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Tales of Suspense 93
"The Golden Gladiator And... The Giant!"


Smilin' STAN LEE and Genial GENE COLAN
Invite You To Share The Excitement Accompanied By:
IRVING FORBUSH Couldn't Make It... But He Said He'll Take A Rain Check!
STEVE CHUNG Could Make It...But He Said He'll Make A Review First!

Deep within North Vietnam, The Golden Avenger has entered the castle of Half-Face, where he is about to come face-to-face with the scientist's mysterious weapon... Iron Man sees something heading towards him -- but he is unable to see what it is in the dark! Whatever it may be -- he'll face it -- and defeat it -- no matter what!

TLANNGG! From the vibrations in the tunnel, Shell-Head figures whatever is coming his way, it must be huge! He could activate his chest beam, but figures that if he can't see what's coming, then neither can it! Iron Man awaits the imminent meeting, as his unseen foe's very approach has the tunnel shaking more violently! He sees a massive shadow before him! For its size, surely it couldn't be anything alive, and now it looms before Iron Man... It stands at twice his size, and it reminds The Golden Avenger of a past foe he fought -- many months ago -- one who was lost at sea, and who couldn't be alive!

THE TITANIUM MAN LIVES! (Holy Selegue, Batman!) Now, more powerful than ever, and with the science of Half-Face, he is now more than a match for Iron Man! Shell-Head recalls how he almost lost when they last fought -- and now -- if The Titanium Man's might has been increased -- Iron Man is in for the fight of his life!

SKRAKK! The next moment finds the steel tunnel's framework torn by a mere sweep of The Titanium Man's hand! The Golden Avenger finds that it's like fighting himself... except his foe's power has been increased, and only his maneuverability enables him to avoid his foe's punch! Iron Man unleashes his repulsor rays on The Titanium Man... TYAANNNG!

The Titanium Man stands... unaffected by the repulsor blast! When he tells Iron Man to prepare for his death, Shell-Head turns his two ear-pieces, activating a circuit -- which releases small roller wheels beneath his boots! KLAK! The Titanium Man has built up enough energy for his ocular Destructo-Beam --! (Holy If Looks Could Kill, Batman!) BTOOOM! The energy is released, but Iron Man manages to skate rings around it with his Jet Wheels! (Holy Tony Hawk, Batman!)

Although he hasn't got enough room for his flying jets, Iron Man takes advantage of the circular walls of the tunnel, and moves at top speed, spinning 'round and 'round -- defying the very gravity with centrifugal force! (Holy May The Force Be With You, Batman!) The Titanium Man is confident that Iron Man won't be able to keep that up for long, but Shell-Head finds that it's a relief or else it could get boring! A giant green hand reaches for Iron Man, but his grasp passes through an after-image. Iron Man is in The Titanium Man's sights, and Bullski figures that The Golden Avenger's transistors must be losing their power! (Holy Marconi, Batman!)

Monitoring the fight is Half-Face, who observes from an specially prepared enclosure -- When his masters found Titanium Man in the sea, he was cannonfodder -- on the way to death! When he was brought to Half-Face, the scientist was determined that he would be his greatest triumph, and he had succeeded beyond his wildest dreams! In addition to saving his life, Half-Face increased Titanium Man's power, as well! Once The Golden Avenger is destroyed, the scientist will more feared than The Mandarin!! Red China's riches will be his for the taking! When he was younger -- all those years ago -- when the new regime placed him in this Vietnamese castle, the scientist was to develop a new form of explosive for them! Even the natives were unaware of his true experiments! They believed that he was trying to come up with new methods to irrigate their farmlands! The locals had no reason to suspect the Communists -- not yet! His ambition kept the young scientist toiling hour after hour...

He is far away from his wife and child -- and is forbidden to visit them! For his own needs are non-existent under his masters! The young scientist is unable to keep his family from his thoughts, and his homeland, which was a peaceful land -- before the takeover! It has been several months since he has seen his wife and son -- but he must put them out of his mind!! He must not remember how hard it was for him to leave them, as well as their faces -- wet with sorrow-- and filled with pain --!! The young scientist is unsuccessful, for they are with him every moment of every day --! His experiment is nearing completion, as he pours the chemicals from one tube to another, and he... will... not... fail -- even as two deadly chemicals meet --!

