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Tales of Suspense (1959) #66 Cover

Tales of Suspense (1959) #66

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My dear Tony Stark...why would you think nobody will believe you, if you said you fought the Atlantean Attuma beneath the sea? You are an Avengers, there were public fights against Aliens, Timetravelers and Lava Men! The Submariner and his kingdom are a constant threat to humanity! Sure, Senator Byrd has it out for you, but he can't speak for Washington all by itself, they will understand...

The introduction of Senator Byrd, who believes Stark is just a playboy and shouldn't have the US contracts, is a great idea: Introducing an Antagonist, who is NOT a villain (meaning: Not evil). Someone Stark has to overcome, without being able to punch his way out! Nice touch! Developing his sidecharacters is a new trend for Stan Lee, it seems, since he also made Happy quit his job (apparently). All in all nice developments here! Although the fight with Attuma had its low moments...but it wasn't really bad...

With Captain America we get the Origin of the REAL Red Skull. I don't know how quickly they retconned this in the Golden Age, but here we immediately learn that the Red Skull from the last issue wasn't the real one. No, the real one is much more dangerous, because as a small kid, he...erm...was so weak and poor he always got beaten and only had the most undesirable jobs. One day, as a bellboy, he meets Hitler, who openly declares he hates humanity (erm...you know, painting him in this cartoony light actually weakens the fear for him...) and sees the same hate in the bellboy, forming him into a perfect Nazi. He first let somebody else train him, and is furious, that he does his job like he always did, forming the bellboy into a stormtrooper. Instead Hitler takes over the training himself, which...consists of the Führer giving him a costume, including a skull-like mask, and telling him to shoot his instructor. Training complete.

What I do like about this story is, that Cap doesn't sit still while it's being told. While the Red Skull narrates, Cap tries to defeat him twice, but though he manages to mildly surprise the Skull, he never catches him unprepared...and in the end, his mind has been wiped clean, and he becomes a slave for the Skull, getting the order to kill the Leader of the Allied Command. Well...that's not good. The story itself was ok, if you ignore the gaping holes in the Red Skulls Origin.