Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Marvel History Post 18: Tales to Astonish # 36

Issue: Tales to Astonish # 36
Writer: Stan Lee/Larry Leiber
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: October 1962

Brief Summary:

Comrade X, he of the communist threat, is charged with finding out the secret to Ant Man's shrinking ability. Meanwhile, Ant Man has established himself a network of ants to find out where he is needed in the big city. Ant Man hears of a woman who needs him at the police station, shrinks to ant size, and shoots himself out of a rocket to the police station, and lands in a pile of ants. Ant Man finds the girl who is looking for him, and rides in her purse back to her apartment, where he creepily makes his appearance known. The lady informs him she was in love with Comrade X, who left her for another woman. Wanting revenge, she informs Ant Man that Comrade X is in the states on a freighter. Ant Man heads down to the freighter in ant form, and gets an ant farm planted on him, thus trapping him. Ant Man forms an elaborate plan to get other ants to come aboard the ship to help him. They do, and he rides an ant to the radio room, where he knocks out the guard and then signals the authorities. Ant Man goes for Comrade X, who catches on to him, and plans to take him out. But, the ants manage to turn off the lights. Ant Man ties Comrade X's shoes, and Comrade X goes down and is swarmed by ants. But, the ants pull off Comrade X's mask, and reveal it's actually Madame X (The Crying Game all over again). Madame X is the woman who turned Ant Man on to Comrade X's presence in the beginning, but Ant Man was on to her tricks, as he saw her mask while hiding in her pocketbook. Who knows what else he found in there. The reds are taken into custody, and Henry Pym rides off into the night on his trusty ant steed.

Commentary:

Communism, communism, communism! It's everywhere in the MU in these stories, which is something I did not expect to be so prevalent. Unlike the other solo superheroes we've seen so far (Thor, Hulk), Ant Man does not yet have a lady interest. I wonder who that could be? I have to admit, Ant Man's powers come across as pretty campy, even compared to a guy who bangs a stick against the ground and becomes the Norse god of thunder. A man riding a bunch of ants around to do good deeds doesn't sit well with me. Perhaps his obsession with ants is a sign of what will become his jerkery and instability.

Quick Thoughts:
  • Ant Man's city is unknown. Sometimes the setting of the story is fictitious in the MU so far, and sometimes its left vague. It still hasn't been established that New York city is where the action's at.
  • Why Ant Man doesn't just grow to normal size to escape the glass ant cage is beyond me.
Favorite Panel: The how he got there isn't important because he sneaked a ride in your purse. Not creepy at all. Nothing to see here.

Next: Fantastic Four # 8