Prisoner of the Same Plot: Stan Lee Ignores Ant-Man Again

Journey Into Marvel – Part 79

Even the title page is unremarkable.

Even the title page is unremarkable.

Extremites, I like Ant-Man. I knew Hank Pym only as a character that committed an act of domestic abuse. I have come to know him as varied and turmoiled. Alas, I have also noticed the lack of quality in construction of his stories. Sure, there are some good plots, but then there are stories that aren’t worth the paper they are printed on. Today’s issue, is an example of the latter.

When Stan is pressed for time Commies end up central to the plot. This time however there’s a twist. Dimensionals from some other dimension are capturing scientists from all over the United States and enslaving them to create an ultimate weapon.

If a race has the ability to cross inter-dimensional time, how do they not have the intelligence to create a mega weapon? One of the many things that don’t make sense in this story.

There’s narrative convenience in this story. The Dimensionals have enlisted a human traitor who pretends to be a window washer to get access into each scientist’s lair and then paralyze them. When he comes to Hank Pym’s location Hank lets him in. This doesn’t make any sense for a superhero to do. Hank just lets some guy who says he is a window cleaner into his lab. No concern for his secrets. I can’t tell if this is the hubris of the character or just poor writing. I’m gonna sit on the side that says this is an example poor writing.

There are other conveniences beyond this window cleaning Judas. There are insects in  dimensional space that communicate in the same way that  ants do— albeit on a different frequency. Ant-Man can use his helmet antennae here.

Six scientists are captured, including Hank Pym, and just after Hank Pym is carried off to some far off dungeon Ant-Man appears. None of these brilliant minds put two and two together. When Hank Pym reappears at the ending, and Ant-Man disappears, the scientists all wonder where Ant-Man went. I’m all for suspension of disbelief but this requires Clark Kent proportions.

The part that most annoys me about this story is the moral message at the end. Marvel doesn’t often concern itself with moral messages. When the scientists and Hank Pym have traveled back to Earth they discard the interdimensional transporter saying that it is the product of evil. It isn’t. This is a boon to scientific discovery. Hank even wonders what it would have been like if Kulla, the master of the interdimensionals, was good: “what scientific wonders could he achieve.” This is an odd moralism. Why is it even here? There was no story of reformation for Kulla. No one throughout the story tried to reform him, and all the sudden Hank Pym thinks “I wish he was good.”  It’s like Stan didn’t know how to finish the story.

Story I Read:Prisoner of the Slave World!” (Tales to Astonish #41 Mar. 1963)

Rating: 0 out of 5

Pros: Who is this window cleaner? I want to know. And how did he ally with Kulla?

Cons: The narrative conveniences, the moral, the laziness, the dimensional ants. Just about everything. Don Heck’s mushy inking.

Next Review:Sandu, Master of the Supernatural!” (Journey Into Mystery #91 Apr. 1963)

Last Review:Iron Man is Born!” (Tales of Suspense #39 Mar. 1963)


About Julian Munds

I possess a degree in Theatre and Drama from the University of Toronto. I own my own theatre company called Snobbish Theatre. We focus our work on new versions of classics.

Posted on May 21, 2015, in Ant-Man, Marvel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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