Tales to Astonish (Vol. 1) #45

Credits:

“The Terrible Traps of Egghead!”

Cover Date: July 1963

Plotter: Stan Lee

Scripter: H.E. Huntley

Penciller: Don Heck

Inker: Don Heck

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers

What’s Going On?

After his last confrontation with Ant-Man, Egghead has been a wreck, spending his time in a low-rent flop house, still shocked by his failure.

When he overhears some hoods discussing Ant-Man’s new partner, the Wasp, Egghead gets inspired. He will lure Ant-Man to his doom by capturing the Wasp and using her as bait!

Is It Good?

My common Ant-Man complaint —- that most of Ant-Man’s problems could be solved by using his enlarging gas and returning to his human size —- is compounded by him having a similarly-powered partner. Egghead’s plan and traps are silly, but none would present a problem if the heroes acted logically (or if there was an in-story reason why they can’t act smart).

Sub-Plots:

  • As part of his plan to capture the Wasp, Egghead builds a fake identity as a famous zoologist.

  • Janet goes to one of Egghead’s lectures and spots some recently stolen gems. Instead of notifying the police or Ant-Man, she resolves to apprehend the crooks on her own.

  • When the Wasp is eventually captured by Egghead, she contacts Ant-Man for help. When he shows, he finds himself in a trap with an anteater.

  • After Egghead is defeated, we see that Janet is still pining after Henry.

Continuity:

  • The Wasp makes use of a “stinger” for the first time; it is merely a pin, but it seems to work pretty well.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Egghead’s plan is to fake his way into being a renowned zoologist (why not be an entomologist instead?) so he can hopefully attract Ant-Man and the Wasp to a lecture, and then later draw the Wasp to a different event, which hopefully will lead to only her (and not the police and/or Ant-Man) getting trapped, which then will lead to Ant-Man walking into basically the same trap, and if they fight their way out of all that, the final line of defense for Egghead is gasoline-filled water guns. How can a plan this simple possibly go wrong?
  • Confidence doesn’t indicate intelligence, Jan.

  • The fact that this plan works is mind-boggling.

  • Shouldn’t she have her normal human strength when she’s small? Why not punch through the hive wall? Why not just enlarge?

  • Anteaters are less problematic for Ant-Man than you might assume.

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