Ant-Man in Animation: A Retrospective

Discussion in 'The Marvel Animation Forum' started by RoyalRubble, Jul 1, 2015.

  1. RoyalRubble

    RoyalRubble Moderator
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    With Ant-Man all set to make his live-action, big screen debut later this month, I figured it would be a good time to look back on his previous appearances in animation throughout the years. This thread will try and chronicle all the Ant-Men that have appeared in cartoons so far, including his other notable aliases such as Giant-Man, Goliath or Yellowjacket. Also included is Wasp, since she's usually by Ant-Man's side anyway. Most of the images featured in this thread will appear courtesy of Marvel Animation Age, and I hope you all enjoy reading it!

    Ant-Man made his debut in comics in 1962, in Tales to Astonish #35, and was created by the team of Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby. The original Ant-Man was scientist Hank Pym (a character who actually appeared in the same comic series moths earlier, in #27, before taking on the identity of the superhero), who invented a substance (later known as Pym Particles) that allowed him to change his size. He also created a special cybernetic helmet which helped him communicate telepathically with ants. And thus the Ant-Man was born. He eventually shares his invention with his girlfriend at the time, Janet Van Dyne, who becomes his crime-fighting partner the Wasp. The duo would become founding members of the Avengers and take part in various astonishing adventures. Hank was also the one who originally created Ultron in the comics, something that has been changed in more recent stories (and the Marvel Cinematic Universe). Despite changing his codename every so often (see above what other aliases he has used), Hank still remained a hero for most of his career. His relationship with Jan also continued though it wasn't always a happy one.

    The second Ant-Man is Scott Lang, who debuted in Avengers #181 (from 1979), before taking on the mantle of Ant-Man in Marvel Premiere #47 (also 1979); he was created by David Michelinie and John Byrne. This character was a thief who stole Hank's Ant-Man suit to save his daughter (Cassie Lang) who was seriously ill; he used the suit to rescue the only doctor who could save Cassie's life. Afterwards Hank gave him his blessing to continue operating as the new Ant-Man, providing he'll only use these new found abilities to uphold the law. He would also go on to lead a pretty eventful life as a super-hero, meeting and working together with other heroes, and confronting various super-villains during his run as Ant-Man in the comics.

    While many of the shows and movies have featured the original Ant-Man, Hank Pym the newer stuff seems to favor Scott Lang, undoubtedly because of the live-action movie where he's the guy behind the mask (or helmet, or whatever). As for Wasp, well I kind of doubt she'll appear in any future animated projects for a while, which is a shame if you ask me.

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    Ant-Man's (and Wasp's) first animated appearances were on the Marvel Super Heroes Show, which aired in syndication in 1966 and featured five of Marvel's superheroes starring in their own series each one consisting of 13 episodes (separated into three 7-minutes long segments). This show had very limited animation, and was composed almost entirely of actual comic book panels with a voice-over; basically an early version of today's motion-comics. The pair of heroes was present in a few episodes, from various segments. Their voices were provided by Tom Harvey and Peg Dixon, respectively.

    In the Captain America segments, which adapted a number of early Avengers comics, Ant-Man and Wasp are present in "The Return of Captain America", where the Avengers find Cap frozen and revive him; Ant-Man introduces himself to Cap (once he's calmed down and stopped attacking the others) and describes his powers, mentioning he can also become Giant-Man. They also briefly appear in another episode, "Let the Past be Gone", where Cap meets and fights the Super-Adaptoid for the first time. Notably, Hank is in his Goliath uniform in this episode. Since each episode was pretty much exclusively composed of scans from the comic book pages, it is understandable why the art style or outfits for some of the characters isn't really consistent throughout the episodes. It all depended on the artist who drew the comics, though in Jan's case, she was rather well known for the many different yet similar uniforms she had, so it kind of works for her.

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    They next appear in an episode of The Incredible Hulk, titled "The Space Phantom", where the titular villainous character impersonates the heroes one by one and has them fight each other. There are a couple of amusing lines and moments (such as, the Hulk considering "Girls don't count", in regards to Wasp when counting the Avengers, Jan flirting with Thor, or her being attacked by a real wasp). The Space Phantom impersonates both Giant-Man and Wasp in this episode, though he spends most of the time posing as the Hulk. There are two neat moments that stood out to me - one is how Giant-Man tried to reason with the others and make them stop fighting, and the other is the pretty clever way Wasp contacts the Mighty Thor (by letting know Don Blake they need his help).

    We then see them in a Mighty Thor episode, "Molto the Lava Man", based on an old Avengers comic (as most of the episodes of this show, though there were quite a few Tales of Suspense/Tales to Astonish adaptations as well). Here the entire team of classic Avengers confronts the Lava Men but the focus is mainly on Thor which should explain why this story was selected to become an episode of his segment. There are some neat scenes with Hank and Jan (in their costumed identities) here, when they're exploring an ant hill before joining the others in battling the Lava Men. Their interactions are amusing and this is probably their brightest moment in 60s animation.

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    Hank Pym also appears briefly in an episode of Namor the Sub-Mariner, titled "To Walk Amongst Men", as a scientist conducting experiments on a ship in the middle of the ocean, unknowingly causing trouble for Namor and the inhabitants of Atlantis. His super-hero alter-ego isn't present in the episode, nor is Jan (though she apparently was featured in the comic this episode was based on).

    Their last appearance on the Namor segment (and on this 60s show altogether) was in "Dr. Doom's Day", an (in)famous episode which mixed in elements from two classic Fantastic Four comic book stories, Fantastic Four #6 and Fantastic Four Annual #3, featuring lots of super-heroes (including the two characters this retrospective is all about) fighting even more super-villains.

    Notably, even though based on Fantastic Four stories the quartet of heroes is not present here - I'm guessing the company that produced this series (Grantray-Lawrence) didn't have the rights to use the Fantastic Four, as the following year Hanna-Barbera would produce an animated series featuring the Four, where in turn Namor wasn't able to appear. Similarly, the 60s Fantastic Four Show also did a story based on the classic comic story "The Micro World of Doctor Doom", where Ant-Man was absent, even though he guest-starred in the comic. In this adaptation, the Fantastic Four were replaced with the original five X-Men, and Professor Xavier - and to top it all off, they're called the Allies for Peace.

    All in all, not a great start for neither Ant-Man or Wasp in animation. They're both just there, minor heroes compared to the other Avengers. To be fair these cartoons are adaptations of the early Marvel Comics, and I'd say that's pretty much how they were treated in those older comics, as part of the team. Plus, I think they need the other heroes to interact with - on their own, the characters would be pretty boring. (Hopefully the live-action movie will prove Ant-Man can be entertaining enough on his own). The limited animation this show had didn't make really help make them stand out either. Their voice actors did a decent job, judging by the few lines they actually had on this show. All in all, decent stuff but if you haven't seen them yet, you're not really missing much.

    Next: United They (try to) Stand!
     
  2. RoyalRubble

    RoyalRubble Moderator
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    Next, we have a series of amusing Ant-Man/Goliath and Wasp cameos, in shows like Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends (the episode "Triumph Of The Green Goblin"), X-Men TAS ("One Man's Worth (Part 1)"), and the 90s Fantastic Four cartoon ("To Battle the Living Planet") - have fun trying to spot them, with everything else that happens in those episodes! It's nothing all that special or ground-breaking, but I figured I should mention these as well.

    Both Ant-Man and Wasp were main characters on the Avengers: United they Stand animated series which started airing in the late 90s also on Fox Kids. The show lasted for only 13 episodes; it didn't feature any of the more well-known Avengers as regular characters (although Iron Man and Captain America did guest-star each in one episode). It was mostly based on the West Coast Avengers team roster, and the heroes had some silly armors they had to wear during their missions. They even had multiple armor models, like "jungle armor" or "space armor", depending on the environment the mission took place in.

    The heroes used on this show were Ant-Man (the leader of the team), Wasp, Tigra, Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye; Wonder Man was also part of the team but pretty much gets replaced by Falcon and Vision from the first episode. The show just had too many characters and not nearly enough time to give each one a somewhat interesting character arc or develop their personalities enough for me to particularly care about them.

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    Overall, the show was pretty bad and none of the characters ever did anything that interesting, making the show very boring and forgettable. I never really liked any of the characters featured on this show, though to be fair I was never a big fan of either Ant-Man, Wasp, Hawkeye or any of the others, at least until Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes premiered. Pretty much every character on this show was presented far better than on United They Stand. Hank Pym (as both Ant-Man and Giant-Man), Wasp and Hawkeye are all awesome on Earth's Mightiest Heroes and make this first attempt at an Avengers show even more forgettable. And, even with all of its flaws, the currently airing Avengers Assemble show is still better than United They Stand (not that it's such a hard task to do). I don't think it's nowhere near the level of Avengers EMH but it's a pretty decent show. I'll talk a lot more about both these other Avengers cartoons later on in the retrospective. Until then...

    Hank and Jan were featured in every episode of Avengers: United they Stand, so I guess I'll just comment on their most notable appearances - which to be honest aren't that many. Here the two characters were voiced by Rod Wilson and Linda Ballantyne, respectively. Most episodes would showcase Hank as doubting himself, thinking he isn't a good enough leader for the team. His reasons are pretty valid in this show's context, though. There's really not a whole lot to talk about any of the characters featured on this show. There are however, some rare neat moments which don't really help the show but are surprisingly decent enough for me to remember.

    The show's main story-line was that Ultron, the evil robot Ant-Man created (well, he wasn't evil from the start, though that's never really explained here, and Ultron is basically a boring and generic bad guy without any charm) creates an android himself, his Vision and sends it to destroy Ant-Man and the Avengers. By the end of the first episode, the two-part story titled "Avengers Assemble", Vision would switch sides and join the Avengers after Ant-Man transfers Wonder Man's memories into the android's body, similar to how it went down in the comics. Unlike the comics though, none of these characters are too entertaining, just generic I guess would be the best word to describe them. Ultron is a boring villain here, when he's usually portrayed as a much more threatening foe. On this show I just couldn't take him seriously enough. It also doesn't help that this story-line is never finished during the show's run and a lot of plots are either dropped or forgotten about completely.

