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Iron Man
Tales of Suspense #39-50



March, 1963
Tales of Suspense: Iron Man # 39: "Iron Man is Born!" 
Writer: Stan Lee/Larry Lieber
Artist: Don Heck
Jay's Rating:
JJJJ
Synopsis:
Tony Stark, the millionaire industrialist, genius, and playboy, brings the wonders of his transistors to Vietnam to aid the U.S. Military. Unfortunately, Stark is mortally wounded by a booby trap which placed a piece of shrapnel close to his heart. The warlord Wong-Chu takes him captive and forces him to develop new weapons for his soldiers. However, Stark and a fellow prisoner Professor Yinsen labor together to develop the Iron Man armor, which will also keep Stark alive. Yinsen sacrifices himself to give Stark enough time to power up the armor. Iron Man uses his arsenal of attachments to humiliate Wong-Chu in front of his soldiers and apparently kill him when Iron Man ignites an ammo dump.

Jay's Notes:

  • First appearance of Tony Stark, Iron Man, Wong-Chu, and Professor Yinsen.


April, 1963
Tales of Suspense: Iron Man # 40: "Versus Gargantus!" 
Writer: Stan Lee/Robert Burns
Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Don Heck
Jay's Rating:
JJJ1/2
Synopsis:
Tony Stark's three personas, industrialist, playboy, and Iron Man keep him quite busy. Negative public reaction to his drab gray armor convinces him to paint his armor gold. One of Stark's girlfriends is trapped inside a small town which has mysterious erected a wall around itself to keep out strangers. Iron Man investigates and challenges Gargantus who holds the town people in a state of hypnosis. Iron Man defeats Gargantus and learns that it is a robot construction of aliens, who flee once threatened.


May, 1963
Tales of Suspense: Iron Man # 41:
"The Stronghold of Doctor Strange!" 
Writer: Stan Lee/R. Burns
Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Dick Ayers
Jay's Rating:
JJJ1/2
Synopsis:
Tony Stark takes time out of his busy schedule to entertain some hospital kids. However, the evil Doctor Strange takes control of Iron Man and has Iron Man free him from jail. Doctor Strange joins up with other evil geniuses and holds the world ransom. Iron Man, feeling responsible, attacks and defeats Doctor Strange, with help from Strange's daughter, who is disgusted by her father's action.

Jay's Notes:

  • This Doctor Strange has no relation to the mystical hero, Doctor Strange.


June, 1963
Tales of Suspense: Iron Man # 42: "Trapped by the Red Barbarian" 
Writer: Stan Lee/R. Berns
Artist: Don Heck 
Jay's Rating:
JJJ
Synopsis:
The Red Barbarian recruits the Actor, who has an uncanny impersonation ability, to infiltrate Stark Enterprises and learn Stark's military secrets. The Actor succeeds and even learns Iron Man's secret identity. However, Iron Man catches up with the Actor before he's able to report to the Red Barbarian. Iron Man then fools the Red Barbarian who then kills the Actor believing that the Actor tried to double cross him.


July, 1963
Tales of Suspense: Iron Man # 43:
"Versus Kala, Queen of the Netherworld!" 
Writer: Stan Lee/R. Berns
Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Don Heck
Jay's Rating:
JJJ1/2
Synopsis:
Tony Stark is kidnapped and brought to the Netherworld where he's forced turns his genius to creating weapons for Kala and her empire. However, Stark seizes the opportunity to create another Iron Man armor. Iron Man defends himself from their weapons and takes Kala to the surface, where the different atmosphere makes her old and weak. He returns her to the Netherworld and she agrees not to attack the surface world.


August, 1963
Tales of Suspense: Iron Man # 44:
"Faces the Menace of the Mad Pharaoh!" 
Writer: Stan Lee/R. Berns
Artist: Don Heck
Jay's Rating:
JJJ1/2
Synopsis:
Stark and Iron Man lend a hand at an archeological dig in Egypt which turns up the mummy of the Mad Pharaoh. However, the Mad Pharaoh was merely in suspended animation and forces Stark to travel back with him to the past to aid his conquer Cleopatra's empire. Stark gets the opportunity to change into Iron Man and he helps Cleopatra repel the Mad Pharaoh's attack. After a brief encounter with Cleopatra, Iron Man returns to the present.


