Tales of Suspense (Vol. 1) #64

Credits:

Cover Date: April 1965

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Chic Stone

“Hawkeye and the New Black Widow Strike Again!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Don Heck

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Don Heck

Inker: Chic Stone

“Among Us, Wreckers Dwell!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Frank Giacoia (credited as Frank Ray)

What’s Going On?

The Black Widow returns with a super-villain’s tools, and she’s brought Hawkeye with her. Will Iron Man be able to defeat both villains at once?

Back I in WWII, Captain America has to uncover the secrets of a psychic that predicts sabotage!

Details:

In the Iron Man story:

  • The Black Widow is back, and she teams up with Hawkeye to destroy Iron Man.

  • The first step in their plan is to kidnap Pepper Potts and Happy Hogan. They then call Tony Stark, and tell him to send Iron Man to work our an exchange.

  • Not surprisingly, Iron Man shows up to save Pepper and Happy. Even though he never knows what to expect from Hawkeye’s arsenal, Iron Man is able to counter his enemies.

  • Still, having two villains sniping at him while protecting Happy and Pepper is a lot of work. Iron Man decides to even things a bit by taking out the Black Widow.

  • Hawkeye aborts the mission when the Widow gets hurt. Iron Man opts not to follow the villains as they escape (Hawkeye has gotten some armor-eating acid on Iron Man’s armor, anyway), but at least Pepper and Happy are safe.

In the Captain America story:

  • A stage duo is making waves for predicting disasters. Saldo tells his deformed assistant, Omar, to project his thoughts of the future onto a screen, and the audience gasps as the disasters shown happen moments later!

  • Steve Rogers and Bucky find the headlines suspicious, so they decide to check out the show.

  • They’re not the only curious ones. They spot a reporter sneaking into Sando and Omar’s dressing room during the show.

  • After poking around a bit, Cap and Bucky learn that the “mental” projections are fake. An accomplice uses a movie projector to show the images.

  • That’s enough to convince Cap and Bucky to interrupt the show.

  • Eventually, the fight leads back to the dressing room, where the reporter has been captured by thugs. But she’s not a reporter, she’s actually an FBI agent! And so, she teams up with the heroes to beat up the bad guys.

  • Sando’s plan —- Omar was a former freak show attraction that was being manipulated, in case you were wondering —- was to stir up panic among the American populace. Anyway, the FBI agent introduces herself as Agent 13, the end.

Is It Good?

Not especially. I like the changes made to Black Widow’s character —- she is a lot less problematic as a super-villain than as a Mata Hari-type —- but the rest of the Iron Man story felt uninspired.

The Captain America story is just kind of dumb. It was adapted from a 1941 Cap story, and while Kirby’s updates art looks great, the updated story doesn’t translate well.

I like the general direction this title is heading in, but it’s not quite good yet.

Continuity:

  • Black Widow and Hawkeye last appeared in Tales of Suspense #60.
  • Black Widow was last seen being kidnapped and flown to Russia to presumably be killed for her failures. Instead, (which would have made her superiors look like they, too, were failures), her handlers give her suction boots and a wrist-mounted grappling device so she can be better at super-villain stuff. She is also given her first costume!

  • Hawkeye has added an acid-spray arrowhead to his arsenal. He also shows off his “power blast” and a sonic boomerang arrow this issue.

  • Hawkeye’s costume color scheme is significantly different in this issue. In his last appearance, his quiver and quiver-strap were yellow, and his boots, gloves, and mask were all purple. Maybe his new mostly-blue/black scheme was chosen to tie him to Black Widow’s new look?

  • Hawkeye may have accepted that he is a criminal, but he draws the line at treason.

  • Happy asks Pepper to marry him, but she gently deflects the question. She still loves Tony, even though she thinks he is engaged to someone else.

  • This is the first time we’ve seen Iron Man swap out armor components since his last armor update.

  • I believe this is the first time we’ve seen a male hero attack a female villain in Marvel’s Silver Age.

  • The Captain America story is an update of the second story in Captain America Comics #1, published in 1941. This is the second month in a row Stan and Jack have adapted a story from that original Cap issue.
  • This is the first Silver Age appearance of Betsy Ross, the Golden Girl, although she is not named here. She was a heroine in WWII and a frequent love interest for Captain America in his original series.
  • Curiously, Betsy Ross is introduced as Agent 13 here; that designation will later gain more fame when Sharon Carter assumes it.
  • The Marvel Wiki credits Betsy Ross as Agent R/Agent X-13 (the lady with the old woman mask in last issue), but they also credit Cynthia Glass with this role. Marvel continuity at this point isn’t very clear.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • “Suction-tipped nylon line” doesn’t sound scientifically sound, does it?

  • Black Widow’s Soviet handlers want her to be a dangerous espionage agent, and they want her to destroy Iron Man. This is the outfit they gave her to accomplish both things: a leather corset and half-cape (with a “B” brooch for “Black Widow”!), a fishnet body stocking, a choker necklace, and a masquerade ball mask. Yes, this outfit will allow her to perform espionage unnoticed, and is clearly equipped to battle the guy wearing rocket armor.

  • Spoken like an innocent man.

  • Wait…Saldo’s evil plan was to show film versions of sabotage, and then perform the sabotage afterwards? Why would a saboteur want to bring attention to himself like that?

  • It’s kind of funny that Cap and Bucky have no concern for Omar’s well-being. “Oh, he was a helpless pawn in all of this? Well, I guess we don’t have to punch him.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s