Is anyone still in the hospital? Did the sick and infirm all drown? Was it on fire at one point? No, no. The hospital is fine and Namor is able to complete his mission.
Hmmm...#10 Likely there aren't too many survivors from this whole ordeal which works out because Namor didn't bring a whole lot of serum with him in that satchel. At the end of the day, I feel like the remaining townsfolk are less concerned about the influenza outbreak since they no longer have homes to live in and nothing can get in and out of this remote town/small coastal city due to the weather.
I can only imagine the guy that thought to call Namor in the first place likely destroyed the shell phone.
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