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Tales to Astonish #57: Review

Jul 1964
Stan Lee, Dick Ayers

Story Name:

On the Trail of the Amazing Spider-Man!

Review & Comments

3 stars

Tales to Astonish #57 Review by (January 17, 2023)

Review: It’s Giant-Man versus Spider-Man and the adventure is pretty lame. Acting like a couple of eight-year-olds on a school playground, the two heroes exchange insults more than blows. Meanwhile, it seems like the entire NYPD has been called out to stand around and watch the excitement out of idle curiosity, judging from the reactions of the two cops we see. At least the three heroes easily defeat the gang of bad guys, which is as it should be. The art is not among Ayers’ best. And the tale ends by creating some artificial animosity between Wasp and Spidey which is likely never seen again.

As for Wasp’s first solo adventure…what can you say about a tale which demonstrates that the protagonist is totally incompetent at her chosen mission? After multiple failed attempts to defeat the villain, who never even realizes she is there, she must impersonate a more formidable heroine and bluff him into surrendering. There’s silly—and then there’s demeaning. Things get a lot better next time.

Comments: Giant-Man story: First appearance of Spider-Man in Ant-Man’s early series. First appearance of the Wasp’s sting. Egghead previously appeared in issues #38 and 45. Wasp story: Takes place before the first story as Wasp does not yet have her sting. Hank Pym does not appear as either Ant-Man or Giant-Man in this story. Third story: Text story with one illustration, reprinted from TALES TO ASTONISH #11, which was reprinted from STRANGE TALES OF THE UNUSUAL #6 (thanks to the GCD for this last bit of info); part one appeared last issue. Final text story in this book.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tales to Astonish #57 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Giant-Man tells Wasp he has a surprise for her; to her great disappointment it is a weapon which mounts on her arm and fires a blast of compressed air….

Elsewhere, Egghead is hatching another scheme. Having learned how to communicate with ants, he feeds them a false report that Spider-Man is hunting for Giant-Man, intending to defeat him in battle. This message is relayed to Hank by the easily deceived ants and so he sends Wasp out to find Spider-Man and report back—but not to attack him….

Janet quickly locates the Web-Slinger but he is moving too quickly; to slow him down she fires a blast from her sting at him which makes him lose his balance and fall. Spidey quickly catches himself and swings back to nab Wasp, having detected her with his Spider-Sense. She radios Hank and Giant-Man quickly arrives on the scene and a fight breaks out. Egghead calls the police to notify them of the crisis. So while the police watch the two heroes mixing it up, Egghead and his gang head to the other side of the city to hijack an armored car….

Meanwhile back at the battle, Spidey and Giant-Man compare notes and confusion results. Then Giant-Man gets a call from the ants about the robbery so he shrinks down to Ant-Man size and takes off with Wasp and Spider-Man. They reach the baddies’ lair and easily defeat the gang, with Wasp joining in with her sting. Wasp and Spidey discover they have an instinctive dislike of one another mirroring their counterparts from nature and they part on bad terms….

“A Voice in the Dark!”
Writer: Larry Lieber. Plot: Stan Lee. Pencils: Larry Lieber. Inks: Chick Stone. Colors: ? Letters: Sam Rosen.
Synopsis: In a hurry to get home for a dinner date with Hank Pym, Wasp puts on a coat to cover her costume and heads through the streets. She sees a man enter the sewers via a manhole and realizes he must have just robbed the nearby jewelry store. Wasp shrinks down and follows the man through the sewers, trying several methods to subdue him but everything fails. Finally, she makes a megaphone to amplify her voice and claims to be Invisible Girl with the rest of the Fantastic Four on the way, scaring the crook into surrendering to the police. When Janet reaches Hank’s lab she explains why she was late but Hank doesn’t believe her as the news reported that it was Invisible Girl who caught the crook.

“The Balloon [Part Two]”
Writer: Unknown. Artist: Unknown.
Synopsis: Continued from last issue: A little boy releases a tiny man named Zoop from the balloon he was accidentally trapped in and Zoop thanks him and returns to his city in outer space!

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


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Hank Pym)

(Hank Pym)

(Peter Parker)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Egghead (Elihas Starr).

> Tales to Astonish: Book info and issue index

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