Monday, September 8, 2014

Recap: Avengers: EMH "The Man in the Ant Hill"

And so, here we are, at the final Micro-Episode compilation. You pumped? No? Well, I'm pumped. Let's go!

Seriously, though. Am I the only person who likes Ant-Man?
The episode opens up in Africa.

?: "So who is this guy?"

I don't know, who are you, strange voiceover?

??: "Some egghead scientist, doin' some kind of experiments or something in the jungle. He's a nobody." 
?: "Then why are we here?" 
??: "Because the boss wants what this guy's got."

You'd think this goon for hire would ask these questions before he got to Africa.

??: "And what he's got is the property of S.H.I.E.L.D."

Oh, this guy must have Spider-Man with him. (Ba-dum-tssh!)

These thugs stake out what appears to be a high-tech igloo with S.H.I.E.L.D. agents guarding it. After downing all the guards with tranquilizer darts, they get ready to break inside, where the "egghead" talks to his tape recorder.

Dr. Pym: "Field Journal 011962-27..."

Wait a minute, Henry Pym first appeared on January (01), 1967 in Tales to Astonish #27.

Thought you could hide that Easter egg from me, show? Gotta be sneakier than that!
 Dr. Pym: "...Doctor Henry Pym recording."

He exposits that S.H.I.E.L.D. found some Vibranium, a rare metal, outside the isolationist nation of Wakanda. Pym is the first outsider to work with Vibranium, and they want him to make sure that it's safe to work with.

But before he can elaborate on the metal's abilities of absorbing vibration, the ruffians from outside blow up his door.

Dr. Pym: "You know, that door didn't have a lock on it. You could've just opened it." 
???: "Dr. Pym, I presume?"

Oh, hello Mark Hamill. It's not really a superhero cartoon until you show up.
???: "My name is Ulysses Klaw. I'd like to have a word with you about the Vibranium sample you're working with." 
Dr. Pym: "You should make an appointment, then. Contact Janet VanDyne and we'll have lunch."

Your girlfriend is not a secretary, Hank. Didn't you take Boyfriending 101?

Klaw: "You misunderstand. I want all your research."

He grabs the sample as Pym calmly tries to talking out of it by espousing the many technological advancements that this sample could give humanity, but Klaw is too evil to listen. He has his men aim their guns at the good doctor, who laments that these grunts didn't want to talk things over. He activates his belt, which sends glowing, yellow bubbles up the black part of his uniform. The goons open fire, but merely hit his lab coat, floating in the air.

Before the mooks can leave, one of them gets taken out by an invisible punch. Then another one. The second time, we see that a tiny, helmeted Dr. Pym is jumping up and hitting them in the face. The others start firing wildly, but Klaw just sticks the Vibranium inside a SCIENCE gun, activating it. How is it that he made a weapon that would only work if he put a mystery element inside it? If no one but Pym knew the exact properties of Vibranium.... doesn't matter.

Klaw fires his vibratoring gun, and the tiny Pym barely manages to work up the strength to walk over and hit a button on the desk. Ignoring the yellow flash, Klaw and his goons escape outside, only to find that they've been shrunk, along with the techno-igloo. Two men get taken away (and presumably eaten) by ants, and three enormous (relatively speaking) ants surround Klaw. Henry Pym, wearing his ant-mind control helmet, descends from above on a flying ant.

Ant-Man: "Ready to talk now, Klaw?"

But he's not, preferring to fire his gun some more. The two fight, and Henry Pym wins by punching Klaw while growing. People ask me why Ant-Man should be taken seriously. That's why. He can hit you... while making more of himself to hit you with.

"It's okay; I'm technically a pacifist."
Klaw returns to normal size as well, drops his weapon, and runs. S.H.I.E.L.D. agents arrive on the scene along with Janet van Dyne, aka the Wasp. She flies in, and finds him doing some science on the Vibranium.

Dr. Pym: "There's a couple mercenaries on the beach, I shrank them down, can you make sure the ants don't eat them? Thanks."