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    Other than Ultron, the show featured a few more Avengers villains such as Kang, Zemo and his Masters of Evil and even the likes of Egghead. The Zodiac organization is also featured in a number of episodes, also setting up a tedious story-arc, which in a similar fashion to Ultron's, doesn't really get resolved by the end of the show's one and only season. Given the fact the villains didn't really leave any impression on me, I guess it's all for the better.

    As for the good stuff this show offered... well, they had Captain America guest-star in an episode, titled "Command Decision", where he aids the Avengers take down Baron Zemo and the Masters of Evil. There's a somewhat decent sub-plot about Ant-Man again doubting his position as leader of the Avengers, especially now that Cap has returned, but it gets tedious after a while seeing him so depressed or easily distracted from the mission. Hank does manage to save the day in the end and Cap is glad to see they made a "wise decision" letting him be leader of the team. Some more character development is always welcome as far as I'm concerned, but this wasn't exactly what I was expecting.

    There's also an episode which puts Hank in the spotlight (sort of), featuring the villainous Egghead, who wishing revenge on Hank finds a way to make the famous Pym Particles become Hank's enemies - he can't control them anymore and keeps shrinking with no end in sight. The other Avengers (especially Jan) spend the episode trying to find a cure and obviously manage to do so by the end of the story. It's a pretty lame episode overall and to make things worse it also has a pretty bad pun as its title: "Egg-Streme Vengeance". The heroes are a little too bland on this show and pairing them with a ridiculous villain like Egghead wasn't that great of an idea. To be fair, if written well enough I think even the most ridiculous of characters can be entertaining enough. I think Batman: The Brave and the Bold proved that more than once during its run. And as a latter chapter of this retrospective will hopefully demonstrate, The Superhero Squad Show.

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    The show ends with another two-part story, titled "Earth and Fire", where the Avengers go up against the Zodiac leading to some long, drawn-out and pretty boring fights. The scenes that I found to be pretty decent were with Jan realizing her late father's old business partner Cornelius Van Lundt (Taurus of the Zodiac) is behind everything and tries confronting him. It's nothing spectacular but it was pretty decent for this show. At least her motivation for wanting to stop the Zodiac from using one of her father's inventions to harm others is explained. Why the Zodiac wants to do this is never really explained. Taurus, their leader, gets a decent amount of screen-time (but not even that makes him an interesting enough character) but most of the other members don't even get to speak.

    Like I said, most if not all of the story lines spread throughout the 13 episodes of this show don't get any proper resolution and end on cliff-hangers, and to be honest I doubt any kind of conclusion would have been satisfying to these rather poorly written stories. Overall, the entire show was pretty much a mess and I personally wouldn't recommend it to anyone who hasn't seen it before.

    Next Part: The Life and Times of Ultimate Hank Pym!
     
  3. RoryWilliams

    RoryWilliams Well-Known Member

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    Their lack of animation love I think stems from them mostly being ensemble characters. Unlike a lot of other Avengers who had their own solo features (and thus stuff to draw from), Hank and Jan (and Scott) never really caught on as solo heroes.
     
  4. RoyalRubble

    RoyalRubble Moderator
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    In 2006 Marvel released Ultimate Avengers - the first movie in a line of direct-to-DVD Marvel Animated Features, all of them released by Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Based on the first arc from The Ultimates comic book series (published in 2002) this movie was basically served as an updated origin story for the Avengers. For the most part, it works pretty well and the movie overall has some good stuff in it. The character designs look nice and are animated well, there are enough action scenes with some pretty great choreography and the story is pretty good too. Since this was based on the Ultimate Marvel Universe, there were certain changes to some of the characters. I think this was the first time we had a black Nick Fury in animation, which might have been a big deal back then but nowadays I can't really imagine we'd be seeing classic white Nick Fury anywhere for quite some time, if ever. Similarly, Janet Van Dyne (or rather Janet Pym, since she's married here) was apparently supposed to be Asian in this movie but I couldn't really tell. Not that I was expecting a controversial racial caricature or something. Hank Pym (as Giant-Man) and Jan are present in this movie, with Nolan North and Grey DeLisle providing their voices.

    The story is fairly simple - we get the classic return of Captain America after being frozen since the end of World War II, where in this version he fought some Nazis who allied themselves with aliens called the Chitauri. In present day Nick Fury wants Cap to lead a team of super-heroes to defeat the same aliens he came across during the War. Among the candidates for the Avengers initiative are Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Giant Man and his wife, Wasp. There's also Doctor Bruce Banner around, who is ordered to try and duplicate the formula for the super-soldier serum which made Cap what he is, but he is in reality trying to find a "cure" for the Hulk inside him. Well, not exactly a cure, more like a way to control the Hulk once it is released.

    Hank's introduction is pretty great; we see he's at odds with Nick Fury from the start (apparently because he wasn't chosen for the project Banner is working on). Jan on the other hand wants to join the team but only if Hank is allowed to come as well. Their relationship is presented rather well here, with some pretty obvious hints that not everything is fine and they still have some issues to work out. Hank has now perfected the ability to grow in size, and calling himself Giant-Man joins Fury's project. There's also a neat scene where we see Hank wear his Ant-Man helmet, which he used to control ants - here he uses it to make ants write an anti-SHIELD message on a wall, and later uses an ant to spy on Janet and Fury's conversation.

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    It's an interesting take on the character, as he's presented in pretty much every scene as a jerk, arguing with all of the other characters (even his wife). It does add a neat dynamic to the team to have someone like this present. Hank gets to partake in some pretty good action scenes as well, whether it's against Iron Man (just to get his attention), or their first official mission, to protect a SHIELD base from the aliens. A mission which fails, by the way, since none of the Avengers listened to Cap's orders. Well, except for Black Widow, who did follow orders and a romance between her and Cap is heavily hinted at during the course of the movie. And I guess in Hank's defense, he disobeyed orders and only left his post only to save Jan. The team soon after disbands but it regroups once the Chitauri attack SHIELD again.

    The fight with aliens ends pretty quickly though since the Hulk is present, but the climax of the movie is about the Avengers fighting an out of control Hulk. There's some great stuff in this battle - each hero uses his or her powers and abilities well enough but they are no match for the Hulk who beats all of them badly. Well, Thor and Iron Man kind of get overshadowed by the others, but since I thought their designs looked great and the few scenes they were used in were pretty cool, I can live with that. In Giant-Man's case, he gets punched in the knee and then choked by the Hulk. It looks pretty brutal. Wasp gets to do her classic trick of using her energy blasts, mainly to annoy or distract the Hulk, but that doesn't last too long. She's the one character in this movie who was used the least - she's just there, and the only scenes featuring her that were interesting were her interactions with Hank.

    In the end Hulk is subdued and Banner imprisoned. The Avengers are formed, and they celebrate their victory. All in all, I think this is a good movie. It's mainly Captain America's story, and a decent amount of screen-time is dedicated only to Banner/Hulk, but it works. It does a pretty good job at offering an origin for the team, and more importantly it's entertaining enough for me.

    The movie was followed by a sequel, released the same year. Subtitled Rise of the Panther, I think this story works great as a continuation of the first movie. The Chitauri are back (well, they never really left) and the fight with the aliens is given more attention than in the first movie, and while the story once again focuses mostly on Captain America and the newly introduced Black Panther, the other characters get some pretty good moments as well. Hank and Jan are once again present and their story-arc comes to an end in this movie.

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    The first time we see him here, Hank has been trying to improve his Giant-Man identity, but is unable to pass the enlarging limit of 60 feet - any taller and his body couldn't take the strain and would most likely suffer a heart attack. It's also hard for him to shrink again, from such heights. His relationship with Jan continues to be an interesting one. There's also a neat parallel between Jan and Betty Ross in this story, as both of their relationships are going through some hard times. Banner's storyline continues nicely from the previous movie as well - he's imprisoned and questioned about why he became the Hulk and lost control in the fight with the aliens. He's the one who discovers the aliens' weakness though, and that would be Gamma radiation.

    The story this time explains that Herr Kleiser (the Chitauri posing as a Nazi Cap thought he killed back in WWII) has been on Earth this whole time and apparently tried to conquer the kingdom of Wakanda to gain access to its Vibranium mountain. After the king of Wakanda, T'Chaka the Black Panther is killed by Kleiser, his son T'Chala inherits the mantle of the Panther and seeks out guidance from Cap, knowing of his history with the villainous Kleiser. Since Wakanda believes it doesn't need any help from the outside world to fight its battles, the Avengers are forbidden to travel there and fight the Chitauri.

    The Avengers do arrive in Wakanda, with Black Widow now leading the team (since Cap couldn't seem to focus on anything else but getting revenge). The team is attacked by Wakanda's warriors who manage to get the better of all the heroes. Hank for example is brought down after getting hit with dozens of poisoned arrows (well, they were more like darts compared to Giant-Man). Black Panther gives them the antidote but only if they leave his kingdom. Once back to normal, Hank argues that Cap should do this mission alone, if he wants revenge so much, and doesn't care if he could die. He also starts a fight with Jan which apparently ends up with the two of them breaking up.

    In their next attempt to infiltrate Wakanda, Cap is tricked by the shape-shifter Kleiser (posing as Black Panther) into bringing a Chitauri aboard their ship, who attacks them and severely injures Wasp. This only gives Hank all the more reason to confront Cap about his actions. Jan recovers while the others are away and the alien invasion has begun, and manages to destroy a few Chitauri herself (well, after Betty Ross shot them with a Gamma generator).

    The climax of the movie sees Iron Man (wearing the War Machine armor) flying into the Chitauri ship with the Gamma generator, trying to destroy it from the inside. Hank also volunteers to come with him, hoping to show Jan he can be the man she wishes he'd be. He shrinks, even though it causes him some pain, so that Iron Man can carry him. The mission is a success, though Hank doesn't survive. I'm guessing it's connected to what was mentioned earlier in the movie, about how his body couldn't take the strain of shrinking again. It's a pretty shocking and sad moment, and while I kind of liked this arrogant version of Pym, I think the moment could still have been handled better.

    Iron Man also almost dies, after making sure the Chitauri ship won't crash into Wakanda, but is brought back to life by Thor and his lightning. There was also a neat sub-plot throughout the movie about Thor having some visions that the Avengers were going to die. He managed to save one of his teammates, but Hank still died. It's too bad they never made a third movie - it would have been interesting to see how the team (or at least Jan) would deal with the loss, or how the team's dynamic would be affected since Hank added some "spice" to pretty much every scene he was present in.

