OK, let me get this out-of-the-way before I go any further In this Iron Man story we have Doctor Strange. However this Doctor Strange is not the Doctor Strange you may think he is, that Character by the same name had not yet made his mark on the comic book page in May 1963, He would appear just two months later though in July of 1963 in Strange Tales #110. I will review that book for you in a few weeks so stay tuned. This Doctor Strange portrayed as a diabolical genius, and evil mastermind. and his much unlike the magical, mystical character that would come soon after this issue to the marvel universe.
Now on to review Iron Man’s story in Tales of Suspense #41, titled “The Stronghold of Doctor Strange!”. But lets begin by quoting the issue itself, i think that makes a good introduction:
Realizing that the struggle between good and evil is a no-holds-barred duel to the death, Iron Man risks all to stop the most evil villain in history! prepare yourself for electrifying suspense as the mighty night in shinning armor invades
In this story Dr. Strange finds a way to temporally control Iron Man and use him to escape from prison. weeks later, the Evil Doctor then makes an a threat against the world, in order to provoke its surrender. his fortress is impregnable, can Iron Man and the World find a way to stop the Evil Mastermind of Doctor Strange?
I will spare the world a rant on poor use of hypnosis and mind control, but I do feel this issue, executes it quite well. Iron Man is hypnotized remotely by a mastermind he never met. I have problems with this, and even bigger ones, that the guards whom likely never met him realise the his actions must be compelled by it.
once I get past that part of the story, I do feel for the most part it improves. although I would not say it makes a full recovery. In the same category as The Wizard, the evil genius that never seems to get the Human Torch, Doctor Strange seems to make a fatal mistake.
What I do like, is his downfall is not quite do to iron man, or at least not completely. if you read the story I would love to hear what you think about this.
Jack Kirby did a wonderful job on this one, one of the best parts is how well I feel he captures the images in tony’s mind as he explain’s to his date, and us readers why he would not be good husband material, and then goes on to think to himself the iron man elements of it.
I also like how Jack Kirby put whom i presume are John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev into the work, both to show the global scope of the threat but to ground the fiction into the real world, our world.
Originality & Continuity
In this story we have an evil mastermind threatening to destroy the world if he does not get his way, and then showing us that he has the power to do it. That in itself is not original, but what I do think makes this original is his downfall.
as for continuity, this story does fit in quite well with what we have seen up to this date, however I feel it leaves an opening at the end, one that to my knowledge and research was never filled. Likely due to the fact that in a few months they would give the name Doctor Strange to another, not so sinister character.
Characters & development
Iron Man & Tony Stark
The dual dynamic of our hero continues to build, and in ways him keeping his identity secret takes more work than any of our other superheros reviewed so far. While the rest just have to “Take their masks off” Iron Man, must keep his shirt on, for under it, is the greatest sign that he and iron man are the same. You can see this, know this as you read the story, and yet wonder how that plays into his playboy persona.
Tony Stark’s Girls
Between the three iron man stories reviewed so far, there is one common theme for most of his girlfriends we have seen. That is, in their name, or lack there of. The girl in this issue, just like some of the girls before, is never given a name.
I feel the keeping the girls Nameless is quite intentional for a few key reasons. first it shows us there lack of importance to the story both this issue and ongoing, it also shows us just how important they are to Tony Stark.
I feel this is a clever device that in not building their character helps build Tony Stark to be the playboy we expect.