Tales of Suspense #52
November 23, 2015
Let's see them replace this character with Captain America HERE!
Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. (dramatically) And today, we end this year's Secret Origins Month!
(2015 Secret Origins Month title is shown)
Linkara: As promised, we're going to look at a villain origin. Yes, one of the most well-known villains nowadays: Black Widow! Well, okay, you don't know her as a villain, but that's the thing: Black Widow's got some red in her ledger.
(Cut to a shot of the first Black Widow comic)
Linkara (v/o): While Natasha Romanoff is probably the most well-known Black Widow, she wasn't the first person to use that codename. Before her, there was a Golden Age character who went by that moniker... as well as her civilian identity: Claire Voyant.
Linkara: I'd make fun of that, but honestly, since she ended up with the spider motif, I'm shocked she wasn't named (the following words appear...) "Ara Knid", with a silent K.
Linkara (v/o): And she got her powers from Satan!
Linkara: Between this and "One More Day", the Devil's really got a thing for spiders, doesn't he?
Linkara (v/o): According to "Marvel Chronicle", a year-by-year history, the character was inspired by the Mata Hari; i.e., an exotic, seductive figure who acted as a spy. There's not much else to say about her beginnings, aside from, well, the comic itself.
Linkara: As such, let's dig into "Tales of Suspense #52", and see if we can figure out why she ended up becoming a hero.
(AT4W title sequence plays; title card has Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf" playing in the background; cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)
Linkara (v/o): The cover is okay. Nothing too special, but we've seen worse. It's Iron Man fighting a recurring villain of his called the Crimson Dynamo in some kind of laboratory, and unfortunately, Iron Man apparently thinks his best strategy for defeating him is trying to make himself look bigger.
Text: Introducing: the gorgeous new menace of... the BLACK WIDOW!
Linkara: Where? Behind Cruella De Vil there?
Linkara (v/o): Also of note is that this is Iron Man in his pointy helmet armor. Based on the cover, I guess it's for easier sliding along the top of his head, but most everyone else draws the pointy bits straight up. What, was it a common thing for him to headbutt his opponents and stab them that way? (the comic opens to the first page) Anyway, our opening splash page shows the Crimson Dynamo pointing at Iron Man, which apparently is really hurting Iron Man, or at least giving him food poisoning.
(Cut to a clip of Steven Universe, showing a finger pointing at Mayor Dewey)
Mayor Dewey: (on the phone, perspiring) As a politician, pointing fingers make me very nervous!
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Also, for a guy called the Crimson Dynamo, he's really more of the Purple Dynamo. Or Very Hot Pink Dynamo.
Text: Question: Didn't Iron Man reform the Crimson Dynamo before? Answer: Yes, he did!
Linkara: (holding up index finger) Is this gonna be on the test?
Text: Question: So how come they're fighting each other again? Answer: There's only one way to find out... and we think you'll like what you'll see...
Linkara: Now, that's all the time we have for this press conference.
Linkara (v/o): We truly open on a late night in Tony Stark's laboratory, where the Crimson Dyn-o-mite is working on some kind of experiment involving (dramatically) "the secret of laser light".
Narrator: Editor's note: The "laser light" appears in parallel photon rays of equal force, not diffused like ordinary light!
(Cut to the obligatory shot of the Hitler Clones from "Superman At Earth's End")
Hitler Clone: Of course. Don't you know anything about science?
Linkara: Actually, I've got to be honest, that might really be scientifically accurate, I have no idea. Science and client commenters, go ahead.
Narrator: If a way could be found to handle such a dangerous light safely, it would be the perfect weapon... as it could burn through anything!
Linkara: My God! Imagine the potential for ruined barbecues! Someone doesn't like the burgers? Now it really is well done!
Linkara (v/o): Tony Stark, while doing maintenance on the Iron Man suit, spots the Crimson Dynamo working. I've gotten a few messages from people saying that my drunk Tony Stark voice demeans and insults others who suffer from alcoholism. Fair enough on the concern, but I am going to respectfully disagree on this point. For starters, Tony Stark's alcoholism is not going to be a factor to the character for another twenty years. For now, he's just playboy Tony Stark who decides to add pointy tips to his helmet mask. If this was after "Demon In a Bottle", I wouldn't use the voice. Secondly, the drunk voice is really based off of "Ultimate" Iron Man, wherein the guy is constantly boozing it up, partially because of chronic pain he experiences – long story – and I do adhere for simplicity sake and to give him his own unique voice.
Linkara: And finally, it's also because I'm not trying to make fun of alcoholics or alcoholism. I'm poking fun at people who are drunk. And let's face it, sometimes, people who are drunk are very funny, especially when they are genius billionaire playboy philanthropists who employ armored Russian supervillains to work on lasers.
