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Tales to Astonish #53: Review

Mar 1964
Stan Lee, Dick Ayers

Story Name:

Trapped by the Porcupine!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Tales to Astonish #53 Review by (December 14, 2022)

Review: So Porcupine, who can walk around New York in full costume inconspicuously, comes up with a sleeping gas that obviously doesn’t work on Giant-Man but it was only designed to put the Big Guy out of the way while he captured Wasp. And his master plan? Assuming that Giant-Man has a secret lab in addition to the public one everybody knows about, he wants to find it so he can beat him this time. This is a bit of a stretch but it turns out he’s right. What he illogically assumes is that Wasp, freed, would go there, which is by no means certain—except she does, expecting to find Hank there and not at the place she last saw him—and she does. Porcupine’s scheme only works because Hank went to his secret lab for no reason and Wasp assumed he went there for no reason and Porcupine assumed they both would go there for no reason. And when he returns he can check the real estate listing for the Palisades house and discover Giant-Man’s secret identity. Though, to be honest, it doesn’t seem very important for him to do so, unless Porky really wants to steal his inventions, again, assuming that Giant-Man is the inventor of his stuff and not just leasing it from Reed Richards or someone. And madness continues!

Comments: Giant-Man story: Porcupine was introduced in issue #48. His next appearance is in FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #3, joining the baddies disrupting Reed and Sue’s wedding. After this he fights the X-Men, Captain America, and Defenders and we never learn how he regained his normal size. The Fan Club kids are dressed as Black Knight, Human Top, Egghead, Doctor Doom, the Cyclops (which no one in America is likely to have heard of), and someone who looks like the Melter, an Iron Man villain. Second story: Text story with one illustration, reprinted from MARVEL TALES #148.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tales to Astonish #53 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Putting on a charity exhibition downtown, Giant-Man stretches across neighboring buildings while the full-sized Wasp dances over him. But the Porcupine is on the scene, apparently inconspicuous in his wicker costume, firing a shock quill at the big guy, causing him to fall; Wasp takes a reducing pill to fly out from under him while Hank hits the sidewalk and merely fractures an ankle. Disappointed, the villain goes home to his lab where, as scientist Alex Gentry, he devises a sleeping gas that will work on Giant-Man’s giant lungs. But how to get close to him? Gentry visits the Giant-Man Fan Club where the kids are wearing costumes of Giant-Man’s greatest villains. Gentry suggests they all go in costume to Giant-Man’s lab to cheer him up while he nurses his broken ankle….

The next day, the kids show up in villain costumes (with the real Porcupine among them) to see their hero. Porcupine asks Wasp to go to his car to retrieve a gift he left there; it’s a trap, designed to lock her in the back seat. The baddie releases the gas which knocks out all of the kids but not Giant-Man who tries to hold onto Porcupine, but the villain frees himself from Giant-Man’s grip and flies out of the window, calling out that Wasp is his prisoner. He uses a cord and suction cup to halt his flight and bring him down by his car which he enters and drives off. Hank asks his ants to trail the villain but his car emits a DDT spray preventing the insects from trailing him….

Gentry locks Wasp away in his secret hideout but this is also a trap; Wasp is expected to find a way out and when she heads off to find Giant-Man, she will be pursued by a special tracking quill and the bad guy will find the hero’s secret headquarters. And it works, so Porcupine heads to the indicated location. But Giant-Man also spots the tracking quill and knows the villain is coming. Porcupine bursts in, firing a flypaper quill that traps Wasp. He and Giant-Man spar around the lab with the hero faking out his foe by shrinking and enlarging suddenly. The villain engages Giant-Man closely and seizes the capsules from his belt. Porcupine swallows them all, intending to become a much bigger giant but it turns out he grabbed the wrong pills and he shrinks to microscopic size and vanishes from sight….

“The Clock”
Writer: Unknown. Art: Unknown.
Synopsis: An elderly clockmaker falls ill and the carved figurines on his clocks come to life to summon the doctor and save his life!

“When Wakes the Colossus!”
Writer: Larry Lieber. Plot: Stan Lee. Pencils: Larry Lieber. Inks: Don Heck. Colors: ? Letters: Ray Holloway.
Synopsis: Wasp practices a story on Hank Pym before her visit to the veterans’ hospital: An evil warlord builds a giant statue, telling the subjugated natives that if they don’t obey him, the statue will come to life and kill them all; the people revolt and the statue does indeed come to life—to help overthrow the warlord!

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


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Hank Pym)

(Hank Pym)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Porcupine (Alexander Gentry).

> Tales to Astonish: Book info and issue index

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