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Essential Ant Man, Vol. 1 (Marvel Essentials) Paperback – March 18, 2002

4.0 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics; Cmc edition (March 18, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078510822X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785108221
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.9 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,077,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In the heirarchy of Marvel superheroes, if the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man were the fair-haired children, then Ant/Giant-Man, the Wonderful Wasp and their showcase book Tales To Astonish were the red-headed stepchildren. This book reprints the complete run of a comic and a character that was, among other things, the first comic book I ever owned and one of my favorite characters.
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby originally started out scripting and drawing the adventures of Henry Pym, a scientist who developed a way to communicate telepathically with ants and subsequently used this technology to fight crime (most likely inspired by the film The Incredible Shrinking Man) but they soon moved on to other things and turned it over to Stan's brother Larry Lieber and frequent Kirby inker and western & war comic vet Dick Ayers. This was not uncommon, since as Marvel grew they just couldn't do everything. They also developed and handed off Thor, Iron Man, and others. Lieber and Ayers, while certainly accomplished pros, were not possessed of the magic synergy that Lee and Kirby had, so Ant-Man's exploits weren't quite as remarkable as the FF's or Spidey's. Eventually, it was decided to have Pym give his girlfriend, socialite Janet Van Dyne, shrinking powers, wings and "biological stingers", dub her the Wasp, and become his crime fighting partner. Soon after, he figured out how to grow ten feet tall and renamed himself Giant-Man. Other artists and writers soon followed, most notably Bob Powell, who drew a great Wasp, and the pair faced a mix of second string villians like the Human Top, the Black Knight, the Eraser, and other assorted aliens and mad scientists. In one memorable issue, Giant- Man accidentally enlarged a spider and was blocked from reaching his helmet controls to restore it to its normal size.
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Format: Paperback
This most neglected character of Marvel's Silver Age--who initially was on a par with Thor, Iron Man, Spidey et al in that he had his own series, is finally showcased for all to see.
Giant Man is my favorite character in all of Marvel and the Wasp is right up there too. It is hard for me to describe why I like them so much; maybe its the fact that others could care less about them. But if you are at all curious about them I would encourage you to give this book and these characters a try. The stories are fun, fast-paced and a perfect example of what Marvel was putting out at the time. Take a growth capsule and enjoy!
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Format: Paperback
Henry Pym holds the ignominious title of being the first Silver Age Marvel Comics character who failed (actually the Hulk was the first series to end, but he has since returned in a big way). Frankly, it isn't hard to see why as Pym seemed utterly average compared to the other interesting, archetype-busting characters in the Marvel Universe. Pym was another independently wealthy super-genius in multiple scientific fields who had a state-of-the-art crime lab and a dull, square-jawed professorial personality. He lacked any of the pathos-inducing handicaps or traits that made Iron Man or Daredevil stand out. Although this is probably due to the fact that he was actually created in a pre-Silver Age, early 60's story in a Twilight Zone-esque, sci-fi anthology series (Tales to Astonish #27, also included).

As such, the early Ant-Man tales come across as an ongoing battle for writers Stan Lee and his brother Larry to make Pym more interesting. This led to the introduction of the Wasp (Janet van Dyne), joining the Avengers, constant costume changes and power additions (enter Giant-Man), and a tacked-on backstory about Pym's first wife who was murdered by communists, none of which really worked for me. The endeavour definitely was not helped by the seriously underwhelming Rogue's Gallery. There was Egghead (a totally average mad scientist), Porcupine (a disgruntled engineer in a battlesuit, kind of like the Beetle only pointy), and the Human Top (a high rpm mutant who would get a less goofy name and costume later in the Avengers as Whirlwind). Those are pretty much the only ones worth mentioning by name.
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Format: Paperback
Scoffed by his fellow scientists on his theories, chemist Henry Pym tested his formula on himself. However, he got into big trouble after his size was that of an ant. He later respected the insects that saved his life and vowed never to experiment on size control again. That all changed when his beloved wife was murdered by violent saboteurs. He vowed to fight injustice with his scientific research, inspired by his fondness for the insect world as ... the astonishing Ant-Man! Stan Lee, his brother Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby made this one-shot character in a story-with-moral into a full-fledged super-hero to be reckoned with in his solo tales on TALES TO ASTONISH (Vol. 1) # 27 and 35-43.

The enemies that Henry/Ant-Man has to deal with range from out-worldly aliens, mutated beetles and rogue Communist organizations (from the "Cold War" era) to forgotten, offbeat criminals. The arch-foe that I wish was one of them ... is Egghead! The first of Henry's rogues, an arrogant blowhard of an atomic physicist with devious schemes to destroy Ant-Man ... and I just can't take him seriously enough!* Villains like the first modern-age Black Knight (the evil one), the super-fast mutant Human Top (renamed the Whirlwind), the Living Eraser, the Porcupine and the Mandarin's disciple Madam Macabre I can tolerate, more or less. So the "yolk's" on you, Eggy. Plus, Attuma the would-not-be ruler of Atlantis pays a visit to the surface world again. There were two big changes in store for Henry. First, the introduction of wealthy debutante Janet Van Dyne, the Wasp (the partnership featured in ASTONISH # 44-69). Due to his first wife Maria's death, Henry hides his feelings for Jan within his heroism. Luckily, Jan's flirtations and sharp wit ease that pain because she loves him, too.
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