Disaster struck, and now the scientist cannot return to his family in his current state! Now all he has left is -- his work! He has played with Iron Man long enough! By turning a dial, he increases his weapon's power so that nothing can withstand it!! Although The Titanium Man is the weapon, Half-Face is the trigger! (Holy Man With The Golden Gun, Batman!) In the tunnel, The Titanium Man prepares to crush his foe, and The Golden Avenger sees the armored giant crash through the tunnel with his own form! Shell-Head loses his balance...

The Titanium Man regrets that the moment of his supreme triumph will go unwitnessed, and only he, Iron Man, and Half-Face will know what took place. Shell-Head can't believe that The Titanium Man would let anyone push him around! Half-Face's weapon won't turn against his master, and The Titanium Man owes the scientist his life! As a giant hand reaches out to him, Iron Man skates away, but his transistors are losing their power! THUP! The Titanium Man has succeeded in grasping his smaller foe, and he prepares to crush him with -- his bare hands!

Caught in Titanium Man's grip, Iron Man is unable to reach -- his emergency coil --! The armored giant bids The Golden Avenger farewell, while Shell-Head continues to struggle in the giant's hand! Knowing that his armor is stronger than his foe believes, Iron Man pretends to be beaten -- while his foe exults! The Titanium Man lowers the limp form of Iron Man to the ground, while Half-Face orders him to leave him for a more important task! Elsewhere, the entranceway to Stark Enterprises has an unexpected visitor, who learns that Tony Stark is out of the country, and it is unknown when the millionaire industrialist will return.

The visitor thanks the security guard for the information, and keeps the purpose of his visit a secret, but promises to return! Back at Half-Face's castle, The Titanium Man is ready to learn about his mission from his master... one which will prove disasterous for The United States! Above them, American Bombers are preparing to attack military targets in North Vietnam --! They can be heard overhead, as they pass for their objective. The Titanium Man is to attack and completely destroy a nearby village! Under cover of night, he will cause such devastation that the American Bombers will be blamed for the attack! The whole world will witness what is to be the greatest propaganda victory, as Half-Face and The Titanium Man leave, with Iron Man determined to stop them --! For the sake -- of his country -- he must stop them!! But -- how? HOW??!

It's always a treat to read a story where like the hero, the reader doesn't know what's coming around the corner.

The drama is heightened by the art of Gene Colan, as the approach of the unseen foe has Iron Man literally shaking in his boots!

The Titanium Man. Elementary, my dear Shell-Head!

When the trademark weapons of Iron Man fail to make a dent in his foe, you know The Golden Avenger isn't gonna have it easy at all.

Like a current Tony, Iron Man shows that he knows how to wheel and deal.

Even though his foe is stronger than him, Iron Man can still skate rings around him.

Even a villainous scientist such as Half-Face can have readers sympathize with him, especially after learning of his origins.

For the young scientist who would become Half-Face, the party isn't over.

The mysterious visitor at the entrance gate to Stark Enterprises doesn't sit well with the security guard.

The Golden Avenger must stop The Titanium Man from threatening innocent lives!! But -- how? HOW??! I love that classic lettering style of Artie Simek, which heightens the mood of the story.

Mails of Suspense has a letter from Walt Simonson from Amherst, Mass:

"Dear Stan,

I can't say much about The Iron Man stories which is to say that they have been good enough to merit only praise. I do admit to a special love for The Titanium Man and would appreciate a return, but only in another 6 to 12 months as he hasn't been gone so long and a precipitate return (as The Beast would say) would be inopportune. Gene, is in my considered opinion, one of Marvel's best and if he were ever to stop producing Iron Man, I should come to New York and chastise everyone there myself. My adulation, however, does not blind me to a tendency of Gene's that I have become disturbed about recently. Gene, my man, your drawing is a little too stylized. I realize that to reverse or even stop this tendency is almost impossible, but if I didn't think Marvel couldn't do the impossible, I wouldn't bother writing in the first place. Iron Man has a certain elegance that no other Marvel character can match. I can say no more."

Stan replies:

"We're sorry about that, Wally. We'd have been interested in knowing exactly what you mean when you say that Genial Gene's drawing is becoming too stylized. He'd be the first to admit that his daffy little doodles are stylized, but in our book, it's that very stylization that makes 'em as terrific as they are! Anyway, we're glad you feel there's still hope for us, buddy - it's little things like that which give us the courage to face front!"

This is why I miss letterpages and what I miss about Marvel.

This Review Is Dedicated To Kevin Grady

Steve Chung
"The Golden Gladiator And... The Giant Review!"