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Tales to Astonish 38
"Betrayed By The Ants!"

Lettering: JOHNNY DEE
Reviewing: STEVE CHUNG

(Originally Reviewed On 09/27/01)

The Astonishing Ant-Man perpares to enter the lair of Egghead, who watches from behind a corner, as the ants make their way down the windowsill, one hand on the billows, and the other poised to swat The Insect Avenger! (Holy D.D.T., Batman! You might say that Ant-Man is making a raid on Egghead's joint!)

With Ant-Man on the scene, the denizens of the underworld are fearful of committing crimes (Holy Aphid, Batman! You might say that Ant-Man is underfoot) Knowing that brute force isn't the answer, one of the bosses suggests it will be brains that will win the day. In Washington D.C., two soldiers listen, while behind closed doors, the scientist known as "Egghead" is accused of betraying secrets by The U.S. Government Atomic Energy Board! When accused of these crimes, the scientist sneers at what he considers to be patriotic ramblings, and tells them that they have no proof. The board finds him contemptible and has him fired, and the following days finds Egghead's prospective employers reading about the eccentric scientist. The underworld and the scientist strike a deal, as Egghead will receive ten thousand dollars to beat Ant-Man!

Studying documentary films about The Ant-Man, Egghead notes how the insect avenger is aided by the ants, and theorizes that he must have some method of communicating with them, and is determined to turn them against him! (Holy Yogi, Batman! It won't be quite a picnic for Ant-Man if he succeeds!) Knowing that ants are unable to speak nor use sign language, Egghead theorizes that they communicate via their antennae, and seeks the proper electronic wavelength with his devices! (Holy Bronx Cheer, Batman! You've ever seen an ant give "the finger?") Once his device is finished, Egghead heads for a large anthill on the outskirts of town, then sends a message, which will be passed onto other ants, spreading disloyalty towards Ant-Man!

Egghead presents himself as the ants' savior, intent on freeing them from Ant-Man's rule, and instructs them to send a message about thieves planning to steal the Wentworth Necklace from the museum on Thursday night! With lookouts posted, only The Ant-Man will be able to get past and stop the crooks! When the ants lead their leader to the museum, Egghead will have a trap set up, complete with flypaper, and vows to liberate them from the tyrannical Ant-Man, who doesn't let on that they are his superiors. With the first phase of his plan over, Egghead is confident that his plan to appeal to their greed and vanity will succeed. (Holy Omelette, Batman! Shouldn't he be known as Scrambled Egghead?) Egghead shows the flypaper which will be used to snare Ant-Man, while the crooks are thrilled that their nemesis will soon be trapped!

On Thursday night, the crooks are at the museum, and planning to take the Wentworth Necklace, while outside, the getaway car stands idle, when Ant-Man arrives with his troops, and Egghead sees the army of ants leading their unsuspecting leader to his doom! The ants climb up the side of the building, where soon Ant-Man is standing on the windowsill, unaware of Egghead readying his billows, and WHOOSHHH! the instect avenger is sent flying...!

Ant-Man falls into the box lined with flypaper, and soon Egghead peers into the box, expecting to see Ant-Man struggle in this sticky situation, but to his astonishment, Ant-Man rises, then triggers an electronically controlled springs from his boots! (Wouldn't have Hank just have grown to full-size, then bopped Egghead?!?)

When one of the crooks arrives and asks if Egghead has succeeded, the scientist tells him taht he's failed, and to keep Ant-Man busy while he thinks of another plan! The crooks seek to catch Ant-Man, who races towards a suit of armor, and one of the crooks injures his fist on the leg of the armor, while Ant-Man flies to safety via his coiled springs! The fallen felon curses him, then watches as Ant-Man hooks a lasso of nylon fiber around his wrist, then sends him flying!

The other crooks can only wonder how a tiny figure could strike with the strength of a grown man (Holy Garrett Morris, Batman!), then, the ants spring a trap of their own, and trap the crooks on a giant piece of flypaper from the ceiling! The crooks wonder why the ants turned against them, and Ant-Man relishes the sight of them tangled in flypaper! The other gangsters take it on the lam, not eager to fight with Ant-Man, but then hear the sirens of the approaching police cars, and as most of them are arrested, Ant-Man points out Egghead's mistake...

The scientist mistook the ants as Ant-Man's slaves and not as his friends, and his associates in the war on crime! Greed and vanity are unknown to the unemotional ants, whereas humans suffer from these primitive traits, and when the ants told him of Egghead's plan, Ant-Man made preparations to turn the tables on him, even as Egghead listens from concealment. Egghead is the only one unaccounted for, and if the police don't catch him, the underworld will! The former atomic scientist now finds himself a wanted man, and is holed up at a bowery flophouse, speaking to himself about how the ants outwitted him, and two fellow tenants don't know what to make of the newcomer, and figure that he doesn't have much of a brain in that huge head.

The Kirby brand of perspective is present, as Egghead arms his billows to thwart The Ant-Man!

The Kirby/Ayers gangsters would make Chester Gould green with envy, as gangsters are the chosen foes of the day, what mutants are for Marvel Comics today.

It must be embarrassing to be a crook caught by Ant-Man, and found on the steps of the precinct!

It's interesting that a scientist such as Egghead is confident that as a criminal Doolittle, he can talk the ants into serving him!

A box filled with flypaper is no match for Ant-Man and his coiled springs, which would also be part of the ensemble of The Leap-Frog.

And Egghead woulda gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for those meddling ants. Now he shares a flophouse, where an amnesiac Namor must have been earlier, and should come up with quite a plan for next time, involving sacks of sugar, no doubt.

Meanwhile, Ant-Man would fight the likes of The Scarlet Beetle, The Wrecker, The Creature From Kosmos, and The Atomic Aardvark (Holy John Byner, Batman! Just kidding about that last one!)

This Review Is Dedicated To Owen Erasmus

Steve Chung
"Reviewed By The Ants!!"