Linkara (v/o): Now, if you still feel I'm being disrespectful with the voice, fair enough, your opinion is valid, and I'm sorry if I am being disrespectful. Please, no one be a dick about this in the comments; it's a valid concern. However, I do not feel that I am doing so, so without further ado... DRUNK TONY STARK VOICE!
Tony Stark: (thinking, slurring drunkenly, as is the case all throughout the video) I can rest easy now! Every transist... trans... transistoristed* part of my Iron Man suit is in perfect working order!
- NOTE: He actually says "transistorized".
Linkara: (as Tony) If it wasn't in working order, I'd have to panic and run around (flails arms around) screaming uncontrollably!
Tony: (thinking) Too bad those who questioned the Crimson Dynamo's loyalty to me can't see Professor Vanko now... working down there long after everyone else has gone!
Linkara: (as Tony) Wait a second. (points to camera) He's gonna demand overtime pay! (looks around) I've gotta stop him!
Linkara (v/o): The Crimson Dynamo decides to test his laser weapon... by shooting himself!
Crimson Dynamo: Now, with my Crimson Dyanmo costume for protection, I'll find out if my laser ray gun is safe to use!
Linkara: (mock Russian accent) In America, you shoot laser. In Soviet Russia, laser shoots you.
Linkara (v/o): For some reason, Tony Stark has a zipline from his office down to the lab, which he uses to swing down and kick the Crimson Dynamo away from the laser.
Crimson Dynamo: I've failed! I still haven't found a way to make the laser light safe to use!
Linkara: Then maybe you should be testing it on something other than yourself! What the hell, man?!
Linkara (v/o): While Vanko berates himself on his failure... What failure? From the sound of things, the laser would have killed you even through the suit. That sounds like a success. Tony recommends adding initial protection for his suit just in case. Wait, I'm confused. Tony hit him out of the way to prevent him from being killed by the laser he was testing on himself for no good reason, but now Tony is recommending additional shield for his armor in case he decides to test it on himself again? What?! After a brief flashback to when Vanko decided to defect, we cut over to what I presume to be Russia; hence, the Stalin picture on the wall...
(Editor's note: "Well, either Stalin or Soviet Col. Sanders")
Linkara (v/o): ...much like how, in moves in America, we have to make sure we post up pictures of the President and American flags everywhere. How else will people know what country we're in? To not do that would be as crazy as having a caption saying the location. Hell, the caption for this very panel says, "Thousands of miles away".
(Cut to a clip of an episode of Yu-Gi-Oh!)
Narrator: Meanwhile, thousands of miles away...
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Anywho, the Russians have obtained footage, proving that Vanko has defected, so they decide to send someone to eliminate him: the Black Widow!
Natasha: (wearing a green dress and a veil over her face) You sent for me, comrade leader?
Linkara: (as Natasha) Please forgive my attire. I am in mourning for my dead pet lizard.
Nikita Khrushchev: And you, too, Boris! Come here! Walk around the desk... I want to show you something...
Linkara: (as Khrushchev) See, you are Boris, and the Black Widow's real name is Natasha. Do you see where I'm going with this? (as Boris) I guess, but is Tony Stark the moose or the squirrel in this?
Boris: Walk around?! Boris does not walk around puny objects... It is easier to hurl them aside... (does so) SO!!
Linkara: (as Khrushchev) Well, now we see that you are the moose, Boris. You certainly got the brain of one.
Linkara (v/o): Russian leader guy tells the two that they have to assassinate Tony Stark, Vanko, and Tony's bodyguard... Iron Man! Yeah, you know that bit at the end of the first Iron Man film? That was in reference to this. To keep his identity secret, Tony claimed that Iron Man was his bodyguard. And frankly, considering he started his career as Iron Man with a box of scraps in a Vietnamese prison camp, yeah, he could probably use one.
Black Widow: (thinking) Hmm... That Anthony Stark is handsome as well as wealthy! He will make an interesting assignment for the Black Widow!
Linkara: Women can't resist a pencil-thin mustache.
Linkara (v/o): The two are dropped off in New York via submarine and walk right into the Stark Industries office. Happy Hogan tries and fails to hit on Pepper Potts.
Pepper: Now, if you'll excuse me, some foreign visitors are here to see the boss! Wait! Whom shall I say is calling?
Linkara: That's why Pepper is such a great secretary: she knew these two were foreigners before having even spoken a word to them.
Linkara (v/o): The two enter and say hi to Tony.
Natasha: I am Madame Natasha...
Linkara: All the best spies use their real name.
Natasha: ...and this is my brother, Boris! He teaches a science class in the Ukraine!
Linkara: Ah, yes, clearly, this gigantic gorilla of a man is a science teacher. (looks offscreen) Isn't that right, Dr. Ivan Sano.
