Tales to Astonish (Vol. 1) #40

Credits:

“The Day That Ant-Man Failed!”

Cover Date: February 1963

Plotter: Stan Lee

Scripter: Larry Lieber

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Sol Brodsky

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers

What’s Going On?

An armored truck company keeps having trucks robbed; the guards are left without a memory of the crime, and no physical evidence is left behind. Ant-Man agrees to accompany the next payroll delivery, but at the last minute, he has to cancel due to appendicitis! How can Ant-Man defeat the evil Hijacker from a hospital bed?

Is It Good?

It’s almost the same plot as Tales to Astonish #37, where Ant-Man takes on a serial thief that wears a mask, only to discover that the first “victim” he met in the story is, in fact, the thief. Very Scooby-Doo. So, no, it’s not good. On the plus side, Jack Kirby got to draw Ant-Man navigating an automobile engine block, so at least that was novel.

Sub-Plots:

  • Henry Pym created a gas mask made of unstable molecules for the military, which is later used in battle against the Hijacker.

Continuity:

  • This is the first appearance of the Hijacker.
  • Henry Pym now wears a bracelet that senses when ants are trying to communicate with Ant-Man.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • The Marvel Universe seriously needs a consulting detective. While he did fine with this one, armored car robberies don’t exactly fall in Ant-Man’s wheelhouse.

  • There is no one around you. Who are you narrating to?

  • I can’t wait for the issue where a bird gobbles Ant-Man, mid-air.

  • By this logic, Ant-Man should be deafened by loud voices or trucks passing by, but he is not. Clearly, the guy has some sort of sound dampeners in his helmet, along with a microphone to speak to humans. It’s weird that these specifications haven’t been mentioned explicitly yet.

  • That’s not a real thing. Stop telling lies, Ant-Man.

  • Even when Ant-Man fails, he wins! Knowing that he later creates the genocidal robot Ultron and becomes an abusive spouse, I’m going to say that this isn’t true.

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