Tales of Suspense #48 (12/10/1963)

xx.jpgTales of Suspense #48 features the first appearance of Mr. Doll, who may just be the worst villain up to this point. I’m not a big fan of the Puppet Master to begin with and Mr. Doll is just a poor man’s version of that villain, with an even lazier backstory of having stolen a voodoo doll in Africa. Also, his powers make no sense. He changes the doll to be able to control the victim. Fine, but how does changing the doll’s face to that of Iron Man control him? It’s an iron suit and not his actual face.

Beyond this poorly thought out and obviously lazy attempt at a villain, the story itself also makes no sense. Mr. Doll is controlling wealthy individuals to sign over the assets to him, because financial institutions are going to accept someone called Mr. Doll. Also, it seems like Mr. Doll needs to be in the presence of his victims. Finally, the way Iron Man defeats Mr. Doll was beyond stupid.

In the end the only saving grace of this issue is the introduction of Iron Man’s classic red and gold armor. Also, Steve Ditko’s accompanying panels of him putting on the new armor was just awesome. Great stuff, too bad the rest of the issue is crap.

Rating: 1.0/5.0

Creators:

  • Cover Artists: Jack Kirby
  • Writers: Stan Lee
  • Pencilers: Steve Ditko
  • Inkers: Dick Ayers
  • Colourists:
  • Letterers: Sam Rosen
  • Editors:

Tales to Astonish #48 (10/10/1963)

detail18.jpgI have to admit that I did not have a good feeling heading into Tales to Astonish #48 considering that it proclaims that Ant-Man and the Wasp are going to battle the Porcupine. Unfortunately my misgivings about this issue ended up being completely well-founded, because this issue features the lamest Ant-Man villain thus far, and keep in mind that there is a lot of strong competition for that title in this series.

This issue features Alex Geatry, who invents gear modeled after the porcupine, which basically means it has a bunch of tubes that shoot out an assortment of different things. Naturally, after inventing it he decides to become a criminal and actually names himself the Porcupine. Seriously? I am totally in awe at how dumb of a villain this is. First off there’s the issue of how he looks. Basically he looks like a guy in a gas mask wearing a tiki hut. Second, his power is basically being a giant blow dart gun. Ugh, just talking about this guy is making me irritated. Seriously, what an awful villain. Even his motivation is horrible. Sadly, I have a feeling he’s going to be showing up again.

In addition this issue also features to backup stories, which were pretty decent. The first story, Grayson’s Gorilla, features a man who desires to gain the strength of a gorilla. The second story, “The Little Green Man,” centers around a man who makes a deal with a green alien to make his plane travel faster.

Rating: 1.0/5.0

Creators:

  • Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Sol Brodsky
  • Writers: Stan Lee, H.E. Huntley
  • Pencilers: Don Heck
  • Inkers: Don Heck
  • Colorists:
  • Letterers: Sam Rosen
  • Editors: Stan Lee

Strange Tales #108 (05/10/1963)

detailWilhelm van Vile, a counterfeiter put away by the Human Torch discovers an alien artifact, magical paint that makes the user’s paintings come to life. Naturally, he seeks to get revenge on the Human Torch for pointing out Abe Lincoln’s sideburns and the only limits are his imagination. Will the Human Torch be able to stop him before it’s too late?

Wow, was this issue, outside of the art, just incredibly bad. First off, van Vile is probably the lamest villain since the Puppet Master. I mean let’s take away the fact that he was able to surmise the art style of aliens and age it at a million years, let’s forget about the highly doubtful fact that he’d be able paint anything before the goons would’ve gotten him, how is he able to time events to affect the Human Torch when he can’t see him? In addition, how the heck was the Human Torch even able to find him? This might possibly be the worst issue thus far.

Rating: 1.0/5.0

Creators:

  • Editor:
  • Writers: Stan Lee, Robert Bernstein
  • Pencilers: Jack Kirby
  • Inkers: Dick Ayers
  • Colorists:
  • Letterers: Terry Szenics

Journey Into Mystery #90 (03/10/1963)

detail.jpgCars using the sidewalk and pedestrians forced to use the gutter? Billboards on the side of buildings? Polk-a-dots on the bridge? What can all this silliness mean? Well what it means is that the Xartans have launched their invasion of the Earth and it is up to Thor to stop them. Unfortunately Journey Into Mystery #90 is just not a very good issue of Thor. In fact, outside of Ugarth’s impressive mustache, there’s not much going on for this issue.

What you do get is almost a carbon copy plot of what occurred in Fantastic Four #2. Shapeshifting aliens? Check. Causing chaos before invasion? Check. Forcing some of them to turn into something harmless? Check.  In addition, Hartley’s artwork is just horrendous, especially his depiction of Dr. Blake. Also, how the hell does Thor know that the aliens take on all of the characteristics of what they impersonate? First, he just met these aliens. Second, wouldn’t they be unable to turn back from anything since they wouldn’t know that they are Xartans.

In the end, Journey Into Mystery #90 is a giant train wreck of an issue with zero redeeming qualities, except for Ugarth’s mustache.

Rating: 1.0/5.0

Creators:

  • Editor:
  • Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers
  • Writers: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber
  • Pencilers: Al Hartley
  • Inkers: Steve Ditko
  • Colorists:
  • Letterers: Terry Szenics

 

Strange Tales #104 (01/10/1963)

detail2Strange Tales #104 features Paste Pot Pete robbing banks and military institutes with the aid of his handy dandy paste gun. It is now up to the Human Torch to stop this newest threat before he can cause any more damage.

Outside of the artwork this issue is garbage. Where to begin? Well first of all the villain is Paste Pot Pete whose power is a paste gun, which is apparently enough to take down a military base. In addition, the Human Torch now has the ability to create a heat seeking double that can follow a villain. In addition, apparently the Human Torch’s flame runs out just for a few seconds to create some forced tension. Also, doesn’t this mean the Human Torch’s identity was revealed? Finally the way this ends would be entirely dependent on Paste Pot Pete knowing exactly what was going to happen.

In the end Strange Tales #104 features a poor though and probably one of the weakest villains this side of the Porcupine, which makes for an issue that should just be avoided. Also, the are totally messing up the Human Torch’s character with all these inconsistent powers.

Rating: 1.0/5.0

Creators:

  • Editor: Stan Lee
  • Cover Artists: Jack Kirby
  • Writers: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber
  • Pencilers: Jack Kirby
  • Inkers: Dick Ayers
  • Colorists:
  • Letterers: Artie Simek

Strange Tales #101 (10/01/1962)

detail.jpgStrange Tales #101 features the Human Torch getting his own solo adventure. In this issue the Human Torch takes on the Destroyer, who is threatening Glendale’s amusement park. Yeah, the Human Torch is apparently living in Glendale now. About the only thing that wasn’t awful about this issue Kirby’s artwork. Now that I have gone over the good, let me go over the bad, and there’s a lot of bad. Probably the biggest issue is the Human Torch all of a sudden having a secret identity. How does that make any sense? Also, the story is just another communist plot with uninspired villain that pretty much plagued most of Ant-Man’s early adventures. Avoid this train wreck of an issue.

Rating: 1.0/5.0

Creators:

  • Editor: Stan Lee
  • Cover Artists: Jack Kirby
  • Writers: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber
  • Pencilers: Jack Kirby
  • Inkers: Dick Ayers
  • Colorists:
  • Letterers: Artie Simek