Friday, 29 August 2008

Iron Man Is Born!

Tales Of Suspense #39, March 1963
(Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Don Heck)

So, we've done radiation-enhanced heroes, chemical-enhanced heroes, gods. What else do we need? Ah yes, battle-suited heroes. Bring on Iron Man!

Like the origin of the Incredible Hulk, our tale today begins with a scientist hired by the government to produce a new type of weapon for the army. In this case, millionaire industrialist Tony Stark has been hired to produce his miniature transistors to help win the war in Vietnam (younger readers, look it up to learn how that particular escapade turned out). Stark's transistor can turn an ordinary magnet into a super-magnet! Watch.

Stark is whisked off to Southeast Asia, to demonstrate his ingenuity. See, the army want him to build miniature bombs, to help them take on Charlie. Accompanying some of America's finest on a mission into the jungle, Tony watches with admiration as the American troops bomb the crap out of their communist opponents. So filled with glee is Mr Stark that he makes a potentially fatal blunder.

Damn those reds and their filthy traps! Anyway, as you may have guessed, Tony Stark survives the bomb, and finds himself a prisoner of local warlord, Wong-Chu, who plans to use Stark's talents for his own evil purposes.

Stark agrees to Wong-Chu's demands, in order to save his own sorry life. Fortuitously, Stark is joined in his prison laboratory by Asia's greatest non-communist scientist, Professor Yinsen. Yinsen and Stark agree to work together, to thwart Wong-Chu's plans, and the race is on to to build Stark's greatest design - an iron man!

p6 panel 2
And make no mistake, it is a race, for there is a piece of shrapnel making its way slowly towards Tony Stark's heart. It's only a matter of time before he succumbs to a fatal heart attack. Better work quickly, boys!

No sooner is Stark esconsced in his life-preserver, than Dr Yinsen nobly sacrifices his life in order to distract Wong-Chu and his guards. Whilst Yinsen is being chased and killed, Tony gets used to wearing his new armour.

No time for boo-hoos, Tony, because here come the reds. Get' em!

Wong-Chu is no pushover, however, and what's more he's got a filing cabinet filled with rocks, which he keeps for occasions such as this.

Needless to say, rock-filled stationery is not enough to stop the invincible Iron Man, who blows up the warlord, frees the prisoners, and heads back to civilisation.

So there you have it. Another hero joins the pantheon of the Marvel Universe. I wonder how many months it'll be before he starts behaving like a dick...

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