Marvel Feature #4
Issue(s): Marvel Feature #4
With the Defenders moving to their own book, Marvel Feature becomes the home for a new Henry Pym series. Pym is back in his Ant-Man personality, possibly thanks to the reception of the Neal Adams issue during the Kree-Skrull War.
Just to properly set the tone for any series about Henry Pym, we start off with him making a mistake in the lab and causing a huge explosion.
Peter Parker is also in the lab ("A State U. student... come out to assist me.").
Then a gangster shows up to announce that Doc Connor's boy Billy has been kidnapped, and he'll be killed if Pym doesn't deliver some drugs to the gang.
Pym doesn't have a secret identity, so these gangsters have a lot of balls and/or not much respect for Pym. Which, as much as i like to laugh at him, is wrong; we know that Pym is a basket case, but your average non-powered criminal still ought to be intimidated by him.
The criminals ensure compliance by injecting everyone - Billy, Peter, and Hank - with super-rabies. Once he shrinks, Hank finds that the injection has a side-effect causing him to be stuck at ant-size.
The good guys still win in the end, of course...
...but even after the rabies cure is applied to him, Pym finds that he can't return to normal size.
The best part of this issue is Orkie, a dog given to Pym by Janet (who is "out on the coast" this issue) that obeys his every command.
It really looks like they were trying to set up Orkie as Pym's sidekick for this series...
...but the dog never appears again, which is a crying shame.
Herb Trimpe's Early Kirby-ish art most probably looked antiquated to a 1972 audience but an appeal to nostalgia probably wasn't the worst way to attract a following for Ant-Man at this time.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Dependencies in the Defenders issues of Marvel Feature have pushed my placement of the series forward in publication time; there's really no reason this issue couldn't take place at publication time, prior to Marvel Feature #1-3, but there's also no need to complicate things like that. Pym is trapped at ant size at the end here and shouldn't appear anywhere else between now and next issue. Spider-Man's appearance here is context free, but see the notes in Marvel Team-Up #3, Amazing Spider-Man #110-111, and Marvel Team-Up #5-6. Takes place "only days" after Pym's appearance in Hulk #154.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
It seems worth noting that Billy is erroneously referred to as both Timmy (by his mother, of all people, who also bears no resemblance to the character we've seen depicted in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN) and Bobby (by Hank and Peter). The first-person narration seems a curious choice when so much of Peter's activity happens without Hank's knowledge.
Posted by: Matthew Bradley | July 3, 2013 1:15 PM
That's pretty funny about Billy. He's never called by his actual name the entire story.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 3, 2013 1:59 PM
He'll be eaten by the lizard in the shed storyline.
Posted by: doomsday | July 8, 2013 3:12 PM
For part of his Golden Age run Doll Man was partnered by a dog called Elmo, on whose back he rode.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | November 10, 2015 4:14 AM
ANOTHER Roy Thomas Golden Age "homage"? You know, I used to like Roy Thomas, but this site has ruined him for me.
Posted by: Andrew | December 12, 2016 2:59 PM
Thomas' plots and characters are fine, but his dialog has always been vapid and voluble even by comic-book standards. And this from a guy who makes a big deal about his love of literature and old movies too!
Posted by: Oliver_C | December 15, 2016 10:31 AM
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