Tales Of Suspense #53
Issue(s): Tales Of Suspense #53
Which is good enough for Tony Stark.
She steals an Anti-Gravity Device...
...that Stark created and can not replicate, and uses it to sabotage SI plants and attack Iron Man. Iron Man wins by destroying the device, which means that he can never re-create it. This does get him in trouble with the government, however.
Throwaway story if it wasn't an early appearance of the Black Widow.
Iron Man's early look freaks me out sometimes.
Also in this issue alien Venturans who were planning to invade another planet instead have to go to them as refugees when Ventura is threatened by a meteor.
The third story is the origin of the Watcher.
He comes from an advanced race that was so technologically advanced they were nearly gods.
Strange, group-showering gods.
They provided another planet with the secret of atomic energy, thinking that the race would use it to better themselves, but instead they used it for war. Therefore the Watcher's people vowed to never again interfere with other races, instead choosing only to observe. Uatu was one of the members of the governing council when all of this occurred. It's his father, Ikor, that proposes to help the other races.
One of the Watchers, Emnu, is against the decision to help other races, but only for ethnocentric reasons; he doesn't think they should share their bounty with the rest of the universe. He will actually appear again (he's not listed as a character appearing because this story is mostly a flashback told by Uatu).
Stan Lee plotted and Larry Lieber scripted and drew this story. The Iron Man story deserved a solid D but the Watcher story is ok for what it is - typical fantasy back-up stuff.
My partner min has complained that i didn't point out the truly significant aspect of this issue, which is that it's the first appearance of Wonder Man's safari jacket:
Quality Rating: C-
Historical Significance Rating: 6 - origin of the Watcher, early Black Widow story
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Iron Man story has no dependencies. The Watcher origin is being told by the Watcher to the audience, so it doesn't need to take place when it 'happened'.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
i'm always disappointed when the Watcher isn't depicted with a super ginormous head. *sigh*
Posted by: min | June 7, 2012 8:45 PM
Ah, for once the old tired "if only he would just notice me" line has a good reason for he not noticing her. Sorry Pepper, but you're no Natasha. But hey, at least you know it. I love that she knows that Natasha's not out of Tony's league.
Posted by: Erik Beck | December 21, 2014 12:53 PM
Oh my God! This story is horrible! I was suffering when I was reading, I don't know which one is worst, this one or ToS48 with Mister Doll. So much rubish in these issues...
Posted by: tylerdurden99 | August 18, 2015 5:15 PM
Maybe the Watchers' heads became ginormous once they stopped showering together.
But considering it's from Tales of Suspense, the Watchers' story is sorta neat. It's gives them motivation: they realized that beings with too much cosmic power and not enough wisdom shouldn't interfere with the natural order of the Universe, or something. It makes them the opposite of the Celestials, whose cosmic powers compel them to interfere with the shitty natural order of the Universe. Sometimes mucking things up.
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | August 18, 2015 6:22 PM
My god! The Watchers are Group-Showering!!!! Got to get this out of my head!!!!!!!
(Sees black-haired Natasha) Eh...not what I expected but I'll take it.
Posted by: Ataru320 | August 19, 2015 8:50 AM
I find it a bit odd that the origin story of the Watcher has never been reprinted. The only reason why I've known about it for so many years was because it was briefly recapped in an issue of Marvel Saga that I read when I was 10 years old.
It is actually a good explanation for why the Watcher and the rest of his race have such a stringent policy of non-interference. It's interesting that a very similar reason was eventually offered on Doctor Who for the Time Lords' longstanding official policy of non-intervention in the serial "Underworld" broadcast in January 1978...
DOCTOR: It was what happened on Minyos that led to our policy of non-intervention.
I've sometimes wondered if the Doctor Who writers knew about the Watcher's origin, but it seems a bit unlikely since this is a rather obscure story. In any case, there are also definite parallels between Uatu and the Doctor in that they are both members of their respective races who keep breaking their oaths and interfering, particularly in the affairs of Earth.
As far as I know, though, the Time Lords do not take group showers :)
Posted by: Ben Herman | August 19, 2015 9:03 AM
It's interesting that the Minyans should think of the Time Lords as gods. I wondered if that it how the people of Prosilicus regarded the Watchers, or if they saw them as simply group-showering space philanthropes. I don't know much about Doctor Who, but as far as Marvel goes, it seems that the Watchers approach Prosilicus with a humble generosity that subverts the imposing glory of gods. I contrast the Watchers coming to Prosilicus to the Celestials coming to Earth, which, in the Serpent Crown Saga, effectively parallels the Story of Creation--complete with a serpent tempting the patriarch and matriarch of the hominids. Peter Sanderson's depiction of Demiurge creating the Earth has Biblical connotations to it.
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | August 19, 2015 10:59 AM
@Ben Herman: You're in luck because there is a Marvel Masterworks volume that collects all of his Tales of Suspense appearances. It's called: Marvel Masterworks: Marvel Rarities: Vol. 1.
Posted by: D09 | October 18, 2016 11:46 PM
@D09: Thanks for the information! I just looked it up on Amazon. Seems like there's some nice stuff in that collection, but I'm going to look around to see if I can find it for sale at a lower price than 75 bucks :)
Posted by: Ben Herman | October 19, 2016 9:00 AM
The Watcher's origin was retold in SILVER SURFER #1. Lee used that version in SONS OF ORIGINS OF MARVEL COMICS.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | October 19, 2016 4:52 PM
I also noted the similarities between the Watchers and the Time Lords.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 28, 2016 10:03 PM
Love the Watcher's origin.
Posted by: Oomaga | January 19, 2018 8:03 PM
In Silver Surfer #1 the guy with the white beard in the yellow robe is identified as Ikor, Uatu's father. (I don't know if he ever appeared outside of flashbacks.) In the Original Sin mini-series, Jason Aaron makes the intriguing suggestion that the reason Uatu watches parallel dimensions is he's looking for one in which he and his father voted with Emnu and did not give atomic energy to the Prosilicans. He hasn't found one yet.
Posted by: Andrew | March 28, 2018 8:54 AM
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