Tales Of Suspense #48
Issue(s): Tales Of Suspense #48
Since Mr. Doll character is a tough cookie...
...and Iron Man's armor is slowing him down...
..he calls a time-out to create a new costume.
These two panels alone were reprinted as "How Iron Man Created His New Thinner Uniform" in Marvel Tales #1, and for a while that was all i had of this issue.
I don't like how Iron Man's leg and arm pieces are drawn to look like soft cloth, "smooth, supple, form-fitting and with the strength of ductile iron!". It seems a bit much. The armor should still be somewhat bulky, in my opinion. Anyway, i never realized that the arms and legs were meant to be flexible chainmail-like material as opposed to solid metal.
Also of interest is that the head-mask enables Stark's expressions to show, "which will psychologically aid in instilling fear in the hearts" of his enemies. Weird.
Once he's got his new armor, he's ready for his rematch with Mr. Doll. Only the armor doesn't really help that much. Luckily Iron Man is able to use a gadget to reform Mr. Doll's doll face into the likeness of Mr. Doll himself, which Doll then drops, knocking him out.
As Mark notes, the original name for Mr. Doll was Mr. Pain, and it's a more fitting (and menacing) name. Mr. Doll is no Puppet Master; when he shapes your face into his universal Pez dispenser, it doesn't allow him to control you; it allows him to hurt you.
Mr. Doll will return in a strange sort of way in the early issues of Spider-Woman.
I originally had just the portion of this story where Iron Man created his new armor, from where it was reprinted in Marvel Tales #1, with a title of "How Iron Man Created His New Thinner Uniform". And it's worth noting how easy it was to segment that out; the Mr. Doll portion of the story is almost irrelevant. As kveto said on the entry for the previous issue, it would have made a lot more sense if Iron Man had upgraded his armor while fighting the Melter. The armor is nearly incidental to the story here. Last issue was Ditko's first issue; i guess after an issue of drawing that clunky old armor he proposed streamlining it.
The one bad thing about this armor is we now have to see Stark in a state of undress all the time (i'm also not sure if Tony is being ironic with his "hard to believe" statements or what; that second bubble definitely looks tacked on).
There's a terrible thing with Pepper this issue. Tony plays with her heart to ditch the guard that's supposed to be protecting him from Mr. Doll. It's cruel.
Ditko's Pepper also isn't as cute as Heck's.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Takes place between Avengers #2-3. Note that my comments in the Comments section below are no longer operative; i now have the Avengers issues in single issue format so all the entries appear in their proper places.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel Masterworks: The Invincible Iron Man vol. 1
Essential Iron Man V.1 showed the original unprinted cover where Mr. Doll was called "Mr. Pain". The Comics Code most likely forced a change.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 31, 2011 4:43 PM
shouldnt this take place somewhere between Avengers 2 and 4 since IM changes his armour between those issues?
Posted by: kveto from prague | September 25, 2011 12:12 PM
Yeah, you may have noticed a snarky note i put in the Chronological Considerations section for Avengers #2-5 suggesting that maybe Iron Man briefly switched back to his old armor in issue 2.
The real chronology is Avengers #2, Tales of Suspense #48-49, Avengers #3 (and lots of other continuity inserts in that gap as well; see the MCP for details), but since my Avengers issues are bound in a trade, i've got them laid out in a way where they are broadly concurrent.
Thanks for the question; it's made me realize i needed to be clearer here. I've updated the Chronology note. And one day i'll replace my trade with the single-issue reprints that came out a few years ago to make this flow better.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 26, 2011 9:32 AM
ok, i missed it. just trying to help out.
Posted by: kveto from prague | September 26, 2011 11:15 AM
It's much appreciated!
Posted by: fnord12 | September 26, 2011 11:28 AM
Ditko's Pepper almost looks like Ms. Grundy from Archie.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | November 22, 2012 12:06 PM
Mr Doll? What an incredibly lame villain. Also more questionable science, including medical science (slowing Stark's heart down will deaden his nerves??)
Posted by: Dave B | January 17, 2013 9:36 AM
Could there be a more ridiculous villain for such an important moment in Marvel history?
Original armor - a couple of issues. Second armor - like eight issues. New armor - with some modifications, the design has now lasted like 50 years (with some time off for other ones, but it always returns to this design).
And yeah, that last panel of Pepper is just awful. Simply terrible.
Posted by: Erik Beck | December 10, 2014 9:34 PM
Lame story, pathetic villain. Not even the description of the new armor redeems this one.
Posted by: Leves | April 14, 2015 10:14 AM
Heh, I think the only problem that Mr. Doll has is that its trying to create a second Puppet Master without the depth that he has. I guess since they weren't really blending villains too much yet, they figured "let's just create a supervillain like the Puppet Master without bringing in the Puppet Master" I give lattitude mostly cause it was still early in Marvel.
Though considering how cute (and pouty) Pepper can be, I can ignore Mr. Doll for her (and complain about her glamorization not too long later)
Posted by: Ataru320 | April 14, 2015 11:01 AM
This came up in a review actually about Black Widow's appearance but I think there is something else not brought up prior: the Iron nipples. Seriously, did Tony really need to go Joel Schuelmacher in this suit? (then again this is the guy who later thought his mask needed a nose...)
Posted by: Ataru320 | November 25, 2015 10:12 PM
GCD says Steve Ditko pencils and Dick Ayers inks on this story, but the splash page credits say "Art: Steve Ditko and Dick Ayers." It looks to me like Ditko on breakdowns only, with Ayers on all the detail finishes. Ditko preferred to ink his own pencils; I'm guessing that Stan must have really bent Steve's arm in order to get him to do breakdowns, for Ayers here, and for Don Heck on the previous TOS #47. Can't find any previous examples of Ditko doing breakdowns.
I don't think Pepper Potts was originally intended to be Gwyneth Paltrow pretty, but rather, more like girl-next-door pretty. She gradually got glamorized because so many comic artists were/are so very focused on Hollywood-actress pretty and He-Man handsome character modeling.
Posted by: James Holt | August 10, 2016 2:08 AM
I explained about Pepper's change in appearance in a comment on ToS#45. In my reading order, I place this between Avengers#2 and 3 as well.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 25, 2016 8:54 PM
Comments are now closed.
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