Tag Archives: Leader

Tales to Astonish #74, Dec. 1965

Tales to Astonish #74, Dec. 1965

Devastating drama by: Stan Lee
Shattering spectacle by: Adam Austin
Explosive embellishment by: Vince Colletta
Cataclysmic calligraphy by: Sam Rosen

Dreamed up by: Stan Lee!
Designed by: Jack Kirby!
Drawn by: Bob Powell!
Delineated by: Mickey Demeo!
Doodled by: S. Rosen

I gotta admit, I don’t really understand why Namor taking a break from his quest to save Lady Dorma from being eaten by the Faceless Ones (wait, how can they eat if they don’t have a face?) means that he fails the quest. Can’t he just go back and continue afterward? Why would there be a time limit on something like that?

Dorma’s protected by a little dome thing from the onslaught of the Faceless Ones, but it’s only a matter of time before it cracks. The Sub-Mariner uses his usual conflict management style of punching everything in his path to try and save her. Meanwhile, Krang is dealing with an armed revolt in Atlantis, which he manages to pacify by hiding in a room and using a goofy robot tank to stun everybody in the entire city. That’s how you tyrannize.

The Hulk is on the moon fighting a big red alien monster that’s nearly as strong as he is for the chance to steal one of the Watcher’s devices. The alien thinks he’s got the Hulk’s number when they dive underwater (the “blue area” of the moon where the Watcher lives has water, okay? Shut up) and he wedges the Hulk in a crevice. Of course the Hulk breaks free and throws the alien into space. He grabs the golden orb that the Leader wants him to, then beams back to Earth. The Leader wears the thing as a hat in hopes of gaining all knowledge in the universe, but instead it kills him. Whoopsie.

I can’t stress how much bullshit the Watcher’s “non-interference” is. First he beams the Hulk and the red guy out of his lab so they won’t break any of his stuff, then he beams the red guy back to his home planet when the Hulk throws him into the air, figuring that means the Hulk won. Hey, Uatu, watch with your eyes, not your magic powers.


Tales to Astonish #73, Nov. 1965

Tales to Astonish #73, Nov. 1965

Script: Smilin’ Stan Lee
Art: Amiable Adam Austin
Inks: Valiant Vince Colletta
Lettering: Angelic Artie Simek

You’ll never forget Stan Lee’s script!
You’ll never forget Jack Kirby’s layouts!
You’ll never forget Bob Powell’s art!
You’ll never forget Artie Simek’s –eh– let’s see now, what did Artie do?

There’s some pretty badass Namor action in this issue, where he goes on about how awesome he is while beating up an old guy with a magic diamond hat. See, that sounds terrible, like “oh my god, the Sub-Mariner is a horrible person” kind of terrible, but it works really well. For as much as Stan Lee is remembered for his really goofy sensibilities, he’s also really good at that sort of macho bravado stuff, which you get a lot with Namor and Cap and Thor, all of whom are really well-rounded characters that are also super-powerful and unbeatable (well, Cap less so, but you get what I’m saying).

Namor is at this place called the “diamonds of death”, which sap the power out of him and make him about to die at the hands of a weird old guy with a hat that protects him from the diamonds’ power. Namor summons power from all the plants and fish around him (this guy can do all sorts of convenient fish-related things!) and beats up the guardian, eventually electrocuting him and his dumb diamonds with eels. One of the eels speaks to Namor in King Neptune’s voice (which I assume is one of the things you learn to deal with when you can talk to fish) and tells him that his final challenge is probably to rescue that lady from those monsters that you should’ve done last time, asshole.

The Hulk is about to change back into Bruce Banner, which will kill him because he has a bullet lodged in his brain. The Leader gets near him before he passes out, and his “gamma force” which I guess radiates off his body heals the Hulk enough so he doesn’t change. Then the Leader’s nice enough to operate and remove the bullet from the Hulk’s brain, but also gives him a massive dose of gamma rays, strengthening him and keeping him from EVER being able to turn back to Bruce Banner. To repay this surgery, the Hulk goes to the blue area of the moon, where Uatu the Watcher lives, and tries to get a device which will help the Leader rule the world. Oh, and there’s a big red alien who he has to fight to get it out of nowhere.

