Tales of Suspense #49

Issue Date: 
July 1964
Story Title: 
The New Iron Man Meets the Angel!

Stan Lee (written by), Steve Ditko (illustrated by), P. Reinman (Inked by), S. Rosen (lettered by)

Brief Description: 

The Angel flies over a Stark weapons plant on his way back to the Xavier Institute in Westchester. Despite Iron Man trying to warn him, Angel flies over just as a nuclear explosion occurs. The radiation changes Angel’s personality, making him a self-admittedly more evil person. Iron Man tries to help but his jets fail and he can barely use his magnetic repeller to save himself as he crashes through a factory roof. Angel returns to the X-Mansion to tell the X-Men that he’s quitting to join the evil mutants. Beast, Marvel Girl, Iceman and Cyclops try to stop him from leaving until Professor Xavier returns, but the Angel escapes and flies away. Angel then starts creating havoc all over New York City to attract the attention of the evil mutants. Iron Man responds to the X-Men’s distress call, realizing he is in part responsible for the Angel becoming a menace. Iron Man manages to bring Angel down to earth but the Angel evades him during a chase through La Guardia airport. Finally, Iron Man decides to risk his own life to prove that Angel has not turned completely bad. He carries the Angel higher and higher into the sky until his jet boot’s transistors burn out. As Iron Man plummets towards the ground, Angel finally snaps back to good and saves Iron Man, just before he crashes. Iron Man explains what occurred to the gathered police, who were preparing to shoot down Angel before he saved Iron Man. The X-Men arrive, happy to see their teammate is back to normal. Professor X mentally calls the X-Men back to class but promises that he shall one day repay Iron Man for risking his life for one of the X-Men. 

Full Summary: 

The Angel and Iron Man are interlocked high above the ground, with Iron Man holding Angel’s wrist as smoke wafts out of Iron Man’s boots. Angel warns Iron Man that Iron Man hasn’t a chance against the Angel high up in the sky, the Angel’s element. Iron Man responds that he’s betting the Angel is wrong and he’s betting his very life!!

We seem to be living in the age of miracles… the miracle of atomic energy, orbiting satellites, telstar communications and one of the most miraculous sights… the Angel. The Angel is returning to Westchester when he decides to take a short cut over a Stark factory. Angel spots Iron Man on the ground, waving at him. The Angel is very excited to see Iron Man in the flesh... or in the metal.

However, in fact, Iron Man is trying to warn Angel to get back because, a deadly atomic explosion is about to be detonated. The Angel doesn’t hear him, so Iron Man uses his power jets to fly up. The Angel is more excited to see Iron Man zooming up to meet him, but Iron Man is yelling at Angel to turn back! However, in the next split-second, it is too late for turning back. A highly-refined nuclear explosion takes place right below the two heroes.

Iron Man withstands the explosion, thanks to his heavily-insulated metal costume, and Angel’s wings are powerful enough to keep him from being blow clear out of the sky. However, Angel also feels himself a different person; a smarter, craftier, slyer and yes, more evil, person. Iron Man still tries to reach the Angel to see if he needs help, but Angel flies off as Iron Man’s overtaxed jets lose power. Iron Man now has only time to worry about himself as he plummets to earth. He uses his magnetic repeller aimed at the ground to break his fall. The repellers work, cutting his speed as he still crashes through the Stark factory roof.

Iron Man evaluates the damage to this protective chest plate and decides it won’t be difficult to repair. In his private lab, Tony Stark informs his secretary Pepper Potts that he doesn’t want to be distributed for next hour or two. Pepper reads him loud and clear but doesn’t see her boss in his Iron Man suit repairing his chest plate.

At Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, Cyclops, Beast, Iceman and Marvel Girl are stunned in disbelief as Angel announces he is quitting. Angel informs them that he’s going to find the bad mutants, the ones that want to rule the Earth, the ones the X-Men are supposed to fight, and join them. Beast, Iceman and Marvel Girl insist that the X-Men cannot be broken up so easily and Angel must stay until Professor X returns. The Angel refuses to be stopped. He flies into the air, grabbing Beast by the wrists. Cyclops prepares to fire a low-intensity energy blast but Angel hurls the Beast into Cyclops, making Cyclops miss his target. Iceman builds a quick freezing fall of ice but Angels flaps his wings at top speed, melting the ice faster than Iceman can form him. Marvel Girl tries to restrain him with her mental beams but Angel is again too fast.

