Tales to Suspense #46 is definitely a throwback to the Cold War Era. This issue opens up behind the Iron Curtain with Nikita Khrushchev walking in to see what the Soviet’s top scientist in electricity, Professor Anton Vanko, has been up to. Well, it turns out that Professor Vanko has been up to is creating a suit that can manipulate electrical components via what is admittedly a pretty badass suit, almost like a walking EMP. Naturally Khrushchev views this as a potential way of getting rid of Stark and Iron Man and setting the Americans back in the military technology. While effectively showing, versus just telling a villain’s powers, this intro also really highlights that this issue is a product of the ’60s, with Khrushchev really portrayed in a cowardly and deceitful light.
Eventually, the Crimson Dynamo makes his way the U.S. and begins to sabotaging Stark’s plants all across the United States, which begins to threaten Stark’s contracts with the U.S. government. This was by far the best part of the issue and I wish that more time had been spent developing this part of the story, such as having Stark actually trying to figure out what was happening and having to answer to Congress for what was going on. However, as is often the case in these early issues, the need to cram a whole story into one issue often causes the pacing to be way too fast.
In addition to pacing issues, the confrontation between Iron Man and the Crimson Dynamo was wholly unsatisfactory, as Iron Man comes off way too well prepared for having to never encountered this person before and the method used to stop the Crimson Dynamo was way to big of a stretch. Also, the ending was also pretty anti-climatic and really comes off as a propagandist piece.
In the end, Tales of Suspense #46 is a pretty solid issue that is dragged down a bit by Cold War propaganda, which leads to characters being boiled down to simplistic good and bad terms. Despite the flawed encounter, the Crimson Dynamo is definitely one of the better Iron Man villains up to this point.
- Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers
- Writers: Stan Lee, Robert Bernstein
- Pencilers: Don Heck
- Inkers: Don Heck
- Letterers: Artie Simek
- Editors: Stan Lee