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Tales to Astonish #52: Review

Feb 1964
Stan Lee, Dick Ayers

Story Name:

The Black Knight Strikes!

Review & Comments

3 stars

Tales to Astonish #52 Review by (December 7, 2022)

Review: Or, Big Clumsy Guy Fights Villain in Mid-Air. Really, Hank would have been better off staying home and leaving the Black Knight to a hero who could fly. An absurd battle with the hero hanging off of a helicopter that moves to the higher points of an amusement park. To get the full absurdity of this issue, try to plan it out for a filmed version and see how nothing really matches up, increasingly ridiculous toward the end. Then, when you’ve plotted it out, try to come up with a reason why the helicopter is still on the scene, hovering over the park. Got it? Now ask why a guy on a flying horse was trying to hijack a helicopter and how he was planning to take it home with him. See the problem? There’s a lot more but I think this was enough.

Oh well, eventually Stan Lee would decide that a winged horse is too cool for a Giant-Man villain and have Garrett kick the bucket, passing the costume and accoutrements on to his good guy nephew, Dane Whitman.

Comments: Giant-Man story: First appearance of the Black Knight (Nathan Garrett); he next appears in AVENGERS #6, joining the Masters of Evil; this is his sole appearance in TALES TO ASTONISH. Ants play no part in this story. And it looks like it would have been easy for Garrett’s henchmen to slide out of their coats and escape; they aren’t mentioned again so maybe that is what happened.  


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tales to Astonish #52 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Having spied on them as Ant-Man, Hank Pym grows into Giant-Man to capture a band of crooks selling secrets to Red China. GM nabs the hoods and hangs them from poles by their coats and then he pursues the leader, Nathan Garrett, who is escaping by car. Giant-Man jumps on the back of the car, flipping Garrett through the air and into the hero’s arms. A judge sets the treasonous Garrett’s bail at one hundred thousand dollars; the Chinese pay it and Garrett flees the country, finding a refuge in a Balkan kingdom. There, Garrett outfits a lab and sets to genetic experiments to create a winged horse….

A short time later, Wasp arrives late at Hank Pym’s lab and claims that she witnessed a Black Knight on a winged horse robbing an armored car, using a lance that cut a hole in the truck and scooped up a bag of cash. Hank doesn’t believe her until the radio reports the same thing. Hank checks in with the ants and they tell him the Black Knight is attacking a helicopter in flight. Giant-Man and Wasp head out to investigate. Hank and Janet board an Air Force cargo plane and arrive at the scene. GM jumps out and latches hold of the copter, hanging from the landing gear by one arm. Black Knight blinds him with a mirror then fires a bolo, entangling the hero. GM recognizes the Knight as Nathan Garrett who boasts of the array of weapons he has created, not all of which are in the lance. He fires an itch-ray which forces Giant-Man to let go of the copter and fall; Hank pops a shrinking capsule in his mouth and reduces to ant-size which frees him from the bolo cords and he is caught by Wasp. She deposits both of them on the back of the winged horse; Hank grows to normal size and battles the bad guy who drops him over an amusement park where he catches a parachute ride and is deposited safely on the ground. Meanwhile, Wasp pinches the horse so that it bucks the Black Knight off so that he lands on a roller coaster. Giant-Man snatches him but at that moment, the horse bucks full-size Wasp off so Hank lets the baddie loose to grab Wasp with one hand and the helicopter with the other. Black Knight tries to shoot Hank in the back with his paralysis ray gun but Hank pops a shrinking capsule, the shot misses, and BK leaps off the roller coaster onto his horse’s back and away….

“Not What They Seem!”
Writer: Larry Lieber. Plot: Stan Lee. Pencils: Larry Lieber. Inks: George Roussos (credited as G. Bell). Colors: ? Letters: Art Simek.
Synopsis: Wasp visits an orphanage and tells the boys a story: In the year 3000, a gang of convicts escape from prison, steal a spaceship and go in search of a refuge. They know the stories of deceptive aliens and animals, determined not to be tricked. They come upon a world where the men are fighting the women; the convicts land and support the men. Then they are locked up: the men wanted to capture the visitors and put them in a zoo but the women were against it!

Dick Ayers
Dick Ayers
Jack Kirby (Cover Penciler)
Sol Brodsky (Cover Inker)
Stan Goldberg (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Art Simek.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Hank Pym)

(Hank Pym)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Black Knight (Nathan Garrett).

> Tales to Astonish: Book info and issue index

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