And yeah, two Ant-Man episodes this week. We're trying to nip at those sweet sweet Disney marketing dollars like one of those Redbox rip-offs from back when Redbox was a thing.
Some Light Treason
So, Elias Starr was smart. Smart enough to be working for the US government in the 1960s developing atomic weapons. Not smart enough, unfortunately, to not sell Atomic secrets to the highest foreign bidder. He says he's smart enough to not be swayed by patriotism...but there's not being patriotic...and then there's actual treason. Luckily, Elias Starr, AKA Egghead because of his, yes, extremely egg-shaped head, was smart enough not to leave a paper trail, so while he was fired, he wasn't executed.
At the same time, organized crime leaders were having something like a meeting of the five families to try to figure out how to make New York safer...for crime. Ant-Man was making it impossible to do crime, and they didn't spend four years at Crime University to not do crime. Just kidding. They didn't go to four years of Crime University. That's way too expensive. They did a couple semesters at Crime Community College, took a couple night classes at Crime A&M and all those credits transferred, so they could graduate from Crime U.
Anyway, that dead horse sufficiently beaten, the mob bosses were at a loss for how to cut their losses. They needed someone real smart like. This guy was just fired for light treason. That's their guy.
They offer Egghead ten Gs to deal with Ant-Man, and while I kind of laughed at that number, adjusted for inflation $10k in 1960 is $98k in 2023, and he was very unemployable because of, you know, the treason, so he took the job.
Egghead + third-grader life sciences textbook = ant mind control
His plan boiled down to getting the ants to betray Ant-Man. They were obviously under his control. If they could drop him into a trap, that would be it. So, Egghead whipped up an ant communicator after reading a book titled "All About Ants." Which, yeah, speaks to the power of books - even grade school life science books. Stay in school, kids, and even you can go on to commit light treason and learn to talk to insects.
He told the ants all they had to do was drop Ant-Man into a box, and he would free them. He actually did intend on doing it, by the way. Egghead wasn't as into ant slavery as Ant-Man.
Well, it didn't work out. The ants dropped Hank Pym, AKA Ant-Man into the box lined with fly paper, but he slid right out because, of course, he greased himself up before arriving.
Presumably he doesn't do this before every superhero outing, because, you see, the ants didn't betray him. They told him the whole plot. Hank tells us that ants aren't like humans and don't have feelings so they can't be tempted by stuff like joy and freedom. All that sounds like kind of a nice way to justify keeping ants as your permanent servants. Yeah, these living things are basically automatons you can kill them. Do whatever you want it doesn't matter they don't have feelings.
I looked it up and that's...mostly correct. As far as we know, ants don't have complex emotions like love, anger, or empathy. They do go towards things they might find pleasant and away from things they find unpleasant, and they do recognize their own colony and release pheromones when they're in danger. I don't know. Sure, Ant-Man calls the ants he commands his friends, but...are they really your friends if they're incapable of disobeying you?
Regardless, Ant-Man won because, when the mob guys whip out their guns and start shooting bullets at the ant-sized human, the situation has really broken down. The entire mob was arrested because, as we know, all mob bosses show up to all mob hits, but Eggman was smart enough to escape...by bravely hiding in the bushes.
Cracking the Egghead
I don't know what's worse, that the message is that humans are the only ones who will betray their own kind out of jealousy, or that the ants are so thoroughly under Ant-Man's control that they will follow Ant-Man even if it goes against their own self-interest.
Anyway, if you're a mobster looking to off Ant-Man, there has to be an easier way than learning to talk to ants and getting them to betray him. And no, that way of getting Ant-Man is not making an attempt on his life when he's de-powered as Hank Pym or luring him somewhere and flooding it with pesticide or burning it down. The answer is right there in the name. Anteaters.
Yeah, the dude uses ants. Like, how did no one think of this before? Well, because it was a terrible idea. They lured ant man to the zoo to let the animal kingdom do their dirty work for them and, after capturing the wasp, made Ant-Man joust a giant lizard which he quickly skewered because he's the good guy and for some reason didn't just transform back into regular human size.
Anyway, Ant-Man punted an anteater...remember he still has human strength, Egghead's goons were arrested, and Egghead cowered in the shadows to fail another day. Which he has done over the course of his several decade-long-career. Over and over again.
He was a founding member of the Emissaries of Evil and because I've done so much writing for this show lately I can't remember if we have talked about them or will talk about them, but coming up with the name Emissaries of Evil is probably not the honor Egghead thinks it is.
Egghead teamed up with Mad Thinker and Puppet Master which, like, how do you keep a straight face in those meetings, and, with all of his fails, he actually managed to be a formidable enemy for the Avengers for about ten minutes in 1981 when he convinced Ant-Man to give his niece a cybernetic arm to make up for the one that Egghead's actions caused her to lose in a previous issue and...surprise. It was a trap. In an unexpectedly clever move, the arm would blow, killing the niece and Ant-Man if they didn't break into a military base and steal some adamantium. This was, of course, so he could build an army of killer robots. After kidnapping Hank Pym and getting him to build an anti-aging device, Egghead showed that you shouldn't kidnap people to get them to build stuff for you. 1. It's bad, I guess. And 2. If you don't know how to build it, you don't know what they're building.
Hank Pym subdued Egghead and his evil friends because yeah he was building wrist lasers and not an anti-aging machine, and the Avengers stopped by when the very modest suburban basement of Egghead blew up.
Egghead did what all supervillains realize they should do too late, and just took out a gun to shoot Hank Pym, but Hawkeye blocked the barrel with an arrow. Egghead died as he lived - trying, and failing, to kill Ant-Man.
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