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Tales to Astonish #59: Review

Sep 1964
Stan Lee, Dick Ayers

Story Name:

Enter: The Hulk!

Review & Comments

3 stars

Tales to Astonish #59 Review by (February 1, 2023)

New review and comments by Peter Silvestro:

Review: A rather nice tale of Giant-Man feeling sorry for Hulk and wanting to help him and a surprisingly articulate Hulk distrusting him and wanting to beat him up. The chief purpose of the story is to introduce and/or summarize the Hulk for the benefit of readers who might not be familiar with him, as his solo series ended a few years earlier, the fastest casualty for early Marvel. Now that the readers are up to speed, Hulk’s new series begins in the next issue and this one would be successful. So Giant-Man wants to help Hulk. The big trouble comes with the Human Top encouraging Hulk to oppose Giant-Man in order to take revenge against his humongous foe. And as usual, the Human Top is the craziest thing in the story. First, we learn that Top is out on parole—four months after he was arrested. This city must have either the most efficient justice system, to get the guy indicted, tried, convicted, and paroled in record time—or the worst. He has wised up in two ways: a) he has trained himself to create a speed blast, making him an actual physical threat and b) he recognizes that his green costume was stupid, making him too easy to recognize, though his solution is to not wear a costume, presumably so he will be indistinguishable from all the other men who can spin like a top. The moment when General Ross sees him and can’t believe his eyes yet somehow listens to this guy’s advice. Ross’ strategy: fire off a nuclear warhead which will “damage a minimum of property” but knock out Hulk. Listen, if a guy can spin like a top then they can invent a nuke that only damages what they want damaged. So the coolest bit is the single-use miniature rocket invented by Hank Pym, which has apparently changed size multiple times while he’s switched between Giant and Ant before he uses the thing. Aw, it’s cute. And so is Wasp as she tries to stop a nuclear missile. The two heroes batter each other in some silly looking art for the era. And in the end, Hulk grabs the nuke because he wants to be the one to kill Giant-Man or die trying. And Hank mistakes this for Hulk trying to save his life and goes home happy, if deluded. Meanwhile, the big three: Cap, Thor, Iron Man, prove not to give a tinker’s cuss for the Hulk—but then, this isn’t their titles. 

Comments: Giant-Man story: First TALES TO ASTONISH appearance of the Hulk. This comic book becomes THE INCREDIBLE HULK Volume 2 with issue #102. Hulk’s previous appearance was in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #14. First appearances in this title of Iron Man, Thor, General Ross, and Betty Ross. Human Top last appeared in issue #55 and will return in #68-69. Note the billboard for Standick Motor Oil, combining the first names of the writer and the penciler of the issue.  


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tales to Astonish #59 Synopsis by Adam Schendel
Iron Man has a projector that shows a picture of the Hulk battling Spider-Man (from Amazing Spider-Man #14). Giant-Man wants the Hulk to rejoin the Avengers, and goes to New Mexico to find the green skinned behemoth. Secretly, the Human Top, who hates Pym, decides to follow Giant-Man.

The big hero arrives at the base of General Thunderbolt Ross, and asks Bruce Banner about the Hulk. Note: Nobody yet knows the Hulk and Banner are one and the same! Banner gets upset, and runs into the desert where he turns into his monster self, who eventually finds Giant-Man and battles him.

Panels sample #2

Meanwhile, the Human Top tricks Thunderbolt Ross into thinking the green monster is alone, and the General fires a small atomic shell to his enemy. But the blast will also get Giant-Man!

Panels sample #3

The Wasp lets Pym know about the upcoming threat, and the Hulk saves the day by catching the bomb in mid air, and tossing it away, coincidentally hitting the Human Top's hideout!

Panels sample #4

The explosion turns Hulk back into Banner, who is later found by the militia. And Giant-Man could not convince the Hulk to rejoin the Avengers, but hey, perhaps it was best that way.

Also in this story: Thor, Captain America, Betty Ross.

“Let’s Learn About Hank and Jan!”
Writer: Stan Lee. Pencils: Dick Ayers. Inks: Paul Reinman. Colors: ? Letters: Sam Rosen.

Synopsis: A detailed description of Giant-Man’s and Wasp’s powers and abilities, though it’s most about him.

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

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


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Betty Ross
Betty Ross

(Elizabeth Ross)
Bruce Banner
Bruce Banner

(Robert Bruce Banner)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Hank Pym)

(Bruce Banner)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

Thunderbolt Ross
Thunderbolt Ross

(Thaddeus Ross)

(Janet Van Dyne)

> Tales to Astonish: Book info and issue index

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