Tales To Astonish #51 (Giant-Man/Wasp)
Issue(s): Tales To Astonish #51 (Giant-Man/Wasp story only)
After a brief encounter with his fan club, he faces off against the real Top and doesn't fare any better.
Pym finally realizes that he's not going to match the Human Top in speed and he'll have to use his brains to defeat him (and not to whip up another performance-enhancing chemical cocktail). The end result is a little dissatisfying. The glue-gloves is a surprise move...
...but the idea of having the police fence off the entire avenue, while a fine idea in theory, wasn't executed very well. The area that was cordoned off was so large that i don't know why the Human Top couldn't just zip down to the far end and then climb over a fence while Pym was lumbering after him.
Anway, it's impossible to enjoy this issue thanks to the Wasp, who sounds off about how she loves men every. freaking. panel.
I put this entirely on Stan Lee. Jack Kirby delivers some nice looking panels, and Lee just fills them up full of awful dialogue for Wasp. That scene where's she sitting with the police could have been used for anything, but look what Stan gives Janet to think about.
The Human Top will eventually develop an unhealthy obsession with Janet. We don't see any real evidence of that yet, but you could use these panels for foreshadowing.
Beginning in this issue, a second Wasp story appears as a back-up feature in these issues. They start off with the same kind of horror-science stories that had been appearing in Tales To Astonish since before Ant-Man became a regular feature, but now the Wasp is narrating them, either to a group of orphans or war veterans or to an (uninterested) Henry Pym.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Essential Ant-Man vol. 1
Waitaminute ... Henry Pym has a *fan club*?!
Posted by: Gary Himes | October 28, 2013 10:18 AM
Also, reading fnord's synopses of these Hank/Jan and Jan solo stories has been a revelation to me. I only knew of Jan's early appearances from her Lee-Thomas era Avengers stories in which she seemed to be one-dimensional afterthought. Boy, she was robbed--in these ToA appearances fnord has posted, Jan is consistently tough, resourceful, and witty. And she was the first Marvel costumed heroine to have her own feature, far in advance of Natasha in Amazing Adventures!
Posted by: Shar | October 28, 2013 3:49 PM
Whatever positives we can say about Wasp's portrayal in these stories are offset by the fact that every other panel she's either talking about men or talking about how to get Hank's attention.
Posted by: Robert | February 3, 2016 5:20 PM
The Wasp feature was presumably a science fiction inventory story with a new opening/closing scene added to repackage it into superhero continuity. Likewise the Tales of the Watcher featurettes that date from the same year.
Posted by: Haydn | April 5, 2016 3:18 PM
Larry Lieber's last published super-hero script was about 9 months previous, in Journey Into Mystery #92. In the interim he'd been writing and penciling short science fantasy stories like this one.
This Wasp framing sequence story strikes me as Stan trying to bring brother Larry back into the super-hero fold as a Marvel-method style penciler, using story ideas he already had in mind for the science fantasy shorts. It won't be long after this that Marvel will discontinue the fantasy shorts in favor of more super-hero material, and Larry will turn to trying his talents at other jobs, eventually to wind up doing Marvel super-hero newspaper strips.
Posted by: James Holt | August 11, 2016 1:22 PM
The Wasp was also something like 18 or 19 at the time - still very young. Let's just attribute it to hormones and move on.
I agree with the comments on the Wasp back ups. Other than the framing, these are obviously old plots remaining from the monster days. Wanting to give his brother work was probably the big incentive.
Posted by: Chris | August 11, 2016 2:59 PM
I liked the Wasp much better the way Ernie Hart was writing her in her first few stories of this series (#44-#46). I'm guessing Stan started revising her dialog around #47, and then with #49 he quit using a script writer on the series altogether, and started writing all her dialog himself, up to this issue, #51, at least.
Stan seems to go out of his way to write Jan as a total airhead, arguably even more condescendingly and patronizingly than he writes Sue Storm, Jean Grey, and other young women characters, if that's possible. When Reed Richards and Charles Xavier talk dickishly, well, Stan is the one writing the dialog, so...
Posted by: James Holt | August 12, 2016 12:26 AM
I was disappointed by how quickly Janet forgot her dad and her decision to battle crime. She did not cry for him at all, and in one issue he was dropped completely. (Perhaps we could now say there was some denial as reason for her behavior.)
But I do like Jan as an airhead, especially when it is mentioned (by Hank, at times) that it is just an act, and they acknowledge her intelligence. And he does it before acknowledging her beauty. Her courage is never questioned and she saves the day more than once, sometimes on her own.
I think she is smart and courageous at the same time that she also likes attention and romance. These things should not necessarily be mutually exclusive.
I also like to think that when the Avengers magazine compares her and Rick Jones it is not because he is a powerless sidekick and she is a female, hence inferior, hero. I think it is because both of them are still teenagers, with Rick being even younger, and so they should not be exposed to the same danger the older adults faced.
All in all, I think Sue had it worse when it came to her written depictions. Yes, she was brave and compassionate, and she managed to save the day, too, but we all remember how her own family "defended" her when the readers complained in the letters. Hank, in the other hand, saw something in Janet that made him ask her to be his partner (not sidekick). Okay, perhaps part of it was that she looks like a younger version of his dead wife, but he does mention both of them...
Posted by: Cesar Hernandez-Meraz | December 28, 2016 12:34 AM
...he does mention both of them have that determination and fire he thought was needed. Hank is also the first to acknowledge the heroic qualities Jan has. He does try to portect her sometimes, but on others he actually asks her to place herself in danger and do some perilous task.
I ended up enjoying these early Hank and Janet stories very much, even after seeing how many people thought they were not good at all. I became a Dave Cannon fan, too.
Posted by: Cesar Hernandez-Meraz | December 28, 2016 12:37 AM
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