Back in the lab, Iron Man is finishing his repairs. After he is done, he releases the magnetic “doohickeys” on his suit and everything snaps neatly off and folds into place. He is once again plain old, Tony Stark, the average ordinary, ever-loving, millionaire playboy industrialist!

Meanwhile, back in the X-ranch, Marvel Girl is still trying to prevent Angel from leaving. She mentally hurls several books, a potted plant and a desk at him, but he decides the fun’s over and he flies out of the mansion to join the other mutants, the ones who want to destroy mankind! Just then, Professor X wheels in. He has followed the entire incident mentally. He mentally calls to Angel, ordering him to return at once. Angel responds that he’s not scared of the Professor anymore and he’ll only be taking orders from the other mutants, those the Professor calls the evil ones!

Professor X is seriously dismayed. If the Angel could turn evil, then any one of the X-Men could be next. He wonders if he should shut down his program, because he’s afraid he’s training a group of powerful X-Men who may all eventually turn against mankind. However, before he makes that decision, the X-Men must stop Angel using his X-Men training to form a powerful alliance with the evil mutants. Professor X orders Cyclops to contact the Avengers.

Cyclops uses a secret wavelength used only by the X-Men and other specially licensed crime-fighting organizations. He calls the Avengers but gets no response. Unfortunately, Bruce Banner is at work, meaning there is no Hulk; Thor is in his human form of Dr. Donald Blake and is far away from his short wave receiving set; and Giant Man and Wasp are enjoying a rare social evening, dancing as Henry Pym and Janet Van Dyne.

Luckily, Iron Man’s receiver is always in position on his hidden chest device. Tony Stark excuses himself from the company of Happy Hogan and Pepper Potts. Happy is offended that Tony spoke to him in such a rude manner and threatens to quit. Pepper points out that Happy hasn’t done a bit of work since he started working for Stark. Happy says that Pepper is just trying to hide her feelings for him by making insulting remarks. Pepper ends their conversation saying that if Happy knew how Pepper really felt about him he’d join the foreign legion (if they would lower their standards to take him).

In his private office, Tony Stark realizes he is the only Avenger to have received the X-Men’s distress cal. He decides that Iron Man will handle this himself, as it is partially his fault that the Angel has become a menace. Tony suits up and vows he will undo the harm he caused or die trying!!

Meanwhile, the Angel is flying over New York, wondering how he will contact and join up with the evil mutants. He decides the best thing to do is let the find him. To get their notice, Angel steals sticks of dynamite from a construction site overseen by two workers, Charlie and Rocco. Angel creates an explosion in the sky, drops more in the harbor by cruise ship and explodes some by a bridge. He doesn’t cause any damage but he is sure he made enough of a racket that the evil mutants will find him and then the real damage will start.

However, the evil mutants suspect a trap and do not show themselves. But the police show up and they are armed with rifles. Iron Man flies in and explains to the police that Angel is not really responsible for his actions. Iron Man requests a chance to stop Angel before the police open fire. The chief gives him 10 minutes to try.

Iron Man flies towards Angel, but Angel’s wings make him more nimble than Iron Man in his jets. Angel grabs Iron Man’s ankles, aiming the human rocket towards the ground so that Iron Man will crash like a burned out rocket. Iron Man cuts the power to his jets, catching Angel off guard and allowing Iron Man to grab Angel’s wrists in a vise-like grip.

Iron Man applies his jets at half power and brings Angel back down to earth at a hanger in La Guardia airport. However, when Iron Man relaxes his grip for an instant, the ex-X-Man breaks free and flies towards the other side of the hanger. Iron Man hurls three powerful magnets in Angel’s direction. The magnets pass by Angel but hit the hanger’s door. Angel pulls at them but they won’t budge, as the magnet’s mighty transistors cannot be overcome by mere flesh and blood.

Still, Angel is not locked in. Instead, he escapes through another door, with Iron Man out of magnets and racing in pursuit. When Iron Man enters another hanger, Angel flies out and slams the door shut, locking Iron Man in a storage building. Iron Man activates his arm power-pack to its highest intensity, giving him enough strength to force open the lock but placing a large strain on himself.

Angel is sitting atop a water tower, wondering why the evil mutants have not joined him. Iron Man tells himself that Angel has not turned completely bad. Iron Man hopes he is right and the only way to return the Angel back to his normal self is to let his own life hang in the balance. Iron Man turns his power jets to maximum speed and takes Angel with a head-on thrust. Angel is caught but tells Iron Man that the strain Iron Man has been putting on his jets will burn out his transistors. Iron Man takes Angel higher up into the sky, but realizes that Angel right, that his transistors are overtaxed. Iron Man can’t remain aloft any longer!

