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Tales of Suspense #45: Review

Sep 1963
Robert Bernstein, Don Heck

Story Name:

The Icy Fingers of Jack Frost!

Review & Comments

Rating:
3 stars

Tales of Suspense #45 Review by (March 7, 2012)
Review: So, the series finally get a supporting cast! We meet the cute and mouthy Pepper Potts and the big loveable lug Happy Hogan and they will bicker like a couple out of a romantic comedy for years in this title. The problem with the story is that even though at 18 pages it is longer than usual, the villain seems like an afterthought. Jack Frost’s battle with Iron Man runs less than two pages. And he isn’t that interesting a baddie to begin with—in hindsight he’s just an imitation of Batman’s Mr. Zero (not yet known as Mister Freeze), or, more accurately the Flash’s Captain Cold, since the latter was a much better known villain than the Dark Knight’s equivalent at this time. No matter, Happy and Pepper are the best part of the story and that good enough for me. Meanwhile, rocket-powered roller skates!

Comments: First appearance of Happy Hogan and Pepper Potts. First appearance/origin of Jack Frost who would return as Blizzard in IRON MAN (1968) #86-87 and then again in the “Demon in a Bottle” arc (IM #123, 124, 127). He was murdered by Iron Man 2020 in SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #20. Happy refers to a physician as a “Kildare” in a reference to the then-popular medical show DR. KILDARE. There are references to the upcoming World’s Fair (opened in April 1964) and the “new baseball stadium” (Shea Stadium which also opened in April 1964). Oh, and AVENGERS #1 came out this month.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tales of Suspense #45 Synopsis by T Vernon

One day near Indianapolis, police are startled to see Iron Man zooming along on jet skates at 200 MPH. Tony Stark is scheduled to drive in the 500 and he’s late because he had to help the FBI catch a spy ring. He locates his car and changes into his Stark identity and makes it to the racetrack. While driving in the race, he has a heart seizure and crashes. As burly spectator heads to his rescue and pulls him to safety before the car explodes. Tony asks the stranger for a favor: to drive him to his hotel room and leave him alone. The fellow reluctantly does so and Tony recharges his chest plate in secret. Later he meets with his rescuer, Harold Hogan, an ex-boxer nicknamed “Happy” for his dour appearance, and offers him a generous cash reward. Happy refuses it and asks for a job instead. Tony hires him as a chauffeur. A few days later, Happy takes Tony to work at his main research center in Flushing, N.Y. and the new employee is introduced to Tony’s secretary Pepper Potts. The big lug is instantly smitten with the perky assistant, though she finds him hideous; Happy immediately realizes she has a crush on her handsome playboy boss and hopes to win her heart….

Meanwhile, in his office Tony Stark dons his Iron Man armor to test the systems; suddenly an alarm goes off. Iron Man heads to the underground vault via a secret passage and catches Stark researcher Professor Shapanka in the act of stealing the formula [sic] for Stark’s transistors. Iron Man locks him in the vault and summons the guards. As Tony Stark he declines to have Shapanka arrested, instead, for his past contributions to the company, he merely fires him….

After weeks of research, the bitter Shapanka has perfected cryogenics as a means to immortality. He dons a suit which lowers his body temperature and gives him freezing powers, which he uses to embark on a crime spree, sealing anyone who would oppose him in a block of ice. The newspapers dub the frozen fiend “Jack Frost,” which Shapanka finds corny but appropriate. His next step: revenge against Tony Stark. He heads to the Stark plant where he easily enters the boss’ office freezing everyone in his path, including Pepper and Happy. Tony manages to don his Iron costume and confront the villain. He blasts Jack Frost with a heat beam until he surrenders to the guards. Happy Hogan realizes that Tony Stark will need extra protection since Iron Man won’t always be around.


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Don Heck


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Pepper Potts
Pepper Potts

(Pepper Hogan)

Plus: Happy Hogan, Jack Frost.