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Tales to Astonish #41: Review

Mar 1963
Larry Lieber, Don Heck

Story Name:

Prisoner of the Slave-World!

Review & Comments

3 stars

Tales to Astonish #41 Review by (September 14, 2022)

Review: An underwhelming cover, Ant-Man paralyzed by fear of…what? that single bug? Dude, you can outgrow it in seconds, leads to a decent if underwhelming story. A tyrant in another dimension, who apparently has no army and only a handful of guards to serve him, kidnaps Earth scientists to build him a death ray. Ant-Man offers himself as bait despite having no obvious experience with creating weapons and he’s nabbed according to plan. It would have made more sense for them to kidnap Tony Stark—though maybe they heard what happened the last time Stark was held prisoner and forced to create a weapon. So Ant-Man runs around one room in this generic sci-fi adventure, dodging sharp-eyed guards (really, maybe he shouldn’t wear red if he’s trying to go unnoticed) and coming close to death multiple times. Then the local bugs, who seem to have a grudge against the tyrant too come to his rescue and everything is okay. Huh. But the sequence where the hero hides in the guard's boot is hilarious. 

Comments: Ant-Man story: Only appearance of this other dimension. Big question: why was there an eyebeam in the small space between the dungeon and the lab? Second story: Text story with one illustration, reprinted from JOURNEY INTO UNKNOWN WORLDS #48.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tales to Astonish #41 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Hank Pym learns that top scientists have been vanishing mysteriously so he assumes he is on the list. He’s right: a man claiming to be a window washer gains entrance to his lab, douses Hank with a liquid that paralyzes him, then they take a trip together to another dimension where Hank is delivered to a green-skinned tyrant named Kulla. Kulla has been kidnapping scientists to build him an electro-death ray so he can destroy the revolutionaries besieging his fortress. Hank insults Kulla and is immediately tossed in the dungeon where he can change into Ant-Man secretly. He is attacked by a swarm of that world’s insects until he is able to adjust the frequency on his cybernetic helmet and command them. Walking out under the cell door, Ant-Man breaks an electric eye beam, setting off an alarm. A guard steps on him but the tiny hero is able to fit between the ridges on the boot sole; he then cuts a hole in the boot and hides. When he leaves the sole, he escapes the guards and hides in a scientist’s pocket. When he emerges he is doused with the paralyzing liquid again and immobilized. Kulla makes to squish him with a hammer but the local insects, earlier commanded by Ant-Man, fire the death ray, killing Kulla. Without his leadership, the guards surrender to the rebels. The window washer arrives with another kidnapped scientist and he is imprisoned by the rebels. Hank is “released” from the dungeon and all the missing scientists are returned to their proper dimension, wondering how Ant-Man was able to come to their rescue.

“Tricky Travel”
Writer: Unknown. Art: Unknown.
Synopsis: A travels agent’s dreams literally transport him to foreign places; eventually he outgrows it but his children inherit the ability!

“When the Beast Walks!”
Writer: Larry Lieber. Plot: Stan Lee. Art: Joe Sinnott. Colors: Stan Goldberg. Letters: Artie Simek.
Synopsis: Shorty Harris, an animal-loving reporter, goes to Africa where he sees hunters capturing a giant four-armed ape. He helps it escape and later, when he is a prisoner of evil natives and a wicked American hunter, he is rescued by the Beast who reveals he is an alien visitor bearing the message that Earth will be contacted by other races after they have matured a bit and to prove his message, he causes Shorty to grow several inches before leaving for home!

“The Curse!”
Writer: Stan Lee. Art: Steve Ditko. Colors: Stan Goldberg. Letters: Artie Simek.
Synopsis: A Latin American dictator seizes a treasure chest full of gold discovered by the peasants, claiming it is the cursed gold of a pirate called the Vulture and that he will dump it in the ocean. It turns out that there really is a pirate called the Vulture who did curse this treasure—and it falls on the dictator whose ship is destroyed at sea!

Don Heck
Don Heck
Stan Goldberg
Jack Kirby (Cover Penciler)
Dick Ayers (Cover Inker)
Stan Goldberg (Cover Colorist)
Plot: . Letterer: Art Simek.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Hank Pym)

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