TALES OF SUSPENSE #52 (1964): Marvel’s First Legacy Hero, and the First Black Widow

True comic book nerds know that a “legacy” hero is one that wears the garb of another.  For example, Miles Morales took on the Spider-Man title when Peter Parker died.  Dick Grayson became Batman when Bruce Wayne “died.”  And so on.

In the first of two Marvel Universe tales in this issue, a Russian named “Boris” is given the Crimson Dynamo armor, and works with The Black Widow.  Yes, Boris and Natasha.  Sigh.  Anyway, Russia’s Premiere instructs them to assassinate Professor Vanko (the original Dynamo, who defected to the U.S. to work for Tony Stark) and, of course, Tony Stark.  Despite being a socialist, Black Widow is obviously enamored of the millionaire (see panel above).

Frankly, Black Widow is a lame sexpot in this issue.  She’s nothing like what she will become.

For the Tales of the Watcher story, it’s another morality play, this time about Earth’s future.  I think this is the first time we learn that Watcher can see into the future.

Creators: Stan Lee (plot), N. Korok (script), Don Heck (art) (Iron Man story); Stan Lee (plot), Larry Lieber (script and art) (Watcher story)
First appearance: Black Widow
Grade: B- for the Iron Man story, D for the Watcher.

For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.


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