Tales of Suspense (Vol. 1) #49

Credits:

Cover Date: January 1964

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko

“The New Iron Man Meets the Angel”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Steve Ditko

Inker: Paul Reinman

What’s Going On?

Angel of the X-Men happened to be passing a Stark Industries bomb test, and was hit with enough radiation to turn him evil. Iron Man feels responsible, so he tries his best to cure Angel.

 

Details:

  • The Angel, a member of the X-Men, decided to fly over a factory on his way home. Unfortunately, it was a Stark Industries factory, and they were preparing to test an atomic weapon at that very moment. Iron Man tried to warn Angel away, but it was too late. They didn’t die, but still experienced part of the explosion’s force.

  • The radiation from the bomb causes an unexpected result in the Angel:

  • Iron Man tried to fly after Angel, presumably to get him help for his radiation poisoning, but his jet boots ran out of power and he was forced to land.
  • Meanwhile, the now-evil Angel told the X-Men that he was quitting the team to become an evil mutant.

  • The X-Men tried to stop Angel, but he was too agile for them and he escaped. Professor X decided that it was time to ask other heroes for help, so the X-Men radioed the Avengers for assistance.

  • Elsewhere, the Angel realized that he didn’t actually know how to find evil mutants to team up with. He decided to cause some explosions (that didn’t hurt anyone) to attract some attention from the bad guys. He’s…not very good at the whole “evil” thing.

  • The only Avenger that responded to the X-Men’s call was Iron Man. Unfortunately, Angel was too fast and agile in the air for even Iron Man to capture.

  • Iron Man’s jet boots eventually ran out of power (again), and he plummeted to the Earth. As he watched the hero falling through the air, Angel had a crisis of conscience.

  • Angel managed to reach Iron Man in time to save him. Iron Man then explained that Angel was temporarily deranged by radiation, and that’s good enough for the police to let him go free.

Is It Good?

This is pretty bad. As much as I love Steve Ditko art, Paul Reinman’s inking makes the pencils look bland. The plot is pretty stupid —- radiation makes you evil? Unless you’re wearing Iron Man armor? —- but the script is awful. I don’t really mind the continuity errors, but the clumsy and ridiculous plot, combined with the melodramatic script, added to the boring artwork, and I can honestly say this simply bad. What keeps it from being atrocious is the fact that everything is fixed by the end of the story, so there won’t be repercussions for the characters in other titles.

Continuity:

  • We have a new cover corner box, reflecting Iron Man’s new armor:

  • This is the first time an X-Men character has guest-starred in another comic. I mean, sure, this came out the same month that Avengers #3 did, and the X-Men made a brief cameo in that, but that scene explicitly occurred after the events of this story, so I’m sticking by my claim.
  • This is the first nuclear explosion we’ve seen in a Marvel comic in a while. It seems odd that they would be doing an above-ground test in the greater New York City area, but sure, why not?
  • Angel quits the X-Men in this issue. He presumably rejoins the team, when he stops being evil.
  • Despite the ongoing subplot of Henry ignoring Janet’s flirting in Tales to Astonish, Giant-Man and the Wasp have what appears to be their first date in this issue.

  • We get a small diagram to show how Iron Man’s super-strength works. It apparently relies on…gears?

  • Iron Man’s jet boots failed twice in this issue.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Stan Lee, master of unimpressive achievements:

  • Does this make Angel the Rick Jones of the X-Men? Well, he did needlessly expose himself to atomic radiation because he is an idiot teenager, so I’ll say yes.

  • Remember: radiation makes you evil, and this is a totally predictable result.

  • Iron Man has a “magnetic repeller” that he uses to slow his descent to Earth. If that sounds unlikely to you (he wouldn’t just pack a parachute?), keep in mind that his jet boots ran out of power almost immediately (and twice in one issue!). I’m saying that logic is not paramount in these pages.

  • If you’ve ever wanted to know where the action is, now you know: with evil mutants.

  • This explains why birds don’t fly south in the winter, but simply flap their wings to warm themselves.

  • “I’m through taking orders from you! I look forward to taking orders from someone else now!”

  • Most of the Avengers were busy, or just away from their radios, when the X-Men called for their help. But look closer! Apparently, Stan Lee forgot that the Hulk quit the Avengers already, and that Giant-Man and the Wasp aren’t dating.

  • Professor X didn’t make the radio broadcast asking for assistance. How does Iron Man know who he is?

  • Remember how Iron Man knew who Professor X was? By the end of the issue, he seems to have forgotten.

  • Sure…it was all part of your plan, Iron Man. That’s why you were panicking on the previous page, when you realized that your “magnetic repellers” wouldn’t work this time.

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