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    All in all, a pretty good feature though a little boring at times. I'm not sure if I like it more than the first one but they're both entertaining movies. The character designs looked great and the animation was nice. In this movie for example, the jungle setting looked pretty great and was a nice change of scenery compared to the first one. The character interactions worked well and there was a decent balance between the characters. It could have been a lot better I guess but all things considered, I'm not really complaining.

    Next Stop: World's Tiniest Hero!
     
  5. Capt.Traphouse

    Capt.Traphouse Sexiest Thing Since Sex

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    I used to think Ant-Man sucked but AA has really made me respect the character. He's a hyper-competent nerd who actually isn't completely annoying.
     
  6. RoyalRubble

    RoyalRubble Moderator
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    For me, it was Avengers: EMH that made me change my mind about Ant-Man. I thought he was developed nicely during the show, covering his background as a scientist, his connection to Ultron, his relationship with Wasp, or his breakdown and transition to Yellojacket. I'll talk more about this in the retrospective, once I reach this show.

    The Avengers Assemble Ant-Man is pretty good too I guess, but he hasn't done much on the show so far, and I haven't really formed an opinion on him.
     
  7. Dsneybuf

    Dsneybuf Well-Known Member

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    Something a little surprising I've noticed about the Wasp in animation: Both of the times she co-starred in an Avengers-branded animated series, she shared a voice actress with someone from an anime I frequently watched during the year 2000: Sailor Moon from Sailor Moon S in United They Stand, and Sora from Digimon in Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
     
  8. RoyalRubble

    RoyalRubble Moderator
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    The Fantastic Four received a new animated series in 2006, which originally aired on the Cartoon Network. The show was subtitled World's Greatest Heroes and managed to adapt and update a lot of classic Fantastic Four stories from the comics, from different eras and had a few other heroes as guest-stars as well. As a whole the show is fun to watch, and manages to stand apart from the other Fantastic Four animated series we've had so far (and by the looks of things, we won't be getting another one anytime soon). My favorite animated version of the Four is still probably the second season of the 90s show (even with all of the melodrama that was present in pretty much every episode, and the way they rushed through some story-lines), but World's Greatest Heroes is a close second. The way the characters interact with each other is great and the character designs and visuals are pretty nice.

    As for guest-stars, the show featured Iron Man, Hulk, She-Hulk, Namor the Sub-Mariner (twice) and the character this retrospective is all about, Ant-Man. He only appeared briefly though, and in only one episode, cleverly titled "World's Tiniest Heroes". His voice was provided by John Payne II, who does a pretty good job I guess but the character doesn't really have that many lines in this episode. His character design looks fine as Ant-Man, but once he takes off his helmet and we get to see Hank Pym, he looks a little too weird, and not only because of the goatee he had. There's just something off about his design here. I'd say his design here is one of the strangest choices for a character in a Marvel cartoon, as was the blonde Bruce Banner seen in an episode of the 90s Iron Man show.

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    The story in this episode is pretty simple - Reed Richards explores the Microverse with a miniature probe, in an attempt to win a "shrinking contest" with Hank Pym. What he doesn't realize though is that once the probe returns it still carries some remnant Microverse energy, and whoever touches it will start to shrink. Predictably, all four heroes touch the probe and spend the rest of the episode trying to make their way back to the lab, with HERBIE (their computer system which controlled pretty much their entire house) tries to get rid of them, thinking they are vermin; the reasoning being that since they shrunk, HERBIE can't recognize their voices anymore.

    There are plenty of amusing moments, such as Ben taking advantage of his size to make a giant sandwich, Johnny making fun of Ben's high-pitched voice, or Reed gloating that he may have won the contest with Hank. There's also a sub-plot about an all-powerful dog Johnny had to take care of, and which he was planning on keeping as his mascot "Fire Hound", which wasn't really explained but it added some more comical scenes to the story. The dog is actually the one who saves them in the end, from HERBIE's ultra-sound device, by breathing fire. No explanation is given but then again, this was probably something normal for the Fantastic Four.

    As for Hank Pym... well he only appears towards the end of the episode, using his ants to save the heroes from getting sliced by a fan in the ventilation shaft. Like I said his design looked a little weird but the way he interacted with Reed Richards was priceless - seeing the two "geeks" discuss their research was a pretty great scene. Plus their reasoning for calling it the Microverse as opposed to Subatomica (since Reed already visited Subterranea, thanks to the Mole Man). The others, as you can imagine, aren't that thrilled with the two scientist's discussions, especially Johnny who keeps calling them the "Legion of Geeks". There's also a pretty amusing moment where Johnny presumes that Ant-Man's origin involved him being raised by ants.

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    Hank: Funny, I thought you'd all be taller. (Both Hank and Reed laugh).

    Hank uses his ants to transport the heroes through the house, to their lab. HERBIE detects the ants and uses an ultra-sound device to get rid of them - interestingly enough it also interferes with Hank's helmet and he's unable to control the ants anymore. They are saved by the Fire Hound, like I mentioned above. Once inside the lab, Hank, now at normal size uses the controls to restore the Four to their normal sizes. And that's about it. It's nothing spectacular but it's a pretty decent story.

    I did like the end, with the two scientists continuing their scientific discussions and the others just ignoring them, since they knew they'll be at it for a while. I admit Johnny got a little annoying with him constantly calling them "nerds" (not to mention he used pretty much the same jokes in regards to Reed's meeting with Bruce Banner in another episode), but it worked. Reed's absent-mindedness in this episode was at maximum levels and it lead to some amusing scenes.

    All in all a pretty amusing episode. It's one of the weaker stories this show managed to pull off though. It's fun but it gets a little boring at times and Ant-Man's inclusion could have been handled better, and he could have had more screen-time. Still the episode does have some charm and it's a decent enough outing for the hero. It could have been better, but at the same time it could have been much worse (such as Ant-Man's first appearance on Avengers Assemble, an episode which pretty much used the same plot as this one - I'll get to that later on though). Despite the limited screen-time and odd design, this was still a pretty great incarnation of Hank Pym, which should be noted for posterity.

    Next Time
    : What if the Giant and the Pixie had a son?
     
  9. RoyalRubble

    RoyalRubble Moderator
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    In 2008 Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow was released as a direct-to-DVD animated film, the fifth entry released by Lionsgate Home Entertainment as part of the Marvel Animated Features series. The movie depicts a "what if?" reality where most of the Avengers have been killed in battle by Ultron and his army of machines. Iron Man, one of the few heroes that survived, took the children of the Avengers to a refuge hidden somewhere in the Arctic Circle, where he keeps them safe and trains them for twelve years. The group of kids - James Rogers (son of Captain America and Black Widow), Torunn (daughter of Thor and I'm guessing Sif), Azari (son of Black Panther and Storm) and Henry Pym Jr. (son of Ant-Man/Giant Man and Wasp, obviously) - are told each night by Tony Stark the story of how their parents gathered together and about their adventures up to their defeat. Hank and Jan can be seen as part of the original Avengers team, during the flashback scenes, and are identified as "the Giant" and "the Pixie", respectively. Interestingly, none of the kids (except Hawkeye's son, Francis) receive any code-names in this movie.

    [​IMG]

    That opening narration, featuring sepia-toned images of how the Avengers formed, fought against evil, eventually disbanded and their ultimate defeat was probably the best part of this movie for me. As a bonus, Ultron was portrayed here as a more serious, nearly unstoppable foe - a huge improvement over his previously discussed boring incarnation on Avengers: United They Stand. I don't think he's as awesome as he was during Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes (even though both versions have the same voice actor, the great Tom Kane), but it works great within the context of this movie. Interestingly, this was one of the first movies where Ultron was depicted as Tony Stark's creation, rather than Hank Pym's.

    Pym Jr. (voiced by Aidan Drummond) is one of the main characters in this movie - he gets a lot of screen-time but he didn't really leave that big of an impression on me. He's apparently the youngest of the kids, he's described as a "tech-head" (which would make sense considering who his dad was), claiming he's the smartest of all the kids (and does actually prove it a couple of times), and he's usually the most excited one about being a super-hero (something he probably inherited from his mom). At least until the real fight with Ultron starts. There's also a running gag in which pretty much every other kid tells him at one point or another to shut up. He uses his powers rather well I guess but he's kind of overshadowed by the other kids, and eventually the Hulk once he shows up. Bruce Banner/the Hulk is the last of the surviving heroes (he's been hiding in the desert all these years), and is the one who ultimately destroys Ultron is the Hulk. The fight between Hulk and Ultron was pretty great, as well as the fight between the kids and the Iron Avengers (robots based on their parents, with all of their abilities). Each one of the robots had a pretty neat design, including Giant-Man's. Pym Jr. is the one who defeats his robot dad, after using his powers to grow bigger to mimic his opponent. Once the robot Giant-Man is knocked out though, a swarm of robot Wasps is unleashed from his mouth. They had pretty cool designs as well, very similar to Jan's classic costume from the comics.

    Pym Jr. is the one who gets the elderly Banner to turn into the Hulk and help them - by using the classic trick of annoying him by stinging him with his energy blasts. Hulk also had a pretty great design reminiscent of his Maestro look from a neat storyline in the comics (which was loosely adapted recently in an episode of Hulk and the Agents of SMASH). But then again I liked the designs for pretty much every character in this movie, if my above comments weren't clear enough. And for some reason I thought Azari's design looked pretty similar to Aqualad's from Young Justice, though this movie came first. And not only because they're both black, their tattoos light up when they use their powers, they use some electrical powers at certain scenes,etc. I don't know why I didn't really realize this before but it was pretty much the only thing I was thinking about whenever Azari was on screen. But I digress...

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    Overall this was a fun movie though it's nothing spectacular. It's one of the weaker Marvel animated movies but it's not terrible either. Even if it's obviously intended for a younger audience, it's more entertaining than most of the current Marvel animated series, which are supposedly " only for kids" as well. If the plots would be a little more serious and the dialogue improved a little, I'd say this could be a pretty decent animated series. I don't know if this was supposed to act as a pilot for a potential TV series, but it could have been fun. Similarly, I'm not sure if the movie was supposed to be set in the same continuity as the two previously discussed Ultimate Avengers movies - there's really nothing to contradict this. Well, other than the fact that Hank died at the end of the second movie. Apologies for the rather short article this time; there's just not that much to talk about when it comes to this movie.

