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Tales of Suspense #61: Review

Jan 1965
Don Rico, Don Heck

Story Name:

The Death of Tony Stark!

Review & Comments

3 stars

Tales of Suspense #61 Review by (February 15, 2010)
Cap’s first visit to Vietnam.

Tales of Suspense #61 Review by (April 6, 2012)
Review (Iron Man): This issue has always bugged me. Why? Because there is no reason in the world that Tony Stark cannot reveal his Iron Man identity to Pepper and Happy at the beginning of the story—other than that he doesn’t trust them. Does he think Happy is too stupid or Pepper too much of a worrier to keep his secret? Perhaps. The Mandarin plot seems tacked on, almost as though Stan Lee realized he forgot to include a villain in the issue and hastily added one; no matter, the good part comes next issue with the origin of the Mandarin—whose idea of torture seems to consist of telling captives his life story in detail. I’ve met people like that! PS: Cool cover with Iron Man about to punch out the Mandarin with his oversized fist. Whammo!

Comments (Iron Man): Third part of a five-part story in which Tony Stark is forced into hiding and Iron Man is suspected of foul play in Tony’s disappearance. It is not clear when or how Iron Man got from Tony’s office on page one to Tony’s home on page three; or why the two locations look exactly alike.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tales of Suspense #61 Synopsis by T Vernon

Pepper Potts and Happy Hogan barge into Tony Stark’s office and hand Iron Man their letter of resignation. Tony has been "missing" for over a month and Iron Man seems to be unconcerned, as though he enjoys being in charge. They reveal their distrust of the so-called bodyguard and walk out. As Tony broods about this, Pepper and Happy are met by the police who ask for all that they know about Iron Man; they then pour out all their suspicions about Iron Man to the sympathetic detective. But an unscrupulous reporter overhears and soon the news of the Tony Stark/Iron Man mystery is on the front page of the newspaper. As Tony works feverishly on a way to remove his armor without stopping his heart, he hears the latest news on the television and sinks further into depression….

The next day, Happy Hogan decides to search for clues to the mystery in Tony Stark’s home. As he climbs into a bedroom window, Tony hears him coming and manages to leap into bed and pull up the covers to hide his armor. He tells the startled Happy that everything is all right, he’s just sick, and that Iron Man can be trusted. The delighted Happy calls Pepper with the news and she rushes over and soon the mansion is the center of a media circus. Later, Pepper and Happy are concerned that Stark doesn’t look particularly ill, and wonder if Iron Man is holding him prisoner.

Circling overhead late that night is a mysterious satellite, controlled by the Mandarin; at a command from the Asian villain the killer satellite sends a destructive beam straight at the Stark mansion. Iron Man detects its coming and jets out of there just seconds before the place is completely destroyed. When the news of this latest development hits the airwaves, Happy and Pepper head to the scene where Tony is assumed to be dead, and they accuse Iron Man of failing in his duty to protect his boss. Pepper takes her suspicions to the police but they do not listen, and Happy is overjoyed at no longer having a rival for Pepper’s affections—or so he tries to tell himself. Iron Man, meanwhile, has traced the trajectory of the beam to a small area in the orient and concludes it is the work of the Mandarin (despite the fact that the beam came from a satellite and not a stationary weapon). In disguise, the Golden Avenger takes a commercial flight to Asia and leaps overboard when over his target. But the Mandarin was expecting this visit: a tractor beam pulls the hero to the ground and flashing lights hypnotize Iron Man into believing that the villain’s huge robot is a giant human, and the hero loses the will to fight. When the hypnosis wears off, Iron Man finds himself chained to a massive wheel, with the Mandarin preparing to reveal the tale of his origin….

Story #2

The Strength of the Sumo!

Writer: Stan Lee. Penciler: Jack Kirby. Inker: Chic Stone. Colorist: ?.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

The Viet Cong are shocked by the sudden appearance of Captain America on a battlefield in Vietnam. The Star-Spangled Avenger has come to meet with their general to negotiate for the release of an American POW. After a long march the major in charge tests Cap by setting a pair of muscular soldiers on him; Cap defeats them with ease. Cap is then taken to the General’s palace where he meets the POW, Jim Baker, whose brother once rescued Cap during WW2. The General then arrives, and he is an enormous sumo. He orders Cap and Jim to be executed but Cap demonstrates his grasp of judo and leverage and eludes his giant foe, freeing Jim and heading for the exit. The General blocks the doorway, hoisting an enormous idol. The two Americans zip between his legs, causing him to drop the heavy stone idol on himself. Cap and Jim then overpower the guards outside, hijack the General’s private jet and head for the USA.

Don Heck
Don Heck
Jack Kirby (Cover Penciler)
Plot: .


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Pepper Potts
Pepper Potts

(Pepper Hogan)

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