Tales To Astonish #50-51 (1963-1964): 1st Whirlwind

This issue begins with a great, thinly veiled sex joke (above).  At least that’s how I’m reading it.

The story then gives us a detailed look at the villain, who will go by Human Top in this issue but will become Whirlwind in the future.  I didn’t realize Whirlwind was a mutant, but he clearly is–although Stan Lee doesn’t name him as such in the origin panels above.

Cannon has grown up to become a figure skater for a department store ice rink, but he can’t afford new skates so he robs the place.  Strange motivation, but ok.  At least he has a work ethic.

Giant-Man analyzes the problem…

…based on intelligence from his ant allies!  Hank Pym has invented a television that can turn the thoughts of ants into pictures, and that ants have now basically become a group of informers that tell him where he is needed.  This is a very interesting idea that adds a dimension to Ant-Man–but sadly it’s not one that gets a lot of play in the future.

Human Top literally runs circles around Giant Man (and I love the shot of him bumping into a sign).

Top proves to be such a formidable adversary that it takes two issues to take him down.  He’s eventually beaten with glue.

Wasp continues to be treated like she’s an idiot, but she gets solo time at the end of #51 in a short story that is truly not worth summarizing.

Creators: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko!  The three most talented comic book creators of the 1960s (and arguably of all time), join together in a very rare moment of Ditko inking Kirby.  Sadly, Ditko is only on #50.  You can really see the difference in the later, much heavier-inked, panels above.
First appearance: Human Top, aka Whirlwind.
Grade: B (not a terrible story, not a great one, but love the art)

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