After a half-century of heroic pyromania and romances with girls who usually end up trying to kill everyone, Marvel’s Human Torch dies in issue No. 587 of the Fantastic Four, bringing an end to not only the life of Johnny Storm but the super-powered quartet itself as well as its eponymous comic book. The current storyline, scripted by Jonathan Hickman, has been building to this for a year-and-a-half, with the Torch expected to buy it in a massive battle, leaving Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, and The Thing to go it alone in a “a new thing that will be exciting and different and yet, very familiar and very much the same,” according to Marvel’s senior vice president Tom Brevoort. As such, the Fantastic Four title will end with issue No. 588—“There won’t be an issue 589,” Brevoort said—and whatever this new thing will be, it will be called something else as the surviving members grieve and regroup. (The Tenebrous Three?)
That is, of course, until the Human Torch inevitably returns, as Marvel’s revelation ends with the obligatory cataloging of all the comic-book characters who have “died” over the years, only to return under new identities or with some sort of “alternate dimension” explanation. Even more tellingly, it's followed by this statement on the matter from Marvel’s chief creative officer Joe Quesada: “While I will never discount that a character can come back from the dead, because it is one of the staples of comic book storytelling, I'm not going to tell you if he will, or when he will and if he does, how he will, but I can assure you that it's going to be very, very interesting and not what anyone expects.” So… He's reincarnated as a plainspoken mohel living a quiet life of piety in Flatbush? That would be unexpected.