Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Classic Comics - Marvel Feature #4

   I have to admit that I just barely missed Ant-Man the first time around.

   The first comic I picked up featuring Hank Pym's superhero side was Avengers #3, by which time he had become Giant-Man (the change from Ant- to Giant-Man had occurred a month or two before).

   It worked out fine, because I was a big fan of Giant-Man, and eventually I tracked down some of the Ant-Man adventures (loved that original helmet).

   But the character never caught on, and he was bumped from his half of Tales to Astonish, then he left the Avengers - only to return as Goliath (stuck at the 10-foot-tall size). He later became Yellowjacket - and then he left the team again.

   In 1972, Marvel decided to give Ant-Man another shot in the pages of the try-out comic, Marvel Feature. The twist this time around - he's trapped at ant-size, unable to change back to normal size (sound familiar?).

   I wish I could say it was a terrific issue, but the whole thing just feels terribly rushed. From the scrambled script by veteran Mike Frederich (pulling in elements from Spider-Man's title - including the hero) to the art by Herb Trimpe (who provided pencils and inks - he's usually a clear, powerful storyteller, but this one is beyond saving).

   The seven-issue series actually improved as it went along, bringing in the Wasp and giving the story better direction - but it was a rough start.

    But it was great to see Hank back in action, whichever hero's mask he decided to wear. Despite the best (or worst) efforts of more than one writer at Marvel, he's still one of my favorite heroes.

   If only they'd write him as a hero more often.

Grade: B-


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