Tales to Astonish (Vol. 1) #65

Credits:

Cover Date: March 1965

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Chic Stone

“The New Giant-Man!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Bob Powell

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Bob Powell

Inker: Don Heck

“On the Rampage Against the Reds!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Steve Ditko

Inker: Dick Ayers

What’s Going On?

The Wasp designs a new costume for Giant-Man, as he improves his super-powers. Oh, and there’s a giant spider in the story.

Elsewhere, the Hulk begins by fighting the forces of the Leader and the US marines, and winds up in a remote Soviet prison for scientists.

Details:

In the Giant-Man & Wasp story:

  • Hank has been working in his lab, creating a weapon for Giant-Man.

  • What does it do? It allows Giant-Man to change the size of things other than himself.

  • It’s not perfect, though. It seems that Hank can’t control both his size and the size of something else at the same time.
  • Hank doesn’t notice that some of his growth serum dropped on the floor, where a spider fit into it.

  • That soon becomes a problem, as the now giant spider doesn’t want to give Hank enough time to put on his updated helmet.

  • But when Hank manages to get his helmet, he changes size and launches the spider out the window. The end.

In the Hulk story:

  • Picking up from last issue, the Hulk is fighting the Leader’s Humanoids when the marines approach, looking to contain the Hulk.

  • The marines start throwing grenades at the Hulk, causing the ground beneath the Hulk and Humanoids to give way. They wind up in the ocean. The Hulk, sensing his imminent transformation back into Bruce Banner, swims away quickly. When the transformation happens, Banner finds himself alone in the ocean; he is lucky that a ship passed by and rescued him.

  • Or is he lucky? The ship is a Communist submarine, and they have no intention of letting a famous and valuable American scientist out of heir grasp. Worse, the military have noted that the sub picked Banner up, this confirming to Major Talbot that Bruce Banner is a spy!

  • Banner is delivered to an Eastern Bloc nation and taken to a special prison. If he wants to be fed, he will need to work on Soviet weapons programs, or else he will be punished.

  • Banner refuses to work for the Communists, so he is locked in a tiny cell. Not for long, though. Soon enough, the Hulk breaks out!

  • Even in a prison workshop for advanced weaponry, the Hulk still plows through the enemy.

  • The Hulk might not realize it, but heavy reinforcements are on their way to the prison, and the head of the prison is about to unleash his most dangerous weapon on the Hulk. To be continued…!

Is It Good?

The Giant-Man & Wasp story was inconsequential and basically a one-off science fiction story. It’s fine for what it is, I guess. Bob Powell’s pencils are a little more detailed than the Marvel House style, so that was a nice change of pace.

The Hulk story wasn’t quite up to the standards of the past few months. The plot was overly busy, and the artwork looked rushed. They could have split this into three issues’ worth of stories, and it would have worked much better. I don’t care at all about the Hulk fighting the Commies, so I’m not very excited about where the story is heading, but who knows? Maybe next month’s plot will be just as busy, and the Hulk will wind up fighting bank robbers in Kansas or in space or some other nonsense.

Continuity:

  • Janet designed Giant-Man’s new costume.

  • We have a new cover corner box, reflecting Giant-Man’s new costume.

  • This is the first time we’ve seen Janet do anything involving clothes (superhero or not) design.

  • The Leader has noticed a connection between Banner and the Hulk.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Hank decided to test out his new ability by increasing the size of a cat. Shouldn’t he have started with inanimate objects and lab rats before his and Jan’s (heretofore unmentioned) pet?
  • “Wait a minute”?!? You are in a Communist prison, where they force scientists to work on dangerous weapons, and you only now considered the usefulness of turning into the Hulk here? I thought you were supposed to be the smart one, Banner.

  • The Hulk stops breaking out of a Communist prison to eat.

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