Marvel Comics continues to dominate pop culture, so with the movie Ant-Man and the Wasp now in theaters here’s a look at the very first meeting between the original Ant-Man and the Wasp in 1963. As a bonus their second adventure, up against Ant-Man’s archenemy Egghead, is below.
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 in superheroics. 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. (Her bioelectrical Wasp-stings came later.)
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.
AND FOR THE PAIR’S SECOND SHARED ADVENTURE:
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. +++
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