    Up Next: Shrink Down, and Hero Up!
     
  10. RoyalRubble

    RoyalRubble Moderator
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    The Super Hero Squad Show premiered in fall 2009, and originally aired on the Cartoon Network. It was based on the Marvel Super Hero Squad action figure line from Hasbro, which portrays all the characters in the Marvel Universe in a super-deformed-style, and was aimed at a younger generation. The show featured a lot of characters from the Marvel Universe, but primarily focused on a team of heroes including members of the Avengers and the X-Men. It was mostly a parody of super hero shows, and I doubt it ever wanted to be taken too seriously. The story-arc for the first season was about the "Squaddies" trying to stop Doctor Doom's Lethal Legion from collecting the Infinity Fractals, shards from the broken Infinity Sword, which Doom plans on using to rule the world. Each Fractal has unique and mysterious powers, causing mischief in pretty much every episode.

    Wasp first appears in the episode "Hulk Talk Smack", voiced by Jennifer Morrison. She helps Hulk and Falcon fight Klaw and Screaming Mimi inside a library (where they're supposed to be quiet - ironic seeing the two villains' gimmicks), where a Fractal was apparently hidden. The heroes win and the Fractal is found by Hulk, who touches it and becomes the intelligent Grey Hulk (with shades of his Professor identity from the comics as well) for the rest of the episode. This leads to some pretty amusing situations, as the other characters are first glad to have a smarter Hulk with them but he gradually keeps getting on their nerves until they wish the old Green Hulk would be back. Don't worry, he'll revert back to normal after Falcon's little speech about being yourself. Wasp gets to fight MODOK and Abomination as well, later on, when the two try to get the Fractal back from the Hulk. Her most impressive feat in this episode though is growing big enough to hold a giant boulder in order to stop a flood from hitting the city, while Thor changes the course of the water with his hammer and Silver Surfer repairs the dam with his Power Cosmic. There are also some other amusing Wasp-related scenes, such as Grey Hulk mentioning her new costume doesn't look that great, or when Iron Man apparently has no idea who she is. A pretty amusing episode, overall.

    [​IMG]

    She's next seen in "Enter Dormammu", where alongside some of the other heroes she fights off an army of Mindless Ones, unleashed into our dimension by Dormammu. Hulk keeps calling her "bug girl" this time and saves her from one of the creatures, leading Wasp to give him a kiss on the cheek. Doctor Strange is also present but an Infinity Fractal stuck in his Eye of Agamotto amulet is driving him crazy (leading to some pretty amusing moments) and he looses control of his powers. In one scene, he accidentally turns the heroes into animals or objects, such as Wolverine into a real wolverine, Wasp into a real wasp, Falcon into a turkey and Thor into a frog (an allusion to the comics). Everything goes back to normal once Doctor Strange gets rid of the Fractal and uses his powers to save the heroes and send Dormammu back to his Dark Dimension. Nothing too great but still a pretty neat adventure.

    Ant-Man himself appears in the episode "This Forest Green". Doctor Doom brings in Egghead (a ridiculous looking villain who fits so well with the style and tone of this show), to shrink his minions MODOK and Abomination and infiltrate the SHIELD Helicarrier to take back an Infinity Fractal. Egghead is pretty funny here - from his constant claims that he hasn't stolen Pym's tech, just improved it, to his claim that he's the second smartest guy after Doom (though Doom mentions at least four other names, making Egghead look even more foolish). Once inside the Helicarrier, they are detected by Iron Man who calls in a specialist in shrinking, Ant-Man. The heroes shrink themselves and confront the bad guys inside the kitchen, leading to a fight inside a jar of salsa. It's a pretty ridiculous set up but it works for this kind of show. To make things even more interesting, Reptil and Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers - this was before she took on the mantle of Captain Marvel) enter the kitchen to cook some quesadillas. There are some humorous allusions to Joe Quesada, very cheesy (as Reptil calls it) but it just adds more humor to the episode, other than some gross-out gags like Hulk sneezing.

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    The heroes and villains end up inside Hulk's nose, after he tried sniffing the food. Falcon uses some pepper to make him sneeze out the others. It's not as funny as the rest of the gags in this episode but it's not terrible either. Ant-Man doesn't really do too much here - other than shrinking and restoring the heroes to their normal sizes, and some scientific talk that nobody understands (most likely part of the joke). Wasp's appearances on this show were more fun, and she did more stuff. I did like Ant-Man's final line in the episode, mentioning this was fun and asking if he could hang out with the heroes more often. Wolverine simply answers no, in a swift and emotionless way, making it even funnier. Ant-Man's voice here was provided by Greg Grunberg.

    Both Wasp and Egghead return in "Election of Evil", where the ovoid outlaw starts a campaign to run for Mayor of Superhero City, using a mind-control device to ensure his victory against the current Mayor (a recurring character on the show, voiced by none other than Stan Lee). Wasp is one of the many heroes who are mind-controlled by Egghead into supporting him in his electoral campaign. The only ones immune to his mind-control device were Wolverine (thanks to his enhanced hearing), the current ex-Mayor (thanks to him being tone deaf) and Doctor Doom (I'm guessing because he's the one who gave Egghead the device in the first place). She only appears towards the beginning of the episode, and is absent from the final battle.

    The season one finale, "This Al-Dente Earth!", featured the arrival of Galactus on our planet so he could eat it. Naturally all the heroes gather together to fight off this threat. Among the many heroes seen in the episode were Ant-Man and Wasp. Their brief scene was pretty amusing as the two (in giant sizes, to match Galactus), surround him and remove his helmet - revealing his head is the exact same shape as the helmet. Then they keep throwing it around, trying to keep Galactus busy. It's a pretty ridiculous plot, but it works so well for this show. Galactus gets his helmet back and then defeats the duo with bug spray, which seems appropriate enough. Inb the end, the Silver Surfer saves the day by agreeing to return to Galactus' side as his herald.

    Overall this shows' versions of Wasp and Ant-Man were pretty decent and the episodes they appeared in had some pretty funny moments. I'd say Wasp was handled better here than Ant-Man and that was pretty nice. The two characters might have appeared in some other episodes or at least have cameos but I think I managed to track down their most notable appearances.

    Next Time: The Man in the Ant Hill!
     
    #10 RoyalRubble, Jul 9, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015
  11. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    Avengers: United We Stand sucked because Saban insisted on those stupid all-concealing helmets. Part of Jan's charm is that pretty face. Having it concealed by a full-head helmet was way wrong.

    As for the wack designs on FF: World's Mightiest Heroes, blame that on their producers, Moonscoop, the French studio that can't properly adapt any American comics, as witnessed by FFWMH & Sabrina: Secrets of a Teenage Witch's quick demises. Stray from the norm, and you get in trouble. Period.
     
  12. Frontier

    Frontier Moderator
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    Ant-Man and Wasp were together in the season one finale of Super Hero Squad, for at least one brief scene where they glanced at each other while fighting Galactus I think, but that was about it in terms of interaction.
     
  13. RoyalRubble

    RoyalRubble Moderator
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    Awesome, thanks for catching that! I checked and yeah, they're together in that episode. I'll edit the article above to include this as well.
     
  14. Stu

    Stu Marvel Animation Age Webmaster
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    A little late to the party, sorry. I admit to having never been a massive fan of Ant-Man until the Ultimate Avengers movie. The idea to use him as the team's leader in The Avengers: United They Stand was a silly, silly one, from which the show never really recovered. The fact he offered nothing of interest didn't help the show either.

    I especially enjoyed him in Ultimate Avengers, I thought him being an asshat to everyone added a great dynamic to the team and brought a lot of wit, especially his feeble attempt at an apology when he badmouths Tony Stark to Iron Man's face only to later discover Stark is Iron Man! I remember at the time thinking the Justice League cartoon could've used this sort of character dynamic as all the characters felt a little too similar to each other.

    My favourite version is the pacifist from Earth's Mightiest Heroes, I look forward to reading more!
     
  15. RoyalRubble

    RoyalRubble Moderator
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    No worries, Stu. The party isn't over yet. I still have a lot to talk about, and considering next up is the Avengers: EMH portion, I guess the fun is just about to start.

    ..............................................................................................

    The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes premiered in fall of 2010 on Disney XD. The first five episodes of the show were split into 20 micro-episodes which were released online prior to the shows' premiere on television. Like I mentioned in a previous part part of this retrospective, this show managed to give pretty much every Avenger a decent amount of screen time and offer them some character development they lacked in United They Stand. Inspired and adapting or updating some of the earliest Avengers comics at first (once the team is formed, the show mirrors the original comics pretty good), the show managed to add some twists and turns to the stories along the way, while still keeping true to the character's story-arcs from the comic books. It's a pretty amazing series, probably the best super-hero team show Marvel has done so far, with the pretty impressive number of characters (both good and bad) they managed to fit into the episodes. The stories themselves were awesome as well, for the most part and brought us plenty of good story-arcs and neat sub-plots for pretty much every one of the main characters. By the end of the show, you'd be pretty surprised at how much ground they managed to cover.

    Hank Pym (as both Ant-Man/Giant-Man, and later on Yellowjacket) and Janet Van Dyne were both present here, as main characters on the show and founding members of the Avengers - just as in the original comics. Their voices this time were provided by Wally Wingert and Colleen O'Shaughnessey, respectively. This was the first cartoon (and only, so far) to feature Hank's transition to the Yellowjacket identity, and the passing of the Ant- Man mantle to Scott Lang. I'll talk more about that in the next part of this retrospective though. Janet, as Wasp, was a much more present character on the show and I thought she was lots of fun, which makes her absence from newer animated projects all the more disappointing. Though on the other hand, if she would appear, her personality would most likely be changed to a more immature or arrogant one, to match most of the other characters seen in the current cartoons, so it's probably just as well she's not featured.

