By request from a Balladeer’s Blog reader here is my look at the early adventures of this superhero.
7 TALES TO ASTONISH # 40 (February 1963)
Title: The Day The Ant-Man Failed
Villain: The Hijacker, a costumed supervillain who wielded a gun that both knocked out its victims and made them lose their short-term memory. That gas was derived from an ancient Inca formula. In later years the Hijacker fought Black Goliath and the Thing.
Synopsis: The Hijacker is robbing armored cars all over New York City by knocking out the drivers and leaving them with no memory of their attacker. With the help of Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four Ant-Man devises a gas mask made of unstable molecules.
The gas mask is to protect our hero from the Hijacker’s gas and the unstable molecular makeup of the mask will allow it to shrink and grow along with the rest of Ant-Man’s costume and equipment.
While riding shotgun in an armored car from the company which has been hardest-hit by the Hijacker, Ant-Man seems to have an attack of appendicitis and rushes away. In his absence the Hijacker strikes, but Ant-Man comes out of hiding and defeats the Hijacker in battle.
Next Ant-Man reveals that his appendicitis attack was just a ploy to smoke out the Hijacker – who is unmasked and revealed as the owner of the armored car company that was hardest-hit by the supervillain’s crimewave. It turns out the man’s company was losing money so he robbed his own company, too, to get the loot AND insurance money.
8 TALES TO ASTONISH # 41 (March 1963)
Title: Prisoner of the Slave World
Villain: Kulla, the dictator of a parallel dimension inhabited by his own green-skinned, black-haired race of humanoids.
Synopsis: Dr Henry Pym discovers that several of his fellow scientists from around the country are disappearing. He investigates as Ant-Man but finds nothing but dead-ends.
A few days later, Pym himself is captured by the culprits responsible for the other disappearances and is transported to another dimension. The scientists are all captives of Kulla, the dictator of that dimension (called Dehnick, which means “Slaveworld” in their language).
Kulla’s subjects have rebelled against him and the rebel army has him besieged in his castle. The tyrant has therefore taken to kidnapping Earth scientists to design super-weapons for Kulla so he can drive back the rebels. He assigns Hank Pym to build an electro death ray but Pym, alone of all the scientists, refuses and is thrown in the dungeon.
Once in the dungeon Pym changes to Ant-Man and, using his helmet to control the alien dimension’s bizarre insect life succeeds in killing (yes, killing) Kulla and freeing the captive scientists. “Slaveworld” is now free, and so Ant-Man and the captives all return to Earth’s dimension at the end.
9 TALES TO ASTONISH # 42 (April 1963)
Title: The Voice of Doom
Villain: The Voice, a radio announcer who was exposed to ionized atoms in one of those accidents that always give people super-powers in the Marvel Comics Universe. From that moment on this villain had the power to make anyone who heard his voice obey his commands. Later the Voice was retconned into being a latent mutant whose power manifested itself after the aforementioned accident.
Synopsis: After the Voice gets his super-powers he makes his radio show the biggest in the country by ordering his listeners to buy his advertisers’ products. Getting bigger ambitions he dons a costume and heads for New York City to take over the city as step one in a bid for world conquest.
When Ant-Man interferes with the Voice’s plans by capturing his thugs the supervillain goes J Jonah Jameson on Ant-Man’s ass, ordering random crowds to attack and capture our hero. When Ant-Man’s helmet (which made him immune to the Voice’s powers) gets removed during the battle the Voice orders him to walk off a pier and drown.
Our hero is saved by his army of ants and soon learns that the Voice plans on addressing the entire country in a broadcast from New York. To prevent the supervillain from taking over the country Ant-Man sabotages the broadcast, exposing the Voice to germs that subdue and negate his foe’s vocal hypnosis. The Voice is then defeated.
10 TALES TO ASTONISH # 43 (May 1963)
Title: The Astonishing Ant-Man vs the Mad Master of Time
Villain: The Time Master, a scientist forced into retirement at age 65. Embittered over this he devised a weapon which shot an aging ray that would accelerate the age and condition of any organic object it struck. So he was more of an Aging Master than a Time Master but what can you do?
Synopsis: Scientist Elias Weems (not to be confused with Elihas Starr aka Egghead) is so infuriated by his forced retirement that the sextegenarian creates an aging ray and goes on a rampage, aging a baby elephant, a tree and an innocent young woman.
With his power proven, the Time Master announces that he plans to issue a set of demands and if they are not met he will unleash his ray on millions of people. Ant-Man tracks the villain to his home/ hideout but in the ensuing battle the Time Master ages Ant-Man, weakening him, and then entraps him.
After the Time Master leaves to follow up on his threats Ant-Man decides to grow back to normal size. For some reason (you know comic books) this undoes the aging ray’s effects and our hero is his normal age again. In the rematch with the rampaging Time Master, the villain is captured and the aging-ray weapon is seized by Ant-Man. Our hero later shrinks all the victims of the ray and then restores them to normal size, thus de-aging them as well.
11 TALES TO ASTONISH # 44 (June 1963)
Title: The Creature From Kosmos
Villain: Pilai the Kosmosian, a monstrous alien who was a criminal even on its home planet. The creature’s form was made of formic acid and it could dissolve human beings with its touch. Bullets and other projectiles were useless against its form.
Synopsis: After helping FBI Agent Lee Kearns with a raid, Ant-Man returns to his lab and begins fretting about his desire for a partner to fight crime with. He attributes it to the loneliness he has felt since his wife Maria Pym was killed off by Communist agents when she dared to return to her native Hungary.
In his Dr Hank Pym identity our hero is working on a way of using wasp biology to bestow wings and other powers on Ant-Man’s future partner, whoever it may be. His labors are interrupted by a visit from Dr Vernon Van Dyne and his beautiful young daughter Janet.
Dr Van Dyne tells Pym about his own current project: a device for contacting or traveling to a distant planet he has named Kosmos. After the visit the two scientists return to their respective endeavors. Van Dyne’s experimental beam accidentally transports a Kosmosian criminal named Pilai to his lab here on Earth. Pilai kills Van Dyne and departs.
Janet Van Dyne comes across her father’s corpse and calls Dr Pym in a panic. One thing leads to another and Pym reveals to Janet that he is really Ant-Man and he offers to give her wasp-based powers so she can get revenge on Pilai and become his partner. Janet agrees and is subjected to bio-genetic treatments that give her the ability to shrink and to fly with wings that retract into her body when she returns to normal size.
Ant-Man and the newly-christened Wasp then set out to fight the rampaging Pilai but even with the army plus Ant-Man’s ant-forces helping them the Kosmosian proves immune to their assaults. Realizing that Pilai’s body is made of formic acid, Ant-Man devises projectiles that make the alien’s body dissipate, thus killing him.
The Wasp agrees to remain as Ant-Man’s partner and secretly plans to lure the grieving widower into a romance with her.
12 TALES TO ASTONISH # 45 (July 1963)
Title: The Terrible Traps of Egghead
Villain: Egghead (Dr Elihas Starr) returns for his second battle. This mad scientist was Hank Pym’s archenemy and would plague him in all his superhero identities – Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Goliath and Yellowjacket.
Synopsis: Egghead has been on the run and secretly living in a homeless persons’ mission since his previous defeat at the hands of Ant-Man. The supervillain overheard two career criminals, called Ape and Twister, talking about how Ant-Man and his new partner were making crime almost impossible
After inquiring about this new partner, Egghead learned about the Wasp and planned to capture this less-experienced superhero and use her in a trap to kill Ant-Man. The villain recruited Ape and Twister into helping him in his plans, using them as thugs to steal money to finance his revenge scheme.
Egghead impersonates a scientist noted for his research on wasps. Meanwhile he has his two underlings steal the Middleton Diamond from the diamond-cutter crafting it into a pendant for a British Princess. Egghead’s new scrambler disrupts Ant-Man’s control of ants, preventing him from thwarting the robbery.
With Ant-Man publicly embarrassed, Egghead – in his assumed identity – gets a visit from the Wasp, whom he captures as planned. Ant-Man comes to free her from Egghead and must survive a series of death-traps laid by his arch-foe. He frees the Wasp and the two capture Ape and Twister but Egghead escapes.
PART THREE WILL FEATURE MORE OF THE EARLY ADVENTURES OF ANT-MAN.
FOR PART ONE CLICK HERE
FOR MORE SUPERHEROES CLICK HERE: Superheroes
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8 responses to “ANT-MAN: THE EARLY ADVENTURES PART TWO”
I liked him better as Goliath.
Any idea why they didn’t just use the name Egghead for the villain in the first AntMan movie?
No, but it would have fit in perfectly with that movie’s humor. Scott was kind of embarrassed by the name “Ant-Man” so he’d have been happy to tag with bad guy with the even more annoying nickname Egghead.
The Wasp looks ridiculous with that pointy head.
The Wasp goes back that far? Dam!
Yes she does.