Tony: It might interest you to eavesdrop with me! Here’s a tiny pair of ear-plugs. Tune in and learn your reward for trying to destroy me! It will show you how trustworthy your leader is!
“Leader”: Remember, comrades! Seize Vanko the instant he returns, and machine-gun him! I cannot take any chances of the Crimson Dynamo being more popular than I! So Vanko must be liquidated!
Vanko: The unscrupulous scoundrel! So! Death was to be my reward for serving him!
Tony: Poor Vanko! He doesn’t know he really heard my voice, not his leader’s! When I left Vanko momentarily… I quickly recorded the speech he just heard on my tape machine! I was certain that he’d believe it— because he knows how treacherous all communists are!
Vanko: Thank you Iron Man! You have saved my life! I realize now that my scientific genious has been at the service of a savage, double-dealing system.
Tony: My ruse worked!
It’s tradition for these communist engineer villains to create machines that are bigger, stronger, and bulkier but lack the finesse of their American counterparts, and introduction to Crimson Dynamo rides that off into the sunset. Vanko’s mastery of electricity lets him build a suit of armor that might be a match for Iron Man’s, but the mysterious power of ~transistors~ make the Dynamo’s best weaponry useless. Stark gets Vanko to surrender by cooking up a bit of Mutually Assured Destruction: it becomes plain that Tony is willing to die for his cause, but Vanko is not.
Then Tony gets Vanko to defect by putting on a really good Khrushchev impersonation. Again, apparently the Premier’s secret (but not so secret they aren’t broadcast into Tony Stark’s headset) orders are given in English. The thing that’s really fascinating here is that Tony’s absolutely right— Khrushchev is definitely planning to kill Vanko because he needs to be the most popular boy at the dance. The story has shown us that, indeed, all commies are chronically suspicious of one another, and that there’s no room for scientific innovation under a “savage, double-dealing system.” Tony wasn’t just lying to Vanko, he was also telling the truth.
But he was also lying. And, in fact, when Vanko started sabotaging Stark labs, US government spooktypes thought that since his property seemed to be under perpetual communist attack, Tony Stark might be a communist. Stark had to record Vanko’s confession to clear himself. Governments are a threat to individual genius everywhere! But not as much in America as beyond the Red Curtain. Stark gives Vanko a job at his company, and they feast on communist gold. Meanwhile, in Russia, Khruschev starts throwing vases at his secretary.
When Natasha makes her first appearance, her assignment will be to capture the traitor Vanko.
From Tales of Suspense #46, by Stan Lee, R. Burns, and Don Heck.