Tales of Suspense (vol. 1) #65

Credits:

Cover Date: May 1965

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Chic Stone

“When Titans Clash”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Don Heck

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Don Heck

Inker: Mike Esposito (credited as Mickey Demeo)

“The Red Skull Strikes!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Chic Stone

What’s Going On?

When a low-end crook winds up with the Iron Man armor, Tony Stark must try to stop him by donning the original Iron Man armor!

Back in WWII, Captain America and Bucky have to protect pre-war America from the Nazi threat of the Red Skull!

Details:

  • Driven to distraction by his feelings for Pepper, Tony Stark decides to go on a tour of his factories outside of New York. He was in such a hurry to go that he forgot to bring (or even lock!) his Iron Man armor suitcase!
  • Career criminal Weasel Wills has the good timing to break into Stark Industries while Tony is gone, and he finds the Iron Man armor!

  • Weasel figures out how to use the armor on his own, and walks right out of Stark Industries with it! Oh, and he figures out that Tony Stark is Iron Man!

  • Weasel proceeds to commit many crimes that get blamed on the real Iron Man.

  • Obviously, this gets Tony’s attention. He puts on his older, slower (but much stronger) armor and lures Weasel into a fight.

  • Weasel doesn’t have Tony’s experience in the armor, but he is quick to learn.

  • Tony outsmarts the crook, eventually. He tricks Weasel into putting all of his energy into blunt attacks —- attacks that the sturdy, older armor can easily withstand —- until his battery is drained.

  • When asked by the police where he got the armor, Weasel seems to crack up, insisting that he is the only Iron Man.

In the Captain America story:

  • The Red Skull, a Nazi agent, is targeting military officers to keep the US under-prepared for war. He’s not killing them, but is using a special gas to give them amnesia.

  • Captain America and Bucky split up to search the city for Red Skull. Bucky finds the villain first, but is immediately spotted and captured.

  • It doesn’t take long for Cap to catch up and start attacking Nazis, though.

  • Red Skull managed to escape that fight. The next day, at Fort Lehigh, Cap (in his civilian guise as Steve Rogers) meets a plane manufacturer named Maxon, who was at the base to see his new bomber on a test flight. The bomber crashes, and Maxon seems more worried about his business than the soldiers that died in the crash.

  • This makes Steve suspicious. He changes into his Captain America uniform to bring his concerns to the general. He and Bucky catch the Red Skull, just after he gassed the general.

  • They make short work of Red Skull and unmask him. His true identity is…Maxon! Well, not Maxon; it’s the imposter that has been pretending to be Maxon in this story thus far!

  • While Cap and Bucky managed to halt Red Skull’s sabotage attempt, the villain escapes. And the heroes don’t chase after him, so the end.

Is It Good?

It’s definitely not good, but there’s enough here to keep it from being bad. Kirby’s art alone saves the Captain America story. The story itself doesn’t make a ton of sense, and that is at least partially because they leaned heavily on a story published in 1941 (again) that showed its age.

The Iron Man story has some novelty to it. Iron Man vs Iron Man hadn’t been done before, so they spectacle was fun. Too bad the villain was forgettable and the romantic subplot is stagnant.

Continuity:

  • Weasel Wills learned Iron Man’s secret identity, but apparently had a mental break when he was arrested and believes he is the true Iron Man.
  • Weasel Wills is the first person (aside from Tony Stark) to on Iron Man’s armor.
  • The Captain America story is yet another adaptation of a story from 1941’s Captain America Comics #1. That’s three straight adaptations from the same issue for this feature.
  • This is the first appearance of Red Skull in the Silver Age…or is it? The internet seems to recognize Tales of Suspense #66 as the “true” Silver Age debut for the villain, so I guess something in this story gets retconned next month.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Tony didn’t you announce an engagement to an imaginary debutante to help Pepper and Happy get together? Are you dropping that story already?

  • Remember when Iron Man was a suspect in Tony Stark’s disappearance (Tales of Suspense #60), and the Avengers called Iron Man to express their concern? They apparently don’t care if one of their own is on front page for committing crimes. To review, being suspected of a crime is serious enough for intervention, appearing to be guilty of a crime is not.

  • Why does the arrest of Weasel Wills clear Iron Man’s name? The police didn’t recover any of his stolen goods. Who’s to say that Iron Man didn’t commit the crimes, and then frame Weasel?
  • “I guess we’ll never know…”?!? Pepper, if you want to know, ask Tony. Has anyone even tried that?

  • So…if the window was closed, Red Skull would have gone home?

  • Red Skull’s swastika jumpsuit is ridiculous. If you’re going to wear that getup, you might as well just break down the front door. You’re not dressed like that to sneak around.

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