Tales To Astonish #82-83
Issue(s): Tales To Astonish #82, Tales To Astonish #83
The Sub-Mariner and Iron Man are fighting over a misunderstanding involving Krang and Lady Dorma.
They seem fairly evenly matched (although Marvel's writers have always had a very optimistic view of the power of judo, which nearly every Marvel hero seems to have taken time to learn).
Namor uses the oath "By the ringing gates of Atlantis!". I find that to be a strange oath, similar to if i were to shout "By my front door!".
Finally, Namor and Iron Man are locked in mortal combat...
Ok, luckily Iron Man Masterworks vol. 3 has got me covered here. It turns out Namor runs off when he thinks (or pretends; Iron Man has him on the ropes at this point) that he's spotted Krang's flagship in the sea...
...and then Tony Stark resolves to call Senator Byrd and turn himself in.
But the Iron Man Masterworks doesn't cover the Hulk portion of the issue, so I still don't know how the Hulk story begins, but he's fighting the army again. Talbot shows up back at the base with Rick and informs General Ross that his daughter's been kidnapped. Meanwhile the members of the Secret Empire are being assassinated one by one. They suspect that it is Agent Nine who is doing it but they say they can't act without proof. They're very by-the-rules for an illegal secret organization bent on world domination.
The Hulk encounters Boomerang carrying Betty around and like any good horror monster he just keeps coming despite everything Boomerang throws at him.
Boomerang flees, leaving the Hulk with a terrified Betty.
She tries reasoning with him, and he ends up digging her a shelter and providing her with fire. He heads off to find her food as well but the army attacks him. Rick mediates a cease-fire and the Hulk leaves, unhappy and confused that Betty wants to return to her father.
Number Nine kills off the rest of the Secret Empire, excepting Number One (actually he just hits them with a stun grenade; see the comments for more on this).
He's talking in full villain high-speak, but it will turn out (revealed in Strange Tales #149) that Number Nine is actually Gabriel Jones, infiltrating the Secret Empire for SHIELD. Another good reason to read all of these comics at once; otherwise this feels like an unresolved plot line.
Back to Namor... he's back on the trail of Krang and Dorma in NYC. Krang tries to take advantage of the fact that Namor has suffered head injuries in the past, but it doesn't help him any. The Sub-Mariner starts to tear apart Krang's ship. But when he sees Lady Dorma he pauses for a minute, long enough for Krang to blast him.
Meanwhile, in a nice continuation of the Hulk story, Secret Empire's Number One is in New York as well.
His plan is to hypnotize Namor to have him defeat the Hulk in revenge for the Hulk's disruption of Boomerang's attempt to steal the Orion Missile. He heads after Namor but finds that Namor is already stunned from Krang's blast and doesn't need any further hypnotizing to do Number One's bidding.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Sub-Mariner story continues directly from Tales Of Suspense #79-80. Takes place before Gabriel Jones returns to SHIELD in Strange Tales #149. For the Hulk, this takes place in a very compressed timeframe due to Marvel Monsters: Monsters on the Prowl #1; see the Considerations section there for more details.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel Super-Heroes #37, Marvel Super-Heroes #38, Marvel Masterworks: The Invincible Iron Man vol. 3
Inbound References (6): show
In the credits box for the Kirby Sub-Mariner story, a line reads something like: "Kirby drew it, and then asked 'Who's Sub-Mariner?'" even though Kirby drew the story bringing him back in FF #4.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 4, 2011 6:09 PM
Oddly enough, Number 9 isn't Gabe Jones, and he hasn't killed off the other Secret Empire guys. He says in this issue that the blast was a stun bomb, and by the time the others wake up he'll have usurped Number 1. Years later, when Captain America revisits the plot, circa Cap 174, Gabe Jones reveals that he was also in room and wearing body armor under his robes, and subsequently duked it out with Number 9 and took down the organization. At least that's what I recall from the GTI DVD ROMs.
