Tales to Astonish (Vol. 1) #48

Credits:

Cover Date: October 1963

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Sol Brodsky

“The Porcupine!”

Plotter: Stan Lee

Scripter: H. E. Huntley

Penciller: Don Heck

Inker: Don Heck

What’s Going On?

Alex Gentry invented what he believed was the ultimate battle suit.

However, he was upset that he had invented it for the US military, which meant that he would get neither the recognition nor the riches he felt were his due. He decided to keep the suit for himself, and begin a life of crime as The Porcupine!

How can Ant-Man and Wasp defeat someone with an all-purpose, weaponized suit?

Is It Good?

No, it’s not. The Porcupine isn’t much of a villain. The romance between Henry and Janet changes its tone a bit in this issue; Jan is getting a little passive-aggressive and Henry is becoming patronizing.

It makes the heroes less appealing, so when they face off against a crappy villain like the Porcupine, it makes reading this feel more and more like a chore.

Sub-Plots:

  • Henry and Janet were in the crowd at the grand opening of a bank —- Henry invented their burglar alarm system —- when the Porcupine makes his public debut. The Porcupine then robs the supposedly burglar-proof bank!

  • Janet is running a fever and faints during the Porcupine’s attack on the bank. Henry puts her to bed and goes off after the Porcupine while she is sleeping.
  • Janet is still being very blunt about her attraction to Henry. He is still not taking her seriously.

  • The Porcupine was prepared for Ant-Man, though. He captures the hero with ease.

  • Wasp comes to the rescue (along with some ants), and the Porcupine is defeated by covering his suit in concrete. He is still able to escape, though.

Continuity:

  • This is the first appearance of Alex Gentry, the Porcupine.
  • The Porcupine suit is a full arsenal, loaded with all sorts of projectiles and gases. It also is equipped with a jet pack and “hypnotic wheels.”

  • Ant-Man’s ants are apparently unable to act without his explicit orders. This contradicts the time they came to his aid against the Scarlet Beetle (Tales to Astonish #39).

Comics Are Goofy:

  • What the hell is Henry Pym doing inventing a “burglar-proof” bank vault alarm? Only a few issues ago, he refused to work with Janet’s father because his interests were not limited to shrinking things. Now, he’s making commercial burglar alarms?

  • The Porcupine had Ant-Man in his fingers and opts to drown him in a bathtub instead of crushing him.

  • You guys knew he had a jet pack when you threw him out the window, right…? And that the cement that you covered the Porcupine with wouldn’t hamper the jet pack?

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