Review: Astonishing Tales #1

Astonishing Tales #1 cover
Cover by Marie Severin and Bill Everett

Astonishing Tales #1
Published and © by Marvel, August 1970

Title: “The Power of Ka-Zar!”
Synopsis: Inspired by a magazine article, Kraven heads to the Savage Land to hunt the saber-tooth tiger, Zabu.

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciler: Jack Kirby
Inker: Sam Grainger

Review: This lead story is a relic from the end of the original Marvel Age. It’s Stan and Jack and all seems well, though the King would soon depart to the Distinguished Competition and New Genesis. For now, there’s still a little magic in this short visit to the Savage Land.


Title: “Unto You Is Born the … the Doomsman!”
Synopsis: The Latverian underground makes its play for the throne as Doctor Doom transfers his mind into a terrible, powerful creature.

Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Wally Wood

Review: Poor Latveria, stuck with awful options for rulers. But at least they get treated to some vintage Wally Wood art.

Grade (for the entire issue): A-

Second opinion: “Roy Thomas and Wally Wood handled the first four issues and did a credible job on a difficult concept – giving the standard ‘hero with problems’ treatment to a villain.” – David W. Cutler, FantaCo’s Chronicle’s Series Annual #1, 1983 …  “The difference between the densely plotted, character-driven Doom story by Thomas, and Kirby’s straightforward Ka-Zar tale, was a foreshadowing of the difficulties the King would have when he eventually returned to Marvel.” – Pierre Comtois, “Marvel Comics in the 1970s: An Issue By Issue Field Guide to a Pop Culture Phenomenon: Expanded Edition,” 2021 … “Typically exciting superhero fare from Jack Kirby. … Recommended.” – The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003

Cool factor: Vintage Kirby and Wood? Yes, please.

Notable: First appearance of the Doomsman.

Character quotable: “He who harms the Zabu … harms Ka-Zar!” – Ka-Zar, self-proclaimed “lord of the jungle”

Editor’s note: This review was written Dec. 8, 2021.

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