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Tales to Astonish #68: Review

Jun 1965
Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Story Name:

Back From The Dead!

Review & Comments

3 stars

Tales to Astonish #68 Review by (May 23, 2023)

Review: Oh yeah, the Leader…I had forgotten all about him and the McGuffin on the island from issue #64. And so we go back there now that the Soviet diversion from issues #65-67 is done with (it can’t be easy filling all of these pages every month). So…more accusations of treason against Bruce, more anguish by Betty, more Humanoids, even more Humanoids, more Hulk fighting Humanoids, and then he’s captured by the Leader. Hey, that last thing is new! Let’s see where this goes!

The Giant-Man story promises “the return of an almost-forgotten villain!!” But we’ve tried. Oh, how we’ve tried. It’s the Human Top again and ten months ago doesn’t feel like the “long-dead past” either but just go with it. He also survived an atomic explosion by hiding in a cave, conveniently found in a small Southwestern town. He’s still the silliest Giant-Man villain and now his absurd abilities make even less sense. There’s nothing to say that we haven’t said before so I won’t. The next issue won’t be so lucky.

Comments: Cover picture of Giant-Man taken from interior art by Bob Powell (see GCD). Hulk story: The President is again Lyndon B. Johnson, here using one of his familiar rhetorical devices, “Let us reason together.” Inker Mike Esposito credited as Mickey Demeo. Giant-Man story: Part one of two parts. The Human Top last appeared in issue #59 and he’s back to his all-green costume briefly. First appearance of Wasp’s trained wasp, Boopsie


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tales to Astonish #68 Synopsis by Julio Molina-Muscara
During the fall, Bruce Banner turns into the Hulk who catches Glenn Talbot, unconscious for the fall, saving the Major from certain death.

The Hulk then leaps off, leaving Mongolia, then Asia, crossing the Pacific Ocean leaping from isle to isle (!), even from plane to plane (!!), until he reaches the USA. 

At Thunderbolt Ross' base, Hulk enters a cabin to rest, and turns back into Banner.

Thunderbolt Ross, Betty Ross and soldiers find Banner sleeping. He's put behind bars accused of treason. But the US president (who knows Banner's double identity) orders his release, once again. Now Banner can resume his Absorbatron tests. 

Talbot (later rescued from Mongolia) follows Banner to the isle. But before the test could begin, the Leader's Humanoids(again) show up, but this time, they defeat the Hulk using a powerful sleep gas.

“Peril from the Long-Dead Past!”
Writer: Stan Lee. Pencils: Bob Powell. Inks: Vince Colletta. Colors: ? Letters: Sam Rosen.
Synopsis: While practicing his growth skills, Giant-Man is nearly hit by a small private plane…and then he realizes it is trying to ram him deliberately. He is hit and falls but catches the pilot jumping from the plane but bumps his head on a tree and is knocked out. The pilot is Dave Cannon, the Human Top, who has sworn revenge against the hero. He contemplates bashing the hero’s head in with a rock but decides that would be ineffective. He flees and Giant-Man wakes up with no idea what happened while he was out….

Back at the lab, Hank tells Jan all about it and also finds that he did lose his shrinking abilities last time. But he has been able to make 35-feet his maximum effective height, an improvement over his previous limit of twelve feet. But the frequent changes in size makes him groggy and he nearly falls from the roof. He creates a new circuit for his cybernetic helmet to slow his growth to thirty-five feet so he doesn’t become dizzy….

Elsewhere, the Human Top decides he would be all-powerful if he could only fly. He practices in his familiar all-green suit (which he calls the “Human Turnip”) and fails. He designs a mesh costume with armpit wings, filled with helium pellets and all is good….

At the lab, Hank has construction people in to renovate the place to suit a thirty-five foot man, sneaking out and returning as Giant-man to give them a hand. Then he adapts Wasp’s cybernetic helmet to enable her to communicate with wasps and she trains a wasp to serve as a steed, naming it “Boopsie.” Then they receive a phone call from security downstairs that a reporter is on his way up to interview Giant-Man. It is the Human Top in disguise, scoping the place out. When Wasp recognizes his voice, he reveals himself and flies around the lab while Giant-Man chases him, then leaps out the window with the hero leaping for him and missing, leaving Hank hanging from the window frame. The Top then seizes Wasp and flies off with her. Giant-Man climbs back in the window and, vowing revenge, sets off in pursuit….

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Steve Ditko
Mickey Demeo
Jack Kirby (Cover Penciler)
Vince Colletta (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)

(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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