Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Marvel History Post 33: Tales to Astonish # 39

Issue: Tales to Astonish # 39 Writer: Stan Lee/Larry Lieber Artist: Jack Kirby Publication Date: January 1963 Brief Summary: Ant Man catches on to some big happenings in the insect community, and heads down to the sewer, where he meets the Scarlet Beetle, a beetle who has been affected by radiation and has gained the intelligence of a human. The beetle plans to use insects to overthrow the world. Some of his beetles toss and tussle with Ant Man, and the Scarlet Beetle gets his hand on the Ant Man's enlarging formula. Ant Man is defeated and left in a large hole without his helmet while the Scarlet Beetle wrecks havoc on mankind. However, Ant Man's nearby helmet has been sending out a signal, so the ants come to rescue him anyway. Ant Man returns, and uses a variety of methods to stop the bugs under Scarlet Beetle's control. Ant Man manages to break the canister of enlarging gas that his bug nemesis was using, and then captures him. He then manages to counteract the effect of the radiation, and releases the Scarlet Beetle, now just a normal little bugger, back out into the world. Commentary: After all the trouble he caused, I think I probably would've stomped on the Scarlet Beetle at the end of the day. I guess Henry Pym wouldn't harm a fly, a beetle, or even a wasp. These early Ant Man stories seem even more silly than some of the other early Marvel tales due to the number of convoluted scenarios in which Stan puts Ant Man. This issue sees him using his usual land in a pile of ants routine, but also features a balloon ride and a Popsicle stick weapon. Quick Thoughts:
  • The Scarlet Beetle uses telepathy, which will of course become a staple in terms of the powers often displayed by some of Marvel's merry mutants.
  • The people attacked in the story complain that Ant Man doesn't come to their help.
Favorite Panel: There's gotta be a better term for that than growth gas. Next: Fantastic Four # 11