Iron Man stars to fall. Angel easily breaks free and taunts Iron Man that maybe he will get lucky and grow a pair of wings. Angel hovers in place as Iron Man falls towards earth. Iron Man announces that he was wrong about Angel and he’s not getting a second chance, as he’s falling too fast to use his magnetic repeller for help. Iron Man feels bad he couldn’t help the Angel, as the police are turn to shoot him down as soon as he flies within range. He also wishes he could think of an immoral last sentence to say, but all he feels like shouting is… HELP!

The Angel continues to hover in the air. He laments that Iron Man had to butt into the Angel’s affairs, since now Iron Man doesn’t have a chance. Back on the ground, the police and assembled news reporters watch Iron Man continue to plunge. A reporter observes the Iron Man is almost close enough to the ground to be seen by the naked eye. A police office insists this can’t really be the end of Iron Man. With just a few seconds left, Iron Man wishes he said goodbye to Pepper and Happy.

Angel watches from above, wondering why he feels so shocked that a crime fighter is plummeting to his death. Angel tells himself it wasn’t his fault and closes his eyes until it’s over. But then, he suddenly realizes he can’t let this happen. He begins a power dive to save Iron Man. Iron Man says he won’t make it, unless Iron Man can us his weakened repellers to slow himself down a few seconds. The ground is so close that Iron Man is bound to crash when Angel grabs Iron Man by the wrist, lifting him back up.

Iron Man tells Angel his faith in him has been justified. Iron Man explains he knew his jets would fail at a certain height, but he had to do it prove that Angel is not evil. Down on the ground, Iron Man and Angel are told by the police that they saw the whole thing and luckily held their fire. But the police want to know whose side Angel really is on. Iron Man tells the police that Angel’s brain had been affected by the atomic rays at Stark’s weapons plan but that he is back on their side now.

The X-Men race over after having watched the whole episode on the Professor’s view scope. Marvel Girl says she’s so happy Angel’s returned to normal that she could cry. Iron Man tells the X-Men that what he’s heard of the astounding X-Men was enough to justify his risking his life to shock Angel back to normal.

Back in Westchester, Professor X is watching the whole scene by mental projection. He is happy he has not failed. Even under the influence of atomic radiation, Angel would not permit a fellow mortal to die. Professor X mentally orders the X-Men to return to school for training. He tells them new classes start in one hour and tardiness will not be tolerated.

Angel shakes hands goodbye with Iron Man, telling him to call the X-Men if he ever needs help. Iron Man says that perhaps one day they might side-by-side rather than as enemies. Professor X vows to repay Iron Man one day and his final thought is so powerful it penetrates Iron Man’s brain as the Avenger flies away with freshly charged transistors, eager to return to Stark’s plant and see if Happy and Pepper have allowed anyone to steal the factory while arguing about which one is Stark’s most alert assistant. 

Characters Involved: 

Giant-Man, Hulk, Thor, Wasp (all Avengers)

Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl (all X-Men)
Professor X

Pepper Potts, Happy Hogan (both Stark employees)

Rocco, Charlie (construction workers)
Police Chief, policemen
News reporter

Story Notes: 

This is the second appearance of Iron Man’s red and gold suit. He designed the slimmer suit in the previous issue, Tales of Suspense #48.

Very shortly after this issue, Iron Man does ask for the X-Men’s help while trying to locate the Hulk [Avengers (1st series) #3], specifically mentioning his previous encounter with the Angel. While Professor X promises to notify Iron Man should they hear anything about the Hulk, the Professor does not hide his annoyance that Iron Man interrupts an X-Men training session.

This issue has a continuity error in listing the Hulk as an Avenger. The Hulk quit at end of Avengers (1st Series) #2. At that time, however, Iron Man was still in this gold suit. so this issue must take place after the Hulk had quit the Avengers.

This issue was published in January 1964, the same month as X-Men (1st Series) #3. At this point, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants had not been introduced, which probably explains why the Angel does not mention them when trying to attract the attention of “evil mutants.”

Angel is shocked out of his evil ways by the near death of Iron Man. In X-Factor (1st Series) #25, Angel will be shocked of out his evil Death persona by the apparent death of Iceman. 

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