Friday, October 16, 2020


Written by Christopher Yost | Directed by Vinton Heuck

The Plot: Ulysses Klaw and a band of mercenaries attack a SHIELD installation outside of Wakanda, where scientist Hank Pym is working as an advisor. Pym shrinks to become Ant-Man and fights back. He takes out the mercs and sends Klaw packing. Later, back in the United States, Pym's girlfriend and "manager", Janet van Dyne (the Wasp) fights the super-criminal called Whirlwind. Ant-Man catches up with her to help take the villain out.

Later, Ant-Man and the Wasp drop Whirlwind off with Nick Fury aboard the SHIELD helicarrier. Fury tries to recruit the duo to his group, but Pym refuses. Fury reveals that Whirlwind was working for Klaw, trying to steal vibranium for him.

In Wakanda, King T'Chaka, the Black Panther, is challenged by M'Baku, the Man-Ape -- leader of the White Gorilla tribe. T'Chaka lays low his foe, but is sniped by a sonic cannon that throws him off balance and allows Man-Ape to win their duel. T'Chaka is killed, and Man-Ape seizes the Wakandan throne. T'Chaka's son, T'Challa, escapes and takes up the mantle of Black Panther. In the aftermath, M'Baku gives his ally, Klaw, some of Wakanda's vibranium.

Continuity Notes: Obviously this marks the first appearances of Ant-Man and the Wasp, plus Black Panther. Also debuting are Klaw and Whirlwind, as well as the Man-Ape, Wakanda, and its chief natural resource, vibranium. The end credits also say that SHIELD agent Clay Quartermain is in the episode, but he wasn't identified by name in the dialogue, so I don't know which agent he was.

We also see the next super-villain prison, the Big House, where Whirlwind is taken after his defeat and where villains such as the Mandrill, Arnim Zola, Grey Gargoyle, and the Mad Thinker are incarcerated. The Big House is revealed to be a tiny prison created by Pym to house genetically altered villains, where the inmates are shrunk for imprisonment. It is guarded by synthezoid robots which look very much like Ultron, the killer mechanoid Pym will eventually build.

Mad Thinker explains all of the super-prisons to Whirlwind, stating that "all systems break down," and that something will happen soon to release all the prisoners in the various locations. As he mentions this, we see the imprisoned villain Graviton, though his role in the predicted breakout remains a mystery.

SHIELD discovers that Whirlwind is a mutant, and Fury orders the Mutant Response Division -- "MRD" -- to come pick him up. MRD was introduced in the WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN animated series.

Speaking of which, this is the first episode written by showrunner Christopher Yost. It doesn't seem any different from the other episodes we've seen so far in terms of dialogue or characterization, but I believe it's worth mentioning. Yost also produced the afore-mentioned WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN, as well as a couple of animated Marvel movies, all of which are considered to take place in the same continuity. Eventually, after I finish the run of EMH proper, I may go back and watch those movies, plus the W&TXM episode guest-starring Nick Fury and the Hulk to complete these posts. (I will not, however, watch all of W&TXM because I generally didn't enjoy the series much when I first watched it.)

Do I Know That Voice? None other than Mark Hamill voices Klaw, while Kevin Michael Richardson is Man-Ape.

My Thoughts: Of all the microseries compilations, this one feels the most like... a compilation. The others ended nearly every chapter on a cliffhanger that ran straight into the next segment, or in cases where there wasn't such a cliffhanger, there was an organic lead-in to the next chapter (Fury taking Strucker after Iron Man defeats him, then showing up with Strucker at the Vault, for example). But in this case, we first meet Pym in Africa, then after Klaw is defeated, there's an abrupt jump-cut to New York for a fight with Whirlwind, followed by a trip back to Africa for the Wakanda segment. On one hand, viewed individually, this really would feel like a series of short episodes -- which was, of course, their original intent. But viewed all together, the production feels disjointed.

That said, this is still a good episode in terms of story. I admit that Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne never really did much for me as comic book characters. As a kid and teen, I just found them boring. It was actually the Joe Casey EARTH's MIGHTIEST HEROES mini-series that sparked any sort of interest in them on my part, and it was the EMH TV show that really got me to like them. I love this series' depiction of Pym as sort of a reluctant hero. A few times in this episode, he talks about how he just wants to be a scientist. He doesn't want to fight villains; he wants to make the world a better place, and that's it. He will become a reluctant Avenger, which I like.

And this episode nails Jan as well. Like I said, she never set my world on fire in the comics, but I think it was in part because by the time I started reading, she had become a mature elder stateswoman for the Avengers, and I found that boring. EMH, on the other hand, informs her character with some of her earliest traits as established by Stan Lee, but modernizes them to as not to seem too chauvinistic or outdated. She's kind of goofy, a bit of a thrill-seeker, and just wants Hank to loosen up and have some fun. But at the same time, rather than being an idle rich socialite, she's also depicted as Hank's business manager; the brain behind the brain, so to speak. She funds his research and, presumably, gets him in touch with the right people for his various projects. This is really a nice synthesis of various versions of the Wasp. She's not an airhead or a ditz, but she's also not a square-jawed leader. She's a wealthy woman with a head for business, who also has a taste for adventure.

(I'm not a fan of her character design, though. All the Avengers in this series are adapted from existing looks in the comics, whether from the Silver or Modern Ages -- while Wasp looks like some random anime design. I know that she's worn dozens of costumes over the decades, so doesn't really have a "definitive" look, but they could've tried for something that at least looked like a comic book costume! Oh, and her hair bugs me too.)

Next week, we'll meet Captain America in the episode appropriately titled, "Meet Captain America"!

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