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Tales of Suspense 82
"By Force of Arms!"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND October, 1966

Script: STAN LEE
Pencils: GENE COLAN
Inks: FRANK GIACOIA
Lettering: ARTIE SIMEK
Emergency First Aid: IRVING FORBUSH
Reviewing: STEVE CHUNG

(Originally Reviewed On 10/10/01)

The Titanium Man has returned, and Shell-Head battles him in the heart of Washington, D.C., where he lands a solid iron punch across T-Man's titanium kisser high above The White House! (Holy Iron Mike, Batman! That Colan art sure packs a punch!)

Now it is The Titanium Man who lands a punch on his smaller foe, who then ducks beneath the swing of his emerald arm, and listens as Comrade Boris Bullski boasts of being strengthened with hormone pills so that he can use his armor with ease! (Holy H-Bomb, Batman! Stan The Man is talking about the birds and the bees! No doubt younger readers are wondering where this hormone character last appeared. Probably in Sex-Men) Below, the crowd watch the battle, recognizing The Titanium Man and know that Shell-Head fought a close fight with him last time, but they also know that he would not have returned if he wasn't confident of winning! (Holy Whose Mag Is This Anyway! Did Stan and Gene make some side bets?) Titanium Man has arrived to stop Tony Stark from testifying before Congress and revealing the secret of Iron Man's armor to the military, even as he intensifies his eye-beams and aim them at Shell-Head's head! (Holy Maybelline, Batman!)

Iron Man feels the heat and strives to free himself from Titanium Man's grip, while Comrade Bullski is confident that his superior strength will carry the day. In moments, Iron Man's helmet will melt, but The Golden Avenger uses leverage to activate his boot jets and free himself, with his transistors fully charged and his armor in fine shape, size shouldn't matter, but Titanium Man seems very confident in himself!

The crowd watch as Iron Man frees himself, and some know that he was to testify, but Titanium Man was there to stop him, another citizen knows that Iron Man hasn't been beaten yet, while another is sure that there's always a first time, and this may be it. Yet another person claims that the person hasn't been born who could finish off Iron Man! (Holy Liefield, Batman!) A taxi arrives on the scene and its passengers consist of Happy Hogan and Pepper Potts, who weren't aware that Tony Stark had his bodyguard nearby, and watch the fight in the sky, where Iron Man now realizes that Titanium Man is far more dangerous than last time, but he has a plan, while T-Man is intent on matching Shell-Head's speed!

The Golden Avenger reaches for a vial of unstable freon, then pitches at The Titanium Man, who is suddenly encased in rock-hard ice, but Comrade Bullski isn't taking this lying down...

Titanium Man begins to fall, while inside his congressional office, Senator Byrd watches the battle and is confident that Iron Man will win, and on the streets, Pepper Potts shares this sentiment in the battle of David and Goliath, while Happy figures that Tony knew what he was doing when he had Iron Man as his bodyguard, but both are concerned about Tony's current whereabouts. The Titanium Man has freed himself from the ice and flies upward towards a startled Shell-Head!

Titanium Man watches Iron Man fly away from him, thinking that the decadent capitalist has turned coward, but Shell-Head just wants to lead him away from the capitol, desperate to spare the onlookers from harm! Titanium Man is getting closer, which is just what The Golden Avenger wants, and Titanium Man wishes to lay his hands upon Iron Man, who has reached an isolated area on the edge of town, where the main event is about to begin!

Iron Man unleashes a full-power repulsor ray blast, which ricochets harmlessly off Titanium Man and back at him, driving The Golden Avenger into the ground with his own repulsor rays! (Holy Ray of Sunshine, Batman! He better do something or else they'll have to raise him from the dead after T-Man razes him!) Titanium Man gets closer, while Iron Man strives to come up with an emergency plan!

Rotating his ear discs, mechanical roller wheels emerge from beneath his boots, and Shell-Head makes off on his motorized roller skates, then skates between Titanium Man's legs and behind him! (Holy Bay City Rollers, Batman! Shell-Head certainly is a disc player, isn't he?) The crowd race to the scene of this battle...

Among them are Happy Hogan and Pepper Potts, with the former advising the latter caution, but Pepper's attention is on how Iron Man is in trouble, but Happy is sure that Shell-Head is not on the ropes! She regrets that Tony Stark isn't here, and when Happy asks her why, she tells him that it would make her feel better somehow! Iron Man continues to skate rings around The Titanium Man, but this delaying tactic is tackled by Titanium Man's paralysis ray!

Iron Man realizes that it's an electrical force, while Pepper seeks to get closer, and Titanium Man is coming towards Shell-Head from behind! Pepper wonders why no one does anything, while the other rubberneckers wonder what it is she thinks they can do! With the beam shining on him, Shell-Head's mind races to find a way out...

Pepper calls out to Iron Man, and he urges her to stay back. When she mentions Tony Stark's possible aid with his armor, he begs her to stay back, even as Titanium Man realizes how much the girl means to him! The Golden Avenger is barely able to move, but his fingers reach his hip pod, where he pulls out a live wire, and shorts out the electric beam, but what he fears most has come to pass... The ray is now focused on Pepper Potts! Titanium Man threatens to increase the voltage and electrocute her, while The Golden Avenger is stymied, determined not to have anything happen to the girl he loves!

An impressive battle in the nation's capital between Iron Man and Titanium Man, this time drawn by Gene Colan and inks by Frank Giacoia!

The varied reactions of the crowd leaves the outcome in doubt, and are amusing in themselves.

Another memorable time that Iron Man used a vial of freon was in Iron Man #150, where he trapped in Camelot and has to take out Morgana Le Fay's dragon! David Michelinie, Bob Layton, and John Romita Jr did that one and is worth seeking out, as well as its sequel in #250, set in the future.

The appeal of Iron Man is the use of his clever gadgets and the fearsome aspect of his foes, something which the character has in common with James Bond and the Connery movies with the likes of Dr. No, Goldfinger, et al. Readers like to see how the heck Shell-Head will get out of this one, not just how he got into it, as well! And in ten pages no less. Nowadays, you really need to stay on top of at least 4 family titles and not get as much out of it.

This Review Is Dedicated To Robert Faires, Kevin Grady, David Kell, and Richard Croxton.

Steve Chung
"By Force of Reviews!"