Friday, April 1, 2011

Review: Marvel Masterworks Atlas Era Tales to Astonish Vol. 3

MARVEL MASTERWORKS: ATLAS ERA TALES TO ASTONISH VOL. 3 (Marvel, 2010; Hardcover)
Collects Tales to Astonish Nos.  21-30 (cover dates July, 1961- April, 1962)
These are very formulaic, but very fun, reads. If you are a fan of Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, and Don Heck (among others), then this book is a must have. I love the ridiculously named, and ridiculous looking, monsters, and all of these stories follow one of the following formulae:
Alien lands, tries to help man, man frightens away beneficent aliens with their ignorance.
Aliens try to infiltrate our country and take over, and one man stood up to them and drove them away, NEVER to return.
Atomic accidents or other accidents create or unleash a monster who is driven away by one man.
The undoing of a man/ monster/ alien is the result of his selfishness or pride. These are similar to the "preachies" from the EC Comics days, although nowhere near as well done or as effective.
The most important story in this book is, of course, the Henry Pym/ Ant-Man origin story from issue 27. While not originally intended to be a launch for a superhero, it quickly became evident that there was more here than a short story in a single comic book. Dr. Henry Pym goes on to become Ant-Man, who goes on to become Giant-Man, who goes on to become Goliath, who goes on to become Yellowjacket. Pym also goes on to create Ultron, who goes on to resurrect the original, android Human Torch from the Golden Age of Comics as the Vision, who goes on to become as integral a part of The Avengers as Pym himself. So this is, as you can plainly see, a very important story.
As per usual for the Masterworks line, everything is wonderful, sewn binding, etc., all OCD lights turned green for me while reading this.

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