Tales To Astonish #40:The Day That Ant-Man Failed!

Review By:


Even as I sat down and began reading The Day That Ant-Man Failed I knew, full well that the title of the story was misleading. But like every other issue, I read on prepared to be Astonished by our tiny super hero.

A few of the Ant-Man stories had the feel of a mystery, where clues that we may or may not get are laid to allow us to solve the crime. This one is no different. Told mostly from a wondering perspective this time, so that we truly don’t get the picture from anyone view but just what Stan and Jack wanted us to see.



The story start out, with guards wandering back into the city unable to remember what happened to their armored truck.  The owner of the company that delivers payroll is enraged at this, and the lack of clues. and is overheard by ant’s saying only Ant-Man could be clever enough to solve the crime and capture the Hijacker.

Fortunately for us, and the story, our ants are good at delivering messages to our hero, and he shows up to visit  Howard Mitchell the owner mentioned above. A plan is then set into motion, for an announced delivery that Ant-Man will be on. what could go wrong?

Even superhero’s can be stopped by their own body’s, and a sudden case of Appendicitis! That is exactly what happens to stop our hero.  The armored truck is forced to leave without him. Ant-Man has failed.

My Points

The story is a good read, even if we the title’s description of Ant-Man’s Failure never sinks in to even make me think that it just might happen.  Our hero failure is all just part of what leads to his success.

In this issue, Ant-Man reminds us more than before, that other than being the size of an Ant and having his full-grown strength, he really has no powers. He relies on his cunning and intellect to solve the crimes.  He is in some ways like a Tiny Sherlock homes. I feel that Stan & Jack do a good job of making his stories look and read as the mystery many of them so far have been made to be.

Expected Endings

[spoiler]its real downfall being, much like two past stories, Tales To Astonish #37 & Tales To Astonish #36.  that the victim is also the criminal. the fact that they did this twice before, combined with the one clue given, made me suspect that almost everyone would figure out the obvious identity of the hijacker; Howard Mitchell.The fact that it was done much the same as those other two tales, is  the one big downfall of the issue


There is a lower attention to background detail then I recall seeing in the last few issues,  leading way for much of the story to be told with the standard solid color backdrops,   This would not be a big deal normally and is common for the era, but it is a let down given some of what I have come to see.

The foreground’s where also fairly standard for the course for what I have come to expect from Both Tales To Astonish and Kirby.  While there is nothing in the issue, that makes me feel that its bad, there is also little to really wow me past the cover and the first page.

Originality, Continuity,Characters & Development

For this issue, I combined the last few section’s, while they always tie together; and in some ways balance each other out, this story is a good demonstration of that balance when taken too far.

For originality feel free to see my spoiler section above, as it addresses one of my biggest issues with originality, I do not feel the need to repeat what it already say’s.

As for the rest, the story offered little opportunity to break it, thus it fit quite well.  No Risk in terms of development and such however hardly warrants a non reward in praising it for sticking to Continuity. This issue, is kind of like a mid season TV show on a an old sitcom. you can almost expect nothing important to happen, and for it to maintain the Status Que. 

Book Information:
Cover Date: Feb 1963
Read At:
  • Stan Lee
  • Larry Lieber
  • Jack Kirby
  • Sol Brodsky
  • Art Simek
Review Ratings:
Originality And Continuity&#9733&#9733&#9734&#9734&#9734&#9734
Character And Development&#9733&#9733&#9734&#9734&#9734&#9734
Feigned Failure&#9733&#9733&#9733&#9733&#9734&#9734
  • Ant-Man
  • The Hijacker




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