Uh... judging by the crunching sounds those ants were making....

"No, they already got eaten."
"Oh, well. Hey, look! I think this metal is allochthonous!"
We continue on a shot of Janet's face looking at some caged up butterflies and... does anybody else think she looks like Phoebe from the Magic School Bus all grown up? And way hotter? It would explain the shrinking.

"Carlos, why won't you get out of the classroom and fight crime with me?"
"Because we're twelve."
But she walks through Hank's lab and looks at him with disdain. Because Janet VanDyne alternates between adoration of Hank Pym and utter contempt. In this part, it's contempt.

Janet: "This is sad, Hank. I'm the one who makes all this possible, you know. This... this..." 
Hank: "SCIENCE!"

A+ answer, Pym. You know, I'm no scientist, but I really hope they go around referring to their work as SCIENCE! All caps.

Janet: "All the business arrangements, the grants, I manage your entire life so you can do this... and it's so boring! Soooooo... boring." 
Hank: "Jan. I'm mapping insect genomes! What could be better?"

Hokay, jalapeƱo. There's a bit to talk about here. And I'm not talking about the fact that Hank is apparently a geologist, physicist, and a geneticist. I'll get to it in the Review. For now, I have just two things to bring up.

1. Looking into a microscope is not a spectator sport, but... 
2. Hank is allowed to do what he wants with his own life... ostensibly.

So I understand both their positions. But outside the window Jan's leaning on, a building explodes. In the time it takes for Hank to wonder what's going on, Jan's clothes are on the floor, and the window's open. Get your mind out of the gutter, she had her costume on underneath, and she shrunk down. We see a taxi driver reading a cameo-filled newspaper, when the cause of the explosion whips through the streets and knocks away his car.

Oh, crap, someone armored up the Tasmanian Devil!
It turns out to be a tornado-making villain named Whirlwind. Wasp ignores Hank's joy over having replicated an ant chromosome over her headphones, and engages the villain in combat. He brags that he's now a millionaire thanks to his sabotage, she unleashes her wasp stings (energy blasts), and they fight some more. But suddenly, Wasp has to dodge a cloud of ants. Whirlwind isn't so lucky, and gets swarmed by tens of thousands of ants.

Hank shows up riding on an ant, and he tells Janet that she should leave this to the authorities. She counters that the cops can't handle this, and otherwise, their superpowers are useless.

Hank: "SCIENCE helps people, not fighting!" 
Wasp: "Eeeaaagh, you're not getting it!" 
Hank: "No, I am getting it. you're not trained for this kind of thing, and I don't want you to get hurt!"

But before this actually-somewhat-disturbingly-realistic spat can become a full-on domestic dispute, Whirlwind comes back for more. Wasp grows to regular size and unleashes a faceful of wasp sting. Yeah, at tiny size? Phasers set to stun. Full size? Burn your face off.

Wasp: "Together, we can do more! ...and we can have fun doing it."

Janet... you don't listen when Hank talks, do you? Think about it. Is this really the guy that you wish were okay with hitting people?

"I promise, nothing bad will happen if you embrace violence."

"...oh. How about you just stick with giving violence a platonic handshake?"
My favorite part begins with two robotic Ultron guards escorting Whirlwind to his containment cell in "The Big House." The place, not the episode. But also the episode. As he walks by, We see cameos from fellow villains Mandrill, Arnim Zola playing Pong, and Grey Gargoyle sipping tea in a La-Z-Boy.
In a fit of rage, Whirlwind tries to break free, but a chip on his helmet shuts his powers down. For all of .5 seconds, because the chip short circuits, and Whirlwind makes a break for it.

Ultron 1: "This behavior is unacceptable. Perhaps you would like to talk about this."

Whirlwind proceeds to destroy the polite robot guards, and futilely attempts to rouse a rabble, when Ant-Man's giant finger breaks through the ceiling and pushes him down. But Ant-Man's not a giant. The prison, and all the inmates, have been made tiny by Pym Particles.