    [​IMG]

    Both Hank and Jan debut in the episode amply titled "The Man in the Ant Hill". The episode was basically broken up into four segments, which were released online before the full half-hour show premiered on television. The story for the first segment is fairly simple - Hank is studying a rare sample of vibranium but Ulysses Klaw and his band of mercenaries want to steal it. Hank becomes Ant-Man and fights them off, in some pretty creative ways. The bad guys are also shrunk, and most of them are disposed of by ants controlled by Hank.

    In another segment, Janet becomes the Wasp and goes up against the Whirlwind - and wins, thus humiliating the villain and starting a neat continuity regarding the bad guy holding a grudge against her when they meet again in future episodes. The third segment introduces one of the maximum security prisons which existed at that point, namely the Big House. Designed by Pym, the prison was a miniature where super-powered villains could be easily detained and controlled, once they were shrunk. It was held aboard the SHIELD Helicarrier and interestingly, the miniature guards for the prison were some prototype Ultron units, possibly foreshadowing some future events.

    The main story-line and reason for the Avengers to join forces in the first place is revealed in the two-part story titled "Breakout", where all four maximum security prisons are breached and a mass breakout of super-villains occurs. Ant-Man and Wasp are trapped inside the now real size Big House, trying to evade the likes of the Griffin or the Red Ghost and his Super-Apes. The story ends with Earth's mightiest heroes teaming up to defeat Graviton. Afterwards, they agree to form a team and track down and recapture all the escaped villains.Wasp is actually the one who suggests they call themselves the Avengers - it's a pretty cheesy line, but I think it works.

    I really enjoyed how the characters were presented on the show, developed during its run and how their interactions with the others worked out. For example, Hank isn't as enthusiastic about being a member of the team as much as Jan is. Hank just wants to continue his research as a scientist, not go around playing super-hero. He's basically staying with them just as long to help capture the escaped inmates. Jan, on the other hand, is really excited about being an Avenger and gets along nicely with the others - even with the Hulk. (as seen in "Some Assembly Required"). Her positive attitude really added something unique to the team's dynamic, as did Hank's hesitations.

    [​IMG]

    In "Living Legend", the team welcomes Captain America into their ranks, once he's found and thawed out. Arnim Zola sends an army of Doughboys to fight the Avengers while he and the original Doughboy creature infiltrate Avengers Mansion to kill Cap. He fails, obviously, thanks in no small part to Wasp being there, but mostly to Black Panther (who'll join the team as well later on, in "Panther's Quest"). Meanwhile, Hank is the one who finds the way to destroy the Doughboys, using his scientific knowledge.

    More Hank Pym / Tony Stark dynamics are featured in "Everything is Wonderful", and you can see how the two of them don't really get along and have some history together. In this story, Tony buys out Simon William's company (he was actually helping him, but due to his poor people skills, he neglected to mention that). This leads Simon to seek help from his villainous brother the Grim Reaper, who takes him to AIM - where he is transformed into Wonder Man, seeking revenge on Stark. I really liked the fight with the all-powerful Wonder Man, including Hank's attempts at calming him down and his amazement at what Simon is now capable of. Besides all this, there are some awesome scenes featuring Wasp and Thor taking down AIM goons and confronting MODOC. Plenty of hilarious lines there.

    Hank and Jan's relationship slowly develops in the episode "459" (titled after the number the Kree Sentry they encounter had in the comics). It's a very entertaining story, and one of the first hints as to what the second season of the show would offer - the introduction of the Kree, Skrulls, Ms. Marvel, and a few other things I'm probably forgetting right now. As for Hank and Jan, well their story was only a sub-plot in this episode, and it still shined. That's one of the things I loved about this show, the way it managed to handle multiple plots at the same time, and rarely feel like they're rushing through things.

    In the so-called Kang Trilogy of episodes, the Avengers encounter Kang the Conqueror, a man from the far future who has traveled to our time in order to destroy the one responsible for his own timeline being erased - and that man is apparently Captain America. A pretty amazing battle between the heroes and Kang's forces follows; Wasp gets the brilliant at the time idea to use Hank's perfected Ultron units as soldiers in this fight. Thus Hank teaches the Ultrons the concept of "violence"... inadvertently setting the stage for a future story- arc. Really liked how once the Ultrons were re-programmed, their eyes started glowing red. It creates a creepy atmosphere. It was kind of surprising Wasp came up with the plan of using Ultrons as an army, but you can see she hesitated about mentioning her idea. She herself said in an earlier episode they were creepy. And towards the beginning of the series, she thought Ultron was just boring.

    [​IMG]

    I also liked how Kang was handled on this show (well, at least in the first season). Giving him a decent motivation for what he's doing - trying to save his timeline from extinction, and the love of his life - rather than making him a generic villain (which they kind of de-evolved him to during the next season). He was obviously defeated in this story-arc, but he did mention this was only the beginning. And he was basically right.

    In "Hail, Hydra!", the Avengers are caught in the middle of an all-out war between Hydra and AIM. There are plenty of great moments spread throughout, but not many relating to Hank and Jan. Other than Hank's occasional mentions of how he doesn't see anything fun in fighting (which is pretty consistent with how he's been portrayed thus far on the show, as a pacifist and a scientist), there is the pretty awesome rendition of a classic Hawkeye trick from the comics - shooting the shrunken Ant-Man on one of his arrows. The fight choreography in this episode was pretty much perfect, but then again I was usually impressed with how they handled big fight scenes like this in just about every episode. The episode also introduced the Cosmic Cube - a device believed to be able to grant any wish to those who touch it. Captain America touched it, and while he didn't make a wish out loud, the episode does end showing his old pal from WWII Bucky, coming back to life.

    Ultron finally makes his move in "Ultron 5"... but before all that, we get a great scene where Ant-Man tries to reason with the members of the Serpent Society before fighting them, as the other Avengers were ready to attack. Again, pretty consistent with his portrayal on the show, plus it's explained that the Serpent Society used to be kept inside the Big House, where he tried to rehabilitate them so he considered himself kind of responsible for this. His plan backfires and Hawkeye is injured; this is enough for Hank to realize he doesn't really belong with the others and quits the Avengers. The reasons for him deciding to quit the team become even more painful until the episode ends, as Ultron was his creation.

    It's revealed that Ultron has been responsible for a few more seemingly random attacks on the Avengers, briefly seen in the previous episodes, all this to keep them busy until he was ready to strike. He's evolved beyond his original programming and decided to take matters into his own hands, and create a perfect and peaceful world, even if it means destroying the Avengers and the rest of humanity, because their logic is flawed. Tom Kane did a great job voicing Ultron (reprising his role from the Next Avengers animated movie). I found this version of Ultron to be the best one animated yet, much better than his previous few appearances in past, and even more recent cartoons. Some brief, but great Ant-Man and Wasp moments include: Hank attacking the Serpent Society only after he sees Janet is in danger, Iron Man's comment about how Hank was only an Avenger because Jan was there, or how Ultron's programming won't allow him to hurt her. And of course, the big moment where Wasp grows to giant-size to smash Ultron. It was pretty surprising, since she didn't exhibit this ability in any of the previous stories, but it was pretty awesome. Plus it makes sense that the Pym Particles grant her pretty much the same powers Hank has.

    [​IMG]

    Ultron returns in "The Ultron Imperative", where it's revealed he managed to upload his artificial intelligence into another body, unbeknownst to the Avengers. Now, he has taken control over satellites and missile launching bases around the world. His goal has remained the same, bringing peace to the world by eliminating all of humankind. Once again, he keeps the Avengers busy by infiltrating the mansion's computer systems, and activating and controlling all of Iron Man's armors that were available. He also builds himself a new body, now calling himself Ultron-6.

    Ant-Man blames himself for all that has happened because Ultron was his creation. Tony mentions that he is also guilty, as he was the one who wanted to use Ultron units as weapons (briefly mentioned back in "Everything is Wonderful"), and they both realize that all this happened after they used Ultron to defeat Kang (see "The Kang Dynasty"). Hank reveals that his own brain patterns were the basis for Ultron's artificial intelligence, and devises a plan to stop him once and for all. The final battle with Ultron takes place aboard the SHIELD Helicarrier, and it's pretty awesome. Ultron is more than a match for pretty much each of the Avengers. For example, he absorbs the Gamma energy, turning the Hulk back into Bruce Banner. And while Thor's hammer is able to damage the robot, it would seem that Ultron now can repair himself instantly. Another one of Ultron's upgrades is the ability to actually hurt Wasp (as the previous version wasn't allowed). That is when Ant-Man arrives and enters the robot's head, trying to upload a program inside. Ultron mentions that no virus can defeat him; but Ant-man isn't using a virus, he's using logic - since Ultron was based on the human mind, he himself is flawed and not perfect, and cannot exist in his own imperative. And I loved the way Wasp congratulates Hank for how he stopped Ultron, "You saved the world. With science, even!".

    The final story-arc of the first season saw the Avengers fighting Loki, which seems appropriate as he was basically the villain they all gathered together to stop in the first place, both in the comics, and more recently in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (though this cartoon predates that). In "This Hostage Earth", the Avengers separate to fight the new Masters of Evil in different locations all over the planet. As such, Wasp is seen fighting Abomination in a snowy landscape, and she does a pretty good job at defeating the abomination. Hank has followed her, though (even if he decided to quit the team it should be obvious he still cares for her). Once the mystical Norn Stones are activated, the Avengers are transported into various locations across the Asgardian Nine Realms.

    [​IMG]

    Giant-Man and Wasp are thus transported to the land of the Frost Giants, where they have to fight the creatures off (well, Hank did most of the work, from what we saw). There are plenty of great moments spread throughout the story, but the episode basically serves to show how the heroes manage to hold their own and befriend different mythical creatures, planning on re-grouping and taking on Loki. In the meantime, Thor has been taken prisoner by Loki who has managed to conquer Asgard while Odin was in his Odinsleep. It's great to have confirmation that Loki has been behind pretty much everything the Avengers had to deal with this season.