September, 1963
Tales of Suspense: Iron Man # 45: "The Icy Fingers of Jack Frost" 
Writer: Stan Lee/R. Berns
Artist: Don Heck
Jay's Rating:
JJJ1/2
Synopsis:
Stark, enjoying a bit of car racing, suffers some heart trouble and crashes his race car. Happy Hogan rescues him and Stark rewards him by hiring him on as his chauffeur/body guard. Hogan takes an immediate shine to Pepper Potts, who of course only has eyes for Stark. Iron Man catches a disgruntled employee Professor Shapanka attempting to steal from Stark. Stark fires Shapanka, but he returns as Jack Frost. However, Iron Man's transistor powered mini-furnace is too much for Jack Frost and he apprehended.

Jay's Notes:

  • First appearance of Hogan and Pepper Potts.
  • First appearance and origin of Jack Frost.


October, 1963
Tales of Suspense: Iron Man # 46: "Faces the Crimson Dynamo!" 
Writer: Stan Lee/R. Berns
Artist: Don Heck
Jay's Rating:
JJJJ
Synopsis:
The Soviets sends the Crimson Dynamo to America to cripple Stark's production. The Crimson Dynamo goes on a spree destroying a dozen of Stark's plants. The U.S. military gets nervous and threatens to pull their contracts. The Crimson Dynamo takes on Iron Man directly, but he is defeated. Iron Man tricks him into defecting and joining Stark's research team.

Jay's Notes:

  • First appearance and origin of the Crimson Dynamo.


November, 1963
Tales of Suspense: Iron Man # 47: "Battles the Melter!" 
Writer: Stan Lee/R. Berns
Penciller: Steve Ditko
Inker: Don Heck
Jay's Rating:
JJJ1/2
Synopsis:
Bruno Horgan, a bitter competitor of Stark's, develops a iron melting beam and adopts the identity of the Melter to destroy Stark's business. He attacks one of Stark's plants and Iron Man confronts him. Iron Man is forced to flee because the melting beam could compromise his secret identity. The Melter shows up for a rematch, but Iron Man is ready with an aluminum armor and forces the Melter to withdraw.

Jay's Notes:

  • First appearance and origin of the Melter.


December, 1963
Tales of Suspense: Iron Man # 48: 
"Battles ... the Mysterious Mr. Doll!" 
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Steve Ditko
Inker: Dick Ayers
Jay's Rating:
JJJJ
Synopsis:
Stark checks up on a business associate who has refused to honor a deal and meets up with Mr. Doll who is using his mystical clay to intimidate the business associate. Stark dons the Iron Man armor and confronts Mr. Doll, who quickly reconfigures his mystical clay and defeats Iron Man.  Stark barely recovers and decides to reconfigure his armor since the old model was too bulky and heavy. Meanwhile, Mr. Doll continues to terrorize millionaires and sets his sights on Stark. The police place Stark under house arrest, but he toys with Pepper Potts' emotions to provide him the opportunity to escape and change into Iron Man. Iron Man confronts Mr. Doll once again, but is forced to withdraw. Stark puts together a telekinetic beam generator and uses it to forcibly remold Mr. Doll clay and defeat him.

Jay's Notes:

  • First appearance of Mr. Doll.



January, 1964
Tales of Suspense: Iron Man # 49: "Meets the Angel!" 
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Steve Ditko
Inker: Paul Reinman
Jay's Rating:
JJJJ
Synopsis:
The Angel wanders into one of Stark's  weapon testing zone and, despite Iron Man's best efforts, an atomic explosion turns him evil! The Angel returns to the X-Men where he promptly announces that he is quitting and going to join the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. The X-Men are unable to stop him and they are forced to ask the Avengers for help. The only Avenger available is Iron Man who confronts the Angel who is busy wreaking havoc hoping to draw the attention of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Iron Man can't compete with the Angel's maneuverability and has to put his life on the line to restore the Angel.


February, 1964
Tales of Suspense: Iron Man # 50:
"Caught in the Clutches of the Hands of the Mandarin!" 
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Don Heck
Jay's Rating:
JJJJ
Synopsis:
The U.S. Military ask Iron Man to investigate the rumored threat of the Mandarin in Red China. Stark sets up Pepper and Happy together to attend an employee diner in his place. Iron Man is dropped off deep in the heart of China where he makes his way to the Mandarin's castle. Iron Man battles through the Mandarin's  tricks and traps only to face the awesome powers of his deadly rings. However, Iron Man stuns the Mandarin and is forced to flee as his batteries weaken and he has to catch his "ride" out of the country.

Jay's Notes:

  • First appearance of the Mandarin.

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