What is this? A prison for ants? Oh. It is. Carry on.
Two more Ultrons arrive to restrain Whirlwind, and a regular-sized Nick Fury (he has white hair, so this is after Baron von Strucker escaped) thanks Pym for helping bring down Whirlwind, and jokes about offering Wasp a job as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.

Wasp: "I like it!"

It's Hank's horrified whisper of "Nooo..." that sells it.

"Can I squish some villains?"
"Wait your turn, Nick."
On the bridge of the helicarrier, which is where they now are, Hank asks for a status report on the Big House, but Fury assures him that everything's fine.

Hank: "I created it to help people whose genetics have been altered. They need cures, and criminals need rehabilitation, not punishment. I can't help but notice that not a single person has been discharged yet."

Fury reiterates that S.H.I.E.L.D. knows what they're doing, and offers them a job for real. Ant-Man says no.

Hank: "I'm not gonna make weapons for you. You've already got Tony Stark for that."

Not anymore.

Nick Fury: "What's it like, livin' in your own little science world? Pym? You guys played hero, took down Whirlwind... did you even bother to ask what he stole?" 
Wasp: "...I did."

Turns out, he was stealing a sonic disruptor for Ulysses Klaw. Fury politely tells the two to GTFO with the whole "rights of prisoners" crap, and the two leave. A nearby S.H.I.E.L.D. agent tells Fury that the power dampener malfunctioned because, as it turns out, Whirlwind's a mutant. Fury tells them to get the Mutant Response Division to come and get Whirlwind and wait. The MRD? They were the villains from Wolverine and the X-Men! Yep, this means that those two shows share a universe. As well as voice actors for Wolverine and Hulk.

Back in the Big House, Whirlwind tries in vain to break past the forcefield around his cell. What he's doing is pointless, and his neighbor tells him so. Said neighbor claims to have calculated 11 different ways to escape. But this Thinker (a mad one, at that) refuses to do so.

Mad Thinker: "This is one of four major supervillain prisons, each holding some of the most powerful criminals on the planet. Catastrophe is inevitable. All systems break down. We will be free. And soon."

As he says this, a heavily restrained prisoner in an unknown location opens his glowing eyes.

What an utterly awesome way to end these Micro-Episodes. Glad we left on such a high note.

...except this time, we get a crappy little tacked-on Wakanda scene that ruins the great ending note here. It opens up on the African nation of Wakanda, where the evil, musclebound M'Baku the Man-Ape challenges King T'Chaka, the Black Panther to a fight. Law dictates that the winner gets to rule the country, and that's stupid. His son, T'Challa points that out, too.

"My son, we are an African nation as envisioned by white Americans. Barbaric rituals are kind of all we have."
T'Chaka: "The Black Panther's reign will not end this day."

Heh, wrong.

They fight, and Black Panther loses, thanks to Klaw's sonic disruptor letting Man-Ape cheat and kill T'Chaka, breaking the Panther mask all symbolically. The people bow to Man-Ape. All but T'Challa, who runs away to the temple to put on the mantle of the Black Panther himself.

"Now that I have won the throne by right of combat, I shall draft a bill to reduce our dependence on foreign oil."
Later, Man-Ape and Klaw oversee Klaw's goons as they mine precious Vibranium from the heart of Wakanda's largest mountain. The next day, T'Challa makes his way through the treetops as the new Black Panther, and... it's over. In all seriousness, this was a terrible Micro-Episode where barely anything happens. It might not be the last Micro-Episode, but it's the last part aired in the last compilation episode.

Here, I'll give you a bit more analysis so you don't feel cheated by this crappy ending.

Wakanda is an isolationist country, yet all it has to defend its borders are bows, spears, and one superhuman king. In a world where any African dictator can get his hands on AK's, this is utterly laughable. Especially when Wakanda has such a treasure trove of natural resources like a metal that redirects or amplifies any and all vibrations.

Whatever. This was a terrible way to end this episode, and I'll let you know that before the Review.

No comments:

Post a Comment