KLEEZAR

Real Name: Kleezar

Identity/Class:  Extraterrestrial (race unidentified)

Occupation: Scavenger, parasite

Group Membership: His tribe

Affiliations: His followers (at least six (all unidentified))

Enemies: Human Torch (Jim Hammond)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: "Parasite of Eternity"

Base of Operations: Jupiter (see comments)

First Appearance: Human Torch I#33/1 (November, 1948)

Powers/Abilities: Like the rest of his brethren, the hairy, ape-like Kleezar had fangs, large ears, a row of dorsal spines, and a long, thin tail. Endowed with a primitive intelligence, Kleezar possibly had a limited degree of telepathy (see comments).
  Kleezar and his followers drew sustenance from a body of radioactive water they called "The Pool of Madness".

History: (Human Torch I#33/1 (fb) - BTS) - The origin of Kleezar and his tribesmen is unknown, but they lived on Jupiter, where they had survived for ages on the fiery waters of their "Pool of Madness".

(Human Torch I#33/1) - Across the Earth, there were thousands of cases of domesticated animals and pets suddenly going berserk and attacking their masters. While investigating this phenomenon, Dr. Jefferson (head of the Jeffersonian Institute in New York City) discovered that the animals were being driven mad by rays emanating from the planet Jupiter. Worse yet, Jefferson further theorized that unless the radiation was cut off at the source, it would soon affect human beings as well, and all of humanity would go mad and destroy itself.

  With a crisis brewing, top experts were called in to work out a solution, including the ace trouble-shooters Sun Girl (Mary Mitchell), Captain America (Jeff Mace), and the Human Torch. Captain America suggested that the Torch fly to Jupiter to investigate, but the Torch was unsure that his flame-power would ever get him that far... however, he said it would be his honor to try.

  The next day, at LaGuardia Airport, the Human Torch began his hazardous flight. He took off and soared higher and higher into the stratosphere, while Cap and Sun Girl went to Dr. Jefferson's observatory to watch their friend's progress.

  Meanwhile, on Jupiter, Kleezar somehow sensed danger approaching, so he readied his fellows to defend the life-giving waters of the Pool.

  When the Human Torch finally reached Jupiter, his powers began to weaken from the long journey, but he managed to land safely on the planet's surface just as his flames went out--he would need time to recover from the flight before his powers returned. He had landed right by the red-hot waters of the Pool--the source of the ray of madness--where he was attacked by the savage tribe of Jupiter-men. Overwhelmed by the superior numbers, the Torch was captured by Kleezar and his followers, but before they could do anything else, Kleezar called out a warning because the "fire-rain" (a meteor shower) began to fall from the sky. The red-hot pellets of molten fire killed all of the tribesmen, leaving only Kleezar and the Torch alive.

  Thinking the Human Torch a bad omen and blaming him for the deaths, Kleezar was determined to destroy him, just as the "fire-rain" had destroyed his people. But as the Human Torch struggled with the hirsute hellion, his flame-power suddenly returned. The Torch broke free of Kleezar's bear-hug, then flew up and melted the edge of the Pool, releasing the fire-water and drowning Kleezar, the last of his tribe, in the hot, scalding waters of the Pool of Madness.

Comments: Created by an unknown writer and Mike Sekowsky.

And so the Human Torch destroyed the last remnants of the Pool with his body of fire, and proceeded to make the trip back to Earth.

Meanwhile, at the observatory, Captain America and Sun Girl anxiously awaited the Torch's return (Cap: "It's been hours since he left! I'm really worried!"), however they knew his mission had been successful, for everything was back to normal on Earth. As they looked through the telescope, they saw the Human Torch returning home, but his flames were weakening from the voyage. As his flames went completely out, the Torch began to plummet to the ground. Cap ran outside, braced himself, and used his own body to break the fall of his friend. Although both heroes were dazed from the impact, luckily they were uninjured.

I say that Kleezar was telepathic because he was able to communicate with the Human Torch in English, despite living millions of miles from that particular language's planet of origin.

(Kleezar kinda reminds me of the mugato from the original Star Trek episode "A Private Little War".)

But I doubt the story really took place on Jupiter, because the conditions there are too inhospitable to support life as we know it. Maybe Kleezar and his gang actually lived on one of Jupiter's many confirmed moons (take your pick--I'll go with Europa).

(It might be worth mentioning that Kleezar and company weren't the only lifeforms on Jupiter (or wherever)--there were also some green bird-like creatures in the background.)

At its closest, Jupiter is 370 million miles (591 million km) from Earth--so how did the Torch get there in such a short time? I dunno, maybe he took a short-cut via the Solar Wave (which transported Dr. Doom into space, near the orbit of Jupiter @ Fantastic Four I#23).

...or, since he did have an interest in the Human Torch's well-being for his future schemes, perhaps Immortus was helping behind-the-scenes, warping time and space to ensure the Torch's safe passage to Jupiter and back.

The effects of the radioactivity from the Pool of Madness seemed similar to the Hate-Monger's H-Ray -- perhaps that device was inspired by a study of the radiation from this incident.

My theory of this entire story is that it takes place in the Negative Zone (see Fantastic Four I#51) since the Negative Zone is the only space I know of that a Human Torch can flame on in (Fantastic Four Annual#6 see Johnny flying in Negative Zone space while flamed on) and the original Human Torch says that his powers are useless in outerspace (see page 22 panel 1 of Avengers West Coast#57). In Fantastic Four I#13 Johnny Storm uses the Atmo Web-Suit which surrounds him with an artificial atmosphere that allows his flame to ignite in the otherwise airless environment and in Avengers West Coast#57 Hank Pym recreated it and renamed it the Oxygen Webbing. The way I see it is Doctor Jefferson is like Vernon Van Dyne (father of the Wasp; in Tales To Astonish I#44 he accidentally brought the Creature From Kosmos to Earth) and Doctor Mark (Saul) Erdel (in Detective Comics#225 he accidentally brought the Martian Manhunter to Earth) and that he created an experimental Telescope that was supposed to enable him to view planets, moons and suns in nearby star systems as if they were in our star system by Folding Space or creating a Worm Hole (except that he opened a hole into the Negative Zone instead---a hole kept open by Kleezar using the Pool Of Madness).
Gammatotem

In Human Torch I#33 (11/1948) reprinted in Giant-Size Avengers#1 (8/1974) Kleezar calls his people the Parasites of the Universe (page 49, panel 6), Nomad Creatures of Madness (page 49, panel 6) and the Scavengers of the Stratosphere (page 51, panel 3).
--Gammatotem

And a BIG Thank You to Brian Hirsch for the scans!

Profile by John Kaminski

CLARIFICATIONS:
Kleezar has no known connections to:


images:
Human Torch I#33, p4, pan5 (main)

p4, pan6 (headshot)
p7, pan2 (Kleezar wrestling Human Torch)


Appearances:
Human Torch I#33 (November, 1948) - Mike Sekowsky (pencils)
Giant-Size Avengers#1 (August, 1974) - reprint


Last updated: 10/28/06

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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