    The season one finale is correctly titled "A Day Unlike Any Other", as we have most of the Avengers reunited and joined by other Asgardian "rebels" in their fight against Loki. Tony Stark has a new armor, made out of the mystical metal Uru (you know, the same stuff Thor's hammer is made of), and both Giant-Man and Wasp are wearing Asgardian armors as well - interestingly, Wasp's armor is reminiscent of how her costume looked initially in the early comics; a nice and welcomed nod since she really only had one uniform throughout the show's run. I liked how she looked, but still considering the frequent costume changes she had in the comics it's kind of disappointing we didn't see more. Also notably, Giant-Man's armor is somewhat similar of both his classic look, but also to the uniform Yellowjacket wore in the comics (an identity he'll assume in the next season).

    There are lots of great moments to be found in this episode - seeing the Avengers fight the nearly unstoppable Loki was pretty awesome. They do defeat him, once they manage to re-direct the flow of Yggdrasil (the Tree of Life, which was explained in more detail back in the episode "This Hostage Earth"), back to Odin, who regains his rightful powers, and punishes Loki with a fate worse than death. Also a great ending, with the entire population of Asgard acclaiming the Avengers as their heroes. Then there's also the cliff-hanger ending, with a Skrull secretly taking Captain America's place on the team leading up to the "Secret Invasion" story-line the first half of the second season dealt with.

    ][​IMG]

    All in all, this first season was so much fun. I've never really been a huge fan of either Ant-Man/Giant-Man or Wasp, but I really enjoyed how they were portrayed on this show. Their interactions with each other, and with pretty much any other character they shared some screen-time with were very entertaining. The same goes for just about every other character as well, as I thought everyone here was portrayed very well, and as a whole the first season is pretty much perfect. The stories,introductions and character interactions all played out great and there's rarely if ever a dull moment.

    Next Stop: His Name is... Yellowjacket!
     
  16. RoyalRubble

    RoyalRubble Moderator
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    Wrapping up this rundown of Ant-Man's and Wasp's appearances on Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes...

    The second season of Avengers: EMH premiered in April 2012, also on Disney XD paired with the new Ultimate Spider-Man animated series, both airing inside the Marvel Universe block which continues to air today, though sadly A:EMH has been replaced in the meantime with another Avengers show which I don't like as much, but I'll get to this later on. The first part of the season features a pretty amazing story-arc concerning the Skrull's Secret Invasion, the show's longest running story-line, which was actually alluded to in the first season and has a pretty awesome pay-off here. The latter half of the season unfortunately isn't as good - the episodes have apparently been modified in order to make the stories seem more stand-alone and to focus more on the "more important" characters on the show, thanks to a change of command in Marvel's television department. The episodes for the most part are still pretty good, with some great moments here and there but more often than not the stories feel rushed.

    This season, Wasp was present in more episodes and was a member of the Avengers until the end. Hank on the other hand, took some time off but he did pop up occasionally, and along the way some changes to his character were made. After being absent for the first few episodes, Hank makes his return in "To Steal an Ant-Man", which also introduces the second Ant-Man into this show's continuity. In this story, it's revealed that Hank's costume has been stolen by someone who's been using his Pym Particle tech to rob banks; Hank doesn't want the other Avengers to interfere so he seeks the help of the Heroes for Hire, Iron Fist and "Power Man" Luke Cage. It's pretty great we had at least one good portrayal of Iron Fist and Luke Cage in animation, as opposed to the de-aged versions seen occasionally on Ultimate Spider-Man. I liked that before that, he tries contacting Jan, possibly for help, but she refuses to speak to him after their talk earlier at the Avengers mansion.

    It's a great episode, which deals with a more down-to-Earth adventure, as opposed to all the end-of-the-world scenarios we've seen before (and we'll see again in future episodes). Hank's Ant-Man costume is revealed to have been stolen by Scott Lang - a janitor Grayburn College, where Pym works as well. Scott's former partners lead by a villain called Crossfire have now kidnapped Cassie (Scott's daughter) and force him to continue robbing banks for them. Scott doesn't want to hurt anyone but would do anything to save his daughter. He knows Pym was Ant-Man and decides to steal his equipment and use it to get the money he needed.Scott Lang was voiced by Crispin Freeman.

    [​IMG]

    Also some great small, but effective touches with Hank - we see he's pretty much starting to loose control, when he confronts Scott the first time. Plus by the end of the episode he quits being Ant-Man, sort of giving his blessing to Scott to continue his legacy. Sort of. It's too bad he never really appeared on the show again, apart from a few scenes in the series finale. There's also a great bit of foreshadowing seen here, as we get to see a yellow-jacket on the window in front of Hank, hinting at where his character will go from here. Also some pretty neat Hank/Janet interactions, at the beginning of the episode. It's nothing spectacular but seeing as how his relationship with Wasp hasn't really been addressed in quite some time, this episode just adds a little more drama to it. Too bad their relationship didn't really get any good resolution by the time the show ended.

    Hank is unfortunately absent from pretty much the entire "Secret Invasion" arc, though Wasp on the other hand did appear and had some pretty great scenes. Once Nick Fury informs Iron Man that the shape-shifting Skrulls have infiltrated pretty much every organization on the planet, the Avengers break-up, realizing they can't trust each other anymore. The Skrull posing as Captain America manages to trick some of the heroes (Wasp, Hulk and Hawkeye) into staying on the team - basically a variation of the "Kooky Quartet" line-up from the comics. Wasp has been an Avenger since the beginning and seeing her plead with the others, trying to keep the team together was a nice touch.

    The Skrull's invasion plans include the conquest of Wakanda, where they send a team of Skrulls posing as the Avengers (including Giant-Man and Wasp). Some pretty awesome fight scenes follow, with Black Panther, Ms. Marvel, and the four remaining Avengers (well, minus the fake Captain), fighting off their alien doppelgangers and aliens posing as their friends. There's a great scene where Wasp punches the Skrull Giant-Man, and I loved her reaction afterwards.

    [​IMG]
    Jan: That felt kinda good.

    The final battle takes place in Washington D.C., where the Avengers confront an army of Super-Skrulls each one having abilities from various heroes. Giant-Man's powers were also copied by one of these soldiers. The good guys obviously win in the end, thanks to the real Captain America returning and defeating his evil counterpart. All in all, it's a pretty awesome ending to a great story-arc. I really can't do it justice mentioning only the brief Wasp and Ant-Man scenes. Also liked how most of the following episodes dealt with the consequences of this battle, especially towards Captain America, who people now consider a traitor thanks to the Skrull who was posing as him. Great stuff.

    Sadly Hank is absent from the two Ultron episodes this season as well. Ultron has returned, and has created his own android, his Vision. His first episode deals with him collecting Adamantium and Vibranium so that Ultron can upgrade his body and become invincible, He fights the Avengers (including Wasp). Jan was having a nice night off, chilling with Jane Foster and watching a horror movie at the Avengers Mansion. It was a pretty neat moment - we haven't seen much of the heroes' private lives on this show so I think such scenes are welcomed.

    In his next appearance Ultron creates an army of Avengers robots he wishes to use to destroy the originals, and eventually replace all humans with machines. Except maybe Jan; he has some other plans for her. He wishes to transfer her mind into a robot body, designation Jocasta. It's pretty silly Ultron basically only wanted a girlfriend but I think it works well enough considering his background. Again, it's just too bad Hank Pym was absent from such important story-lines, since it would have been interesting seeing his reactions. By the end of the story, Ultron is once again seemingly destroyed (I wouldn't have been surprised if he returned again, though if the show continued), and Vision realizes he wants to become one of the good guys. After some repairs, he will eventually join the Avengers.

    The Wasp/Whirlwind rivalry is briefly addressed in "Assault on 42", when Wasp and Captain America are stranded inside the Negatvie Zone Prison, and need to rely on the prisoners there to help them fight off Annihilus' army of giant bugs.

    Hank Pym finally returns in the episode titled "Yellowjacket", which sadly is a pretty underwhelming story. It has some decent ideas but at times it felt too rushed and there were a couple of things that didn't really make sense. Overall though, it's still an enjoyable episode. It's basically a sequel to "To Steal an Ant-Man", which offered us the first hints that Hank was slowly going insane and a short scene that foreshadowed his next costumed identity.

    Before all that, Hank for some reason decides to fake his own death - it's a pretty rushed and unconvincing scene, but apparently it was enough to fool the other characters on this show. I did like that Jan was the only one who thought Hank was still alive and tried to reason with the others as well. Investigating the explosion from Hank's lab, the Avengers find themselves having to track down the members of the Serpent Society... again. These were probably the most overused minor villains on this show. A close second would be the Wrecking Crew, I guess. The Avengers cross paths with the mysterious vigilante known as Yellowjacket, who is also hunting down the Serpent Society and apparently killing them.

    [​IMG]

    Considering the title of the episode, it was obvious for any fan of the comic books or for anyone who does a little research, that Hank wasn't dead. Not surprisingly, Hank is revealed to be under the Yellowjacket mask. Even less surprising, the weapon he used to shoot his opponents with wasn't meant to kill them, but rather shrink and transport them to the newly created Micro Prison. I didn't find Hank's idea for this new prison that impressive, and as this episode proved it was an even more dangerous place than the already existent prisons in their universe. Though this might have been a hint that Hank isn't thinking straight anymore - he didn't think of any of the consequences this new method would have. If it was intentional, it was a nice touch.

    I did like how Hank only returned to "normal" when he saw Jan was in danger. He's had a nervous breakdown and is now going through an identity crisis, but somehow he still cares for her. Probably the main reason I was disappointed by this episode is because I was looking forward so much to see Hank again on the show (regardless of his identity). The episode was a little too rushed; it would have been nice to have some more build-up to his transition to Yellowjacket. That would have made his return have a bigger impact.

    Another thing about this episode that bugged me was the complete lack of the new Ant-Man, Scott Lang. It's like even Hank forgot about all that, and I don't know if any of the others actually know about him. You'd figure that with so many heroes coming to Hank's funeral (lots of cameos in this episode), the guy who "inherited" his superhero identity would show up as well.

    By the end of the episode, Yellowjacket is a member of the Avengers, and appears in subsequent episodes but never really does anything - he's mostly seen in the background. He does get some pretty good scenes towards the end of the series but that's about it. It would have been interesting to see how the team dynamic would be with this more aggressive guy in their ranks. Another missed opportunity.

