Saturday, July 06, 2013

Marvels: Tales to Astonish #27

"The Man in the Ant Hill!" by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers
(January 1962)

I've never known for sure if this was meant to be a sort of "pilot story" for a new superhero series, or if it was another sci-fi horror story in the pages of one of Marvel's anthology books that Stan Lee later decided to turn into a superhero feature. Does anyone know which it is?

It's a pretty neat idea for a story, but it's kind of slight, too, which is why it's a good thing it only lasts seven pages (including the title splash page). Right now it's really only a neat idea for a horror tale: Dr. Henry Pym, testing a reducing serum (that will potentially allow entire armies to be shrunk, transported on one plane, and then re-enlarged), tests it on himself and shrinks to the size of an ant.

The fact that he then can't reach his enlarging serum because he forgot to not leave it up on the windowsill makes me question just how brilliant a scientist he really is. I mean, how did he think he was going to get up to the damn thing?

So he winds up in an ant hill and barely escapes with his life, aided only by a well-placed match, a sympathetic ant, and, um, his knowledge of judo. Dr. Pym fighting an ant with judo is not as exciting as it sounds. If it sounds exciting in the first place.

So, when Pym gets back to his lab (again, thanks to the ant, not really thanks to him), he destroys his serums because he apparently has decided that his own absent-mindedness is proof that his serums are "far too dangerous to ever be used by any human again." That's right: his own dumbass mistake of not putting the enlarging serum at floor level is proof positive that his experiment is a failure, and then he just gives up on it, because that's what scientists do when they fail one time.

Brilliant. Scientist.

Of course, he will return to the drawing board and work out his serums 8 issues from now in order to become one of the Marvel Universe's first heroes. And he'll still kind of suck, actually. Ant-Man's kind of lame. But we'll get to that in Tales to Astonish #35.

For now... neat idea, like I said. Not much of a story, but neat idea.

Next time: the Fantastic Four face the first of many, many, many, many extraterrestrial threats to mankind.

No comments: