free web hosting | website hosting | Business Web Hosting | Free Website Submission | shopping cart | php hosting
Tales of Suspense 76
"Here Lies Hidden.. The Unspeakable Ultimo!"


Tenderly Written by: STAN LEE
Lovingly Pencilled by: ADAM AUSTIN
Gently Delineated by: GARY MICHAELS
Finally Lettered by: SAM ROSEN
Repeated Review by: STEVE CHUNG

Happy Hogan has been transformed into the mindless Freak via the application of Tony Stark's Enervation Intensifier machine, and in an attempt to return Happy to normal, Shell-Head must apply full-intensity, but a power feedback drives Iron Man to his knees, with The Freak at his heels, and knowing that if he does not continue his task, his friend will not be cured, plus he may lose his own life in the bargain! (Holy This Is Your Life, Batman! How did "Enervation Intensifier" get past The Comics Code?)

Mere moments he reaches The Golden Avenger, The Fearsome Freak begins to slow down in his stride, as the rays from the Enervator strike him, while Iron Man strives to remove his armor, which has begun to glow red-hot from the feedback, and sees that his plan is working... As Shell-Head struggles to stay awake, a battle is also taking place within the body of The Frenzied Freak, whose profile blurs and soon reshapes itself back into Happy Hogan, whose form is weary from the sudden metamorphosis...

Happy is out cold, while Tony Stark succeeds in removing his armor before the smoldering armor would have been his tomb, then presses his left hip pod to activate the magnets, which causes his boots to contract, then recalls how his friend now knows his secret from the battle with The Titanium Man!

With his armor now stored within his attache case, Tony sees to Happy, and seeks to bring him back to consciousness, regardless of the risk to his own secret identity, knowing that as the millionaire industrialist, he'd be no match for his foes, and would have to wear his armor 24 hours a day!

While Happy revives, Tony remembers how Happy succeeded in bringing him the weapon he needed to win the battle against The Titanium Man, and also recalls how his friend was injured in the battle, as well as having him call Iron Man "Boss", which meant that Happy knew who the man behind Shell-Head's mask was! Now awake, it's Tony's turn to be surprised as Happy Hogan has lost his memory! (Holy Amnesium, Batman!)

Wondering why he's clad in a hospital nightgown, Happy asks why, and when Tony calls him "Happy", Hogan wonders why he has such a ridiculous name? (Holy Nickname of Time, Batman! At least it's not "Paste-Pot Pete! Peace and groovy, man!) THUMP! As Happy turns to the sound of men seeking to break down the door to the factory, Tony knows that it's Senator Byrd, and he's armed with determination and a subpoena! Entering, The Senator sees that both The Freak and Iron Man have gone, leaving Tony Stark in their wake, as he serves the summons for the millionaire industrialist to come to Washington and testify under oath about the truth about Iron Man! Standing closer, Byrd sneers as he sees how red Tony's eyes are from what he assumes was partying, while Tony lets him believe it than the truth, while Byrd continues to rail about his loyalty to his employees...

Pepper Potts is silent, but her gaze and mind is on Tony Stark, and how he's changed! She wonders how she could have ever loved him, while Tony tells her to take care of Happy while he's away with the senator, which she takes as him washing his responsibilities and friendship for their welfare. In the police car, Tony knows that Pepper believes him to be unfeeling, and wishes that he could tell her the truth, but there's no time. In the factory, Happy strives to remember, while Pepper offers her help, and wonders what happened to The Freak and Iron Man? Ten seconds have past since that exchange, and the people in the police car look up into the night's sky and see dark mass of clouds and strange flashing bolts! (Holy Moley, Batman! Is it Captain Marvel taking a wrong turn from The Rock of Eternity?)

The police car is caught in the shimmering light, which pulses as if alive, and has stopped the engine, where in exactly three seconds... ONE... TWO... THREE...! the vehicle and those inside have vanished from sight! (Holy Outta Sight, Batman! This sequence sounds like a disco!)

Shifting to Red China, within the castle of The Mandarin, he who wields the many rings has caught the prize he has sought! (Holy Crackerjacks, Batman!) He turns and sees General Yen and his troops, who have come asking for his aid in the Red Army, but Mandy is less than pleased at being sought out for work, and presses a button which causes a shower of giant hailstones to shower towards the troops, who are sent running for the hills! (Holy Rocky Horror, Batman! How would Mandy react to The Avon Lady?)

Only General Yen is left and both soldiers beg for mercy, stating that they have been following another's orders. They are given leave by The Mandarin, who states that he serves no nation, and will soon have all the world beneath his heel! (Holy Sasquatch, Batman! He must have big feet, indeed!) Their departure means the dawning of his power on the masses of mankind! Turning back to his console, The Mandarin completes his task, then a world away, the police car reappears in a flash of light, and inside, Senator Byrd turns and sees that there is one less millionaire playboy in their midst!

Tony Stark finds himself caught in the grip of a disturbance in the space-time continuum, and knows that only a super-intellect could have accomplished this feat! Soon, the owner of said brain appears before him... The Mandarin!! The millionaire industrialist can only wonder why The Mandarin has sought him out and learns that it was originally Iron Man who was being sought on the multi-dimensional trans-scanner, and when he could not be found, his employer was deemed a suitable substitute! (Holy Reach Out And Touch Someone, Batman! Since The Golden Avenger has been the only one to defeat him in the past, and since he is on the brink of triumph... it is suitable that his foe be represented in the form of his employer, to watch helplessly as this scheme is enacted! (Holy Spam, Batman! Wotta ham is Mandy, who'd be better prepared if he kept his fershlugginer scheme a secret!) It is his greatest creation... Ultimo, who is to be released! (What, couldn't Ulty walk a straight line and touch his nose with his fingers?) It is Ultimo who will enable The Mandarin to enslave mankind! (Holy April 15th, Batman! I thought it was income tax!) He envisions having Iron Man in his power, cowering helplessly in his wake!

The Mandarin still feels the pain when Shell-Head punched him in the jaw, but yearns to deliver a solid karate chop to The Golden Avenger! (Holy No Pain, No Gain, Batman! Who does Mandy think he is... The Iron Major?!) When Tony asks about Ultimo, The Mandarin zaps the attache case from his grasp, figuring that it may be booby-trapped with explosives, sending it through the window via the power of one of his rings! (Holy Samsonite, Batman! This is Tony's weakness!) Now, Tony Stark is unable to become Iron Man, while The Mandarin activates the lever to bring Ultimo to life, and out on the countryside, a long-dormant volcano erupts with the emergence of a gigantic figure, who is none other than the awesome Ultimo!! (Holy Lava Lamp, Batman! What a sight!) As Ultimo takes his first steps, Tony's attache case sinks deeper and deeper in the moat of The Mandarin's castle... with much at stake, and the characters in their places, the adventure is about to be continued...

A fine story written by Stan Lee, who drops us in the climax of the previous issue with The Fearsome Freak to be dealt with, while The Mandarin waits in the wings... or the rings!

Adam Austin and Gary Michaels were none other than Gene Colan and the late Jack Abel, the team supreme of 1966 when this issue came out, with rosy lettering by Sam Rosen!

"The Unspeakable Ultimo?" Both he and The Freak are men or monsters of very few or no words at all. (Holy Silent Night of The Marvel Books in December, Batman!)

I find it amusing that Happy is less than pleased with his nickname! It sure beats "Zombie"

The events in the castle of The Mandarin shows why these places tend to have few visitors and why villains tend to be undisturbed.

From the heart of a volcano comes Ultimo, who along with The Mandarin, are among my favorite villains of all time. Having come across them in the pages of Iron Man, circa #97 - #100 of Shell-Head's mag in 1977 in unforgettable stories by Bill Mantlo and George Tuska, the latter of whom I had the pleasure of meeting at San Diego, and who had for sale a colored pencil drawing of The Golden Avenger vs The Lord of The Rings, as well as prints of Iron Man with Captain America, Spider-Man, Thor, Hulk, Werewolf By Night, and villains, such as Mandy, Midas, The Black Knight, The Melter, and others.

To me, the stuff that dreams are made of, and a rare chance for this dreamer to thank the creators of said imagery.

This Review Is Dedicated To Iron Man Fan Kevin Grady Senator Byrd-Watcher Mark Cannon and Pulsating Pulse Reporter Jen Contino (Hi, Jen!)

Steve Chung
"Here Lies Hidden... The Unspeakable Review!!"