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Tales to Astonish #58: Review

Aug 1964
Stan Lee, Dick Ayers

Story Name:

The Coming of… Colossus

Review & Comments

4 stars

Tales to Astonish #58 Review by (January 24, 2023)

Review: The Ant-Man/Giant-Man series in TALES TO ASTONISH was probably the silliest superhero saga in early Marvel history (though the Human Torch’s solo series in STRANGE TALES comes close) and this issue may be the most ridiculous. A dumb hero with limited powers faced a series of dumb villains and barely managed to defeat them. At one point in this tale, Hank says that the thirty-foot giant is twice his height of twelve feet, establishing that this physicist can’t do basic arithmetic. Then Ant-Man and Wasp shrink to an inch high to climb the mountain faster? On the other hand, Colossus is an alien stranded on a high rock and can’t figure out how to get down even though he owns a working spaceship. Plus he gets spooked by a man able to change his size. And the African natives are terrified of him, even though he can’t get down from the peak. On the other hand, the natives do seem to be engineering geniuses since they manage to erect a huge statue of Giant-Man on top of an unscalable mountain.

The Wasp story is not quite so dumb though it features Wasp jumping into a toy car that races around a track to get away from the baddie—and a baddie who still can’t catch her. And then he gets his cape caught in the escalator and doesn’t think to unbutton the cape at his neck. Then Wasp hits the emergency release button that not one of the store’s employees appears to have known about and goes home to—in the worst moment of the story—assure Hank Pym that she’s a helpless female so as not to damage his ego. Sad to say, this was a fairly common attitude of the era and probably sowed the seeds of their eventual divorce. But Wasp proves herself not totally incompetent, unlike her story in the last issue—and that’s something.

Comments: Giant-Man story: Wasp has a costume change in this issue. First appearance of Captain America in Ant-Man’s early series. Hank Pym gains the ability to control his size mentally. Wasp story: The Magician made his first appearance in issue #56; this is his final bow though his son would show up in ASTONISHING ANT-MAN #2, in 2015, 49 years later. Hank Pym does not appear as either Ant-Man or Giant-Man in this story. And it is revealed that the Wasp’s sting, which could knock a man down in the previous issue, is not powerful enough to penetrate a silk handkerchief.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tales to Astonish #58 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro
Hank Pym modifies his cybernetic helmet so he can control his changes into Ant-Man or Giant-Man mentally, thus doing away with the need for capsules. At the same time, Janet Van Dyne shows off her newest Wasp costume.

At this moment, a jet-copter drops by and Captain America leaps in the window to tell them about an unusual report the Avengers have received from Africa. It seems a giant has appeared atop an unscalable mountain, and is threatening the entire region.

Hank and Jan jet to the area, and the alien giant, named Colossus, grabs and destroys their craft as they parachute to safety. Shrinking to insect-size, they scale the mountain quickly, and Hank grows to Giant-Man size to challenge the invader while Wasp uses her sting to irritate their enemy.

Her sting and Hank’s constant size changing confuse and terrify Colossus so that he jumps in his spaceship (disguised as a giant mushroom!) and takes off. He contacts his homeworld Vega Superior, and tells them to forget about conquering the Earth since the Earthlings have amazing powers.

As a tribute, the natives erect a statue of Giant-Man atop that very mountain.

“The Magician and the Maiden!”
Writer: Larry Lieber. Plot: Stan Lee. Pencils: Larry Lieber. Inks: Larry Lieber. Colors: ? Letters: Sam Rosen.
Synopsis: Wasp is pondering a gallery of her and Giant-Man’s most famous foes when she hears on the radio that the Magician has escaped from prison; she then hears that a local department store is advertising a line of clothing inspired by the Wasp. Hank Pym, having heard about the Magician’s escape, sends her a message via ant warning her to stay home but she is determined to visit the store. Once there, Janet discovers it was a trap set up by the Magician who designed and marketed the fashions himself. He magically locks the store’s doors, trapping everyone inside, and then sends his magic wand to point out the disguised Wasp, which it does. She changes into the Wasp and fires her sting at the baddie who absorbs it in his hanky and retaliates by sprinkling a power on her wings that prevents her from flying. She jumps into an electric toy car to get away but the Magian smashes it. She lures him onto an escalator and makes sure his cape is caught in the mechanism, bringing it to a halt. She sends a toy robot to tie him up and deliver him to the police after she hits the door emergency release. Back home, she greets Hank, telling him she is glad to know he’s always there to protect her….

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

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


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Vega Superior Giant)

(Hank Pym)

(Janet Van Dyne)

> Tales to Astonish: Book info and issue index

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