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Avengers: No One Can Keep Track Of Whether Professor Horton Is Dead Or Not!

In Abandoned an' Forsaked, we examine comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically "overturned" by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent).

A while back, I did a bit about how Professor Phineas Horton was killed off in the second issue of Marvel Mystery Comics, only to be brought back alive a few years later. However, the fun didn't stop there! The always helpful Tom A. wrote in with this idea, but I was actually already planning it, but, of course, he didn't know that!

Anyhow, Horton went into character limbo like every other comic book character from the early days of Timely in the 1950s (after a brief attempt to revive their Golden Age superheroes) until Marvel Comics kicked in in the 1960s.

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Horton was brought back in a flashback story in Avengers #135 (by Steve Englehart, George Tuska and Frank Chiaramonte), where we see how Ultron forced Horton to turn the captured Human Torch into the Vision...

Horton did what Ultron commanded, but then betrayed the evil robot by keeping the Torch's memories. Ultron was upset and then killed Horton...

Okay, so Horton's dead, right?

Not so fast!

In West Coast Avengers #44, the Vision was dismantled by the governments of the world...

and a very much ALIVE Phineas Horton showed up to confirm that the Vision was NOT actually made out of the Human Torch at all!

This allowed for the return of the original Human Torch in Avengers West Coast #50...

BUT NOT SO FAST!

In Avengers Forever #8, Kurt Busiek, Roger Stern, Carlos Pacheco and Jesus Merino revealed that Immortus had created a temporal double of the Human Torch and so the Vision WAS the Human Torch!

That Horton who said otherwise? That was a Space Phantom, baby!

Avengers Forever was remarkable in how well Busiek and Stern actually made that sort of weird plot point actually make logical sense.

If anyone else has a suggestion for a future Abandoned an' Forsaked, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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