Cover Date: December 1964
Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Chic Stone
“Suspected of Murder!”
Plotters: Stan Lee, Don Heck
Scripter: Stan Lee
Penciller: Don Heck
Inker: Dick Ayers
“The Army of Assassins Strikes!”
Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
Scripter: Stan Lee
Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Chic Stone
What’s Going On?
In “Suspected of Murder,” Tony Stark has to deal with being stuck inside his Iron Man armor at all times. That means that no one has seen Tony in days, and his friends start to suspect that Iron Man is responsible! And they’re (sort of) right!
In “The Army of Assassins Strikes,” Captain America takes on a crowd of Baron Zemo’s best men.
In “Suspected of Murder”:
- Tony Stark’s heart condition has deteriorated lately. It’s to the point where his chest plate needs extra power —- power that is only available when he is wearing the Iron Man armor. If he removes the armor, he will die!
- Iron Man tells Pepper and Happy that Tony has gone to an undisclosed location to work in secret business stuff. They’re not convinced. In fact, they openly speculate about Iron Man being responsible for Tony’s disappearance.
- Pepper and Happy call the police to investigate. When they arrive, they find Iron Man taking cash from Tony’s safe!
- Iron Man explains why he would have the safe combination, and it’s plausible. He also provides a note from Tony, leaving Iron Man in charge of the business. While nothing is definitely wrong, the police are suspicious. Iron Man handles the situation poorly, though, and runs away during questioning.
- When the news reports that Iron Man is wanted by the police, the Black Widow decides the time is right to steal things from Stark Industries. She convinces Hawkeye to steal for her.
- Hawkeye breaks into Stark Industries, but is almost immediately spotted by security. He winds up in Tony’s office, with Pepper as his hostage. Things are going south quickly for Hawkeye, though; there is nothing small and portable for him to steal in the office, and Pepper is not being cooperative.
- Even though he is wanted by the police, Iron Man cannot stand by and risk Pepper getting harmed. He returns to Stark Industries to stop Hawkeye.
- Iron Man and Hawkeye fight for a bit. Iron Man removes Pepper from danger, while Hawkeye’s trick arrows cause enough damage to distract Iron Man, while he villain escaped.
- In the end, Stark Industries and Pepper were saved. The police prepared to fight Iron Man, but Pepper spoke up on his behalf. Iron Man’s heroism earns him the benefit of the doubt with her, and she tells him to find Tony and keep him from danger.
- Meanwhile, while all of this was happening, the Black Widow was kidnapped by Soviet thugs. As Hawkeye and Iron Man fought, their plane left for the Soviet Union.
In “The Army of Assassins Strikes”:
- The story begins with some assassins attacking —- and defeating —- Captain America!
- Thankfully, that was not the real Cap! It was another assassin, dressing up as part of an evil training mission. These men are employed by Baron Zemo, and their next mission is to take on the real thing.
- The villains strike while Cap is holding a self-defense exhibition. He doesn’t realize that his volunteer sparring partners have been replaced by assassins!
- Cap catches on pretty quickly, though, and fights for his life. Even though he is vastly outnumbered, and sometimes outgunned, he fights well.
- Rick Jones manages to get a few licks in, too.
- In the end, Cap finished off the assassins without breaking a sweat.
- Captain America then gives the local news a quality sound byte to further infuriate Zemo, and hopefully draw him out of his secret base sometime in the future.
Is It Good?
It’s okay. Neither feature is great, but they both have something going for them, at least.
The Iron Man story isn’t very good —- Tony couldn’t phone Happy or Pepper to calm them down?!? —- but it does give Iron Man an obstacle. Most of Tony’s problems so far have been of the soap opera variety, so this is a little refreshing, even if it’s not very well done.
I do want to point out this cool splash page from Don Heck, though:
Heck isn’t the most detailed artist in the Marvel stable, but every so often, he adds a little more detail and shadowing, and it makes a world of difference. This is easily one of the best images of Iron Man drawn in 1964.
As for the Captain America story, we get Jack Kirby drawing Cap in a fight. That’s really all there is to it. It’s not a good story, but what it does, it does right.
- We have a new cover corner box! It looks like they just shrunk down Cap, but it’s a new drawing of Iron Man.
- The Black Widow and Hawkeye last appeared in Tales of Suspense #57.
- Tony Stark’s worsening heart condition was introduced last issue.
- Baron Zemo last appeared in Avengers #10.
- Captain America also appeared in Avengers #11, Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #11, and Tales to Astonish #62 this month.
- Rick Jones also appeared in Avengers #11 and Tales to Astonish #62 this month.
- Zemo’s men are using Formula X, which is a gaseous poison. It is distinct from Zemo’s Adhesive X, but likely derived from it.
- Captain America’s shield is still controlled by Stark transistors.
Comics Are Goofy:
- I realize that the artist is trying to show Pepper and Happy driving all over the place, but that really would have been accomplished better with multiple panels.
- That’s an excellent question, Happy. I don’t think anyone ever really answers it satisfactorily.
- The police open fire on Iron Man before one of them points out that they have no cause to arrest him. Cool cool cool.
- “It is important to me, Thor, that you have not harmed my ally, Tony Stark. You didn’t? Cool. Let me know how that all works out. I’d offer to help, but nah.”
- This is a normal conversation with realistic dialogue.
- Yikes. Needy much?
- “In perfect physical condition…and benefitted from an advanced drug to become a super-soldier.” —- For some reason, they never include that last bit when describing Cap.
- Watching the news for an update is not how you find out about a successful mission. That’s what phones and walkie-talkies are for.