Tales To Astonish #57 (Giant-Man/Wasp)
Issue(s): Tales To Astonish #57 (Giant-Man/Wasp story only)
It's worth reflecting how important a super-hero name is. Despite a generally dismissive attitude on the part of the creative team, the Wasp often winds up being the one who does the fighting in this series. And now she's got offensive weaponry, something that Pym never had as Ant-Man and doesn't think to take for himself even now. There's no clear reason for that except that it doesn't fit with the Ant- or Giant-Man motifs. Similarly, the possibility that the Wasp might take a growing capsule at some point is never raised in this series (although maybe that doesn't fit my theory so well since Pym changed his name to go along with that upgrade). But for the most part, this works in Jan's favor. She's named after an aggressive insect and therefore it's natural to give her a more aggressive role in the book, even when that fights against the tone set by the dialogue. And the Wasp continues to be the most physically oriented female super-hero at this point.
This issue also marks the second return of Egghead, who has now shaved his face and beard to match his original appearance.
He's also returned to the idea of controlling ants for his own sake, and he uses this counter-network to orchestrate a fight between Spider-Man and Giant-Man and the Wasp.
Egghead had a pretty good plan of organizing a gang to rob an armored truck while the police are all focused on the battle with Spider-Man, but he blows it by allowing the cops to see him. Whether it's out of sheer bravado, stupidity, or because he wants Giant-Man to know he was behind it all isn't actually made clear.
Whatever the reason, this ends the Misunderstanding Fight and so the heroes Team-Up to go after Egghead.
A lot is made of the idea that Spider-Man and the Wasp can't stand each other because of their natural instincts, which is a bit weird; generally neither character is depicted as acting like insects (i know, i know: spiders aren't insects).
The back-up story is, for the first time, an actual adventure for the Wasp and not a Weird Tale with a framing sequence. It's not a particularly good adventure; it hinges on the idea that the Wasp can't take out a lone thief by herself so she has to trick the guy into thinking he's talking to the Invisible Girl, and he surrenders before the rest of the Fantastic Four show up to hurt him.
Granted the story takes place before Jan gets her stingers, but i still think her training and experience at this point should allow her to handle a single jewel thief.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP place Spider-Man here between Amazing Spider-Man #14-15. Giant-Man and the Wasp appear between Avengers #6-7. And the back-up Wasp story actually takes place "a few days before" the Wasp got her stingers in the main story.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Essential Ant-Man vol. 1
I read this issue years ago. I'm not familiar with the circulation problems that Tales to Astonish had, but having the popular Spider-man guest star in # 57 says a lot. Unfortunately Stan Lee dropped the ball.
Though he was a good artist, action was NOT his forte. This was a lot of chasing and stand around threatening each others.
I don't know if Lee "owed" Ayers this series, but if you want a circulation boost, you had to give the fans something to talk about. Jack Kirby could have done the "roughs" and Ayers could have fleshed the fight scenes out.
Over all, the cover (drawn by Kirby would get a "B" from me and the rest of the issue was an "D-plus". And that was only because Lee introduced the wasp sting.
Posted by: Hammerhead | April 5, 2014 11:20 AM
They still managed to butcher Spider-Man's art here.
Posted by: Leves | January 26, 2015 10:34 PM
It was inevitable Spidey would have to meet these two. I'm just glad it happened here rather than in his own title so they wouldn't be stinking up a great book.
Posted by: Robert | February 7, 2016 7:23 PM
I place this story between Amazing Spider-Man#16 and Annual#1 myself. I always liked the antipathy between Spider-Man and the Wasp and wished they had kept it up over the years.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 29, 2016 6:30 PM
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