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This article is for the character Torch in the mainline X-Men continuity. For the character as he appeared in the film trilogy, see Torch (X-Men Movies)
" I Lived In Hell, I Lived In Heaven, Without The X-Men, I Don't Know Where I Would Be, Without April, I Can't Even See Where I Would Be."—Torch--
When Jonathan was a boy growing up in Anchorage, Alaska, his father, USAF Major Christopher Summers, takes the family for a flight in their de Havilland Mosquito. It comes under attack by an alien Shi'ar spaceship. As the plane goes down in flames, John's parents fasten him and his younger brothers Scott and Alex into a parachute and push them off the plane, hoping that they would survive. Unfortunately, the parachute catches fire and Scott strikes his head upon landing. This causes brain damage to Scott, which is supposedly responsible for his inability to control his optic blasts, as well as prolonged amnesia about his childhood. John spent most of his childhood in an orphanage in Omaha, Nebraska with Scott and Scott was subjected to batteries of tests and experiments by the orphanage's owner, Mr. Milbury, an alias for the geneticist Mister Sinister, who also placed mental blocks on Scott.
John is found by Charles Xavier, who erases the crowd's memories. Xavier then asks John and Scott to join the X-Men, and they gladly accept, as the first official members. In the X-Men's first field mission, John battles Magneto. With the X-Men, he battles the Blob. He also becomes romantically attracted to April Grey. With the X-Men, he then clashes with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants for the first time. He soon becomes the team's field leader along with Scott, a position he will traditionally hold over the years. Torch has a relationship with April Grey during their time in the "original" X-Men. For a long time, he refuses to admit, even to himself, that he has feelings for her, afraid he would be hurt again or that she will reject him - or his powers could hurt her - and also because he feels he is no match for his wealthy teammate Warren Worthington III, a.k.a. Angel, who is at first also romantically interested in April. What John doesn't know is that April actually has a crush on him, but is too shy to make a move. Finally, on Bobby Drake's 16th birthday, they reveal their passion for each other and begin to date. When the X-Men are defeated by Krakoa, Torch is the only member able to escape and return to Xavier. He helps train a new group of X-Men, which includes Storm, Invisible Woman, Colossus, Steel, Nightcrawler, Shadow, Wolverine, and Wolf to rescue the others. When the other original X-Men (Angel, Beast, Animal, Iceman, Darklight, Jean Grey, April Grey, and later additions Havok (his own brother) and Polaris) decide to leave in light of the arrival of the new X-Men, Torch stays, feeling that he will never be able to lead a normal life because of Scott's uncontrollable nature of his powers. At first, Torch believes that his parents died in the plane accident and is unaware that they, in fact, had been captured and sold into slavery by the Shi'ar. As an adult member of the X-Men, Torch meets his father, now known as Corsair, leader of the Starjammers, a group of aliens opposing what they see as the tyranny of the Shi'ar empire. Several more years pass before the two learn of each other's true identities. He later comes into contact with his grandparents, who he learns are still alive and own a shipping company in Canada. Torch privately questions his relationship with April after April dies trying to pilot a space shuttle through a solar flare, and then is reborn as Molecule, feeling that this reborn April was not the same April he had loved. Yet when he thinks her death for an extended period of time after a battle in the Savage Land, Torch is not able to mourn her, and believes this meant he didn't really love her anymore. He never dates any other woman again. However, when John and April are reunited on Muir Island to fight Proteus, he rediscovers his love for her, and they share a passionate kiss on the way home. A few days before Jean dies, John proposes, and April accepts. After Jean's death, Cyclops quits the X-Men while John urges April not to quit while the X-Men, while Cyclops is unsure of what to do anymore. He signs on as crew of a fishing boat, captained by Lee Forrester. After an adventure in which Lee's father is possessed by D'Spayre, and Cyclops and the Man-Thing must fight D'Spayre, Scott and Lee find themselves shipwrecked in the Bermuda Triangle, where they stumble upon Magneto's new base of operations. Scott soon returns to the X-Men. Torch then discovers that Corsair is actually his father. Eventually, Torch marries April, and April later bears him twins, John, Jr and Samantha.