Gargantus: The Giant Disappointment
After Iron Man's exciting and grounded debut I was looking forward to learning how he became a super hero and how he would shrink down the life support systems from a suit to a smaller device. Sadly both of these points were skipped over, moving straight to the continued adventures of Iron Man the hero. We did get a detailed and slightly sexist explanation of why Iron Man changed the color of his suit to gold and an explanation of the three personas of Tony Stark.
This was very much a story of two halves, with a good starting half of an issue (missing explanations aside) about the life of Tony Stark and the reason he changed the color of his suit. The second half was flat out terrible. Both my least favourite tropes reared their ugly heads, hypnosis and aliens. I don't know why we moved away from fighting Vietnamese Warlords to neandarthal robots built by aliens but it was sorely disappointing. The villain was poor, it's scheme was bad and the means of it's dispatching felt unearnt.
The art in this issue is really quite good. The characters are detailed, their faces and mannerisms are decent and we got some good looking big cats. Several of the panels capture really good freeze frames of objects being smashed into pieces. The color pallete feels more muted than it's Fantastic Four contemporary issues. Also Tony Stark is one of the better drawn characters I've seen thus far in my exploration of the 1963 Marvel. It's a shame Jack Kirby's quality art is let down by one of Stan Lee's worst plots yet.
I would not recommend this comic. Nothing of continued plot importance happens, Iron Man's color change aside and the issues own plot is really quite poor. Aliens have their place in comics, but not like this. Not as a throwaway Deus Ex Machina to a poor villain. Also Hypnosis. Even brainwashing is better than that. Easily the worst comic I've read yet from 1963.
"My Appearance Terrifies Women And Children!"