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Tales to Astonish #43: Review

May 1963
?, Don Heck

Story Name:

The Mad Master of Time!

Review & Comments

3.5 stars

Tales to Astonish #43 Review by (September 27, 2022)

Review: This one is quite goofy. A scientist miraculously invents a device that can accelerate and reverse aging in what appears to be a single afternoon and wreaks havoc. It takes Ant-Man about five minutes to discover his identity by asking all the science companies in town if they have a disgruntled employee and Weems turns out to be the only one (Center City must be pretty small—or pretty nice). When Ant-Man gets his hands on the device he immediately knows how to operate it and puts everything to rights. And apparently crimes committed by a disgruntled employee are not considered serious so that Weems isn’t detained by a judge without learning if there are any long-term (or even short-term) effects of rapid aging. We’ll wait for the lawsuits to start rolling in. Then Weems’ boss is so impressed by the device that he rehires the old man—and doesn’t seem to realize that millions can be made from a machine that can reverse aging. Repeat: Reverse aging! Weems could have just used it on himself and reapplied for his old job or forgot about getting his job back and marketed the device to the world and grown so rich he could have bought Tony Stark and sold him to the Russians. And for all of this comedy, I give the story three and a half stars because most serious comics aren’t this entertaining any more.

Comments: Ant-Man story: First appearance of the Time Master; he makes an unlikely return in ANT-MAN (2022 series) #1. Ant-Man is again said to be based in Center City but he is in New York City in the next issue. Ant-Man believes no one knows he can change size which was implicitly contradicted in the previous story. Second story: Text story with one illustration, reprinted from MARVEL TALES #136.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tales to Astonish #43 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

After a brief intro in which a kid drops a telegram, leading to some people spotting Ant-Man in the street and going all fanboy over him, the telegram is delivered to one Professor Elias Weems, who learns his grandson Tommy is coming for a visit. Then Weems is fired from his job because the company now has a mandatory firing age of sixty-five which is cheaper than a retirement age. Weems grows bitter and decides to seek revenge. He builds a machine that can cause things to age. He tests it on a sapling and it grows into a tree, growing larger until it dies. He goes to the zoo and tests the device on a baby elephant aging it into its geriatric years and then reversing the process, which is witnessed (but not understood) by many people including Hank Pym. He then tests it on a teen girl who progresses to middle age and back….

Convinced his device works, Weems sends a letter to the police announcing himself as the Time Master and unless the city surrenders to his rule, he will begin aging people. Ants convey the news to Ant-Man who investigates. He asks around and discovers there is apparently only one scientist in town who is angry and that’s Elias Weems. Ant-Man pays him a visit and the mad scientist shoots him with the device, causing Hank to age rapidly; Weems picks him up and drops him in a flowerpot. Weems departs to wreak some havoc so Hank uses his enlarging gas and escapes. He heads downtown where he spots Weems on a rooftop shooting random passersby with his device, aging them. But one of the victims turns out to be his grandson Tommy and Weems is so startled that he drops the device. Having shrunk again, Ant-Man masses the ants to catch the device safely and he uses it to restore everyone to their normal ages. Weems is arrested and hauled before a judge but Ant-Man testifies in his favor as does his former boss who has repented of the old policy and gives Weems his job back. Ant-Man then tells us we’ve all learned to appreciate our youth.

“Lady Luck”
Writer: Unknown. Art: Unknown.
Synopsis: A man bristles at the idea that anything in life can be attributed to “luck” until he meets a literal Lady Luck who saves his life!

“Frankie’s Fast Ball!”
Writer: Larry Lieber. Plot: Stan Lee. Pencils: Larry Leiber. Inks: Sol Brodsky. Colors: ? Letters: Artie Simek.
Synopsis: A child exposed to radiation grows up to become a super-genius and super-athlete; he dreams of being a baseball star with an unstoppable fast ball—until he realizes the pitch would kill anyone who tried to catch it!

“My Fatal Mistake!”
Writer: Stan Lee. Art: Steve Ditko. Colors: ? Letters: Artie Simek.
Synopsis: A janitor assigned to care for a huge computer comes to resent the machine so that he sabotages it, discovering too late that he is trapped in its air-tight room that only the computer can open!

Don Heck
Don Heck
Jack Kirby (Cover Penciler)
Sol Brodsky (Cover Inker)
Stan Goldberg (Cover Colorist)
Plot: . Layouts: Larry Lieber. Letterer: Ray Holloway.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Hank Pym)

> Tales to Astonish: Book info and issue index

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