Tales To Astonish #35 (Ant-Man)
Issue(s): Tales To Astonish #35 (Ant-Man story only)
Since the original incident, Pym has been learning how to communicate with ants. There is something seriously wrong with him. Most people who invent shrinking potions that fall in ant-hills say "Hey, next time i use the potion, i guess i shouldn't fall into an ant-hill." Not Hank. He spends long months of research developing a helmet that lets him communicate with ants...
...and devises a special costume that will protect him from ant attacks.
The irony is, if it wasn't for the interference of evil commies, the next time Pym used his potion, he would have been captured by bees.
Luckily, however, evil commies do interfere (as they always do in these early Silver Age stories). Pym had been pulled off his "Talk to Ants" research project (what Senate oversight committee approved that?) to work on the "Develop a Gas to Make People Immune to Radioactivity" project. Really, although it may sound overly simplified and a little too optimistic, think about what these Marvel geniuses like Pym and Reed Richards are able to do. They need a government to tell them to stop developing ant-helmets and portals to the negative zone and start working on projects with practical uses.
So Pym and his research team almost finish the project when the evil commies show up. Then Pym runs into his office, abandoning his team, and puts on his costume and helmet, sets up a little rubber-band catapult pointed at the window, and then uses his shrinking potion. He launches himself out the window and heads to the ant hill.
It takes Pym a long time to reach the ant hill, so you have to wonder how he managed to fall into it last time.
Well, he goes to the ants, beats up the biggest ant to show his dominance, and then leads the rest back to his lab where they defeat the communists. How? By clogging up the commie's guns with... you guessed it: honey. Yep, honey.
Without their guns, the tough communist thugs are helpless against the superior might of Pym's poindexter lab assistants.
No one seems to notice that Pym wasn't around the whole damn time, so his secret identity is safe, although Pym wonders if he will ever again be "forced" to become the Ant-Man.
It's said that Pym retains his full-size strength when he shrinks...
...but he seems to have an inordinate amount of trouble untying some rope. I guess we'll chalk that up to a leverage issue.
I should note, both for continuity purposes and to give Pym a little credit, that Ant-Man's costume is made of unstable molecules. Mr. Fantastic described his costume as using the same substance in FF #6, which was published the same month as this issue.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations:
Characters Appearing: Henry Pym
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel Tales Annual #1
"The irony is, if it wasn't for the interference of evil commies, the next time Pym used his potion, he would have been captured by bees."
Could have been worse - he could have gotten infected with the parasitic worms that mind-control ants into making themselves blatant targets for birds.
"NIGHT OF THE CORDYCEPS!" would have made for a pretty scary horror title a few years earlier.
Posted by: ParanoidObsessive | July 22, 2014 3:07 PM
Oh crap, forgot to ask - was the panel about his costume being made of Unstable Molecules from the original version, or from a reprint?
If it was in the original, it shows the seeds of "Unstable Molecules" becoming the go-to Marvel explanation for all "Why doesn't his costume [burn/fall off/blow up/etc]?" really early (as this would have been shortly after the concept was invented in the earlier FF issue we've already seen).
It's also interesting to note that, if Reed invented "Unstable Molecule" clothing himself, a follow-up this early would imply that Hank must have duplicated the work himself, as one assumes Reed wasn't releasing how-to guides on how to make it (or actively selling costumes to other heroes, which is a premise established in some later books).
More proof of how effective Hank can be when he's not busy being insane.
Posted by: ParanoidObsessive | July 22, 2014 3:12 PM
"It takes Pym a long time to reach the ant hill, so you have to wonder how he managed to fall into it last time."
Obviously the ants moved their hill farther away to prevent crazy humans from coming into their home uninvited.;)
Posted by: clyde | August 4, 2016 9:50 AM
Again I place all these early Ant-Man stories (Through Tales to Astonish#45) before FF#61
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 22, 2016 7:59 PM
Correction FF#16 not 61. LOL
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 23, 2016 3:14 PM
I find it rather hilarious that after making a long and careful study of ants, Hank concludes that the workers are exclusively male and only the queens are female, when in reality only drones are male and the overwhelming majority of ants, including not only queens but all workers, are female. That is some seriously terrible work....
Posted by: Matt | January 31, 2018 7:53 PM
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