TALES OF SUSPENSE #97-99 (1967-1968): First Whiplash!

I’m assuming that by the end of 1967, Stan Lee realized that characters like Iron Man and Captain America, Hulk and Sub Mariner could all carry their own books, so he decided to end the anthology titles that produced half-length stories every month.

And to close out ToS, we get a pair of great stories.  First, to wrap up the Iron Man half of ToS, Stan introduces one of Iron Man’s most popular foes: Whiplash.  We also meet future Editor-in-Chief Archie Goodwin, who assists on the writing chores!  Whiplash is hired by The Maggia to beat up Iron Man but A.I.M. intereferes and the bad guys all beat each other up instead.  Note: This story is continued in Iron Man #1.

The Captain America half is even more appropriate for a final issue/first issue crossover.  I have to note that by today’s standards it is extremely odd to have Iron Man’s story be concluded in a #1—which would typically be an introduction for new readers—but back in the 1960s, it didn’t matter as much.  People didn’t slavishly buy #1s, and Marvel made most stories perfectly good jumping in points by summarizing and restating everything several times in each issue.

Shakespeare did that a lot, too, in the course of each of his plays.

Anyway, Cap gives up being Captain America in ToS’ final arc, only to reaffirm his position in Captain America #100, which picks up Tales of Suspense’s numbering.  The story is great largely because it includes Black Panther. I’m not sure why, when they meet and fight for the first time, Cap is so surprised that he “fights like a man.”  The villain is some guy dressed as Baron Zemo, because the real one is still “dead.”

Panther would rather die as a man than live as a slave.  Because he’s black, see?  That’s why they have to reference slavery.

#Dressedupaspeopletheyaren’t.  It’s such a trope at this point.

Creators: Iron Man: Stan Lee (listed as “supervisor”), Archie Goodwin (Writer) and Gene Colan (Penciler); Captain America: Stan and Jack Kirby
Grade: B-

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