Tales of Suspense #73, Jan. 1966
This oughtta set some kind of record! All these bullpen buddies had a hand in this one: Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Adam Austin, Gary Michaels, Sol Brodsky, Flo Steinberg, and merrie ol’ Marie Severin! (*whew*)
Spellbinding script by Stan Lee!
Spectacular layouts by Jack Kirby!
Sensational pencilling and scintillating delineation by George Tuska!
Stereophonic lettering by A. Simek!
I’m not exactly sure how (or why) they did it, but they managed to make the Black Knight, a former Giant Man villain, actually threatening to Iron Man! Like, all of a sudden he has a personality and character flaws and his powers are formidable? I guess getting beaten by his own powers in another dimension really reformed the guy into being kind of a bad ass. Isn’t that always the case, though?
Iron Man goes to visit Happy Hogan in the Happy Hospital only to find out that he’s been Happynapped! Shellhead finds a hoofprint on the windowsill and realizes this must be the inexplicable work of the Black Knight and his flying horse, so he goes off after him. He follows the extremely obvious trail to a medieval castle where he falls for the Black Knight’s surprisingly effective trap. A couple blasts from his laser lance and the circuitry that keeps Tony Stark’s heart working start going on the fritz, nearly killing him. For the coup de grace, the Black Knight carries Iron Man high into the air and drops him into the water, but Iron Man grabs the Black Knight on his way down and they both fall. Did they survive? Iron Man barely does, but who knows about the Knight. He manages to get a call off to save Happy while his own life slowly ebbs away…
Meanwhile, Captain America is freaking out in Germany because the “Sleepers”, giant robots designed by the Red Skull, are waking up, ready to bring the Third Reich back into power! Cap is completely unable to stop the first sleeper, a giant robot that shoots lasers from it’s claws, and doesn’t fare any better against the second sleeper, a giant flying manta ray. Even worse, the two combine to make a single, incredibly stupid-looking Nazi death machine… and there’s still one more sleeper to deal with! What will it be?!
I already know what it is, and it’s retarded, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise. I just love the implication that the Red Skull made these giant, awesome death robots back in the 40’s but decided to bury them around the country so they could eventually come out and blow shit up. I’m not exactly sure how blowing up Germany’s countryside will help bring the Nazis back into power, but I guess that’s why I’m not an evil genius.