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Tales of Suspense #40: Review

Apr 1963
Robert Bernstein, Jack Kirby

Story Name:

Iron Man vs Gargantus!

Review & Comments

3 stars

Tales of Suspense #40 Review by (February 29, 2012)
Review: Iron Man’s second adventure is a fast-paced and entertaining read, with a terrific summary of the hero’s life and career that would still be accurate today. And then there’s the main story: a giant caveman from outer space! Now some modern readers may think these stories are dumb but the joke’s on them—readers in the 60s also thought they were dumb! There is a place for comics which are mindless fun and all it takes to enjoy them as they were intended is the ability to drop the smug cynicism that is in the air today and just go with it! Not every comic book has to be dark and serious! Meanwhile, rocket-powered roller skates!

Comments: Second story: Text story with one illustration, reprinted from UNCANNY TALES #39.

Comments: Iron Man switches to golden armor. Iron Man’s technology is based on transistors, which at the time was the most advanced electronics devices known. Since his first appearance, Iron Man has become well-known in America, leaving space for a series of “untold tales.” Gargantus’ alien creators make a second attempt to conquer Earth with giant robots in CAPTAIN AMERICA, SENTINEL OF LIBERTY #5 and 6, which is set not long after the events of AVENGERS (1963) #4. Meanwhile, rocket-powered roller skates!


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tales of Suspense #40 Synopsis by T Vernon

Anthony Stark is a man who leads three lives!” intones the narrator at the start of this second adventure. The first Tony Stark is the engineering genius recognized world-wide by scientists and the military (for whom he is building rocket-powered roller skates!). The second Tony Stark is the millionaire playboy who must decline an invitation to go swimming in the Riviera with society friends because he secretly wears an iron chest plate that keeps his injured heart beating, and must be recharged periodically. The third and secret Tony Stark is the armored hero Iron Man who battles gangsters and overcomes mad scientists in his efforts to fight evil. One night at the circus, the big cats escape from their cage and run wild; the audience panics. Tony sees his date Marion to safety, then runs off, supposedly to call the police but actually to change into his Iron Man armor which is collapsible and fits into his briefcase. The gray and ominous-looking hero nearly causes a panic himself when he appears on the scene. He subdues the jungle cats and locks them up; later when Tony learns that Marion also finds Iron Man frightening, he asks what she thinks he should do. She suggests the metal hero paint his armor gold to show he has a heart of gold underneath the iron. While Marion is away in Granville, Tony takes the opportunity to coat his armor with gold paint.

When Marion fails to return from her trip to Granville, Tony learns that a huge wall has been built around that city and all outsiders have been barred from entering. As Iron Man he goes to investigate. The police are helpless as no laws have been broken, so Iron Man tunnels under the wall to enter the city. There he finds the townspeople worshipping the statue of a massive Neanderthal man called Gargantus, and they pelt the hero with stones and garbage to drive him away. From a rooftop, Iron Man broadcasts a challenge to Gargantus to meet him in combat—and Gargantus complies. He is a giant savage with hypnotic eyes to keep the townspeople in his thrall. The hero easily evades the monster’s crushing blows and he tosses powerful magnets into the air which cause Gargantus to fly apart, revealing it to be a huge robot. A large cloud over the city that does not move in the wind attracts his attention. He discovers it is concealing a spaceship from an alien race bent on conquering Earth, unaware that the Earthpeople have changed since their last visit 80,000 years ago. They flee to their home planet and the townspeople, including Marion, snap out of the hypnotic trance. Tony and Marion are reunited the next day.

“Wrong Number”
Writer: Unknown. Artist: Unknown.
Synopsis: A miserable working stiff keeps getting phone calls and deliveries for Sir Archibald Agincourt, whom he has never heard of. Eventually, he turns into Sir Archibald Agincourt!

“Work of Art!”
Writer: Larry Lieber. Plot: Stan Lee. Pencils: Larry Lieber. Inks: Sol Brodsky. Colors: Stan Goldberg. Letters: Vivian Berg.
Synopsis:  A dishonest artist forces a famous painter to show him how his paintings are so lifelike; the painter is also a sorcerer who paints the villain’s picture—and the man is literally transferred to the canvas!

“Prophet of Doom!”
Writer: Stan Lee. Art: Steve Ditko. Colors: Stan Goldberg. Letters: Artie Simek.
Synopsis: A man from the future, lusting for power, goes to the United Nations and demands a hundred million dollars or else he will start wars all over the world. The UN leader reveals he is also an agent from the future, one of many sent to trap villains from the future like this guy!

Jack Kirby
Don Heck


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

Plus: Gargantus.

> Tales of Suspense: Book info and issue index

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