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Tales of Suspense #46: Review

Oct 1963
Robert Bernstein, Don Heck

Story Name:

The Crimson Dynamo!

Review & Comments

3 stars

Tales of Suspense #46 Review by (March 7, 2012)
Review: Another Cold War epic threatens to sink under the weight of caricature; the Soviets are portrayed as uniformly evil and stupid stereotypes, as all the Commies are plotting to double-cross one another. This is common during wartime and we can grant the creators a bit of latitude but showing the enemy as a bunch of idiots doesn’t exactly make for compelling drama... Wait, never mind the fact that Tony can imitate Nikita Khrushchev’s voice and/or speak Russian (all foreigners speak English among themselves when alone, right?) but he defeats the villain by outright lying to him? The lie was actually the truth but Tony didn’t know that; as far as he was concerned it was an outright lie. Can you imagine Captain America doing this? Me neither.

Comments: Second story: Text story with one illustration, reprinted from ASTONISHING #53.

Comments: First appearance/origin of the Crimson Dynamo. Anton Vanko would be the first of thirteen (!) to wear the armor. His name and backstory would be adapted to suit the father of the villain in IRON MAN 2, played by Mickey Rourke.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tales of Suspense #46 Synopsis by T Vernon

As the story open, a crowd watches aghast as Iron Man races to catch a sabotaged rocket as it plunges toward the Earth. Why? For that we go back two weeks to the Soviet Union….

Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev visits his greatest expert on electricity, Professor Anton Vanko, and demands to see the arrogant scientist’s latest work. Vanko dons a heavy electric suit which makes him look like a human dynamo and begins his demonstration. The cynical Vanko terrorizes his leader with a robot double of Iron Man before using his electrical devices to cause the machine to short-circuit and explode. He follows this up by sending a remote-controlled tank against his boss and destroys that while gloating over Khrushchev’s fear. The impressed leader orders his minion to go to America and wreck Tony Stark’s projects and destroy Iron Man (while secretly plotting to have Vanko executed on his return)….

So today, Tony Stark is at his main testing ground for the launch of a manned missile. Tony makes his excuses and returns as Iron Man to observe the test. Hidden in the nearby woods, though, is the Crimson Dynamo, who uses his electrical powers to short the rocket’s circuits, causing it to plummet to the ground. Iron Man launches himself into the air and grasps the nose of the ship slowing its descent and cushioning its crash with his own body. Shocked at Iron Man’s superior power, the Crimson Dynamo changes his strategy and begins sabotaging Stark plants all over the country. The result is that the military threatens to cancel his contracts and on Capitol Hill Congressmen are even beginning to wonder whether Stark is a Communist agent, destroying his own facilities on orders from Moscow. Tony feels helpless to prevent this—unless the mysterious enemy slips up. Or, more conveniently to the comic book, chooses to take on Iron Man now. The Crimson Dynamo invades the Stark lab in Flushing and Tony is there to meet him as Iron Man. The hero sets up a force field rendering him impervious to the villain’s powers. Tony tricks Vanko into bragging about his vendetta against Tony Stark and records it as evidence of his (Tony’s) innocence. Iron Man then rips up several trees and pens his enemy inside, then scoops him up and threatens to drop him in a lake unless he surrenders. Iron Man then plays a recording he faked a few minutes ago in which he imitated the voice of the Soviet leader ordering Vanko’s execution. Realizing he has been tricked, Vanko accepts Iron Man’s offer to come work for Tony Stark, responding with inside info on a Russian spy ring in the US.

Meanwhile, back in Moscow, Nikita Khrushchev is throwing a fit at this latest news….

“The Utopia”
Writer: Unknown. Artist: Michelle Wright.
Synopsis: Two friends, Bob and Fred, meet each year at the Utopia restaurant, each trying to impress the other with fanciful tales of success. Bob has a dream in which he is taken to a branch of the Utopia in the sky where he is turned away for his lies and pretensions. Awakening, he meets with Fred who confesses he had the same dream; they reveal that they are only ordinary working men and for their honesty and humility, they are admitted to the Utopia in the sky!

“The Gargoyles”
Writer: Stan Lee. Art: Steve Ditko. Colors: ? Letters: Ray Holloway.
Synopsis: An explorer in Africa theorizes that native gargoyle-like carvings are based on a real tribe. He stumbles upon their hidden village but is chased off and narrowly escapes. Back in the States, he consults a folklorist who convinces him the experience was all in his imagination—but the folklorist is really one of the gargoyles!

“Mr. Flubb’s Flashlight”
Writer: Stan Lee. Art: Sol Brodsky. Colors: ? Letters: Sam Rosen.
Synopsis: Lazy and stupid news reporter Fenwick Flubb is at the docks when he sees a man fall into the river; with a minimum of effort, he pulls the man out and the man offers him a flashlight as a reward for saving his life. Flubb sneers at the man’s claims that it is valuable and refuses it. Then we learn that the man is an alien visitor and the flashlight a device for instantaneous space travel!

Don Heck


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Pepper Potts
Pepper Potts

(Pepper Hogan)

Plus: Crimson Dynamo (Anton Vanko), Nikita Kruschev, Senator Byrd.

> Tales of Suspense: Book info and issue index

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