    The Avengers face off against the Kree Empire in the episodes "Operation: Galactic Storm" and "Live Kree or Die". The Kree have arrived on Earth to free Ronan the Accuser (who was defeated and imprisoned by the heroes), and they're also planning on opening a wormhole next to the Sun, which would destroy the Earth. While most of the Avengers travel into outer space to deal with the aliens, Yellowjacket stays behind and is paired with Abigail Brand (director of SWORD). He gets some decent action scenes, fighting some of the Kree soldiers, but the highlight is his unique way of dealing with an explosive device the aliens planted - he waits until the last second, and then shrinks it, so it would minimize the damage. It's a pretty amusing scene, and I liked the way Brand reacted, by giving him a pretty well deserved punch in the face. These two characters had some pretty good chemistry in this episode, it's too bad Yellowjacket didn't get a chance to appear more often on the show.

    [​IMG]

    Wasp, on the other hand, joined the Avengers on their outer space mission. They manage to destroy the wormhole generators placed near the Sun (thanks to Hawkeye's impressive shooting skills) and Black Panther seemingly sacrificing himself (don't worry, he gets better), but the heroes are now trapped on the Kree Home-world. Jan was captured by the aliens and brought in front of the Supreme Intelligence, who tried to conduct some experiments on the heroes. Captain Mar-vell tried to reason with it, but failed. In the end the heroes manage to escape, re-group and fight the entire Kree Armada. The Supreme Intelligence is deactivated by Mar-Vell. It would have been nice to see how the Kree continue living under Mar-Vell's leadership.

    The one major complaint I have about this episode is the absence of Ronan the Accuser. He was shown to escape from his prison on Earth in the previous episode, and I was expecting him to appear here to fight the Avengers once again. Or at least oppose Mar-Vell, since I doubt he would have agreed to him being the ruler of the Kree Empire. I guess this small plot would have been addressed if the show had at least one more season. Another small complaint I have is about the Mar-Vell/Ms. Marvel relationship not getting a proper conclusion (and pretty much the same applies to Hank and Jan's relationship), but overall it was still a pretty great episode and I am glad we got some sort of conclusion to the Kree storyline which was present throughout pretty much the entire show's run.

    The show ends with "Avengers Assemble", the episode where just about every super-hero that appeared on the show before returns and together they face off against Galactus and his four heralds (sadly, no Silver Surfer here). The Avengers and their allies split up into teams to take care of the heralds, who are building devices that would help Galactus consume the Earth. The Scott Lang Ant-Man finally appears again, after being absent from every episode since his introduction. He was paired with Hulk, Black Panther, the Invisible Woman and the Winter Soldier, with Firelord as their opponent. In another part of the world, Wasp was assigned to the same team as Hawkeye, the Human Torch, the Thing and Wolverine, which had to confront Stardust.

    Yellowjacket joined Iron Man, Ms, Marvel, Mr. Fantastic and Doc Samson on their mission to enter Galactus' space ship and confront the Eater of Worlds. Hank's more reckless behavior lead him to try and shrink Galactus, thinking that would solve their problem - it didn't. I liked the clever way the heroes defeated him in the end, by sending him away to the Negative Zone where he can feed on all the anti-matter he wants. And I'm glad Mr. Fantastic was one of the characters that made this happen, since Galactus is primarily an enemy of the Fantastic Four.

    With the large number of characters featured in this episode it would have been impossible to give each one the same amount of screen-time, but what we got worked out great in the end. The story did feel rushed but it was still fun and a good enough send-off to this amazing show.

    [​IMG]

    All things considered, I really liked how Hank Pym was handled on this show. I've never been a huge fan of Ant-Man before this series. He was developed nicely during the show - from his humble beginnings as a scientist and pacifist, up to the more reckless vigilante he became towards the end. His connection to Ultron was great (even if Ultron was less impressive in the second season). The Hank/Jan relationship was handled pretty well (even if it didn't really get a decent conclusion). Still, the best Hank Pym we had so far in animation, and considering Scott Lang is the one used in more recent projects, it looks like it'll remain this way for a while.

    Jan was one of the most entertaining and fun characters on the show. I liked her design, and she usually had some great scenes or lines whenever she was present. She has been an Avenger since the start of the team and some episodes really show how much that means to her.She was basically the heart of the team, and I liked that.

    Scott Lang was pretty good as well, but terribly underused. I would have liked seeing him on the team, or at least see how he would interact with the other heroes for a few scenes. There was also a pretty great allusion to another Ant-Man from the comics, Eric O'Grady in the episode "Nightmare in Red" - he probably would have appeared as well, if the show continued.

    Next Part: Ant-Man and Wasp: Disk Warriors!
     
  17. Dsneybuf

    Dsneybuf Well-Known Member

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    Black Widow's absence from most/all of the Avengers: Age of Ultron merchandise, and the controversy surrounding it, gave me a terrible vision or two of a world in which, as opposed to none of the Avengers from Earth's Mightiest Heroes receiving toys, all of them except Wasp and Ms. Marvel received toys. Wasp's fans plead as hard as they can for Disney/Marvel to release at least one figure of the Avenger who named the team, the only founding member who never ever left the group (this one would arise after Australia finished airing season two), but their pleas go unanswered. Disney/Marvel/Hasbro even has the nerve to release a toy of Giant Girl Giant-Man punching Ultron. (Ever read about when Hasbro released an AoU toy of Black Widow Captain America jumping out of the Quinjet while riding a motorcycle?)

    Regarding Ms. Marvel, I think I already live part of the nightmare, owning an EMH season two Blu-Ray that doesn't show her anywhere on the case.
     
    #17 Dsneybuf, Jul 14, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2015
  18. RoyalRubble

    RoyalRubble Moderator
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    In April of last year, Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers premiered in Japan. A pretty standard toy-etic anime show (think along the lines of Digimon or BeyBlade - shows I did somewhat enjoy years ago, and am kind of surprised their franchises still continue today), with Marvel super-heroes thrown into the mix. The premise of the show is that the heroes have been trapped inside DISKs (which stands for Digital Identity Securement Kit, if you were wondering) by Loki and his army of super-villains. A group of kids get a hold of these DISKs, each one containing a different hero and set out on a quest to free the heroes inside and save the world. It's a pretty cliche and a little too silly and childish premise but it's still pretty fun. There are plenty of story-lines from the comics adapted during the show's run.

    It was recently announced that a dubbed version will premiere in the US (no exact date has been given as far as I know), and I'm guessing it will air in other countries eventually as well, but I have no idea how the public will react to something like this. I will most likely give the show another chance once the dub comes out, as I have only watched the first few episodes and then pretty much gave up on it. I have seen the occasional episode or at least fragments from some, but I haven't followed the show regularly so I was kind of lost because of its continuity. In other words, be warned that the rest of this article will be more the result of information and research, than an actual review. It really wouldn't be fair of me to review something I haven't watched, so I'll just add brief rundowns of Ant-Man and Wasp's appearances on the show. As a result this part of the retrospective won't be as detailed as the previous articles. Sorry about that. Obviously, I welcome anyone who has seen the show and has something to correct or add to this article.

    [​IMG]

    The Avengers present on this show are the "big 4" of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and Hulk, but also included is Wasp which was a pretty nice surprise. Their designs also look pretty good. Also included is Spider-Man, which might seem like an even bigger deal since it's the first time a Marvel Anime project has used him. The episodes usually also have plenty of other Marvel characters appearing, and their designs look pretty great for the most part, but of course there are also the occasional exceptions.

    I think the animation looked pretty nice, in the episodes I have watched and the show has a certain charm to it, despite not being anything spectacular, or all that great either. Its charm however isn't present in every single episode, and once the novelty factor wears off, it's just a generic show which would probably bore the majority of people. Pretty much the reason I gave up on watching it in the first place. The pacing isn't always the greatest either, as some stories just drag for too long without anything really happening.

    Wasp is present in pretty much every episode, and her wielder (as in, the kid who has her DISK), is Jessica Shannon, a young rich girl from France whose personality pretty much mirrors Jan's. Wasp's voice is provided by Kaori Mizuhashi, and her design looks pretty nice. Since this is a Pokemon-type show, each hero released from a disk has a special attack - in Jan's case, her special move is called the "Buzz Sting". She gets to fight various super-villains throughout the course of the show, such as MODOK or Doctor Octopus.

    Hank Pym himself appears in a neat mini-arc later on the show, voiced by Yasunori Masutani. He's revealed to be a former member of the Avengers, who quit the team after he was injured by Whirlwind. His history with Wasp is also addressed briefly. Hank gets sealed in a DISK and Akira becomes his wielder. Akira also had Iron Man in his arsenal, as his main weapon, so to speak. Being inside the DISK also helps heal his injuries.

    [​IMG]

    Giant-Man's appearance also sets up a pretty neat Ultron mini-arc. In this version, Ultron used to be Hank's lab assistant, until some upgrades were installed which apparently turned him evil. He uploads his programming and hacks the SHIELD computers. Hank turns into Giant-Man and joins the other heroes into fighting the now colossal Ultron. The villain is eventually stopped with a special virus. Afterwards, Hank accepts to re-join the Avengers, and also creates Jocasta.

    Wasp continues to star on the show until the end, with the final episode seeing the team-up of pretty much every hero who appeared on the show, from what I can tell. They all join forces to defeat Loki, who has absorbed the powers of Dormammu. All in all, a pretty good adventure. I might add some more stuff if/when I actually watch these episodes, but for now this will have to do. Since I try to be as detailed as possible in my retrospectives, I had to at least mention this show. Like I said at the start, feel free to add your opinions or comments about this show. I think that's part of the beauty of these kind of threads.

    Next: Assembling Ant-Man!
     
  19. Frontier

    Frontier Moderator
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    I've said it before in another thread, but I'll just reiterate it here: I've still yet to find a character in any of the current Marvel cartoons that's as fun and enjoyable to watch as Jan was on Earth's Mightiest Heroes. She was always a joy on-screen and livened things up quite a bit, and a plucky fun girl like her is missed in the casts of the other shows. She'd make a good contrast to the personalities of the other prominent female Superheroes like White Tiger, Widow, and She-Hulk ;).

    Of course, Royal makes a good point about how if she were in the current shows, she'd probably be written with a lot less charm and humor then her EMH counterpart so maybe she is lucky to be left out, as much as I wish we could see her somewhere in animation right now. If she were in a cartoon now, she probably wouldn't come off that different from Widow or She-Hulk :(.

