Tales To Astonish #53
Issue(s): Tales To Astonish #53
Review/plot: Random thought - it seemed for a while that Stan Lee was just plotting a lot of the second tier books and leaving the scripting duties to Larry Leiber or Robert Bernstein, but those two seem to have disappeared. There is a noticeable difference in quality when Stan Lee is scripting a comic himself. Even though the other two wrote in Lee's style, he does it better.
Nonetheless, this is a pretty terrible comic. The Porcupine is actually a really unique visual...
...but he's the sort of villain that doesn't have much of a motivation outside of defeating the hero of the story. In this issue he causes Giant-Man to have an accident while Pym and the Wasp are entertaining some orphans (what a jerk!). And the form of entertainment chosen for the orphans? Watching Janet walk all over Hank's back while wearing pointy shoes! Kinky, but not age appropriate.
While Giant-Man is in the hospital, the Porcupine then gets a bunch of Giant-Man fans dressed as Giant-Man's rogue gallery to visit him.
Some fans. Imagine people trying to cheer you up by dressing up as your worst enemies. Well, the strategy is that the Porcupine is well hidden amongst all the other dressed up villains, so he can attack Giant-Man by surprise, but he doesn't really do a good job of taking advantage of the situation. You'd think he'd just walk right up to him and hit him with a bunch of poison needles when he least expected it, but instead there's some elaborate ruse involving sleeping gas that doesn't work.
In the meantime, the Porcupine has captured the Wasp, who jumped at the chance to leave the hospital room and fell for a trap in the Porcupine's car. The Porcupine lets the Wasp escape and follows her back to Pym's lab. In the subsequent fight, the Porcupine pops a bunch of Pyms pills, expecting to grow to a giant size, but they were actually shrinking pills and he disappears into nothingness.
The Wasp is absolutely useless the entire time. Absolutely useless.
In a back-up story, the Wasp tells a Tale to Astonish about a giant stone Colossus (seems to be a close cousin to It, the Living Colossus) that helps an oppressed alien people fight off a tyrant.
Even in the back-up story, Pym totally ignores Jan.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I think Robert Bernstein had left comics for good at this point. The fact that he dialogued for Marvel under his real name probably meant that he quit or got fired from DC.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 31, 2011 5:24 PM
Actually, Bernstein worked for Marvel as "R. Berns," a flimsy pseudonym, to be certain, but an assumed name nonetheless!
Posted by: Haydn | October 19, 2014 11:52 PM
Wasp was defeated by a strip of fly-paper. Wow. No superhero's Achilles heel should ever be a strip of sticky paper...
Posted by: AliensWhoSayYip | June 27, 2015 11:00 PM
I'm probably in the minority but I find many of these Wasp/Pym stories unbearable because of the bickering between the two that is apparently Stan Lee's idea of playful 'Nick & Nora' style banter. No wonder kids would rather dress up as the villains when the heroes are so annoying.
Posted by: Robert | February 4, 2016 6:07 PM
Larry Lieber as of this issue had not yet disappeared. He scripted and penciled the 5 page story, "When Wakes the Colossus!" in this issue and had been scripting and penciling 1 or 2 backup fantasy stories in each issue, except for #44 and #45, since scripting his last Ant-Man story, #43.
Posted by: James Holt | August 12, 2016 7:23 PM
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