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Tales to Astonish #42: Review

Apr 1963
Larry Lieber, Don Heck

Story Name:

The Voice of Doom!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Tales to Astonish #42 Review by (September 20, 2022)

Review: Come on, Jason Cragg is another Purple Man: he has the same power and can better pass for a normal human being. So why isn’t this guy being played by a former Doctor Who (my vote is for Sylvester McCoy) and tormenting Jessica Jones on TV? Because he has apparently lost all of his power, due to the fastest acting germs in medical history. Well, this guy thought the ultimate achievement in crime would be to defeat Ant-Man so he could have aimed a bit higher. But then he failed to beat the diminutive hero so maybe this would be the best he could do. Another story where a lot of sharp eyed people can spot Ant-Man easily even from some distance (gotta stop wearing red, dude) and ants controlling a handgun are actually scary; Crag could have just stepped back a few feet, taking the microphone with him and the hero’s plan would have been foiled. A quarter century later he would be back, only to be quickly forgotten again, while the Purple Man gets to go all out in the Max imprint and on Netflix.

Comments: Ant-Man story: First appearance of the Man with the Voice of Doom, eventually called just “The Voice.” His next appearance is twenty-five years later in WEST COAST AVENGERS #36-37. Ant-Man is said to be based in Center City for the first use of a specific location in the series. Ant-Man reveals he has several cybernetic helmets ready should he lose one, as he does here. Ant-Man discards his shrinking and enlarging gas containers because they are empty; since he hasn’t yet grown to normal size, why is he carrying an empty container of enlarging gas? Plus, the public seems to know he carries “gas pellet containers.” Second story: Text story, reprinted from MYSTIC #43.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tales to Astonish #42 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

A shabby looking orator named Jason Cragg comes to town, mounts a soapbox and announces that Ant-Man is evil and must be destroyed. And all of his listeners are convinced by his words, except for Ant-Man, who deduces his cybernetic helmet must be filtering out something in Cragg’s voice….

Flashback: Jason Cragg was a mediocre radio announcer when an accident at a nearby atomic laboratory accidentally released particles that were picked up by Cragg’s microphone and transferred to his voice. After that, Jason Cragg discovered he could compel anyone to believe or obey anything he said so he quit his job and traveled to Center City, forcing people to support him on the way. There he learned of Ant-Man and made it his challenge to defeat the tiny hero….

Cragg goes to police headquarters where Ant-Man is being presented with an award for meritorious service. Cragg tells the cops that Ant-Man must be arrested and Hank escapes with the help of the ants. Cragg then has the police recruit vigilante groups to search for Ant-Man. The mob catches up with him in a field where they are using magnets in an attempt to pick Ant-Man up by his helmet. Ant-Man discards his helmet and gas cannisters to avoid the magnets but when they are found, Cragg orders Ant-Man to surrender. Without the protection of his helmet, Hank is vulnerable so he hands himself over to the villain who commands him to drown himself in the river. Hank jumps off the pier but he is rescued by the ants and carried back to his lab where he returns to his normal size….

Jason Cragg schedules a radio broadcast for the following night so Hank conceives a plan. That night Ant-Man sneaks into a hospital and steals a bottle of germs. At the broadcast, Ant-Man steps out from behind Cragg’s ear and tells him that ants have a gun pointed at him to force him to say that Ant-Man is a good guy. Cragg, assuming he can always reverse things later, does so—and then Ant-Man sprays his mouth with germs causing laryngitis. His powers gone, Cragg is thrown out of town.

“Secret Mission”
Writer: Unknown. 
Synopsis: A government agent tracks down and defeats a mad scientist threatening the world with a sonic ray—but it’s all the dream of a meek (and bored) bookkeeper!

“The Eyes of the Mummy!”
Writer: Larry Lieber. Plot: Stan Lee. Art: Joe Sinnott. Colors: ? Letters: Terry Szenics.
Synopsis: A thief steals a fabulous gem from a mummy at the museum and is hypnotized into seeing everyone as mummies until he returns the gem!

“I Am Not Human!”
Writer: Stan Lee. Art: Steve Ditko. Colors: ? Letters: Artie Simek.
Synopsis: A robot passes himself off as human until he discovers the madness and folly of the human race and then he gladly returns to the lab where he was created!

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


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Hank Pym)

Plus: Voice.

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