Tales to Astonish (Vol. 1) #41

Credits:

“Prisoner of the Slave World!”

Cover Date: March 1963

Plotter: Stan Lee

Scripter: Larry Lieber

Penciller: Don Heck

Inker: Don Heck

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers

What’s Going On?

There is an alarming trend of famous scientists vanishing without a trace. The ever-humble Henry Pym correctly surmises tat he may be next, and vows to be prepared.

Sure enough, Pym is captured and transported to another dimension, where he (and the other scientists) is commanded to help create an “electro-death ray” for the evil warlord, Kulla. Kulla isn’t prepared for the Ant-Man, though!

Is It Good?

Nope. Jack Kirby’s art was one of the only fun things about this comic, but here we are with Don Heck. I don’t have a whole lot of experience with Heck’s work — just a few late-60’s Uncanny X-Men issues — but his strength is clearly not drawing science fiction.

That’s just not pretty. Aside from that, we have Ant-Man straight-up killing a bad guy with no remorse and kicking off a revolution in a foreign dimension. None of these things sound like a good idea for this character.

Sub-Plots:

  • An Earthling was responsible for kidnapping the scientists. He was doing it to get paid.

  • Ant-Man utilizes the insects of the foreign dimension to kill Kulla with the super-weapon he was forcing the Earth scientists to create.

Continuity:

  • Henry Pym points out that he wears civilian clothes made of unstable molecules now.
  • Ant-Man’s helmet can recalibrate the wavelengths it broadcasts and receives, so he can communicate with (presumably) any insect with antennae.

  • Remarkably, this is the first time an enemy tried to step on Ant-Man. Unfortunately, the villain had shoes with large treads.

  • Kulla is the first villain that any Silver Age Marvel superhero has been definitely responsible for killing.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • “…Since I’ve taken to wearing clothes of unstable molecules…” He says this like it’s a fashion choice, and not something is is probably very expensive.

  • What? If anyone can stop Kulla, Thor can. Or the Fantastic Four. Or the Hulk, probably. Ant-Man has to be toward the bottom of the list of preferred heroes in this situation.

  • The electronic eye/security device was set to the height of an ant? How often does it go off?

  • The Earthling that was working with Kulla is left behind in Kulla’s dimension, to receive punishment through their legal system. In other words, Pym and the scientists ditched this random crook on another world, and didn’t think twice about it.

  • Ant-Man has the insects under his control fire a gun that disintegrates Kulla, and there is no mention of crossing a line, or regretting that it had to be done for the greater good, or any of that.
  • Kulla developed an interdimensional mode of transportation, but needed Earth scientists to create a weapon? And why Pym? Why not capture a weapons designer?

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