Tales to Astonish #44 continues the amazing adventures of the Ant-Man. In this issue we get a little background on Hank Pym, who apparently was married to a woman named Maria. However, on their honeymoon to Hungary she was killed due to being a defector. In addition, this issue does bit of retconning when it comes to Ant-Man’s original focus on the ants. Originally his focus was a result of almost being killed by a swarm of ants when he shrunk down the first time. Now, however, it’s due to his wife telling him the phrase “Go to the ants thou sluggard.”
After the flashback, the issue proceeds to the present with Hank Pym being visited by Dr. Vernon Van Dyne and his daughter, Janet, with the doctor seeking his help in making his gamma ray beam stronger so he can use it to find alien life, which Pym immediately shoots down. Well, unfortunately for Dr. Van Dyne he eventually succeeds in getting his beam to work, which a creature from Kosmos escapes through and then promptly kills him. Naturally this causes Janet to swear to get vengeance, which makes her the perfect partner for Ant-Man and thus she soon becomes the Wasp.
After pretty much consistent mediocrity we finally get an issue that is good, with the introduction of a solid partner in the Wasp and a villain who is a legitimate threat. The only qualm I have with this issue is that Janet professes her love for Ant-Man way too quickly. It would’ve been nice to have seen this relationship build over time. Now hopefully the series can build upon this. Also breaking with tradition, this issue features one backup story instead of two. “Hunted” follows a man who is being hunted by an entire planet due to have the plague, however what the plague is will surprise you.
- Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Don Heck
- Writers: Stan Lee, H.E. Huntley
- Pencilers: Jack Kirby
- Inkers: Don Heck
- Letterers: Artie Simek