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Tales of Suspense #52: Review

Apr 1964
Don Rico, Don Heck

Story Name:

The Crimson Dynamo Strikes Again!

Review & Comments

3 stars

Tales of Suspense #52 Review by (March 17, 2012)
Review: A major character in the Marvel Universe is introduced in this issue and she’s a sneaky glamour girl dressed in black: yes, kids, it’s the Black Widow and she takes a back seat to the Crimson Dynamo—and the second, one-issue-only Crimson Dynamo at that! Cold War epic is okay so far as it goes but the tale could have used a bit more seductress and a bit less of the guys in metal suits clanging on each other. Here’s something they never could have seen coming: Natasha is introduced one month after the publication of AVENGERS #4 wherein we learn that Captain America’s kid sidekick Bucky died in 1945. Imagine Stan Lee’s reaction had you told him at the time that Bucky wasn’t dead but that he and Natasha had been (and would again be) lovers. It boggles the mind.

Second story: Text story, reprinted from UNCANNY TALES #34; part two appears next issue. Story earlier reprinted in TALES TO ASTONISH #37.

Comments: First appearance of the Black Widow, in her original femme fatale dress. She will don her first costume (fishnets and a mask) in ToS #64 and adopt her familiar look (long red hair, blue-black costume with stingers on the wrists) in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #86. Boris is the second to wear the Crimson Dynamo armor—wait, Boris and Natasha?!?


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tales of Suspense #52 Synopsis by T Vernon

At Stark Industries’ main research plant, Anton Vanko, the former Crimson Dynamo (see issue #46) dons his electrified battle armor and enters his lab. He is working on a laser light and the only way to test it is with a human guinea pig and he hopes to avoid death by wearing the Dynamo suit. Tony Stark, observing through a window in his office, realizes what Vanko is doing and swings down on a rope and pulls the Russian scientist to safety, narrowly avoiding being disintegrated by his invention. Vanko regrets no having a successful test to present to his new country, which took him in when he defected from the Soviet Union….

Meanwhile, in the Kremlin, Premier Khrushchev gains confirmation that Vanko has defected to the West and summons his top two agents, the Black Widow and Boris. The black-clad femme fatale and the giant strongman are assigned to kill Tony Stark and Anton Vanko, and, if necessary, Iron Man….

Shortly thereafter, a pair of foreign science teachers arrives at the Stark plant, asking for a tour of the facility to see the latest American technology. Playboy Stark is smitten with the beauteous Madame Natasha and offers to take her to dinner while Boris tours the plant alone. Once in the building, Boris breaks into Vanko’s lab and kidnaps the defector, planning to return him to Russia alive. Boris then sneaks back into the plant and dons the Crimson Dynamo armor and begins a campaign of sabotage from within. Tony is notified at the swanky nightclub and he and Madame Natasha return to find the plant in flames. Tony sneaks off and puts on his Iron Man armor and enters the burning building. He encounters the Crimson Dynamo and, naturally assuming it’s Vanko in the armor, leaves himself vulnerable to an electrical attack. Boris carries off the unconscious hero and delivers him to the waiting submarine. Left alone, the weakened Iron Man plugs his spare extension cord into a light bulb and recharges. As he escapes, Shellhead encounters the captive Vanko, who explains the situation to him. They return to the plant where Iron Man and the second Crimson Dynamo battle furiously. The Black Widow distracts Iron Man long enough for Boris to spray him with water short-circuiting some of his transistors—but now Iron Man knows Natasha is an enemy too. To give the hero enough time to recover, Vanko fires the unperfected laser light pistol at the enemy and it pierces the Dynamo armor, killing him but Vanko has sacrificed his own life in the explosion. Natasha escapes in the confusion and when we last see her, she is on the run, fleeing her own people, fearing the price of failure….

“The Magician [Part One]”
Writer: Unknown.  
Synopsis: A page at a television station meets a man who claims to be a sorcerer from the future! Story continues next issue.

“The Séance!”
Writer: Larry Lieber. Plot: Stan Lee. Pencils: Larry Lieber. Inks: Chic Stone. Colors: ? Letters: Ray Holloway.
Synopsis: A phony spiritualist is a big success until he really is carried off to the realm of departed spirits, angry at his deceptions!

“The Failure!” 
Writer: Larry Lieber. Plot: Stan Lee. Pencils: Larry Lieber. Inks: Paul Reinman. Colors: ? Letters: Sam Rosen.
Synopsis: The Watcher relates a tale: On a future Earth marked by the ruthless striving for wealth, Kenn Bentley is an outcast for his charity, kindness, and interest in the arts. An alien race lands on Earth and takes Bentley away—because they have decided he would be their ideal king! 

Don Heck


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Pepper Potts
Pepper Potts

(Pepper Hogan)


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

> Tales of Suspense: Book info and issue index

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