Tales of Suspense (Vol. 1) #46

Credits:

Cover Date: October 1963

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers

“Iron Man Faces the Crimson Dynamo!”

Plotter: Stan Lee

Scripter: Robert Bernstein (credited as R. Berns)

Penciller: Don Heck

Inker: Don Heck

What’s Going On?

The world’s expert in electricity, Professor Anton Vanko, created a specialized suit behind the Iron Curtain. The suit allows Vanko to remotely control or sabotage electronics, even at a distance.

Soviet leadership decides to send him to America to sabotage Tony Stark’s manufacturing plants and destroy Iron Man. How will Iron Man battle someone who can use electricity against him?

Is It Good?

This isn’t particularly good, but it is amusing for some of the extreme politically-charged moments in the script.

Sub-Plots:

  • Nikita Khrushchev expects the Crimson Dynamo to defeat Iron Man, but he plans to have Professor Vanko killed upon the completion of his mission.

  • The Crimson Dynamo sabotages dozens of Tony Stark’s projects and plants. This is catastrophic for Stark’s business; he is at risk of losing his government contracts, if he cannot produce his goods.
  • Eventually, the Crimson Dynamo attacks a plant where Tony Stark is present. Tony puts on his Iron Man armor goes into battle with a plan; he was clever enough to find a way to counter the Crimson Dynamo’s electronic control, which eliminates most of the Dynamo’s strengths.

  • Iron Man clears Tony’s name —- some people in the government suspected Stark of sabotaging his own plants —- by recording the Crimson Dynamo boasting about his work.

  • Iron Man tricks the Crimson Dynamo into surrendering by threatening to kill them both.
  • Iron Man then convinces Crimson Dynamo to defect to America and work for Tony Stark.

Continuity:

  • This is the first appearance of Professor Anton Vanko, the Crimson Dynamo.
  • The Crimson Dynamo is the first Iron Man foe to have his own armor.
  • The Crimson Dynamo is the first villain to be reformed by a Silver Age Marvel hero.
  • This is the first appearance of US Senator Harrington Byrd, although he is only referred to as “Senator” here.
  • Apparently, Iron Man’s suit comes equipped with a cassette recording device with a microphone sensitive enough to record the Crimson Dynamo from afar, even while Iron Man was flying.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Yes, I think the logical conclusion we can draw from Stark’s (and only Stark’s) plants being targeted and destroyed is that Tony is a Communist agent, trying to subvert America’s defensive structure. Clearly, the Marvel Universe’s premier capitalist and weapons manufacturer believes in the redistribution of wealth and property. You absolutely shouldn’t conclude that Stark’s plants are being targeted by an outsider or a competitor.

  • What I like about this statement is that it comes three pages after the Senator announced his suspicions about Tony Stark being a Communist.

  • Iron Man convinces the Crimson Dynamo to defect by faking an audio recording of Khrushchev planning to murder Dynamo. This is great because the Dynamo’s reaction is to curse Khrushchev as an “unscrupulous scoundrel.” I wish there was a panel where Stark giggles about the irony.

  • Another thing I like about that sequence is that Iron Man creates a recording of himself, and he sells it as Khrushchev talking —- in English, presumably with a terrible Russian accent, and an echo because Tony was wearing his Iron Man helmet while he recorded it!

Well, That Aged Poorly:

  • The issues dealing with Communist villains always have a hefty dose of American righteousness, but this is pretty harsh.

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