Episode #5: The Man in the Ant Hill
005a - The Man in the Ant Hill
Original Airdate: September 24th, 2010
When microbiologist Hank Pym obtains a rare sample of a metal called Vibranium to study, the villainous Klaw comes to steal it...but Klaw isn't prepared to enter Hank's world: The world of Ant-Man!
005b - Enter the Whirldwind!
Original Airdate: October 4th, 2010
When Super-Villain-for-Hire Whirlwind robs a lab at Greyburn College, it’s up to the wondrous Wasp to put an end to his crimespree days for good!
005c - The Big House
Original Airdate: October 11th, 2010
The astonishing duo of Ant-Man and Wasp take you on a tour of the Big House, the world's smallest super villain prison.
005d - Welcome to Wakanda
Original Airdate: October 8th, 2010
Welcome to Wakanda, the most powerful nation on're just in time to see the fall of its king, the Black Panther.

*Please note this episode is comprised of four five-minute micro-episodes.

Written by Christopher Yost
Directed by Vinton Heuck
Review by ShadowStar
Media by Marvel Animation Age

Out of the first 5 episodes, this was the one I was looking forward to the most. From the title, it was obvious that Ant-Man was going to come into play, and I knew that Wasp couldn’t be far behind. With 4 of the 5 set-up episodes down and Hawkeye having been brought in, I figured it wouldn’t be too much of a leap for Black Panther to put in an appearance. I never cared much for Thor or Hulk, gravitated away from Iron Man awhile back and have long been indifferent towards Captain America, so I was excited to see some ‘new blood’ in the form of Ant-Man and Wasp (the only founding Avengers I was unfamiliar with… though I knew of their turbulent marriage).

Alas, this episode missed the mark for me. Much of what was transpiring on screen was interesting, but it was all so disjointed. The story jumped around a lot, so much so that it felt like three stories in one. No sooner had Ant-Man rid himself of Klaw than he and Wasp were in New York, confronting a new menace in the form of Whirlwind, so the scuffle with Klaw felt more like an extended teaser sequence. It didn’t quite flow.

Regardless, I liked both of these sequences. Ant-Man’s stealthy attack on Klaw’s henchmen was a good way of acquainting the viewer with how his powers work. The music added an element of tension to the way he disposed of the first two gunmen. The jungle setting was well utilised as Klaw’s men made their assault on the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents from the shady undergrowth, and when Ant-Man turned the tables on the unsuspecting villains by shrinking the entire base, it gave the impression that he’s not an opponent to underestimate (though his ability to tame ants isn’t his best asset – it’s not a cool power)!

Wally Wingert is perfectly cast as Ant-Man. I only knew him as the Riddler from Batman: Arkham Asylum, but he doesn’t ham it up here like he did in that game. His Hank Pym is benevolent (the concern he showed for the inmates of the Big House was a testament to this) and reluctant to fight, but willing to pull finger if he has to and not easily intimidated. He’s juxtaposed nicely with Wasp, who’s passionate and excitable, but reckless. I can’t get my head around the fact that they might become a couple though. It seems to be more of a father/daughter relationship: Hank urges Janet not to indulge in playing superhero since she might get hurt, while she furiously tells him that he’s “not getting it” and whines about his work. Looks like they still have a long way to go before he proposes to her! Janet manages Hank’s finances, and the pre-existing relationship which they share as colleagues is sure to undergo major changes when they become Avengers; I’m looking forward to seeing how their chemistry stands the test of time.

The voice acting was fine once again. Hats off to Troy Baker and Mark Hamill for their entertaining turns as Whirlwind and Klaw. The Whirlwind fight boasted some really nice animation and while Colleen O’Shaughnessey sounded a bit young for the part during her banter with Whirlwind, I had to love some of her quips. Whirlwind’s irritation was amusing – one of high points of the episode. The other came in the form of the way the Big House was first shown. I really liked how the secret that the prison and inmates had been shrunk down was kept from both Whirlwind and the viewer until Hank Pym intervened.

I did not expect to see the Ultron robots this early in the series – they seem so benign! When they attempted to peacefully restrain Whirlwind without the use of violence, it was hysterically funny. I imagine the gentle Hank Pym voice that they’re saddled with will give way to a more sinister one when they ultimately rebel... It was also nice to see the return of Nick Fury, and his failed attempt to coerce Hank and Janet into joining S.H.I.E.L.D. was funny. In contrast to how he treated Tony in episode 1, he gradually lost his patience with Hank, suddenly dropping the kind façade and becoming the grouchy Nick Fury who always gets his way. Quite amusing to see him practically gritting his teeth when he said, “Look… Ant-Man…”.

Finally, there’s the matter of the tacked on Black Panther origin scene… I realise that it was only meant to be the one micro-episode but the fact remains that it doesn’t work as a five minute closing sequence. The Panther costume looked great in that night setting and T’Chakka’s death was poignant, but it was all too abrupt. There wasn’t time to get to know the characters before T’Challa deserted the scene and began silently wrestling with the decision of whether to become the new Black Panther. The segment could’ve used more breathing space. At least it tied in with Klaw’s earlier appearance (when did he lose his arm though?!).

A lot to talk about in this episode (courtesy of the record number of Avengers introduced in the space of 22 minutes) but not all of it good. I wanted stronger introductions for these 3 Avengers; after all, Iron Man will be known to a lot of viewers whereas only the fans will be familiar with Ant-Man, Wasp and Black Panther. Luckily, we won’t have long to wait before the trio are basking in more screen time, and becoming more developed characters as a result.