Episode 142: Spies and Retaliation (Tales of Suspense #56) -- August 1964
In this episode:
Mike and Ed discuss the Soviet Agent “Unicorn” and his assault on a StarkCorp munitions factory. Does the Soviet Union still have plausible deniability with such a blatant attack? How will the US respond? What type of game are the two superpowers playing that can avoid a full-on nuclear war? Also: Secret identities can protect a hero’s family from being attacked by their enemies, but if the hero’s employers are public, doesn’t that put employees of the same company at risk from vengeful villains?
Behind the comic:
The Black Widow is becoming one of the regular Iron Man antagonists at this point. Iron Man’s stories, more so that the other heroes, are tied up in international conflict. Since the USSR is the US’s primary challenger at this point, it is easy to see why Lee goes back to that country for the majority of the villains that Stark faces. There will be more stories of the Black Widow coming soon.
In this issue:
Tony Stark is frustrated with living a double life. He decides to give up being Iron Man, at least for a short period of time, which leads to him dodging a call from the Avengers. Meanwhile, the mysterious supervillain the Unicorn is on the trail of Iron Man. He tears apart a StarkCorp factory, which lead to his friend and employee Happy Hogan being injured and his personal secretary Pepper Potts being captured. Tony Stark realizes the error of his ways, and springs into action as Iron Man. He tracks down the Unicorn and battles him, rescuing Pepper. The Unicorn nonetheless escapes.
Assumed before the next episode:
People are wondering if there is a more direct line between Iron Man and Tony Stark than they had previously known, given that Tony Stark’s personal secretary was kidnapped to draw the attention of Iron Man.
This episode takes place
After Pepper Potts has been rescued and the Unicorn has been defeated.