Friday, January 17, 2014

Marvels: Tales of Suspense #42

"Trapped by the Red Barbarian" by Stan Lee, Robert Bernstein & Don Heck
(June 1963)

Another unremarkable Bernstein-scripted adventure, this time with Iron Man facing off against Soviet agents. The big bad here is an agent calling himself the Red Barbarian; he's another one of those commie characters who is painted in the broadest, silliest strokes possible, wearing a fur cape and always eating whole hams off the bone or drinking from goblets. He sends one of his top agents--a master of disguise code-named the Actor--to steal Tony Stark's plans for a pocket-sized disintegrator ray.

The Actor steals the plans easily, but his real discovery is the secret identity of Iron Man. He actually discovers fairly easily that Tony is Iron Man, but keeps the information to himself for too long. Iron Man actually cuts the Actor off in the Soviet Union, traps him, manages to destroy the plans, and then sets up the Actor as a failure... and the Actor is promptly executed for failure by the Red Barbarian before the Actor can reveal what he's learned.

That's pretty much the whole story.

Stray notes:

:: I found Tony's invention of a small disintegrator ray really chilling. He's actually envisioning a near future where one small ray attached to a jet can simply atomize an entire city as though that were a good thing. This kind of thing is why I find him so alienating.

Next up: Ant-Man's new origin, a re-tool of his series, and the wonderful Wasp!

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