Tales to Astonish (Vol. 1) #43

Credits:

“The Astonishing Ant-Man Versus the Mad Master of Time!”

Cover Date: May 1963

Plotter: Stan Lee

Scripter: Larry Lieber

Penciller: Don Heck

Inker: Don Heck

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Sol Brodsky

What’s Going On?

After being fired from his job for being too old, Elias Weems vows revenge on society.

Weems creates a ray gun that accelerated the age of living creatures. When he tries to force Central City into making him the city’s boss, Ant-Man strikes to protect the city. But when he is aged by Weems’ ray gun, can he still be a hero?

Is It Good?

It’s a little more fun than the averageAnt-Man story, but it’s still not very good. I enjoyed this issue more than usual because the villain was a victim of straight-up discrimination, which made him much more relatable than your average villain. I was also pleased by Ant-Man solving a problem by returning to his normal size; it’s about damn time that happened.

Sub-Plots:

  • Ant-Man is a celebrity, but he is uncomfortable with fame.

  • One reason Weems was so upset about losing his job was because he wanted to impress his grandson. When he accidentally makes his grandson age (along with the rest of a crowd), he realizes the error in his ways.

Continuity:

  • Ant-Man is still in Central City, not the New York City where the other superheroes are.

  • Weems unmasks Ant-Man, but doesn’t learn his secret identity; Weems has bad eyesight, and Ant-Man’s Head is tiny.

  • This is the first issue where Ant-Man makes the simple observation that using his growth formula can solve a lot of his Ant-Man problems.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Eww, gross! An attractive middle-aged woman! How embarrassing!

  • Weems removes a helmet from an ant-sized man, without crushing it or damaging Ant-Man’s head. Those are some sensitive fingers.

  • Ant-Man wears a purple trench coat over his costume to avoid attention. That’s not likely to work.

  • The after-school special quality of this ending is adorable!

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