This week, an Avenger is mysteriously killed in the wake of a new masked vigilante.
Have you been wondering what Hank Pym’s been up to since last we saw him turn over the Ant-Man suit to Scott Lang? Well apparently, to quote ‘Parks and Recreation’, he’s basically turned in to a Human Disaster. Tony and Jan head to Hank’s lab to see what Hank’s called them over for and find the place a total wreck. Hank looks like he hasn’t slept or eaten since… well, last time we saw him about 12 episodes ago, and it rambling on and on about some kind of new micro-prison he’s built, which he wants to control and oversee. Tony and Jan both realize that Hank has been drinking from the well of crazy people and try to calmly get him to do his work at Stark Tower. He also has something called a ‘quantum annihilator’ which is dangerous and science-y, and Tony clearly isn’t a fan to see it in Hank’s well-meaning but unstable hands. When he refuses to go with them, they reluctantly leave, only to hear a scream and an explosion coming from the lab. When they return, Hank is nowhere to be found among the wreckage.
Outside the Avengers Mansion, a statue of Hank in the Ant-Man costume is unveiled while Tony delivers a eulogy to a large crowd about Hank, calling him a “dreamer” and a hero. In the crowd, you can spot the Fantastic Four as well as Luke Cage and Iron Fist. Fury approaches Jan in the shadows, giving him her condolences. He also tells the rest of the Avengers that a planted explosive was found in the wreckage of Hank’s lab. It wasn’t an accident, he was murdered. The Avengers are able to track the explosive to the Serpent Society, and Cap and Black Panther decide to do a little quiet recon. Jan wants to help, after all, it’s her dead ex-boyfriend they want to avenge, but they want her to keep her distance because she’s ‘too involved’ and all that. But when Cap and Black Panther hunt down the Constrictor on the rooftops at night, someone else is already there. A masked vigilante in a black and yellow uniform who calls himself ‘Yellowjacket.’ Before Cap and Black Panther can intercept him, he blasts Constrictor with some sort of ray gun and he’s seemingly vaporized. Jan (who followed them, natch) catches up to Yellowjacket and tries to take him down before he admits to killing Hank Pym. But Jan’s not buying it, especially after he speeds away, attacking the trio with yellowjackets. Jan only knows one guy who likes to control bugs.
Of course, no one else really believes Jan that Yellowjacket is Hank. However, the public is a pretty big fan of him, especially since it seems that Yellowjacket actually kills supervillains as opposed to just locking them up. The news even manages to catch Clint with a grouchy “no comment.” (“They always ask Tony when he looks like a movie star. Me, they ambush.”) However, their next attempt to catch Yellowjacket ends with Thor being vaporized. Before the fight goes any further, Jan rips off the Yellowjacket mask to reveal that, yes, he really is Hank Pym, and faked his death because… reasons and stuff about being the ‘weak link’ in the Avengers and… yes. After the quantum annihilator malfunctions, the entire team is seemingly vaporized, only to realize that they’re not dead, but instead stuck in the microscopic prison Hank was trying to show Tony. Tony chides Hank for losing his way, citing that he used to be a pacifist and believed in rehabilitating criminals, rather than locking them up without chance for trial or otherwise. Of course, it turns out that the Pym particles in the prison are unstable and its up to Hank to save the entire team, while the rest of them fight the Serpent Society, who would rather kill the Avengers rather than get out of prison alive. In the end, Hank only snaps out of his Tyler Durden-esque attitude when Cobra threatens Jan. The Avengers are saved from microscopic crushing death.
Everyone seems glad to have Hank back, but Tony is less than certain he wants to have Yellowjacket as a teammate, mostly because well… he’s kind of a jerk. A loose cannon. But Jan feels that Hank needs them to get back to some sense of normalcy. It seems to be all on the table by episodes end, with Hank challenging Tony to a game of “bag the mole people.” Yes, literally.
- Why are Hank Pym episodes so…. good? This episode was decidedly less stale than some previous outings in the last few weeks and I think it’s because the writing staff seems to have a genuinely good time writing for Hank. He’s such a conflicted, moody, generally unstable kind of guy, and has a definite arc, especially since he first saw him as this bright, peaceful, naive scientist who just wanted to hang out with bugs. It definitely helps that Hank’s voice actor, animation vet Wally Wingert, is a total pro.
- Thor: “A noble speech, Stark. One worthy of the songs of Valhalla.” Tony: “Pepper wrote it.”
- Interesting that literally no mention is made of Hank passing the Ant-Man torch to someone else. He tells them not to take the statue down because “Ant-Man is gone.” Well yeah, he’s another guy.
- It was nice that they didn’t try to use Hank’s identity as a sort of Scooby-Doo ending. We knew it was him right away and the show didn’t want to play dumb.
- Also no mention made of the brief return of Ultron, Hank’s apocalyptic robot project. Considering that Hank is probably still radiating crazy, that might have been for the best.
- Still no Hulk. Still angry about it.
Did you miss an episode? Check out our recap of the last episode: ‘Ultron Unlimited‘.