Tag Archives: Iron Man

Tales of Suspense #75, Mar. 1966

tos075Tales of Suspense #75, Mar. 1966

Titanically written by: Stan Lee
Tremendously drawn by: Adam Austin
Tumultuously inked by: Gary Michaels
Timorously lettered by: Sam Rosen

Stan Lee, script
Jack Kirby, layout
Dick Ayers, pencil
J. Tartaglione, inks
Artie Simek, lettering
Irving Forbush, cheer leader

two-stars

Last time, on Tales of Suspense! Tony Stark’s chauffeur/bodyguard Happy Hogan saved Iron Man from being killed by Titanium Man, and was almost killed himself in the process. To cure him, some quack of a doctor used some random ray he had no idea what function it had and accidentally brought Happy back as a giant bald monster with no brain! Comic books.

Now, Iron Man has to stop the monster Happy’s become without accidentally killing him, and, as always, the charge in his armor is almost down to nothing. His armor has worse battery life than an iPhone!! Thank you, thank you. It turns out that the new monster Hogan is stronger than ol’ shellhead, so he leads him back to his lab so he can shoot him with another ray to turn him back to normal. This ray might kill Stark in the meanwhile, but gosh darnit, he owes Happy his life!

Captain America, on the other hand, just got home from defeating the ridiculous Sleeper robots the Red Skull set up, and finds himself in a scuttle on the street between a lady agent of SHIELD and Batroc the Leaper, French mercenary skilled in the art of “la savatte”. Cap beats the shit out of him, but in the scuffle a package of highly dangerous “Inferno 42” starts to leak, which will destroy the city in 30 minutes unless Cap and the Frenchman team up to find the agent!

Savate, the actual name of the French martial arts style Batroc is supposed to be a master of, is something like kickboxing, only… Frenchier. Look, I didn’t actually read the Wikipedia article about it, except for the part where it mentions Batroc twice. Clearly, Batroc the Leaper is the most famous savateur ever, and he’s this awful stereotype in a ridiculous purple spandex outfit who says “honh honh honh” as he kicks people in the face. France should be so proud.

tos075p

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Tales of Suspense #74, Feb. 1966

Tales of Suspense #74, Feb. 1966

Story: As only the fabulous Stan Lee can tell it!
Art: As only the fantastic Adam Austin can draw it!
Inking: As only the flamboyant Gary Michaels can delineate it!
Lettering: As only the frantic Artie Simek can scribble it!

Blazing story: Stan Lee
Burning layouts: Jack Kirby
Blistering artwork: George Tuska
Burnt-out lettering: Artie Simek

We’re getting kinda close to the point where I stopped reading the first time I started this project (well, about a year in publication time, which is about 120 issues total), and this issue starts my absolute least favorite Iron Man story I’ve ever read. It’s not only completely ridiculous, but it’s also just terrible. Why? Because… well, let me describe it to you…

Iron Man sends out a plea to his office for someone to come and plug him into a wall because he’s too weak to do it himself. Pepper Potts receives the message, drives out to the castle where he’s lying on the floor, dying, and helps him back to the lab. He barely has enough time to recharge himself when he hears that they’re going to use an untested device made by Tony Stark called an Enervator on Happy Hogan in an effort to keep him alive… unfortunately, the device has a side effect of turning him into a Frankenstein-type monster with strength equal to that of Iron Man. Good machine you built there, Stark.

Captain America is in trouble. There’s only one more Sleeper left to rise and combine with the other two before whatever plan the Red Skull had can come to fruition. Cap thinks that the third piece is going to be a huge bomb, and the combined Sleepers are going to go to the north pole, dig down into the center of the world, then blow the whole thing up. Luckily, Cap has one thing the Red Skull didn’t count on: A blowtorch! He parachutes down on top of the Sleepers, sets up the torch to burn through the big dumb head that is the third Sleeper, then parachutes away, watching it blow up harmlessly in the atmosphere.

I can’t adequately describe how hilarious I find it that the third sleeper is a giant statue of the Red Skull’s head. Putting that on top of the already ridiculous two Sleepers makes it even more ridiculous, and the whole thing looks like a goddamn joke. It’s one of those fun kinds of stupid, though, and it helps to remind us that comic books are goofy action stories for kids. They are, you know.


Tales of Suspense #73, Jan. 1966

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.


