Tales to Astonish (Vol. 1) #35

Credits:

Cover Date: September 1962

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers

“Return of the Ant-Man”

Writer: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Dick Ayers

What’s Going On?

After his shrunken adventure inside an ant hill, Doctor Henry Pym thought better of destroying his shrinking/growing scientific potions, and so he recreated them and stored them for use at a later date. He then became increasingly fascinated by ants.

Unfortunately, his day job as a government scientist leaves these studies as hobbies. He and his team of assistants are tasked with developing an anti-radiation formula. Naturally, the Soviets take an interest and decide to steal the formula for themselves and destroy Pym, his assistants, and their lab. Henry Pym opts to use his shrinking potion again and leads an army of ants to defeat the commies!

Is It Good?

It’s a little silly, but it’s not terrible. Ant-Man’s helmet is a cool visual, and there is some promise for this premise. I worry about future stories, though, and how convoluted it will be when the solution to every problem becomes “attack with ants.”

Sub-Plots:

  • In addition to recreating his shrinking formula, Henry Pym also built a helmet to communicate with ants.

Continuity:

  • This is Henry Pym’s second appearance; his first was in Tales to Astonish #27.
  • In case you are wondering how Pym managed to recreate his complex shrink/growth formulas after destroying all traces of them in his last appearance, he…did so between panels with no apparent effort required.

  • This is the debut of Henry Pym as Ant-Man, and the debut of his special Ant-Man helmet.
  • We have a diagram of Ant-Man’s helmet!

  • Ant-Man can mentally control ants (while wearing his special helmet) and has the strength of a full-grown man, even when he is shrunk.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • It is hard to draw fingers snapping.

  • Oh, cool — Ant-Man gets a suit made of unstable molecules, just like the Fantastic Four! So…where do super-heroes shop for their unstable clothing?

  • Congratulations, you outsmarted a beetle by…temporarily blinding it with sunlight? That seems unlikely.

  • I’m enjoying the variety of uses shown for ants, but something makes me think that this would not happen quickly enough to avoid detection by the communist saboteurs.

  • Of course! Ants were always the secret weakness of all communists!

Well, That Aged Poorly:

  • I love that there is no thought given to whether or not an “anti-radiation gas” would benefit the entire world. Nope! It is a tool to fight communism!

  • Also, the formula falling into communist hands would be much more concerning if you had not already established that you can recreate complex scientific formulas from memory.

<<<Tales to Astonish #27

>>>Tales to Astonish #36

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