Tales to Astonish (Vol. 1) #67

Credits:

Cover Date: May 1965

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Sol Brodsky

“The Mystery of the Hidden Man and His Rays of Doom!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Bob Powell

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Bob Powell

Inker: Chic Stone

“Where Strides the Behemoth”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Steve Ditko

Inker: Frank Giacoia (credited as Frank Ray)

What’s Going On?

Someone has a ray gun that steals knowledge from people…and they’ve got their sights set on stealing Giant-Man’s size-changing secrets!

As for the Hulk, his adventures behind the Steel Curtain continue until Bruce Banner finds himself kidnapped by Himalayan bandits!

Details:

In the Giant-Man & Wasp story:

  • While going about his own business, Giant-Man finds himself on the receiving end of a mysterious green ray gun! The ray, being fired from a nearby car, weakens him.

  • The ray sucks power from one host and transmits it to the mysterious Supramor, in a secret location. Luckily, the device shooting the ray blew a fuse, and Giant-Man’s power was not transmitted.

  • A few hours later, the ray was fixed, and Supramor’s henchman tried again. Giant-Man was ready for him this time, though, and captured the car and ray gun, while the henchman escaped.

  • While inspecting the car —- which had all sorts of advanced electronic equipment in it —- Hank developed some questions outside of his area of expertise. He went to the top physicist in the area, only to find that he had lost all of his physics knowledge when a green ray enveloped him!

  • Hank immediately concludes that whoever is operating the ray is trying to take his knowledge about size-changing.

  • But, before he can act on this knowledge, he and the Wasp are hit by the ray while they are both tiny. When Hank awakens, he finds that he can no longer shrink.

  • He can still become giant-sized, though, so he goes after Supramor and eventually catches the villain.

  • Before Giant-Man can do anything with his captive, aliens arrive, take Supramor away and fix the bad things he has done. I guess Supramor was an alien? The end.

In the Hulk story:

  • Picking up from last issue, the Hulk is angry and ready to fight some Soviet tanks.

  • As you might expect, the Hulk is pretty successful against the tanks.

  • Before long, Hulk has destroyed the tank brigade. But now what?

  • The Hulk starts heading home, making enormous leaps and covering a lot of distance. When he finally tires and transforms back into Bruce Banner, he is somewhere in the Himalayas.

  • When Banner awakes, he finds himself a hostage of some mountain bandits. In an effort to get home, he gives them his name and promises them riches if they contact the Americans on his behalf.

  • Days later, Major Talbot arrives to pay the ransom for Banner. Talbot wants to bring Banner back to America to stand trial for treason. But as they prepare to leave, a rival gang of bandits attacks!

  • The two Americans try to escape, but wind up tumbling down a canyon.

  • To be continued…!

Is It Good?

The Giant-Man & Wasp story is definitely not good. Bob Powell’s art is definitely the highlight of this story, but this is mostly an action issue, and that doesn’t play to his strengths. It’s just a boring story with boring villains and a hilariously abrupt ending. The fact that this story has long-lasting impact —- Giant-Man won’t be able to shrink to small sizes for a few years —- boggles my mind.

The Hulk story was better, although it was pretty simple. I have to wonder if Ditko chose to end on such a ridiculous cliffhanger as a deliberate challenge to Jack Kirby, who will be taking over the feature next issue. If so, bravo. I am going to miss Steve Ditko on the Hulk, though. This run has really helped solidify the character into something close to his most “classic” state.

Continuity:

  • The Wasp now has a pet bee to carry her long distances quickly.

  • Giant-Man can no longer shrink. Well, he can shrink from a large size back to his normal size, but no more ant-sized adventures for him until 1967.

  • The Hulk misses his friend, Rick Jones. Apparently, the Hulk doesn’t know that Rick helped Banner as recently as Tales to Astonish #62.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • So…Giant-Man was just strolling down the street in his super-hero uniform?

  • As everyone knows, you want to be 100-feet tall when examining any normal-sized object. Everyone would do it, if they could.

  • Shouldn’t a bee sting be immediately fatal to the Wasp when she’s shrunk down? I would think it would be equivalent to being speared by a poison-tipped harpoon.

  • Giant-Man and the Wasp both were exposed to the green ray, but only Giant-Man saw his shrinking ability changed. I really hope it’s not because Janet doesn’t understand the science behind her abilities. That would be incredibly dumb.

  • The idea of Hank losing his shrinking ability is so stupid. If he can reduce his size from being 100-feet tall, why not from when he is 6-feet tall? Isn’t it the same concept? And why does this de-powering stick, when the aliens said they would undo all of Supramor’s evil deeds?

  • I don’t think you can yank a road out from under someone like it’s a rug.

  • Soviet propaganda doesn’t seem very effective.

  • If Banner transforms into the Hulk when he’s stressed out, why doesn’t he transform here? He clearly spends several days as a prisoner of the bandits, worrying that they will kill him. That doesn’t stress him out?

Well, That Aged Poorly:

  • On the bright side, Steve Ditko didn’t exaggerate the facial features of these indigenous Himalayan men into a racist caricature. On the other hand, the chances of them all being pale Caucasians seem unlikely.

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