Issue(s): Micronauts #42
They've happened to land nearby Janet Van Dyne's estate, and she's throwing a party that an old Henry Pym villain, Dr. Nemesis, intends to exploit. After sneaking past her terrifying butler...
...he shrinks down to "ant" size and enters Janet's living quarters.
Dr. Nemesis, who duplicated Henry Pym's powers in his first appearance, says that he's been practicing extensively. He's here because he's after a new suit that Pym was developing, which was made of "miniaturized adamantium".
However, Bug has been getting telepathic impressions from the Wasp, and when he senses her distress he brings the Micronauts to help her.
In addition to his adamantium suit, Nemesis has the ability to shoot shrinking rays. The Micronauts theorize that the rays might actually send them home. It's not something they want to submit themselves to willingly...
...but Marionette and Bug do get hit by his rays.
Then Rann figures out that the suit's faceplate isn't adamantium, so he punches Nemesis out. Figures that Pym would build in a glass jaw for himself.
Then Acroyear closes in for the final battle, and both he and Nemesis get hit by the shrink rays as well.
Microtron then scans the empty armor and determines that Nemesis' shrinking power wasn't originating from the costume.
Dr. Nemesis has previously gotten his powers by duplicating Henry Pym's cybernetic helmet, and he's shown wearing that helmet in the beginning of this issue, before he finds Pym's adamantium armor. I assume he took it off to get into the armor, which was at "ant" size when he found it. But that leaves the question of how he was able to shrink and grow in the new costume. Nemesis does say that the shrinking rays came from the costume, so it must have had its own shrink-and-grow capabilities as well, but in that case it's not clear why Microtron wasn't able to detect them.
In any event, the suit doesn't work, so the remaining Micronauts are stuck on Earth. We will learn next issue that the rays did send the others home and, for once, the Micronauts will actually stick around for a little while after encountering some Earth heroes, so we'll see the remaining ones conferring with the other Avengers next issues.
Mantlo is using some interesting pieces of Marvel continuity here. I really liked the mental connection between the Wasp and Bug, with the idea being that the Wasp's little used ability to communicate with insects created an inadvertent bond. And the use of her and the shrinking villain Dr. Nemesis is pretty cool. On the one hand, the Micronauts are small and i'd like to see them encounter regular-sized people to highlight that difference. But i also understand the impulse to have them meet up with other small-sized heroes and villains. I really don't like the use of adamantium, though. I get the Pym> Ultron> adamantium connection but it's not like Pym built Ultron out of adamantium; that came later. And i just don't like the overuse of adamantium; to see a fourth-tier villain acquire some, even temporarily, is pretty annoying. And the idea that it can grow and shrink is also troublesome - does that mean Pym could simply shrink Ultron the next time he's a threat?
The Wasp is unfortunately naked or wearing a napkin for a good portion of this issue. You'd think that by now she'd have all of her clothes treated with unstable molecules (Bug's "sproing!" is none-too-subtle, either).
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: I'm placing the Wasp's appearance here, and her appearance with more Avengers next issue, between Avengers #224-225. Avengers #225 is a fill-in story, so it's a good time to place this appearance, which is context free. The Wasp is wearing a different costume than she's using in surrounding Avengers issues, but she does specifically say that it's not time to be picky when she finally gets dressed.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showAcroyear, Bug, Commander Arcturus Rann, Devil (Micronaut), Dr. Nemesis (Pym foe), Marionette, Microtron, Nanotron, Wasp
I believe this is the issue that finally clarified that Jan doesn't need the mechanical devices on her hands anymore to generate her stings. When Jan's powers were upgraded in Marvel Team-Up, it was still implied that Jan needed mechanical devices to generate her stings. But in one issue during the Korvac Saga and issue 213 and 219-220, she was using her sting without wearing any devices on her arms. This caused confusion among readers, and Jan's remark that her sting is part of her might have been intended to explain things to the readers.
Posted by: Michael | July 21, 2013 8:27 PM
Mantlo was such a versatile writer. Of course, Kane was a master.
Posted by: Jack | July 21, 2013 8:40 PM
About where the shrinking rays come from- Pym describes them as "my experimental shrinking beams" when he next fights Nemesis in Solo Avengers 8. That would seem to suggest they came from the costume.
Posted by: Michael | July 27, 2013 2:55 PM
Pym should add shrinking rays to his reppetoire. About the only time I liked him was in "Beyond!", when he had a utility belt filled with miniturized weapons, vehicles, supplies, etc. Seems a much better, and more intersting, use of his powers that just becoming tiny.
Posted by: Berend | February 15, 2014 5:50 PM
I agree. My favorite iteration of Pym was in the latter days of the West Coast Avengers when he started using the miniaturized-tools-in-his-pockets schtick.
Posted by: Erik Robbins | February 16, 2014 12:25 AM
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