With Manlike Cunning

Tiger-Man #2-3

Tiger Man #2 cover

#2: "Stalker in a Concrete Jungle!"
#3: "Hell is Spelled... HYPNOS!"

Written by Jerry Conway
Penciled by by Steve Ditko
Inked by Steve Ditko (#2) and Al Milgrom (#3)

Dr. Lancaster Hill, is an idealistic young surgeon, who accidentally gains superhuman strength and savagery from the experimental serum he injected himself with (in complete violation of clinical trial protocols). When his sister is killed by goons, the doctor snaps, and now stalks the concrete jungle as the most ferocious predator of all — Tiger-Man!

In these two issues Tiger-Man takes on the Blue Leopard1, a mysterious adversary from his past (all one issue of it), and Hypnos, a psychotherapist who takes out life insurance on his patients and then drives them to commit suicide with his hypnotic "monacle" [sic].

Truth be told, there's not much to write about here. These don't have the sort of train wreck awfulness of the other Atlas comics I've read, they're just boring. Dr. Hill doesn't have much of a personality. The villains don't have any sort of charisma or personality. And there's also very little plot to speak of — in both issues, Tiger-Man just sort of stumbles across a villain's nefarious scheme and pursues them because, well, he doesn't seem to have anything better to do.

Tiger-Man's shtick appears to be that he's a Spider-Man or Batman type, pushed over the edge to the point where kills at the drop of a hat, but with an inner core idealism that's slowly causing him to question his actions. Unfortunately, Conway really downplays the "conflicted" aspect of the character in the writing to the point where the inner conflict is practically non-existent. Ditko, though, really plays up the "crazy" aspect of the character in his art...

Tiger-Man #3, p. #6

Tiger-Man #3, p. 6

This sequence is from a flashback to Tiger-Man's origins (yes, they're already having origin flashbacks in issue #3). Ditko does a great job of conveying Tiger-Man's madness through body-language — his off-balance posture, combined with the weird camera angles, really does make Tiger-Man seem like he's gone over the edge.

Unfortunately, that's really the only part of these two issues where Ditko shines. It's almost as if he could sense how little work was being put into the writing, and decided to spare as little effort as possible in his drawing.

Ultimately, these issues aren't worth it except for the most fanatical of Ditko completists.

  1. I should also mention that the Blue Leopard is consistently colored orange on the interior pages. I realize that Larry Lieber was editing twenty-something titles at the time, but really, man, you can't skimp on the quality control.

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