Tales of Suspense #72, Dec. 1965

Tales of Suspense #72, Dec. 1965

Stan Lee, writer
Don Heck, penciller
Mickey Demeo, inker
Artie Simek, letterer

Stan Lee, Sultan of Script!
Jack Kirby, Lord of Layout!
George Tuska, Archduke of Art!
Sam Rosen, Tired of Lettering!

They just keep trying to make the Mad Thinker a relevant villain, but he’s so goddamn useless that he gets beaten immediately and nothing he does makes any sense. For instance, in this Iron Man story he’s approached by a countess to find out Iron Man’s secret identity and she has to pay him a THOUSAND DOLLARS (OOOOO!) for this service, but he first says he doesn’t need money at all then says that he could make more money than she’s even imagined if he wanted to. So… why the fuck is he doing this? Why would the Thinker care about Iron Man? I fucking hate the Thinker.

Iron Man gets home from defeating the Titanium Man last issue, and almost immediately gets captured by the Mad Thinker’s Awesome Android. You know, the big guy with the grey eraser head that he stole from Mr. Fantastic? Anyway, the android brings Tony Stark back to the Thinker’s hideout so he can ask him who Iron Man is (that is his plan), but he manages to get away and turn into his super-powered alter-ego and he beats up the android (who copies his suit’s power because that’s what the android does) and leaves him to die when the building explodes. Aww, poor eraserhead.

Meanwhile, it turns out that Captain America’s WWII exploits that have been going on in this magazine were just tales he was telling to his fellow Avengers. After a bad dream, Cap remembers that the Red Skull once told him that in 20 years there would be three “Sleepers” who awoke and brought the Nazis back… and that it’s 20 years later NOW! Cap boogies over to Germany to find a giant Nazi robot that shoots electricity from its hands is tearing up the countryside, and that this is just the first of the Sleepers. Uh-oh.

I fucking love this giant, goofy Nazi robot. It’s like something out of a 50’s sci-fi movie, except somehow even sillier. It is really nice that the Captain America stories are back to “modern” times instead of WWII adventures, though. It’s just way more interesting when he fights huge robots and supervillains and stuff instead of vaguely evil Nazi commandants with monocles. Seriously, just look at this panel and tell me that you wouldn’t want to read this story. You can’t. There’s no way.


Tales of Suspense #71, Nov. 1965

Tales of Suspense #71, Nov. 1965

A study in splendor by Stan Lee, writer!
A muse of majesty by Don Heck, artist!
A glimmer of glory by Wally Wood, inker!
A nice lettering job by Art Simek, bon vivant!

Written with the passion of Stan Lee
Laid-out with the power of Jack Kirby
Pencilled with the punch of George Tuska
Inked with the prowess of Joe Sinnott
Lettered with the penpoint of Sam Rosen

This is a pretty good balance for an Iron Man story. He prevails over the tough foe as a superhero, yet is thought of as a complete asshole by everyone else because they think Tony Stark didn’t even show up to the fight, or go to the hospital with Happy Hogan when he nearly got killed. Stark usually has everything going for him, and I’m sure it’ll go back to that way soon enough, but it’s nice to have that little moment of humility in there.

Happy Hogan has been seriously injured delivering a weapon to Iron Man during his fight with Titanium Man. Thinking that his friend has been killed, Stark really unloads on Titanium Man and corners the commie against a wall with his superior fighting prowess. He finally uses the weapon Happy brought him to render Titanium Man’s armor completely useless, then gets him to say that he surrenders on TV. In the hospital, it looks like Happy may not make it, and by the time Stark gets there, everybody’s angry at him.

A Nazi named Major Uberhart is planning to shoot a rocket into London (right on top of Churchill’s house, even!) with Captain America and Bucky tied to the side of it. The clumsy Nazis drop Cap and he wakes up, which allows him to easily overpower the enemy forces and take control of the rocket. He gets the crazy doctor who came up with the plan to change the trajectory of the rocket to hit the Nazis who were threatening Steve Rogers’ platoon (which he abandoned to turn into Cap), and then the whole castle blows up with the good guys safely out of the way.

All right, it looks like this is the last story in this magazine about Captain America’s adventures during WWII, and we’re going to go back to “modern” times! That’s great for me, since super-villains are always way more interesting than Nazis (though I gotta give Uberhart credit for wanting to blow up Churchill’s house with Captain America strapped to a rocket), plus I get more than enough of my daily Nazi requirement with Sgt. Fury.