Appearing in "Iron Man Is Born!"
- Iron Man (Tony Stark) (First appearance)
- Wong-Chu (First appearance) (Apparent death)
- Wong-Chu's Red Guerillas (First appearance)
- United States Army
- United States Air Force
- General (Unnamed)
- Tony Stark Admirers (Unnamed)
- Rock Hudson (Mentioned)
- South Vietnamese Villagers
- Army of the Republic of Vietnam
Races and Species:
Synopsis for "Iron Man Is Born!"
In a closely guarded lab, Anthony "Tony" Stark shows off a new invention to US military defense officials. He has developed micro-transistors capable of powering up things such as magnets; turning them into powerful weapons strong enough to pull open a thick metal door from a distance. They increase magnetic force a thousandfold! Stark impresses the military brass with his new inventions, while at the same time impressing the ladies of the international jet set with his dashing good looks and incredible personal wealth.
Across the globe, the evil Red tyrant Wong-Chu takes over another small village in Vietnam, defeating its strongest men in contests of judo. Meanwhile, Tony Stark has arrived in Vietnam to observe the testing micro-transistor-powered weaponry, which allow heavy items like mortars to be reduced in size no larger or heavier than a flashlight. Accompanying a squad of soldiers equipped with his weaponry on a patrol through the jungle, he accidentally triggers a tripwire that detonates a landmine. The wounded Stark is captured by Wong-Chu's forces and taken to their nearby headquarters. Wong-Chu realizes his prisoner is a "famous Yankee inventor" and decides that he will put him to work in service of the Communist insurgency even though doctors determine the young inventor only has days to live before "shrapnel reaches his heart."
Wong-Chu falsely promises that he will have a surgeon save Stark's life if he will agree to develop new high-tech weapons for him. Even though he saw through Wong-Chu's words to his true intentions, to make him work until his death, Stark agrees, in order to try and save his own life with his technical abilities and Wong-Chu's resources. Given access to scrap metal and tools, Stark promises he will deliver a "fantastic weapon," but sets out in building a mechanism that will help stop the shrapnel from penetrating his heart. He is given an assistant named Professor Yinsen, a famous physicist whom Stark had read about while in college. Working together, the two finalize work on Stark's project: an iron body suit with a chest plate that will keep the shrapnel at bay through use of transistor-powered magnets.
Just as Stark has donned the life-saving suit and begun to power it with electrical current from a generator, Wong-Chu attempts to come check on his prisoners. Professor Yinsen rushes out into the hallway shouting at Wong-Chu and is shot dead by armed guards, buying the precious seconds Stark needed to fully charge the armor. Tony Stark, as Iron Man, hears the murder of his friend and swears he will avenge his death. He tries to rise and steady himself in the Iron Man armor, but discovers it is like learning to walk again. He quickly gets the hang of operating the armor and evades detection from Wong-Chu by leaping to the ceiling and holding himself there using suction cups. After Wong-Chu leaves the room, the tyrant heads outside to "amuse himself" with his favorite sport, challenging the villagers to a duel of judo.
Iron Man descends from the ceiling and finds a coat and hat, with which to cover his armor, and wanders outside to find Wong-Chu tossing people around in the judo arena. Iron Man challenges Wong-Chu, then takes off his coat and hat to reveal the shocking visage of Iron Man! The metal monster walks up to Wong-Chu, picks him up, and twirls him around before tossing him into the brush. Wong-Chu demands that his guards open fire on Iron Man, but the bullets just bounce off the armored figure's metal chest plate. Iron Man then uses "reverse magnetism" to repel the enemy weapons. Wong-Chu tries to get to the speakers of the nearest building, in order to put a bounty on Iron Man, but Stark manages to create electrical interference and switch the radio's channel, telling Wong-Chu's troops through the speaker to flee their leader before the Iron Man "slays [them] all." Iron Man cuts down the building's door using a transistor-powered buzz-saw, but as soon as he enters the Communist menace fells him with a file cabinet loaded with rocks.
Wong-Chu escapes to order the execution of all his prisoners, but Iron Man, low on energy and too weak to continue pursuit, uses his armor's lubrication system to launch a stream of oil towards an ammunition depot near the fleeing Wong-Chu. He then sets fire to the oil stream using a miniature torch in one of the armor's gauntlets, causing the ammo dump to explode, and seemingly killing Wong-Chu. His batteries now recharged, Iron Man dons his coat and hat and walks away into the jungle.
Appearing in "The Treasure"
- Tommy Miller
- Mr. Miller
- Mrs. Miller
- Wish (First appearance)
Races and Species:
Synopsis for "The Treasure"
A sick boy takes comfort from a stray dog that grants wishes.
Appearing in "The Last Rocket!"
Races and Species:
- Evacuation Rocket Ships (Main story and flashback)
Synopsis for "The Last Rocket!"
A married couple refuses to leave the planet with everyone else when their sun starts to burn out. After the last rocket ship leaves orbit, there is a giant flash of light and a new sun forms behind the old one. They pledge to start the human race anew as a breed that will love the the planet as they love it. It is then we find that they are Adam and Eve.
Appearing in "Gundar!"
- Other Vikings (Unnamed)
- Viking Captain Gundar (Only in flashback)
- Odin (Only in flashback)
Races and Species:
- Island (Unnamed)
- Gundar's Viking Ship (Main story and flashback)
Synopsis for "Gundar!"
A man is lost at sea in a small boat when he sees an island in the distance. He lands to find the island inhabited by Vikings awaiting the coming of Gundar, "the cruelest, most hated captain of all!"
Centuries ago, Gundar was ambushed by his men, thrown into a boat, and left out to sea. As he stood there, he cursed them with immortality to Odin, never to leave the cursed island they were to find themselves stranded on until his return.
After the Vikings tell the man their story, they begin to vanish one by one believing Odin had forgiven them. The man is then found to be a descendant of Gundar and is soon rescued by ship.
- The lightweight mortars Tony Stark designed for the US Army look like M-79 grenade launchers.
- Don Heck based Stark's look on the 1930s movie actor Errol Flynn.
- This issue was ranked #29 in the 100 Greatest Marvels of All Time.
- The title Tales of Suspense was used again for two final episodes of the first season of the Marvel Animation TV series Iron Man: Armored Adventures.
- Yinsen's name is similar to that of a pulp villain of the 1930's named Dr. Yen Sin, who appeared in his own short-lived magazine.
- Tales of Suspense (Volume 1) Tales of Suspense #40 through Tales of Suspense #99
- Iron Man Volume 1
- Iron Man Volume 2
- Iron Man Volume 3
- Iron Man Volume 4
Links and References
- Iron Man biography page at Marvel Universe
- Iron Man article at Wikipedia
- Iron Man biography page at the Marvel Directory
- Tales of Suspense #39 entry at Grand Comics Database Project