(Cut to Dr. Ivan Sano (played by Lewis) standing off to the side and flexing his muscles)
Dr. Ivan Sano: My science must break you.
Natasha: It would be good for his students to hear about your great American technology!
Linkara: (as Natasha) I have heard your PlayStation 4s are backwards compatible with PS2 games.
Linkara (v/o): Tony, enamored with the gorgeous woman, tells her Boris can wander around the factory while he takes her to dinner, because Tony's kind of stupid like that.
Natasha: It is strange to find a man like you so dedicated to science, yet so sophisticated and charming!!
Tony: If there's a moon out, lady, you'll find out how I feel about you, too!
Linkara: Iron Werewolf.
Linkara (v/o): After evading a guard, Boris uses an aerosol can full of some kind of acid to make a whole in a wall that coincidentally is connected to the lab where Vanko is working.
Boris: Greetings, Professor Vanko, from the past!
Linkara: (as Boris) I am time traveler! Your kids, Vanko, we have to do something about your kids!
Linkara (v/o): Boris says the Kremlin will spare his life if he helps sabotage Stark's plant, but Vanko refuses. Boris pulls a weird-looking gun on him.
Vanko: The jet paralyzer... I had forgotten all about it!
Linkara (v/o): Oh, hey, so that's where the aliens in Santa Claus Conquers the Martians got the paralyzer rammo air blasters. Boris shoots at him, which unleashes a bunch of magnetic ropes that wrap around Vanko and leave him trapped on the floor. Boris then equips some audio tape to a machine.
Linkara: (as Boris) And now to play "Hungry Like the Wolf".
Boris: I'll start this long-playing tape recording of your voice, taken at your last lecture in Moscow!
Linkara: (as Boris) I have sampled it into new auto-tune song. (gives thumbs-up) It will go viral quickly.
Linkara (v/o): He then stuffs Vanko in a sack and carries him off, claiming to a guard that he's delivering a package for him, while the tape makes it seem like Vanko is talking in his lab and, as such, doesn't want to be disturbed. Convenient for Boris that that's apparently a thing with the guards. He quickly delivers Vanko to some Russian agents, deciding to deal with Iron Man by using the Crimson Dynamo suit, which he changes into after sneaking back into the plant. He quickly destroys the machinery in Vanko's lab.
Boris: This will serve a double purpose! It will slow down America's defense production...
Linkara: Man, no wonder the Cold War was such a dangerous time if you relied on a (holds up index finger) single manufacturing plant in the arms race.
Boris: ...and more important, it will bring Iron Man into the open where I can destroy him, so that he can never frustrate our plans for world conquest again!
Linkara: (as Boris) Conveniently, America has only (holds up index finger) one superhero to fight us! (smiles)
Yu-Gi-Oh narrator: Meanwhile, thousands of miles away...
Linkara (v/o): Having gotten word of the attack on the plant, Tony returns with the Black Widow. He notes that she seems oddly undisturbed by the fire at the plant, but just slips away so he can change into Iron Man.
Iron Man: And now to find out what's behind all this! As armor-plated Iron Man, I can plunge into this blazing inferno without burning alive!
Linkara: (as Iron Man, wearing an Iron Man mask) It's a good thing that metal never gets hot.
Linkara (v/o): He runs into Boris in the Crimson Dynamo suit and assumes it's Vanko. He offers to get the laser machine out from the fire safely and turns his back, allowing Boris to zap him.
Boris: A perfect opportunity to use the electrical charge Vanko provided in this suit!
Iron Man: I'm being drained of my transistor power...
Linkara: I know, he's draining from the thing that conducts power. (beat) Transistors and batteries are the same thing, right?
Linkara (v/o): Draining the suit power also knocks Tony unconscious for some reason, and Boris returns to the sub with the unconscious Iron Man. They decide to keep him alive and as a prisoner in a steel-plated room, since all the power is drained and he's not considered a threat. Boris goes to retrieve the Black Widow and kill Stark since his bodyguard is out of the way.
(Cut to a clip of Yu-Gi-Oh)
Narrator: Meanwhile, thousands of miles away...
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Tony awakens in his cell... and I just realized that this Iron Man suit has iron nipples. What do you think Tony uses them for? Power outlets? Drills that come out? Martini dispenses? Realizing he needs to recharge, Tony spots the light bulb overhead and decides to tap into the electricity there.
Iron Man: (thinking) Lucky I carry this spare extension cord for any emergencies...
Linkara (v/o): And indeed, it looks like the extension cord plugs into his nipple. Power outlet it is!
Linkara: So, basically, Iron Man has jumper cable connections (hovers his hands around his breasts) in his nipples.
Linkara (v/o): It's apparently a very quick recharge, since he's then able to smash through the walls and find the restrained Vanko. Realizing what happened, he frees Vanko and charges through the submarine, escaping back to the plant.
