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Tales of Suspense 90
"The Golden Ghost!"


A Monumental Masterwork Magnificently Molded By:
Smilin' STAN LEE and Genial GENE COLAN
Inked By Fearless FRANK GIACOIA
Lettered By Artful ARTIE SIMEK
Reviewed By Swingin' STEVE CHUNG

(Originally Reviewed on 12/12/01)

Tony Stark has no choice but to obey The Melter, with his Iron Man armor in his attache case on the other side of the room where he can't reach it, and while The Melter has his gun, it would be of little help if he could! The Melter gloats, as the creative genius of Tony Stark is now laboring for him, in order to create a smaller, transistorized version of his bulky melting-gun, making him even more powerful, with Stark working under penalty of death! (Holy Work For Hire, Batman! Melty's so verbose, he just melts in the mouth, not in his hand.)

While Tony continues to work, The Melter melts the upper arm of The Original Iron Man armor, which was awesome in its day, but would succumb to his melting blast! Tony wonders aloud if the ray works on other substances than iron, and The Melter smiles in regards to his old gun, as his new and improved ray can melt any substance at will, as it does with the ten-ton cement block before Tony's eyes...

Tony tells The Melter to come other and get his new gun, asking that the weapon be pointed elsewhere, and The Melter tells the millionaire industrialist not to make any sudden moves. The gun is still too large for The Melter's comfort, wishing for one which he could store in his pocket, and when Stark points out that it would take some time to come up with the improvement, The Melter tells him to demonstrate and show that it has not been gimmicked by him! The Melter is pleased to see that it functions, as he figures that Stark wouldn't have the guts to cross him. They swap guns...

Tony knows that The Melter is looking for any excuse to shoot him, and that the villain has gimmicked the gun to explode when fired, but the inventor makes an adjustment, just as The Melter fires in his direction, with Stark forced to dodge the shots, and fearful that one of them will penetrate his chest plate! The Melter couldn't decide if he wanted Stark to live and make a smaller gun, or not...

Outside of Stark International, a group of policecars have arrived on the scene, aware that The Melter is holding Stark captive. When the deputy commissioner arrives, he wonders what all the females are doing there, and they, too, are stunned to learn that the other are Tony's date for the evening! A workman points out flashing lights, as if they were gunbursts from a strange gun, and the deputy commissioner grabs a bullhorn, calling for The Melter's surrender!

Inside the factory, The Melter knows that time has run out, and as Stark stands defiantly before him, The Melter adjusts his weapon's ray for human flesh, then fires! The millionaire industrialist crumples to the floor, as The Melter exits to see the assembled crowd and give them a show they'll never forget, and wondering if Stark had wanted him to shoot him...? When the sound of the footsteps have faded, Tony opens his eyes...

Outside, the deputy commissioner calls for The Melter to drop his gun, while the officers are startled to see him grinning at them, as if it were he, who had them surrounded! ZAPT! Two shots, and two officers' guns are melted in a wink, while Tony's girlfriends wonder if he's still alive for their date, and where the heck his bodyguard is! The officers continue to shoot, while crouched behind their policecars, which begin to look the worse for wear, at the hands of The Melter's new gun!

ZAT! The Melter dares them to chase him, with the deputy commissioner and his men in foot pursuit,and inside the factory, the clanging of metal boots can be heard...

From out of the past, The Original Iron Man, in his resplendent golden armor is once again on the scene, and determined to seek out The Melter, just as gunfire is heard from the east section! With the prototype suit still fully functional, and Stark unable to reach his attache case in his office, Tony is grateful that The Melter was unaware that he was protected from the ray by his iron chest plate! The deputy commissioner and his men advance slowly past the steel beams, and overhead, The Golden Avenger soars, seeing how arrogantly The Melter is wielding his weapon, confident that victory is in his grasp!

ZZIST! With The Melter's beam, the officers can't conceal themselves in safety, as the girders begin to fall upon them, but Iron Man arrives, and braces himself against the falling beams in time! The deputy commssioner wonders how Iron Man will fare against the melting beam, while The Golden Avenger is confident that both of them are about to find out! Seeing The "Old" Iron Man, The Melter is determined to send him back from wherever he came from, while Shell-Head is confident that The Melter has crappy aim, but the next shot strikes him!

THTONNG! Iron Man seeks to drive him off-balance and keep him from firing by knocking The Melter off the steamroller with a full-power high-intensity bolt from his trusty repulsor ray, which is music to Shell-Head's shell-like ears! As The Golden Avenger charges towards The Melter, he notices how much slower this armor is compared to the newer model, while the villain fires his ray at the lumbering figure before him! Iron Man is struck by the ray, but The Melter is also struck by the fact that although staggered by the ray, The Golden Avenger still keeps coming! No sooner does The Melter begin to have doubts, that he discovers something is happening to his gun...

The melting gun is now red hot and the villain can no longer keep a grip, and with Iron Man closing in, The Melter gives one last try at picking up the weapon which could still save him, but it's too much for him! The deputy commissioner and his men close in, as Iron Man tells them how Stark managed to sabotage the melting gun by boobytrapping it! With the old gun destroyed in the factory, a pair of iron hands do the same with the newer version... SKRUNNCH! With The Melter in custody, the officers wonder what happened to Stark and the other Iron Man, The Golden Avenger begins to walk away, telling them that they'll soon be out to fill them in, while he returns -- to the rest of yesterday's relics --!

Naturally, The Melter would seek out the creative genius of Transistorized Tony Stark in modifying his weapon.

The old armor is on display, first for target practice for The Melter, but soon, to serve a better purpose for Tony Stark!

One wonders if Iron Man has more foes or if Tony Stark has more dates?

The theme of this story would seem to be the "old" versus the "new", with Melter modifying his ray, and Tony Stark using his old-time armor to corral the corrosive criminal.

It's fun to see that The Deputy Commissioner wonders how The Old Iron Man will stop The Melter, and even The Golden Avenger, himself, may wonder too, at the task he is about to undertake!

The older armor is bulky and slower than his red and gold armor, but it does have sentimental value, as it harkens to those first Tales of Suspense by Stan and Don Heck!

The Melter's gun melted in his hand, and all bravado also melted in his mouth, too! (Holy M&M's, Batman!)

It's interesting that the officers don't realize that it's the same man in the golden armor, or the red and gold, for that matter. I guess The Wasp is the only Avenger who can sport a different wardrobe and be recognized, or for that matter, her husband, Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket, Dr. Pym...

This Review Is Dedicated To Chris Juricich

Steve Chung
"The Golden Review!"