How many times has the Hulk’s condition/powers changed in just four years? WAY too many, that’s how many. It really speaks to the weakness of the character, that none of the power profiles they settle on are able to carry a story for more than four or five issues without being changed. I mean, sure, changing powers and names and costumes and what have you, that’s expected of a superhero… but not THIS much. The fact is that the Hulk on his own is only interesting when he’s smashing things or when he’s Bruce Banner and worrying about turning into the Hulk, which they don’t do in these early comics almost at all, and a platform of just smashing is kinda the exact thing the Silver Age of comics was all about evolving away from.

Tales to Astonish #72, Oct. 1965

Tales to Astonish #72, Oct. 1965

Written in majesty by: Stan Lee
Drawn in grandeur by: Adam Austin
Inked in splendor by: Vince Colletta
Lettered in the suburbs by: S. Rosen

Thrills, as only Stan Lee’s story can provide them!
Power, as only Jack Kirby’s layouts can create it!
Drama, as only Mickey Demeo’s artwork can present it!
Sound effects, as only Sam Rosen’s pen point can letter them!

There’s this cool Atlantean guy who I really wanted to do as the panel for this one, but the egg thing was better. Anyway, I think this is the only time anyone ever mentions him, but he’s apparently in charge of the “Faceless Ones” who live at the bottom of the ocean, and he wears coooooool sunglasses. You may think you’re a rebel if you wear sunglasses at night, but how about underwater at the bottom of the ocean, HUH?! Get on Zantor’s level, cool guy.

Namor is fighting a huge monster thing made out of seaweed, so he creates a whirlpool effect which shoots the thing up (and it lands on the Hulk’s head or something, why not). Underneath him was a trap door with a fish with a diamond in its mouth in it, which tells the Sub-Mariner he needs to travel to the “Diamonds of Death” for his next step on the journey. Meanwhile, Krang gets rejected by Lady Dorma once again, so he sends her to be eaten by monsters at the bottom of the sea. Namor hears about this from the fish (he can and apparently does talk to fish all the time), but decides his quest is more important than the girl he doesn’t really like anyway. Besides, I’m sure she’ll like one of those death diamonds on a ring or something OH WAIT THE DIAMONDS MAKE YOU DIE WHOOPS SORRY BABY

The Hulk is also about to die, as General “Thunderbolt” Ross has decided just to nuke the shit out of the Hulk’s hideout while he’s in it. Realizing that he’ll die unless he does something, the Hulk takes the Leader’s offer of joining him so he can… you know, live. The Leader shows him around, then puts him under with sleeping gas for the hell of it. As we all know, sleeping gas turns the Hulk back into Bruce Banner, only at this point if the Hulk changes back the bullet in his brain will kill poor Bruce. I guess everyone is just going to die next issue and then that’s the end of the comic.

So… the Leader hatches his little pink plastic spongy Humanoids out of giant eggs? Seriously? Is that how he did that huge 500 ft tall one from a couple issues ago? That must’ve been the world’s biggest goddamn egg ever! Are they like, plastic pantyhose-style eggs, or do they have actual egg-like qualities to them? I just can’t stop thinking about this, it’s fucking hilarious.

Tales to Astonish #71, Sept. 1965

Tales to Astonish #71, Sept. 1965

Superlative story by: Stan Lee!
Sensational art by: Adam Austin!
Spectacular inking by: Vince Colletta!
Sufficient lettering by: Artie Simek!

Stan Lee, stunning story
Jack Kirby, lavish layouts
Mickey Demeo, awesome art
Artie Simek, luscious lettering

So the Sub-Mariner is looking for Neptune’s trident (not to be confused with Trident’s neptune, because what even is a neptune, anyway?) so he can reclaim his rightful title as king of Atlantis. That quest takes up the first… I dunno, hundred issues he’s in of Tales to Astonish or something, so pretty much all he’s going to be doing is fighting monsters while Krang curses at him through a TV. It’s not the most thrilling undersea odyssey ever experienced.

