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Tales of Suspense #41: Review

May 1963
Robert Bernstein, Jack Kirby

Story Name:

The Stronghold of Doctor Strange!

Review & Comments

3 stars

Tales of Suspense #41 Review by (February 29, 2012)
Review: “I’m going the nuke the planet and it’s all for you, my darling!” “Couldn’t you just take me to see Twilight instead, Daddy?” Iron Man battles a scientist so mad that if he can’t have the world no one will! That’s showing them, Doctor Strange! Meanwhile, Shellhead can recharge his armor and get back to fighting strength on just the power of two D batteries! He keeps going and going and going…. Fast-paced goofy fun the like of which comics would never see again!

Comments: Second story: Text story with one illustration, reprinted from STRANGE TALES #39.

Comments: This Doctor Strange is no relation to the Master of the Mystic Arts of the same name who would be introduced in STRANGE TALES #110 (July 1963, two months after this issue) and never leave. So, despite the open ending with its threat of a return engagement, Iron Man’s Dr. Strange is never seen again. Strange’s villainous allies have been identified by some with The Exiles, a similar group supporting the Red Skull starting in CAPTAIN AMERICA (1968) #102; they certainly look like them but nothing definite can be proved. Tony Stark seems to have expertise in biomedical engineering—though maybe not, since his flash-healing serum is never heard from after this “successful” test. Cameo by Nikita Khrushchev, then Soviet Premier.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tales of Suspense #41 Synopsis by T Vernon

Millionaire playboy Tony Stark attends a charity dance for a hospital. He is called up on the stage where the hostess announces that Tony’s gift of $100,000 will cover the cost of the new wing. Tony has an announcement of his own: Iron Man will entertain the children at the hospital on the following day. After the dance, his adoring date asks him if he will ever get married. He replies that his life is too busy for him to devote to a wife. He ponders his munitions factories (atomic naval cannons), biomedical research “flesh-healing serum), aerospace research (radiation shielding for space capsules), and U.S. Defense (miniature artillery shells). And then he reviews his recent adventures as Iron Man: catching bank robbers, stopping commie spies by smashing their plane, preventing a ship collision, and driving off alien invaders (last issue)—but he must keep his chest plate recharged to prevent his damaged heart from killing him. Summary over, as Iron Man he entertains the children the next day by juggling cars in mid-air with magnetic force. Iron Man then catches a cannonball and breaks it into small pieces as souvenirs for the kiddies. In a nearby prison, scientific criminal Doctor Strange has devised an electronic gadget which will broadcast a sinister signal. This signal is picked up by Iron Man and it hypnotizes him into doing Strange’s bidding. Guards are surprised when the armored hero crashes through the prison gate, demolishes a cell block wall, and carries the villain to safety. Hours later, the authorities discover a dazed Iron Man wandering in the woods; the hero vows to recapture the criminal in order to redeem himself.

Meanwhile, Doctor Strange has taken up residence in his island stronghold with his large team of accomplices—a cadre of power-mad scientists and military men. Strange is doing it all to win the love and admiration of his estranged daughter Carla, whom he brings to the island with him. Soon, the megalomaniac explodes his massive S-Bomb in space and broadcasts a threat that unless all the nations of the world surrender to him or he will lay waste the Earth. The US military attacks with A-Bombs but Strange’s fortress is protected by an impenetrable force field. But he reckoned without the ingenuity of Iron Man…. The armored hero has a submarine fire him out of a torpedo tube so he can pass under the force field and approach the island from beneath. He tunnels upward and enters the villain’s electrical power plant where he confronts Strange and his daughter. Iron Man sabotages the generator, but it also drains all of the hero’s power leaving him at the mercy of his enemy. But Carla Strange, who never approved of her father’s life of crime, tosses Iron Man a flashlight. The hero breaks out the batteries and recharges himself. While Iron Man is regaining his strength, Doctor Strange makes his getaway. The US military comes in and captures the cadre of henchmen but the mastermind is nowhere to be found. Iron Man thanks Carla for aiding him in his hour of need.

“Music Master”
Writer: Unknown. Artist: Jay Scott Pike.
Synopsis: A jazz band hits the big time when a harpist joins the group—and the guy turns out to be an angel on a good will mission from Heaven!

“The Sorcerer’s Spell!”
Writer: Larry Lieber. Plot: Stan Lee. Pencils: Larry Lieber. Inks: Sol Brodsky. Colors: Stan Goldberg. Letters: Artie Simek.
Synopsis: A general plotting to overthrow the King forces a Gypsy sorcerer to cast a spell making him fearless and immune from harm—so the Gypsy turns him into a toy soldier!

“The End of the Universe!”
Writer: Stan Lee. Art: Steve Ditko. Colors: Stan Goldberg. Letters: Szenics.
Synopsis: A rocket is sent to find the end of the universe; the rocket returns and the pilot, having learned the secret of the universe, is so happy his mind has snapped!

Jack Kirby
Dick Ayers


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

Plus: Carla Strange, Doctor Strange (Villain).

> Tales of Suspense: Book info and issue index

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