Tales Of Suspense #69-71 (1965): 1st Titanium Man

These split books are weird–I guess Stan was trying to sell to fans of Iron Man or Cap, hoping the one would by the others’ book.  It’s hard because each of the stories are so short.  

As a result, they’re not really developed well, and they’re rarely above average.

In these three issues, on the Iron Man side, we meet Titanium Man for the first time. 

He ties up Iron Man, who would rather be tied up by women.

Titanium Man basically a green Russian Iron Man.  Iron Man beats him (of course).

Not much significance to the main story, but on the personal side…

Happy Hogan gets injured and tells Iron Man that he knows he’s really Tony Stark.  So from here on out, Tony should have a pal and a confidant.  And if he threw a party, he would see the biggest gift would be from Happy.  (Sorry, can’t resist a Golden Girls reference.)

Also, in the panels above, Pepper seems to love Happy more than Tony. But you know how Stan Lee writes women: They’re just ga-ga over whatever man is in front of them. So let’s not put too much stake in that.

It ends with Happy recovering in an intensive care unit, and Pepper pissed at Tony for not sitting at his bedside.

Of course, Tony’s can’t.  Because he’s Iron Man. And Iron Man was busy polishing off Titanium Man.

Tony takes advantage of the situation to mope and feel sorry for himself, as so many Marvel heroes of this age are wont to do.

But at least he has impossible problems to work on.

On the Cap side of these comics, we get a three part tale with terrific issue titles (“Midnight in Greymoor Castle!” “If this be treason!” “When you lie down with dogs!”) and not-so-terrific content.  It’s still World War II stuff, so it doesn’t have any real impact on the shared Marvel Universe, which started over a decade after WWII ended. He and Bucky are foiling a plot to kill Winston Churchill.

Wisecracking Cap.

Actually, I’m not even sure how canonical these tales are, since Captain America appears to be in the service undercover as Steve Rogers and then springing into action in costume, whereas more modern versions show him being Cap 100% of the time during the war. I guess maybe he could have done both.

So much bondage in these old comics.

One of the villains even ties up plastic replicas of Bucky and Captain America to test out a shrink ray.

It’s very hard to tell what is going on in that sequence. It’s Jack Kirby, but he’s not at his best here–even with longtime partner Vince Colletta doing finishes.

On the upside, George Tuska shows up with #70 and uses his real name instead of the pseudonym he was using for his work in Tales to Astonish.

Also, Cap knows how to delegate.

That’s a sign of true leadership.

Stan Lee and Don Heck (Iron Man); Stan Lee, Jack Kirby (layouts), Vincent Colletta (#69), George Tuska (#70-71) (Cap)

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