Vanko: Thinking he's defeated you, Boris will return to the factory to destroy our laser ray weapon!!
Iron Man: Boris! So he's the one!
Linkara: Ah, yes, the most notorious and well-known of Iron Man's villains... Boris.
Linkara (v/o): Spotting Boris in the plant, Iron Man sets down Vanko and attacks, deciding to smash through a wall instead of that window we saw in the panel above.
(As Iron Man smashes through, we hear the sound of a wall shattering and the Kool-Aid Man yelling, "OH, YEAH!")
Linkara (v/o): Iron Man has also adjusted the frequency wavelength of his electronics via multi-modal reflection sorting so that Boris can't use the same trick on him twice.
Boris: It does not matter! I am still powerful enough to destroy with my bare han...OOOF!!
Linkara (v/o): And one punch knocks him down. He even flips him around so he's face-first on the floor with his ass in the air. Yeah, Boris, I got the feeling your skills are more into lifting things than anything else. However, he manages to recover and tries to lift a machine up to crush Iron Man, but Tony flies up, grabs it, and sets it down elsewhere. However, the Black Widow appears again to try to help Boris, pretending to need Iron Man's help.
Iron Man: Madam Natasha! I must have unwittingly pinned her under the machine when I set it down!!
Linkara: (as Iron Man, wearing the Iron Man mask again) Damn! I knew I shouldn't have filled my vodka nipples with moonshine! I'M BLIND!
Linkara (v/o): The distraction works, allowing Boris to shoot a stream of water onto Iron Man's back.
Iron Man: He's short-circuiting me!
Linkara: So, basically, what I'm getting from this is that Iron Man can be taken down with a Super Soaker.
Linkara (v/o): But nah, he manages to recover and realizes the two were in cahoots. But Boris now plans to electrocute the wet Iron Man. Vanko, however, grabs the light laser pistol to deal with Boris.
Boris: Your bluff won't work, Vanko! I know the weapon is not yet perfected! It will destroy the one who uses it as well as the victim!
Linkara: So your laser is so inefficiently designed that a projected energy weapon vaporizes the person holding it, too? How can you people be considered geniuses if that is the issue with it?
Linkara (v/o): Vanko, however, is fully dedicated to defending Iron Man and the American ideals he now believes in.
Background singers: (from Team America: World Police) America, fuck yeah!
Linkara (v/o): Vanko fires the weapon, killing both himself and Boris. The Black Widow slips away in the confusion.
Tony: Poor Vanko! He sacrificed his life to prove his loyalty to our nation! He shall never be forgotten!
(Linkara is seen wearing both Iron Man's mask and his hat on top of it)
Linkara: (as Tony) We shall never forget– (his hat falls off and he looks down at it, then back up in confusion) ...What was I talking about?
Linkara (v/o): And so, our comic ends with Tony talking with Happy Hogan and Pepper about the Black Widow and them wondering why they don't go after her. However, Tony suspects they don't have to, since she failed her mission and she's gonna be on the run now.
Tony: In a way, I pity her! All that beauty outside... but inside... nothing!!
Linkara: (as Tony, still wearing the Iron Man mask) I mean, if she was unattractive, I wouldn't care, but still...
Linkara (v/o): And yes, the Black Widow is walking through a crowd, knowing that the penalty for failure will be her death. However, the book promises that she will be back in the next issue. However, we will not be.
Linkara: This comic... is pretty good, although you would never suspect that the Black Widow would become a hero based on this.
Linkara (v/o): I'm gonna save her reform for another time, since Black Widow was also tied in with another character origin that we shall discuss, probably next year, but I never planned to stuff that far in advance. Needless to say, though, she was a recurring villain against Iron Man for a while, and after her reform, actually teamed up with Daredevil, even romantically for a while, also sharing the name of the book. Unfortunately, her first appearance really didn't give us much to work with in that regard, other than her being a seductive spy who used a little bit of manipulation to trick Iron Man, but not much.
Linkara: And yes, there is one more week of November left, so I could do another "Secret Origins" episode, but the last time this happened, we did something different. And that was "Brute Force". And what a coinkydink! Next week, Brute Force is back! (beat) Also, Deadpool.
(End credits roll)
Soviet Colonel Sanders had got nothing on Earth-3 Colonel Sanders. ...I should probably review that at some point.
Boris would survive his encounter with the laser and found his own shipping company – lifting anything and everything!
CS: (singing) The heat is on! On the street! Something, something, something... something...
(He puts his hand over his mouth to pretend to make tooting sounds with it)
CS: (singing) Oh-wo-ho, oh-wo-ho, Beverly Hills Cop, the song's on the soundtrack...
(To Glenn Frey's "The Heat Is On", the title for Atop the Fourth Wall: The Movie appears, running November 24-28)