Tales of Suspense (Vol. 1) 40

Credits:

“Iron Man Versus Gargantus”

Cover Date: April 1963

Plotter: Stan Lee

Scripter: Robert Bernstein

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Don Heck

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Don Heck

What’s Going On?

When Tony Stark’s regular Friday night date appears to have stood him up, Tony asks an airline employee if she boarded the plane from Granville that he had expected her on. It turns out that the plane did not stop in her town at all, as Granville had built a giant wall around itself and ceased all communication with the outside world.

Intrigued, Tony changes into Iron Man to see what is happening in Granville. There, he finds the populace mesmerized, worshipping a giant Neanderthal named Gargantus. Will Iron Man be able to defeat this giant, or will he, too, fall under Gargantus’ sway?

Is It Good?

It’s not very good, but is helped by Jack Kirby’s pencils and the ridiculously busy status quo that the writers set up for a Stark. Why be a vigilante playboy like Batman, when you can also be an internationally renowned scientist and successful military weapons manufacturer at the same time? At least it keeps the story moving, I guess.

Sub-Plots:

  • Tony is apparently keeping very active as Iron Man; he references several adventures that have occurred off-panel.
  • Tony sees civilians reacting to Iron Man with fear. This prompts him to make a change to his armor. That change: he paints it gold.

  • When Iron Man arrives in Granville, he is met by hostile townsfolk. They attack him (ineffectively) in an effort to please Gargantus.

  • When Iron Man finally battles Gargantus, he quickly realizes that Gargantus has a hypnotic ability. He also quickly determines that Gargantus is a robot.

  • The robot was being controlled by a group of aliens (of an unidentified race). When they saw Gargantus defeated, they left Earth in a hurry.

Continuity:

  • Robert Bernstein scripts this issue. This is the first Silver Age superhero issue that has not been scripted by Stan Lee or his brother, Larry Lieber.
  • Tony’s chest plate can be powered through a standard electrical outlet.

  • Tony carries the Iron Man armor along with him in a suitcase. The armor is able to assume a very compact size.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Military-grade roller skates. Why didn’t anyone think of this before?

  • Uh…why can’t Tony be seen bare-chested? Why does it matter if he is seen with his chest plate? I mean, the answer is obviously “to protect Iron Man’s secret identity,” but the way it’s presented here makes it seem like it’s only an issue of vanity.

  • I don’t think transistors work the way the writers think they work. For instance, transistors don’t make Metal fold like laundry.

  • Yes, people are afraid of your walking tank armor because of the color. It’s certainly not it’s destructive capabilities.

  • I’m no lawyer, but I don’t believe this legal argument stands up to scrutiny.

Well, That Aged Poorly:

  • The funny thing here is that I think Tony is genuinely sincere.

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