For today’s comic book review I read Tales Of Suspense #48 where The New Iron Man Battles… The Mysterious Mr. Doll, in a “Book-length Marvel Masterwork!”. But is this issue, that reveals an all new Iron Man a classic or just an old relic? and what of the less than ominous sounding Mr. Doll? is he a menace that invokes fear, or just a sad excuse for a real nemesis?
to summarize the story, Mr. Doll has been somehow making the richest men in the city sign over fortunes and companies to him, going from one wealthy industrialist to another. Our story picks up, on the last one before he goes after Tony Stark, interestingly enough, as Tony is on route to see him. Leading to the first encounter between Mr. Doll and Iron Man, one that our hero almost does not survive, struggling with both the mysterious menace and his own internal failing heart.
The story seems to mostly be a backdrop for giving our hero a new look and design, and in doing so, also increasing his powers, making him in some ways a stronger, better and more durable Iron Man, then before. But perhaps more importantly, reminding us, that unlike Thor for example, our hero’s powers can be enhanced with new technologies that he develops.
But as a story, standing on its own goes, it is a bit of a sorry excuse, offering little for someone who just happened to pick up Iron Man here, Mr. Doll is uninteresting, and his name makes him laughable, and the action is almost non existent, instead giving us 3 pages to focus on Iron Man putting on his new armor.
The artwork by Steve Ditko and Dick Ayers for this issue was quite well done, as uninteresting as Mr. Doll is, they did a good job of letting us see how effective his weapon is. They also did a fabulous job showcasing both Iron Man’s new armor (even if they did spend 3 pages to do it) , as well as a near dying Tony Stark after his first encounter with Mr. Doll, leaving him in anguish and struggling to get back to his plugs.
The two panels I included are at the end of the lengthy explanation as he changes into his new Iron Man suit, giving us an overview of the technology, how he changes as he goes.
Originality & Continuity
Be it a Puppet or a doll, this story does remind me a lot of the Puppet Master’s first story in Fantastic Four #8 . Granted, Mr. Doll seems to only be able to give great pain, and not directly control the target though his creation, the similarities are quite remarkable to me between the two characters, and even the endings.
Characters & Development
This story is all about character development, From the clearly established feelings Pepper Potts feels for Tony Stark, to the ongoing tension between her and Happy Hogan, the supporting characters get a lot more attention than might first meet the eye.
But Tony Stark & Iron Man also see some good development’s, mostly in the new Iron Man suit, and the reasons for it, but also in him going back to his lab, to come up with a unique solution for an opponent. We seen this in last issue as well, where he developed non Iron armor to deal with the Melter.