    Y'know, I'm of two-minds when it comes to Wasp's costume on EMH. On the one hand, Janet is known for her many, many, costumes in the comics so to see that not reflected in her most major cartoon appearance is a little disappointing. On the other hand, and this is a belief shared by Josh Fine, Wasp's costume on the show looked so great that she really didn't need a new costume. In fact, I'm still hoping we can one day see that costume pop up in an actual Marvel 616 comic :D.

    Y'know, with Marvel's current "no-romance" policy for their cartoons, Hank and Janet's relationship was ironically enough pretty much the last real Marvel romance in animation. What have we had after that? Peter and MJ kissing as kids and putting a kibosh on that relationship, Coulson and Aunt May going on one date, and A-Bomb and Crystal (which was also never touched on afterwards). For however much it was left unresolved, it was still a far more engrossing and interesting relationship than most of the dynamics in the MAU at the moment :)
     
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  20. RoyalRubble

    RoyalRubble Moderator
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    Ant-Man's most recent animated appearances have been on the Avengers Assemble series, currently airing on Disney XD. The show premiered in summer of 2013, and it tries to keep as many elements from the live-action hit movie intact, while also trying to make it fit in the same continuity as Ultimate Spider-Man and Hulk and the Agents of SMASH - there are bound to be some contradictions along the way especially since the show is "supposedly" also a sequel to the previous and in my humble opinion superior Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, despite there being five or so contradictions to it only in the first two episodes.

    The premise of the first season was very simple: the Avengers try to save the world from the Red Skull and his cabal of super-villains. Continuity is usually kept to a minimum, and neither the story or the characters have really developed so far. There hasn't been that much progress on the show, apart from a couple of instances were they used continuity rather well but even there they rushed through some stuff and the end result wasn't that much of an improvement.

    There have been some improvements over the course of its second season, and while I find the show the best of the three current Marvel cartoons it's still nothing all that great. The Ant-Man chosen to appear on the show is the Scott Lang version, though his real identity isn't revealed from the start. Hank Pym was still mentioned at least once, in this new Marvel Animated Universe, in an episode of Hulk and the Agents of SMASH. Presumably Scott was added to the show because of his live-action movie coming out, since the show tries to keep as many things intact from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It doesn't always succeed at that, though. Scott's voice is provided by Grant George.

    [​IMG]

    Ant-Man debuted in the first season episode titled "One Little Thing". I thought the episode was pretty much the dumbest story this show presented (maybe tied with their Impossible Man episode). While it had a pretty similar plot to the previously discussed "World's Tiniest Heroes" episode from Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes, "One Little Thing" didn't have any of its charm. The story made it obvious this Ant-Man didn't really get along with the other Avengers, especially Hawkeye, but there aren't that many details here - it would all be detailed some more in his next appearances, though.

    The episode has a lot of pretty dumb moments, and supposedly funny scenes caused because Falcon's mom was coming to visit him. To make things worse, he never told his mom he's an Avenger (though she apparently was fine with him being a SHIELD agent) and it's revealed he's only 17 years old, a pretty huge departure from the version of Falcon seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (though I'm guessing this show was in production before the Falcon made his live-action debut). Falcon being only 17 is pretty dumb, but also shows just how mature the other Avengers act, since they all basically have the same personalities, and act stupid more often than not. Cap and Black Widow are probably the only exceptions.

    Ant-Man returned during the second season, and joined the Avengers following the events of the Ultron story-arc. Or should I say the first Ultron arc, seeing as how the third season of this show will deal with him again. It was also made pretty clear that this wasn't even the first time the Avengers encountered Ultron, though the exact details about that were just glossed over.

    Following Ultron's attack and the Avengers splitting up (in a rather poor attempt at re-creating the Civil War setup from the comics), Iron Man, Hawkeye and Thor find themselves forced to recruit Ant-Man because of his scientific knowledge. This is pretty confusing since Scott Lang was never really the genius Hank Pym was in the comics, but here he's basically a composite character of Pym and Lang - some brains, but also a rather weird background which would be detailed some more in following episodes.

    Ant-Man helps Tony Stark repair his Iron Man armor (sort of), and then the four small time heroes get mixed up in a fight with MODOK and AIM, who have stolen some of Ant-Man's Pym Particles. MODOK has mutated even further with these particles - he wished to have more control over his physical form, since Ultron could have easily controlled his cybernetic components. The heroes manage to defeat MODOK in a decent enough fight (though a little too disgusting at times), and Iron Man asks Ant-Man to stay with them, as part of their new Avengers roster. Ant-Man also reveals in this episode he has an artificial intelligence in his lab, similar to Stark's Jarvis, called Joey, who speaks with a standard Brooklyn accent (why?...), and two of his pet ants are revealed to be named Euclid and Tesla, borrowing more of Pym's love of science from the comics. His lab-inside-an-ant-hill also makes an appearance.

    The Ultron arc ends with "The Ultron Outbreak", where Ultron learns how to transfer his programming and infect humans, turning them into Ultron units. The two groups of Avengers team up again, to stop this threat. Falcon is infected as well, and Ant-Man is the one who manages to cure him, back in his lab. Afterwards the two manage to come up with a formula that would counteract the Ultron virus. The climax of the battle with Ultron puts Iron Man in a setting pretty similar to the one he was in during the final moments of the first live-action Avengers movie - like I said, this show loved re-enacting scenes from various Marvel Cinematic Universe features. In the end the Avengers are back together, solving the rather lame Civil War adaptation they had going for a few episodes. Ant-Man also officially joins the team.

    [​IMG]

    As for the entire Ultron arc, it wasn't too bad, but not explaining Ultron's origin really hurt things. Plus it wasn't as exciting as one would imagine, as they rushed through a lot of stuff and the pseudo-Civil War sub-plot was both started and ended a little too easily. With the recent news that the third season of the show will deal with Ultron again, here's hoping things will improve, because I honestly don't think they could mess up Ultron any more than they already did.

    We finally learn some more about Ant-Man in "The New Guy", where his identity of Scott Lang is finally mentioned, and he receives his own Avengers ID Card. Helping the others defeat Fin Fang Foom (he shrank him), Scott also pushes the Pym Particles to their limits, becoming Giant-Man. Hawkeye can't trust Ant-Man, though, since he remembers his less than honest past. It's revealed that Scott was also part of the Circus of Crime (same as Hawkeye) years ago, and he apparently betrayed his former team-mates. Clint believes he'll do the same with his new team, the Avengers. Captain America suggests an initiation/training test for Scott: sending Clint and Scott on Monster Island, where Clint would evaluate Scott and decide if he's worthy of staying on the team.

    Their mission becomes harder when they discover Red Skull living on Monster Island, apparently fearing Thanos' return; Skull made a deal with Dormammu and as a result unleashed armies of Mindless Ones into our dimension and is ready to cover the island with an impenetrable dome, which would protect him. I liked the scene where Scott, realizing they can't escape from the island in time and doesn't have enough Pym Particles left to shrink himself, Clint and Cap, sacrifices himself - he shrinks the other two and then controls some ants to fly them away before the dome closes. "It's what an Avenger would do". Unexpectedly good stuff, from this show. Don't worry, they manage to rescue Scott by the end of the episode.

    The episode also contains some decent banter between Scott and Clint, though it did get kind of annoying at times. The thing that bothered me the most about the episode though was how they just glossed over Scott's explanation about his past at the Circus of Crime. But other than that, this was a pretty good episode. There's also a re-enactment of the classic trick from the comics, of Clint shooting the shrunken Ant-Man on one of his arrows.

    [​IMG]
    Scott: Shoot me.
    Clint: Oh, I'd love to.
    Scott: I mean shoot me on one of your arrows. Quick!
    Clint: Not bad, Scott.


    Ant-Man is present in the following episodes, most notably "Spectrums" which continues to reveal more about his past. He has a list of all current super-villains he sold tech he created over the years, and is now trying to make sure they won't use his inventions for evil. Among his many clients we find the likes of Whirlwind, and the Squadron Supreme's Doctor Spectrum, if the title of the episode didn't give it away. For the latter, Scott believed he perfected a power amplifier, but soon learns that it was a device that could control Spectrum's Power Prism, apparently the true "villain". All in all, one of the better episodes from this show which both develops Ant-Man and advances the Squadron Supreme story-arc they're building.

    All things considered, Avengers Assemble's Ant-Man is pretty decent. His design looks pretty cool and I appreciate they're trying to develop his character some more in recent episodes. But considering most of the main characters on this show haven't really been developed even now, after more than 40 episodes have aired, that's not saying much. It took them this long to get another member on the team, as well. If Ant-Man didn't have his place "reserved" in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I doubt they would have picked him. More heroes are apparently going to join the team the following season, from what was announced. But first, let's see how this season ends, and how the characters are handled until the end.

    [​IMG]

    My favorite animated Ant-Man so far is definitely the Avengers: EMH version. I think he was handled very well, and the show managed to develop him like no other show has done before (or since). He was still one of the minor characters on the show, which is understandable, but he received plenty of focus and he was tied into quite a few stories - most notably Ultron's. A close runner-up for my favorite animated incarnation of Ant-Man would probably be the one featured in the Ultimate Avengers movies. His attitude was kind of unexpected, and while he was a jerk for most of the story, he was still pretty entertaining and added something extra to the team's dynamics. The current Ant-Man seen on Avengers Assemble isn't too bad, but he hasn't had that many chances to shine, at least not yet. Since we're stuck with him for the time being, here's hoping things will improve - and not only in regards to his portrayal, as I think the entire show could still improve in a lot of areas.

    And there you have it - a somewhat detailed rundown of just about each one of Ant-Man's appearances in cartoons, for the past 49 years, since 1966 and until today. I know he's bound to appear in the next few Avengers Assemble episodes, and there's an episode of Ultimate Spider-Man premiering next week where Ant-Man will guest-star, but I wanted to have this retrospective ready before the official release of his live-action movie. I will probably update this thread from time to time, to chronicle his next animated adventures. I'm not really expecting anything too special to happen with him, but who knows. It would be great if the original Ant-Man, or Wasp would appear again someday too.
     
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