Synopsis for “Trapped by the Protector!”
A jeweler named Gerald Marsh staggers to his feet. Outside, the screaming wail of an approaching police car can be heard. The police siren is detected by the tiny antennae of countless ants, dispersed throughout the city and relayed via electronic impulses to the secret laboratory of Henry Pym. Pym dons his Ant-Man costume and triggers his reducing gas, quickly shrinking to ant-size. Using his catapult, he launches himself towards the general area of 523 Elm Street. As the tiny warrior flies over the city, he uses his cybernetic helmet to contact the ants below, causing them to converge on the awing at 523 Elm Street and create a cushion for him to safely land.
As he lands, Ant-Man notices that the police are leaving. Seconds later, he makes his appearance known to Mr. Marsh, who tells him that it was the Protector who beat him up. He explains that the Protector is an inhumanly powerful criminal who has been terrorizing all of the jewelers in town and makes them pay for “Protection.” The Protector came into Marsh’s store that day wanting money. Business had been bad, so Marsh couldn’t pay. The Protector then yanked Marsh over the counter with one hand and then used his Electronic Disintegrating Ray to reduce his jewelry into dust. The Protector then knocked Marsh unconscious before leaving to ensure he would be obeyed. When he recovered, Marsh called the police, but like the other store owners, was too scared to sign a complaint.
As Ant-Man leaves, a large figure observes him through a pair of binoculars. When he reaches the curb, he takes out a lasso of thread and skillfully tosses at the bumper of a passing car and hitches a ride. The shadowy figure observing him muses that he got away, but next time would be different.
Later, back in his laboratory, Henry Pym uses his cybernetic devices to station ants in front of all the jewelry stores in the city and instructs them to respond to verbal stimuli such as the words “Protector” and “Disintegrating Ray”.
For two days, nothing happens. On the third day he receives a message that the Protector is at 600 Harley Avenue extorting money from a jeweler. Ant-Man uses his catapult to launch himself through the air towards Harley Avenue, but finds the street crowded, blocking his path to his cushion of ants. He manages maneuver in mid-air in order to land in a baby carriage.
Safely on the ground, Ant-Man gathers a swarm of ants and rushes into the jewelry store where he finds the Protector attempting to extort money from the owner. Ant-Man commands his ants to climb the display case from where he confronts the Protector. As the menacing Protector comes towards the Ant-Man, the ants move a necklace from the display case and drop it on the floor. The string of pearls breaks and the pearls scatter when they hit the floor, causing the Protector to slip and fall. Ant-Man decides to lead the fight outside where he can find more ants to help him. As the Protector steps from the store, he grabs a water pistol from a passing boy and nearly manages to wash Ant-Man down a nearby storm drain. Ant-Man saves himself by commanding some nearby ants to drop a stick across the sewer grate. By the time Ant-Man recovers, the Protector has escaped.
Returning to his laboratory, Ant-Man devises a plan to defeat the Protector by baiting him. One week later, Henry Pym rents a store front and sets up a jewelry store. The days pass slowly until one afternoon the Protector finally shows up. He lifts up a display case and then blasts it with his disintegrating gun, reducing it and its contents to dust. As he leaves, he tells Pym that if he doesn’t want these awful things to happen, he had better pay him three hundred dollars a week, and if he tells the cops about this, he would use his disintegrator on him.
As soon as the Protector leaves, Henry Pym rushes to the back of the shop, changes into his costume and uses his reducing gas to become ant-size. As he runs to the door, he passes drops of machine oil too small to be noticed by a normal-sized person, on the ground, right where the Protector had stood. Ant-Man says that “Now it all fits together!” and muses that it was a good thing that he was prepared. When the Protector had entered the shop, Pym had pressed a button which sent electronic impulses to all of the ants in the area. Following prearranged instructions, a few ants climbed onto the Protector’s boots as he left the store. While the Protector drove away, he ants emitted signals through their antennae, which were picked up by other ants in the street, allowing Ant-Man to follow the Protector’s trail using his cybernetic helmet.
An hour later, Ant-Man has tracked the Protector to a vacant, old tenement. Sending out another electronic message, he gathers together a few ants and enters the building. Suddenly he hears a loud Whirrrrrrr from above and is sucked up by a vacuum cleaner. Peering down into the vacuum bag, he Protector gloats about his success and seals up the opening of the bag with glue to prevent Ant-Man from escaping. Using his normal-sized strength, Ant-Man punches through the paper vacuum bag and escapes. Seeing a fan on a nearby table gives Ant-Man an idea. Moments later, the Protector returns and notices the hole in the vacuum bag. He removes his goggles so he can look for the ant-sized hero. Just then, Ant-Man turns on the fan, blowing all the dust from the vacuum bag into the Protector’s face.
A moment later, the police have arrived and apprehend the Protector. Ant-Man had sent an electronic message to the ants stationed at the nearby police station, commanding them to spell out a message leading the police to the vacant tenement. Ant-Man instructs the police to remove the Protector’s outer clothing, revealing him to be the jeweler Gerald Marsh. Wearing platform shoes and an mechanical exoskeleton that allowed him to perform his feats of strength.
Ant-Man states that he first suspected Marsh when he told him that the Protector had beaten him up even though his business was poor. He had guessed that the Protector would be too smart to try and shake down someone who didn’t have the money to pay. Later, when he found machine oil where the Protector had been standing, he guessed the secret of his great strength. As for the Disintegrating gun, it created a puff of dense smoke, under the cover of which the Protector would steal the jewels and replace them with grains of sand. Ant-Man tells the police that they would find the “disintegrated” jewels in Marsh’s safe.