Appearing in "The Challenge of Comrade X!"Edit
- Comrade X (First appearance)
- Bank robbers
- Police Officers of the 14th Precinct
- Various Soviet Agents
- U.S. Coast Guard
- Nikita Khrushchev (Photo)
- United States of America
Synopsis for "The Challenge of Comrade X!"Edit
Three bank robbers are trapped within the confines of a time locked bank vault and will suffocate unless the lock can be opened in time. Within the lock mechanism, the Ant-Man manually manipulates the tumblers into place, allowing the lock to be opened and the robbers apprehended by the police.
Meanwhile, thousands of miles away, behind the iron curtain, a communist leader hears a news report about the Ant-Man’s latest feat. He orders Comrade X, one of the Soviet Union’s greatest espionage agents, to capture Ant-Man and learn the secret of his size changing ability.
Several days later, in a police station in the United States, a young women is pleading with the desk sergeant to be put in contact with Ant-Man. She claims that it is a matter of life and death that only Ant-Man can help her with. The police explain it cannot be done – they don’t know how to locate the Ant-Man. He just mysteriously appears on the scene whenever there’s trouble. Unknown to the police, Ant-Man has established a vast network of tiny insects planted in police stations and newspaper offices throughout the city to alert him of emergencies.
In a secret room in Henry Pym’s laboratory, an electronic impulse is detected originating from the 14th precinct. Using his cybernetic helmet, Ant-Man translates the signal into an intelligible form and receives the girl’s plea for help. As he puts on the rest of his costume, Pym explains that he has developed his reducing and growth serums in a gas form to make them easier to carry with him. He releases the reducing gas and inhales it through his helmet’s filter, causing him to shrink to ant-size. Ant-Man exits the lab through a secret panel to a room containing a miniature electronically controlled catapult, which he uses to propel himself through the air to an alley near the police station, where he summons a horde of ants to catch him and break his fall.
Outside the police station, Ant-Man spots a girl getting into a cab and deduces that she must be the one who wanted to contact him. Using one of his ants, he sneaks into the cab and slips unnoticed into the girl’s purse. Minutes later, the cab arrives at the its destination, the girl's apartment. Once inside, Ant-Man slips out of the purse and reveals himself.
The girl explains her story to Ant-Man. Last year, while in Europe, she fell in love with a man, who she later learned was the deadly Red master spy known as Comrade X. At first, she didn’t care who he was, until he jilted her for another woman. Now she wants revenge on him for breaking her heart. That's why she contacted him, to warn him that Comrade X is in the United States on a secret mission to capture him and learn the secret of his size changing ability. She knows that he is hiding on a freighter docked at pier 89. Ant-Man mentions that he has heard of the mysterious Comrade X and races off to confront him.
That evening, Ant-Man arrives at pier 89. As he leads his small army of ants up the gang plank to the freighter, Ant-Man triggers a hidden electric eye that alerts the crew to his presence, allowing them to entrap him in a glass box with tiny pinholes that allow him to breath but are too small for an ant to escape through. Using his cybernetic helmet, Ant-Man summons more ants from the shore, who use bits of wood to traverse the harbor and board the ship. Once onboard, they attack the crew, causing one to drop his weapon, smashing the glass box entrapping Ant-Man.
Once free, Ant-Man evades the remaining crewmen and locates the ship’s radio room, where he uses his full-human strength to hurl a lamp at the radio operator, knocking him unconscious. He then uses his enlarging gas to return to normal-size and uses the radio to contact the authorities on shore. Meanwhile, his ants lock the red seamen in a room and crawl away with the key.
With his message sent, Ant-Man returns to ant-size and hunts down Comrade X. He soon comes upon Comrade X sitting at a desk with his back to him, but it is the Ant-Man who is surprised by Comrade X, who points a spray gun loaded with diluted DDT at him. Before Comrade X can fire, Ant-Man commands his ants to cover the ceiling light, plunging the room into darkness. Ant-Man uses the momentary distraction to tie Comrade X’s bootlaces together, causing him to trip and fall to the floor. His ants then uncover the light and pull a mask off of Comrade X, revealing “him" to be the girl from the police station.
Ant-Man reveals that he knew Comrade X was a woman all along. Earlier, while hiding in her purse, he discovered her rubber face mask and an instrument to make her voice sound masculine. Comrade X threatens Ant-Man, stating that he will never make it off this ship alive, but is subdued by the arrival of the US Coast Guard. Minutes later, Comrade X and her gang are taken into custody.
Appearing in "The Hands of Time!"Edit
- Clock Maker
- Homeless Man
Synopsis for "The Hands of Time!"Edit
An elderly criminal steals a clockmakers time travel clock and travels back in time, getting younger. Here he plans to commit perfect crimes by travelling back in time after committing them, but in his attempt to kill the only person he tells the clock is destroyed and the man dies.
Appearing in "The Search for Pan!"Edit
- The Stranger
Synopsis for "The Search for Pan!"Edit
A man arrives in a small village looking for Pan, whom all the villagers affirm does exist. He hopes to cash in somehow, but becomes frustrated when no one will tell him where to find Pan, and he begins to think they are just scamming the tourists. He threatens to rough up a bartender and the bartender directs him to a nearby grove under the full moon. The man goes, and does encounter Pan, but is so unsettled by the encounter he immediately leaves town. It turns out the bartender has cloven hooves.
- This issue is reprinted in other comics and books, see references for more info.
- Comrade X next appears in West Coast Avengers Vol 2 33 as Madame X.
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- Discuss Tales to Astonish Vol 1 36 on the forums
- Reviews about Tales to Astonish Vol 1 36
Links and ReferencesEdit
- ↑ The first story is reprinted in the following comics/TPB's:
- Essential Series Vol 1 Ant-Man 1
- Marvel Masterworks Ant-Man / Giant-Man #1
- Epic Collection Vol 1 Ant-Man/Giant Man 1
- Marvel Collectors' Item Classics Vol 1 1
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