Namor is trapped in a cave with a giant octopus, so he decides to throw a rock at it and slice its tentacles off. Hell, it might’ve even killed it, I don’t know. Namor uses himself as a drill to get out of the cave and goes after the next challenge, which is to fight a big monster made out of seaweed. Apparently this is harder to fight than a big octopus, although the nuances of fighting big underwater things that grab you are out of my realm of expertise. I’m sure the Sub-Mariner will be fine, though, this is like a Sunday parade to him. Is that a thing? Sunday parades?

Let’s see, what happened last time with the Hulk… oh, he was fighting a 500 ft tall pink sponge man and the army shot a nuclear missile at them. That’s right. The Hulk manages to jump out of the way of the bomb with Rick Jones in tow (and luckily it’s one of those “clean” bombs that has no radiation). This kills the Leader’s giant Humanoid (I keep wanting to call them Adaptoids, but that’s a different thing), and leaves the army free to follow the Hulk back to his secret desert cave base. His latest weird transformation has made the Hulk smarter, but also a jerk, and he decides to fight the army head on. He doesn’t want Rick Jones to get nuked, though, so when the Leader appears before him and offers to save them from imminent destruction, the Hulk has to make a decision. And really, who is better to make difficult decisions than the Hulk?

Personally, I’m not sure why they’re all so sure that the Hulk wouldn’t survive a nuclear blast. Not only is that what turned him into the Hulk in the first place, he’s done it a couple times since then, and it always just changes him back into Bruce Banner or makes him be hooked up to a clapper or something stupid like that.

Tales to Astonish #70, Aug. 1965

Tales to Astonish #70, Aug. 1965

Story by Stan Lee, unchallenged king of the spoken word!
Art by Adam Austin, Marvel’s newest prince of pageantry!
Inking by Vince Colletta, lordly emperor of embellishment!
Lettering by Artie Simek (someone’s gotta carry the spear!)

Take a Stan Lee story,
add Jack Kirby artwork,
mix with Mickey Demeo inking,
and Artie Simek lettering…
Presto! Instant confusion!

Hooray, no more Ant Man forever!! I mean, he eventually rejoins the Avengers, but after getting replaced in Tales to Astonish by Namor the Sub-Mariner, he never gets his own solo series EVER! Because he sucks and I hate him! HOOOORRAAYYYYY!!!

After his attempt to sue the human race, Namor returns to Atlantis to discover that Warlord Krang took over the place while he was gone. With the help of Lady Dorma, a fish lady who wants to bone Namor, the Avenging Son is imprisoned. Dorma feels somewhat responsible for the thing she was completely responsible for, so she busts the Sub-Mariner out so he can go on his quest to retrieve Neptune’s jeweled trident (which I’m sure is a sex position of some sort), which will prove him the rightful ruler of Atlantis. His first task is to fight a giant squid “large enough to crush an army of whales with a single tentacle!” Personally, I think he was exaggerating, but he’s in danger nevertheless.

Bruce Banner is also in trouble, as he was shot in the head while escaping the Leader’s clutches last issue. Rick Jones gets there in time and rushes Banner to his old Hulk cave where he used to hang out, and uses the machines to turn Banner into the Hulk again, thus saving his life. For some reason, the Hulk now retains the brain of Bruce Banner in his Hulk form, and also he has to stay the Hulk forever or die. He goes to the missile base where Betty Ross lives so he can say goodbye, but ends up fighting a 500 ft Humanoid that the Leader has unleashed on the base.

I’m not sure why, but the Hulk is apparently just so hard to do. They change the way his powers work like a hundred times in the 60’s alone, and it’s something they still do to this day. Either people get bored with the normal angry Hulk or something, but they never really change anyone else as much as ol’ Purple Pants.