Tales To Astonish #48 (Ant-Man/Wasp)
Issue(s): Tales To Astonish #48 (Ant-Man/Wasp story only)
I'd like to imagine that the creative process for this guy went from designing a villain specific to Ant-Man's theme, e.g. the Ant-Eater, before someone decided that would be too silly and settling on a porcupine instead. As it is, the Porcupine is somewhere between ridiculous and terrifying. It's the gas mask that pushes things towards the latter.
Alex Gentry is supposed to be designing weaponry for the military, but he decides that his suit is too good to hand over to the government.
His quills are loaded full of things that Gentry picks up at the military's ordinance center: atomic pellets, liquid fire, gas pellets, fog pellets, liquid cement; the usual stuff.
Gentry's suit is designed based on the false premise that real porcupines shoot their quills...
...but i can't fault the creators for not having the internet to confirm these things back in 1963, and it works out pretty well for Gentry since otherwise his powers would be even lamer.
The Porcupine's first act of crime takes place at a bank where Henry Pym has designed the security system, and Henry and Jan are actually in the audience at the Grand Opening during the attack. Needless to say, the security system fails and Ant-Man and the Wasp are also unable to stop him. In the Wasp's defense, she's coming down with a fever.
This leaves Ant-Man to track down the Porcupine alone, but the villain is waiting for him with a pair of tweezers. He then tries to drown him in a bathtub.
If the Porcupine had just stuck around that would have been the end of Pym. But instead the Wasp has to crawl out of her sick bed and go rescue his sorry ass. From there it doesn't take much to defeat the Porcupine.
The Wasp learned of Ant-Man's whereabouts from his ants, who now speak in full sentences.
It's amazing. The creators clearly have nothing but contempt for the Wasp (or women generally), as seen in this opening panel where she obsesses over "eligible males"...
...and this end panel...
...as well as countless other dialogue asides. And yet when it comes down to it, the Wasp is the only competent character in this story.
I'm also not sure what the status of Henry and Jan's relationship is at this point. They seem to go everywhere together...
...and when she gets sick he takes her back to his place, but they don't seem to actually be dating.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: By publication date, Ant-Man and the Wasp would have joined the Avengers by this issue. Nothing in the story here confirms or contradicts that.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Essential Ant-Man vol. 1
The Pym stories are generally awful, but this is some great Don Heck art. In a few years, he seemed to suffer a decline and his work would become sketchier, but I think he's at the top of his talent here.
Posted by: Chris | November 27, 2012 11:11 PM
I give Don Heck a bunch of grief because he could really hack, but he had some strengths. He generally drew much prettier girls than Ditko and Kirby, for instance.
Posted by: kveto | October 29, 2017 1:13 PM
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