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Tales to Astonish #61: Review

Nov 1964
Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Story Name:

Captured At Last!

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Tales to Astonish #61 Review by (February 14, 2023)

Review and Comments by Peter Silvestro

Review: Now this is more like it! Even Stan recognizes this in his closing blurb, “this great new series really begins to gather steam!” Yes, the blocky red robot still looks a little silly and the Hulk NOT being the strongest there is is startling but things are cool. Glen(n) Talbot makes his debut as a dude out to prove Bruce Banner is a bad guy while putting the moves on Betty. And the story works itself out in a natural fashion with Betty and Talbot looking for Bruce, who is hunting the robot and can only fight him as Hulk, leading to the Hulk being captured and falsely accused of throwing the rock that almost killed Betty and Talbot. And General Ross no longer sounds like a monomaniac but a commander with a reasonable distrust of the hero. The big shortcoming is that the big robot spy guy is kicked out of the series when it looked like he was going to be developed more—and why can’t he climb out of that hole? And “bottomless pit” is not to be taken literally.  

As for the Giant-Man tale, Egghead’s scheme makes sense on the face of it: create a giant android and have it beat up Giant-Man. But with his inventions of a living-cell ray, a vibrator gun that can alter an object’s weight, an ultra-beta ray and more, one would think he would find it much easier to start a tech company and soon be rivalling Tony Stark. The video-game possibilities alone with that mental control of the android thing would make him a millionaire with a Wii that actually lives up to its promise. It’s also the basis for an AVATAR thing that the epic Cameron movie showed us the potential for.  And for once Giant-Man, who was stressed at the beginning of the story to have overcome the clumsiness which hurt him against the Human Top, can hold his own against a formidable foe. If only he really could swing the android in a circle without having to spin himself as well. Hmmm, maybe he picked up a trick or two from the Human Top.

Comments: Hulk story: First appearance of Glenn Talbot, though it would alternate between “Glen” and “Glenn” for a while. Talbot makes a good impression on Thunderbolt Ross. Inker George Roussos credited as George Bell. Giant-Man story: First appearance of the converti-car which return in issue #64.  Hank mentions having defeated Egghead three times before: that was in TTA #38, 45, and 57. Hank compares Janet to actress Tuesday Weld, a real person (born 1943), popular in the 1960s though her career has extended into the 21st century. According to the Grand Comics Database, this story was originally penciled by Joe Orlando but extensively revised by Steve Ditko who receives sole credit. This issue debuts a letters page, “Mails to Astonish.”


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tales to Astonish #61 Synopsis by Julio Molina-Muscara

The Pentagon sends Major Glenn Talbot to the Air Force base under General Thunderbolt Ross command. Talbot becomes the chief security officer. Like Ross, Talbot is suspicious of Bruce Banner and his relationship with the Hulk.

Talbot gives Ross a very good first impression. And he likes Betty Ross the moment he sees her. Ross asks Betty to show Talbot around.

Meanwhile, Banner created an electronic scanner to find the indestructible robot, and heads for the hills. The unnamed spy, still inside the robot, finds one of Banner's secret cave labs. There, he stumbles upon a missile, and sets it to destroy the military base.

Riding a helicopter, Talbot and Betty find Banner in the hills. The robot sees the aircraft and throws a big boulder at it. Banner turns into the Hulk and breaks the boulder into small pieces. Talbot uses his body to shield Betty, getting hit by a stone. While both ignore the Hulk's heroics, Betty appreciates Talbot's bravery.

Hulk fights the robot, reaching to the edge of a deep pit. At the same time, the missile launches toward the base. Hulk throws the robot into the pit and leaps to the sky, breaking the missile with a blow. The explosion knocks the Hulk out, who falls into the ground. 

Back on the helicopter, Talbot finds the unconscious Hulk and informs Ross who is delighted by the news.

Soldiers lock the Hulk with unbreakable chains of Tony Stark and Banner invention. Hulk wakes up, and unsuccessfully tries breaking free. Oh, oh, it seems the strain may turn him back into Banner in front of Ross, Talbot and Betty!

Now Walks the Android” Synopsis by Peter Silvestro
Writer: Stan Lee. Pencils: Steve Ditko. Inks: George Roussos. Colors: Stan Goldberg? Letters: Sam Rosen.
Synopsis: While Giant-Man and Wasp are putting on a show for kids at a hospital, Egghead escapes from prison to carry out his latest scheme against the heroes. Making his way to a secret underground lab, he develops a living cell ray that can bring a miniature figure to life; he uses a vibrator gun to break into a clothing store and use it again to make a life-sized mannequin float back to the lab. He then coats the mannequin with a special clay compound and uses his ultra-beta beam to cause it to grow to twelve feet tall, stepping in front of the beam himself to create a psychic bond so that he can control the android by thought….

The next day, Hank and Janet test their new converti-car and return home to find in the mail an offer to make a film series based on their adventures. Hank is reluctant but Janet persuades him that being a role model for kids is a worthy goal. So Giant-Man and Wasp fly their converti-car over to the address indicated and find it a dismal-looking warehouse. The doors slam shut behind them and the android appears at Egghead’s command to challenge Giant-Man who grows to his full twelve feet in response. Egghead announces his presence and informs the heroes that there is only one hour’s supply of oxygen in the room and the fight is on. Giant-Man comes off worse because the android can change his weight and float or solidify making him impervious to the hero’s blows. Wasp attacks with her stings, making the monster chase her and try to squash her. Giant-Man swings at his foe and it goes weightless again—and Giant-Man grabs it by the ankles and swings it around in a circle, causing Egghead with his psychic bond to grow dizzy. He agrees to open the door if only the swinging stops; the heroes escape and see the android, uncontrolled,  walk off a pier and into the river.

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Steve Ditko
George Bell
Jack Kirby (Cover Penciler)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Betty Ross
Betty Ross

(Elizabeth Ross)
Bruce Banner
Bruce Banner

(Robert Bruce Banner)

(Hank Pym)

(Bruce Banner)
Thunderbolt Ross
Thunderbolt Ross

(Thaddeus Ross)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Egghead (Elihas Starr).

> Tales to Astonish: Book info and issue index

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