With Javier Pulido returning to draw the interiors, this one-shot story is back to the same level as with previous issues, albeit a few glaring plot holes.
Jen and Patsy are asked to help find Rufus's partner, who shrunk himself to hide in his backyard, along with the design plans for the shrinking device. With Hank Pym's help, the three shrink down to begin their search. Hank then goes on to explain that while Rufus and Reza's (the partner) "Shrinko" is a good enough alternative to his Pym Particles, the science involved is still unstable, which can lead to the shrunken subject's atoms being unstable and explosive. Before they can set out, Pym is snatched up by a bird, leaving his helmet behind (which was in a backpack, for some convenient reason). Patsy attempts to use the helmet as a means to communicate with the local insects, but inadvertently summons ants that attack the two shrunken heroes. A super-leap and some bickering later, Jennifer sees three stray cats that are interested in an empty soda can; she presumes that Reza is in it.
After fending off the cats, Hank arrives atop the bird that snatched him, and we cut to all four of them restored. The reason Reza hid away with the plans was because he did not want to sell them to Hank, who is technically the competition. Before they continue to argue about the dangers of the Shrinko, Patsy interrupts to ask about Reza's finger, which he sliced a chunk off while climbing into the can. Jen acts quickly to throw the can into the air, where it explodes safely. The last scene takes place back in tenement building, where Jennifer is beginning to negotiate the terms of sale between Rufus, Reza and Hank. Sharon King, the landlord, interrupts to inform Jen that Steve Rogers is waiting in reception. A particularly aged Steve Rogers, at that, which will probably be explained in Original Sin
, next week.
This was certainly a more tolerable issue than the previous two, which is not that difficult to compare, in my opinion. The only problem I have is the constant argument over Hellcat's vulnerabilities, despite proving herself over and over that she is capable of fending for herself; even when she is a few centimeters tall. And no explanation is given as to why Hank's helmet was in a backpack and not being worn. Nor why the heroes used tracking equipment while one of them remained normal-sized to keep watch over the backyard. Better yet, they could have saw the cats pawing at the can and find Reza without having to shrink down at all.
A story like this would fit better during the Silver Age, where contrived mishaps are a dime a dozen. And like a Silver Age story, If you can overlook the flaws, it can make for a fun little story. But my faith in Charles Soule's writing ability is beginning to waver, and I cannot think of how he can turn it around.
Edit: It has come to my attention that the "Shrinko" may possibly be a reference to a Silver Age comic, Mystery Tales #23.