Much cleaner if Gabe was Number 9 and had blown up the others, and maybe it was retconned thatthebomb did kill them, but the original TTA story claims otherwise.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | August 3, 2012 10:32 PM
It's Cap 175 where we learn that Gabe was actually Number 6. The TTA 83 panel that reveals the grenade was only a stun bomb is right before the one where Number 9 reveals the armor under his robes. I don't have Strange Tales 149, so maybe the details there are different.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | August 3, 2012 10:41 PM
Hey Walter. I've expanded on the relevant scans for Strange Tales #149 and Cap #175. You'll see in ST #149 that Gabe identifies himself as Number 9, and a footnote says that Gabe's defeat of the Secret Empire was a "highlight" of TTA #83, so i'm pretty confident that it was Stan's intention that the Number 9 we see here is Gabe.
But Cap #175 clearly retcons that. In that issue, Gabe says he was actually Number 6. I wonder if Englehart was "fixing" the fact that Number 9 was talking in high villain-speak here. Seems like an unnecessary retcon.
Either way, you're right that Number 9 doesn't actually kill the other Secret Empire members here; it's a stun grenade. I think i might have been winking about the fact that it sure looks like they're dying in the art but the dialogue makes it code-approved, but that's not clear and i've added a correction.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 5, 2012 12:00 PM
If I were going for a No-Prize, I'd suggest Gabe just lied to Cap in Cap 175 about how he infiltrated the Secret Empire. Maybe to cover up the fact that his stun grenades were more lethal than he'd counted on...
Posted by: Walter Lawson | August 6, 2012 1:24 AM
I know a lot of people love Kirby and he's vitally important. But, still, to go from the Conlan art in the first part of the story to those first few panels is just horrifying.
Posted by: Erik Beck | January 11, 2015 8:42 AM
(sees panel of Secret Empire No. 1) Heh...so that's what he was doing between January, '61 and his second try at the White House. (shot)
Posted by: Ataru320 | January 12, 2015 12:23 PM
The Iron Man-Subby crossover here in 1966, plus the Cap-Nick Fury story in Suspense a month or two earlier, may have been written in anticipation of the proposed line-up changes to the split books that Mark Evanier wrote about a few years ago over in The Jack Kirby Collector. The idea was the Cap and Nick Fury features would be in Suspense; IM and Namor in Astonish; and Hulk and Dr. Strange in Strange Tales. At some point the more popular series--Cap, IM and Hulk--would spin off to their own solo mags and the Inhumans, Black Panther, Silver Surfer, and perhaps Wyatt Wingfoot would move into the split books as second features. This was all put on hold when Goodman couldn't convince Independent News/DC to alter the famously restrictive distribution deal.
It would have been interesting to see an all-Colan Astonish, since he was the regular artist for both the IM and Sub-Mariner series at the time.
Posted by: Shar | January 12, 2015 2:23 PM
Should you add Secret Empire Number One to this arc and also 84-87?
Posted by: Thanos6 | April 27, 2015 9:07 PM
The Secret Empire Agent Number One that i have a tag for is the Richard Nixon one. It's really a semi-joke since a lot of the Nixon appearances are really topical references. I guess i should have a different tag for this guy, but he only has a couple of appearances so i guess it didn't seem worth it at the time, and i really don't want Secret Empire Agent Number One I and Secret Empire Agent Number One II in my tag listing. ;-)
Posted by: fnord12 | April 27, 2015 9:26 PM
But...but confusing Roman numerals is part of Marvel character indexing fun! Especially when you can add even more confusing numbers! ;)
Posted by: Thanos6 | April 27, 2015 9:59 PM
The missing pages, beginning the Hulk/Boomerang fight, are available on the GTI DVD for the Hulk. I can get you those pages if you need them, fnord -- just email me. (They are also in the black and white reprint edition, I think.)
Posted by: Matt Posner | February 25, 2016 1:08 PM
Thanks Matt. I actually have the GTI PDFs, too. I just try to only cover things that i have physical copies of. I think in this case i'm not missing anything critical.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 26, 2016 7:32 AM
Fnord, you'll get no argument from me on that score.
Posted by: Matt Posner | February 26, 2016 8:58 PM
I remember this story. There was a scene where someone crossed the Secret Empire off a list. There was a similar scene in Nick Fury where Mentallo and the Fixer are cross of a list. This would be seen one more time when A.I. M. is defeated in Strange Tales#149.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | November 4, 2016 10:23 PM
'Tis a good thing that Namor wasn't a blonde, otherwise someone from McDonald's would take one look at Subby's eyebrows and sue Marvel for copyright infringement!
Posted by: Brian Coffey | December 25, 2017 10:59 PM
Comments are now closed.
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