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Tales to Astonish #64: Review

Feb 1965
Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Story Name:

The Horde Of Humanoids!

Review & Comments

3 stars

Tales to Astonish #64 Review by (March 8, 2023)

Review: Well, that was easy. One minute Bruce Banner is locked up, facing charges of espionage and the next minute he’s walking free all because, er, Rick Jones talked to the President of the United States. Say, those Avengers cards were pretty nifty back in the early days. Of course, once Henry Peter Gyrich came on the scene, they became a liability so we’ll move on. Bruce oversees a test of his atomic device but Glen(n) Talbot continues to badger him until he Hulks out. If Bruce had been a lawyer, he could have documented a pattern of harassment on Talbot’s part and, with Betty’s help, point out that it’s because Talbot wants to steal Bruce’s gal. Meanwhile, the super-genius called the Leader finally realizes that if Hulk could beat one Humanoid, he should send more—and it definitely works. In a thrilling battle scene, Hulk takes on an army of the indestructible monsters and ends the issue still fighting them. And Leader has also deduced that Hulk may be gamma-powered as well, making the villain more interested in capturing him, though we know how well that has been going for the Army. And so the sun sets on Hulk, still fruitlessly biffing big pink rubber guys….

The Giant-Man tale is another dumb one: Hank shrinks to ant-size to fly across the ocean? Southward off coastal waters? In issue #49 we were told Giant-Man would be too heavy to move were he bigger than twelve feet? But now he can grow to fifty or a hundred feet (see ensuing issues) with only a small loss of power? And then there’s Attuma who apparently only recently learned there was a surface world (where did he thinks ships navigating the surface were from?); the other Atlanteans must be good at keeping secrets since Namor’s father is well-known to be a surface-dweller? He must not listen to all the gossip. Wait, Attuma’s men wear water-filled helmets on the island—but not in the underwater craft, where apparently they can breathe air, since Hank and Jan have no trouble breathing. And, clearly an afterthought by Stan Lee, when did Attuma decide to let the plane leave, choosing to keep only Jan for his study (Attuma, you sly dog!)? And I know I’m not the only person who thinks Attuma’s headdress looks like weird bunny ears? Biggest disappointment: didn’t you think the giant robot ant would actually play a part in the story? Shocking realization: this story was entirely about a lovers’ spat with the guy going to great lengths to make it up to his gal.

Comments: Hulk story: Brief appearance by the Chameleon, over a radio. The unseen President would be Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969). Inker George Roussos credited as George Bell. Giant-Man story: Sub-Mariner arch-enemy Attuma first appeared in FANTASTIC FOUR #33; this, believe it or not, is his second appearance and his third is in TALES OF SUSPENSE #66, fighting Iron Man. The converti-car was previously seen in issue #61. Hank ends the tale by saying Giant-Man without the Wasp is like Brinkley without Huntley, only worse. The news team of Chet Huntley and David Brinkley had their own show running from 1956 to 1970, when Huntley retired; Brinkley continued as a solo until his retirement in 1997 and that didn’t seem so bad.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tales to Astonish #64 Synopsis by Julio Molina-Muscara
Bruce Banner is locked, considered a traitor to his country. To clear his name, Rick Jones reveals Banner's dual identity to the US president himself, who orders Banner's immediate release.

Having second thoughts about Banner, Glenn Talbot follows him to an island where Banner is to test his newest invention: the Absorbatron, an awesome weapon that can absorb the impact of an atomic bomb!

However, the test is canceled because Humanoids sent by the Leader start showing up everywhere. Bruce turns into the Hulk and fights the Humanoids.

When Attuma Strikes!” Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Writer: Leon Lazarus. Pencils: Carl Burgos. Inks: Paul Reinman. Colors: ? Letters: Sam Rosen.

Synopsis: Hank Pym is building a giant robot ant for research purposes; Janet Van Dyne, helping him, drops a box of diodes, breaking them all. Hank loses his temper and yells at her. Janet, deciding Hank will never love her, packs her bags and goes away, leaving behind her Wasp gear. At home, Hank completes his project and wants to take Jan to dinner to celebrate but he discovers her farewell note. He is so upset that he inadvertently grows to Giant-Man size, receives a nasty shock from some electric wires, and passes out….

Meanwhile, Jan’s plane flies over an island the pilot is certain wasn’t there before. It is camouflage for the underwater craft of Attuma, undersea warlord. Attuma has just discovered the existence of a surface world and wants to capture some of its denizens for research into their weaknesses. The island emits apoxy bubbles into the air, enveloping the jet and bringing it down to a soft landing on the island. Seeing that one of the passengers is a woman, Attuma orders that she be captured first. A huge rolling Robotron demands that Janet come aboard; the pilots try to interfere but they are immobilized by a special ray gun. Jan finds some crumbs of reducing capsule in her purse, swallows them and it gives her the power to give the local ants a message to take to Hank Pym at home…

...which he receives and, changing to Ant-Man, boards his converti-car and flies to the mysterious island. Growing to fifty feet and sacrificing strength for shock and awe, Giant-Man clobbers some guards and forces his way into Attuma’s craft. He breaks Jan out of a paralyzing beam and gives her her Wasp gear. Attuma offers to make Giant-Man his partner in conquering the world; GM refuses. He attacks the baddies, rapidly changing size to keep them confused, while Wasp stings them in tiny form. The invaders escape to the next room, seal the heroes in the big room and then flood it; Hank and Jan shrink and hide inside a bubble. When the invaders believe they are dead, they open the door and Giant-Man and Wasp jump out. Attuma assumes that all surface people have these powers and determines to leave and not return. His craft sinks to the bottom of the sea, the jet having been allowed to leave earlier. Hank and Jan head home.

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Steve Ditko
George Roussos
Jack Kirby (Cover Penciler)
Dick Ayers (Cover Inker)
Stan Goldberg (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Art Simek.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Hank Pym)
Betty Ross
Betty Ross

(Elizabeth Ross)

(Hank Pym)

(Bruce Banner)
Thunderbolt Ross
Thunderbolt Ross

(Thaddeus Ross)

(Janet Van Dyne)

> Tales to Astonish: Book info and issue index

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