Tales of Suspense (Vol. 1) #47

Credits:

Cover Date: November 1963

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, George Roussos

“Iron Man Battles the Melter!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Steve Ditko

Inker: Don Heck

What’s Going On?

Tony Stark’s products are being tampered with, in a way that is causing the iron in his products to become brittle. This is due to the Melter, who has a grudge against Stark, and the means to “melt” iron. How can Tony fight someone who can melt his Iron Man armor?

Is It Good?

This wasn’t good, but it’s another step forward for the title. Happy and Pepper add a little bit of comic relief, and this is another issue where the villain seems like a legitimate threat to Iron Man. Unfortunately, Tony and Iron Man don’t really interact much with the rest of the characters, so the story feels awfully vanilla.

Steve Ditko filled in as the penciller for this issue; I don’t know if he was hurried or not (that would explain why Don Heck inked the issue instead of Ditko inking himself), but I was disappointed by the artwork. It’s okay, but it doesn’t have the personality of his work on Spider-Man.

Sub-Plots:

  • Bruno Horgan was a rival of Tony Stark’s, but he cut corners and used inferior products. After losing a contract to Stark, he vowed revenge.
  • Horgan soon realized that one of his company’s creations had the unintended ability of liquefying metals. Horgan decided to used this invention to gain power as the Melter.

  • He started by sabotaging Stark products. Eventually, he attacked a plant where Tony Stark was present; Tony put on his Iron Man suit to challenge the saboteur. It didn’t go well for Iron Man; he managed to drive away the Melter, but not before realizing that his iron chest plate makes him particularly vulnerable to the Melter’s rays.

  • Tony worried about the potential consequences of another fight with the Melter, but opted to use his intelligence to devise a solution, rather than give up.

  • The US government threatened to take away Stark’s military contracts if he doesn’t fix his production problems.

  • The next time the Melter sabotaged a Stark factory, Iron Man was ready —- and somehow immune to the Melter’s rays!

  • The Melter managed to escape, but he Iron Man had scared him enough to not continue with his sabotage plans.

 

Continuity:

  • This is the first appearance of Bruno Horgan, the Melter.
  • The Melter has a chest plate that fires a ray that can liquefy iron and steel. Despite his name, he doesn’t actually “melt” anything with heat.
  • Tony recharges his chest plate from an electrical socket again.

  • Pepper is still pining for Tony Stark, and Happy still has a crush on Pepper

  • Iron Man once again breaks out the roller skates for fast highway travel.

  • Tony built an aluminum “Iron” Man armor to defeat the Melter. This is only the second Iron Man armor to date.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • This is the costume you design to strike fear into the hearts of men?

  • The Melter blames Tony Stark for getting fired, even though he was making vastly inferior products. Some villains are misunderstood, some have valid alternative points of view, and some (like the Melter) are simply shitty people.

  • Seriously, how does no one suspect Tony of being a dope fiend? He looks sick, spends some time alone in a room for a few minutes, and emerges minutes later, looking fine.  It happens every issue.  Either Happy and Pepper have poor pattern recognition skills, or are unaware of addictions.  Also, Tony needs to get better at estimating how much of a charge he has left on his chest plate.

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