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Tales to Astonish #81: Review

Jul 1966
Stan Lee, Bill Everett

Story Name:

The Stage Is Set!

Review & Comments

3 stars

Tales to Astonish #81 Review by (May 15, 2024)
Comment: There is a typo when a spy say Secret Emire instead of Empire.

Reviews and additional comments by Peter Silvestro

Review: So the battle between Tyrannus and the Mole Man continues—but no one cares, not even Tyrannus who is only interested in reaching the Fountain of Youth. Bruce doesn’t care, he just wants to get back to the surface. Betty, Rick, and Talbot don’t care, they are back on the surface. And Stan and Jack don’t care, they’re already introducing the new baddies who will be bedeviling Hulk for the next several issues. We have the Secret Empire to be the shadowy behind-the-scenes motivators, like the Leader was for a good long while. It’s Boomerang who stands out, largely because of the silly costume. And here I was thinking he vanished when they created Bullseye, more-or-less the same guy with the same skill set, only interesting. Imagine my surprise when I discovered Boomerang was around until 2021—when he sacrificed his life to save Spider-Man. I almost feel guilty for laughing at this guy in 1966. Almost. Because things grow sillier for a while.

And so Subby, his will thwarted, throws a royal tantrum for several pages. That’s about it and I thought it hilarious though others of a more serious frame of mind may find it frightening how easily this monarch can turn into a sadistic tyrant. But it’s still funny. And then Namor runs into Iron Man for another random guest appearance.

Comments: Hulk story: Part two of two parts. First appearance of Boomerang. First appearance of the Secret Empire.

Subby story: Part one of eight parts. 


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tales to Astonish #81 Synopsis by Julio Molina-Muscara
The Boomerang is hired by the Secret Empire to steal the Orion missile from Thunderbolt Ross' base.

Betty Ross, Rick Jones and Glenn Talbot, are returned to the surface by Tyrannus. Boomerang kidnaps Betty, and asks for the missile documents in exchange. 

Beneath the surface, Tyrannus finds the Enchanted Well.

Finally, Bruce Banner turns into the Hulk when caught by subterranean men. Hulk uses Tyrannus' matter transmitter machine to return to the surface.

“When a Monarch Goes Mad!” 3.5/5 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro
Writer: Stan Lee. Pencils: Gene Colan. Inks: Dick Ayers. Colors: ? Letters: Sam Rosen.

Synopsis: Having learned that Lady Dorma has run off with Warlord Krang to get married, Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner pitches a royal fit. Lord Vashti tries to defend her but it only leads to Namor declaring mention of her name an act of treason. He mounts his throne and sentences all of Dorma’s relatives to prison merely for being in her family. Again, Vashti tries to reason with him but Namor pitches another royal fit. He dreams of taking vengeance upon her and trashes his throne room in anger. He activates his Observa-Coils, an underwater surveillance system, to locate Krang but they find nothing. Namor sends out his navy to find the villain….

Meanwhile, Krang, who has a means of evading detection by the Observa-Coils, explains the next part of his plan to Dorma. They employ a gas to turn their skins pink then head to the surface to hide out there. The royal navy spots his flagship but they are not able to overtake it. They report back to Namor who destroys a handy statue of Dorma then heads to the surface to catch them….

Story continues in TALES OF SUSPENSE #80.

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Bill Everett
Bill Everett
Jack Kirby (Cover Penciler)
Bill Everett (Cover Inker)
Stan Goldberg (Cover Colorist)
Layouts: Jack Kirby. Letterer: Sam Rosen.


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