Tales to Astonish #39:the Vengeance of the Scarlet Beetle

Review By:


Unlike the last story, this one is told more so from Dr. Pym’s perspective as he investigates the strange activities as Ant-Man. Also quite contrary to Issues #38’s thought-provoking deeper meaning. this one features a large bug named the Scarlet beetle, whom not only has those qualities, but though communication’s organised insect kind with them.


Our story is truly about the dangers of radiation.  not only can it make human’s super powered, but also animal’s. In this case a beetle, whom gain’s the intelligence of a man as a result.  and with it, the motivation’s of men.

Dr. Pym, being attuned to insect, or at least ant kind, catches wind of the strange activities and discovers the scarlet beetle, and learns of his plan. however he is unable to stop him,  instead the beetle gets Ant-Man’s Growth gas and uses it on himself. then has his bugs impression Ant-Man.

The story is quite a good Monster style story, or even a great sci-fi tale of insect kind turning against us. I feel it has great potential, and for its era, we got what I would have expected.


Note how this depicts both the human word from afar and their conversation while letting us see the insect world in the closeup.

Jack Kirby always had a way of telling stories with his art, even the issues where I like it less, I still realize he is the king. I feel he defined good comic art over his carer.  This one I Feel had its moments of greatness as well.

As much as I did not like the design of the scarlet beetle, I feel the hoards on insects looked compelling throughout the issue. both when there needed to be small and numerous, and when there close up and larger.  in the panels where  the attacks on humanity are being shown,  Kirby did a great job of showing both worlds to us.

but it’s not just in these panels that I see greatness in this issue,  You see defeat and despair on Dr. Pym’s face and expression’s.  Horror in his eyes. Kirby shows us again how we can feel connected to our hero’s though his art.

Originality & Continuity

I see this story as a take on Them! only with a singular beetle instead of the ant’s .. well the ants are there, but they are our hero’ this time and not enlarged. OK, so this story possibly had it’s root’s elsewhere, what story doesn’t? I feel the story is creative, and interesting just the same.

This story in a way ties Tales to Astonish superhero Ant-Man stories to the more traditional science fiction stories from its past. this is a monster caused by science story if I ever read one. We created the scarlet beetle though our experiments, and mistakes, and now we must deal with this uncanny threat.

While fitting in well with continuity, I can not help but feel the message of this story is opposite that of the last, with how easy insect kind (not including the ant’s) was swayed to team up against humanity.

Characters & Development

The greatest character growth is from what I see at the end of the issue. it is how Dr. Pym deals with the captured beetle. I won’t say what he does with it, but I will say that it tells us a lot about Dr. Pym’s character.

Book Information:
Cover Date: Jan 1963
Read At:
  • Stan Lee
  • Larry Lieber
  • Jack Kirby
  • Dick Ayers
  • Art Simek
Review Ratings:
Character And Development&#9733&#9733&#9733&#9733&#9734&#9734
Originality And Continuity&#9733&#9733&#9733¼&#9734&#9734
Insect Invasion&#9733&#9733&#9733&#9733¼&#9734
  • Ant-Man
  • The Scarlett Beetle



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