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Tales of Suspense (1959) #68 Cover

Tales of Suspense (1959) #68

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Within the story, Stan warns us about a great plottwist, we should be prepared before turning the page. He was right. Iron Man started out good...and plummeted hard with the new direction it got after the half-time mark.

Count Nefaria is plotting again. This time, he gets a hold on Tonys cousin Morgan, who accumulated large amounts of debt with him. Tempting him with not only forgetting about the money, but giving him much more, he orders him to make Iron Man think he is crazy by conjuring up holograms of Aliens and spaceships, making them vanish, as soon as someone else approaches. This story has a few plotholes (how does Morgan know, when nobody is around? It would've made sense to show him walking around the place, since he is Tonys cousin and all, but no, he's obviously somewhere else. Also, the rocket obviously was no hologram, since Iron Man entered it...but its disappearance was completely unexplained! Though I suppose it had something to do with the glow...), but overall the plot was solid and the plan great.

And then...aliens. Yep, suddenly, when Morgan tries to trick Tony again, aliens actually DO appear. And it's not even "Morgan accidentally made contact through his images", the dialogue explains they are on earth for other reasons. Moreover: They live on the MOON! What? The FF where on the moon a few times, the Watcher LIVES on the moon, and now a new race is there as well? Luckily, Stan rescues himself slightly by letting them say, they have to abandon their colony there...still, this was a major disappointment. Especially seeing, how the end gets better as well, with Morgan forced to bail Tony out, if he doesn't want to expose his plans, getting rewarded with plane tickets back to Monte Carlos...leading him right in the arms of Count Nefaria again. Karma, eh?

One more thing: "No signal, that means its not radioactive" ... "That looks like a thermonuclear device!" What is it then? I think such a device is radioactive, is it not?

The Cap-story, too, switches gears quite abruptly. The solution to "Cap is mindcontrolled" simply is: "He regains control". On panel 1, even! He and Bucky clean up, and story over...wait, we still have 8 pages! Ok, then another Red Skull-plan, so quick, that he doesn't even care about the first one failing. The americans worked on a desintegrator-ray, and a Nazi spy is sent to steal it. The way how he gets there is both clever...and a bit mindboggling (where did he get the gas from?). He gets the ray, it works perfectly, until Cap dares him to go full power. A gamble, that pays off, and I can clearly see, how he got to the thought: If the ray works so good, why isn't it used already? It can NOT be finished, there has to be some flaws inside, so putting it under the greatest strain will likely cause it to malfunction...and what's to loose? The normal setting is already as deadly as you can get.

The device explodes, and Stan handwaves the not existing rays today with: It exploded, so it is too unstable and not worth the trouble. Of course, if you just remove different intensities altogether and just use the seemingly great normal setting...

All in all, Caps story had nice ideas, but, as could be seen as a metaphor for his comeback at large to this point, is clearly missing some direction. The cliffhanger is abandoned fast, but there were barely any pages for the new story. Introducing the Red Skull only briefly raised the quality, they still haven't found a way to really tell good Cap-stories...

Overall slightly disappointing issue, but with glimpses of greatness inside.