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    “Ant-Man” #1 is a Comic for the Underdog [Review]

    By | January 9th, 2015
    Posted in Reviews | 2 Comments

    With the trailer for the Paul Rudd movie hitting just a few days ago, “Ant-Man” #1 from Nick Spencer and Ramon Rosanas flies into a new level of attention for the one-inch Avenger. Can this debut issue live up to the hype? Find out in our review below! Spoilers for the recent events of “Avengers World” are in effect.

    Written by Nick Spencer
    Illustrated by Ramon Rosanas

    • Scott Lang has never exactly been the world’s best super hero. Heck, most people don’t even think he’s been the best ANT-MAN — and the last guy invented Ultron and joined the Masters of Evil, so that’s saying something.

    • But when the SUPERIOR IRON MAN calls with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Scott’s going to get a chance to turn it all around and be the hero he’s always dreamed of being.

    • Sure he’s been to prison! Sure he’s been through a messy divorce! Sure he’s been, um… dead. But this time is different! This time nothing is gonna stop the astonishing ANT-MAN!

    Scott Lang is a weird character. Okay, most Marvel characters are weird; Spider-Man’s just a metaphor for puberty gone horribly wrong and the X-Men are a Civil Rights metaphor led by a bunch of white people who shoot lasers out of their bodies but at least they’ve had consistent footing within Marvel’s publishing. Hell, X-Force once unironically recruited a guy named Shatterstar and that’s been constantly published since longer than I’ve been alive. Yet, there are a number of Marvel characters who float in and out of limbo and Scott Lang is absolutely one of them. Starting out as a legacy character to a hero who stayed around anyway, Lang proceeded to become the tech support guy for Iron Man and the Fantastic Four, at least until he was murdered during the events of “Avengers Disassembled”. Afterwards, he was resurrected only to find his daughter, Cassie, murdered in front of him at the hands of Doctor Doom. In short, it’s been pretty rough, which is where we start in “Ant-Man” #1.

    Scott Lang is looking to get a job from Tony Stark, who post-“AXIS” has turned into the manager from Office Space. Stark sets up a competition for the job, pitting Lang against some Marvel fan-favorites, including a “Superior Foes” alumnus. But while Lang struggles with finding a job, he also struggles with reconnecting with his daughter Cassie, recently brought back to life by Doctor Doom in “Avengers World”.

    For one, I’m not completely sold on Cassie Lang’s resurrection. Sure, she’s a great character who should be back and her inclusion in the upcoming movie makes it more likely for the Young Avengers movie I’m going to star in to actually happen. But that’s actually a pretty solid example of “Ant-Man” #1’s most glaring problem, in an effort to appeal to the upcoming Marvel Studios film, so much of Scott Lang’s life has been reset. In addition to Cassie coming back with an, uh, interesting antenna haircut and as a middle schooler(?), a lot of Lang’s recent characterization has been reset. Matt Fraction and Mike Allred’s “FF” was a pretty popular title with us and one of its highlights was the transformation of Scott Lang from a man distraught over his daughter’s death to a strong, yet still vulnerable, leader who defended the world alongside a rookie team and his new girlfriend, the character find of 2013, Darla Deering. Here, all of that development has been wiped away in favor of setting Scott back to a Paul Rudd-esque underdog trying his hardest.

    That said, not all of these changes are detrimental to Lang’s character. For one, the new Ant-Man costume from Ramon Rosanas looks fantastic. In fact, Rosanas just looks fantastic in general. The tone of the book is incredibly similar to a lot of Marvel’s other “indie” books like “Hawkeye” and “She-Hulk” which isn’t bad. If anything it’s just emblematic of where Marvel’s heading as a line into 2015. That said, Rosanas works wonders when it comes to the emotional nuances of his characters. Hell, he’ so good at depicting these characters as honest and grounded people that he even sold me on Cassie’ new haircut. It’s Rosanas’s skill in breathing a sincerity into his characters that sells this comic’s story.

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    When “Ant-Man” moves away from the “Marvel Indie Comic™” story of a hero trying to find work while getting into wacky circumstances to that of a father and daughter finally getting to reconnect after their clashes with death, it really finds its footing as one of the more heartfelt comics Marvel’s published in a while. Though it is frustrating to see so much of Lang’s recent development get wiped away, Spencer and Rosanas do a great job of setting up Lang to be, maybe not an A-Level hero, but at least a strong character that I would love to see more from. If Spencer and Rosanas can latch onto the emotional core that made “Ant-Man” #1 so compelling, then this series should proceed to be one of the better comics of 2015.

    Final Verdict: 7.2 – Though much of “Ant-Man” #1 can’t escape the synergy complaints that have plagued recent Marvel comics, it still finds its way towards being an emotionally strong start to Scott Lang’s fortieth second chance. “Ant-Man” may not have that many big moments, but it’s the smaller ones that make it one of the best reads of the week.

    James Johnston

    James Johnston is a grizzled post-millenial. Follow him on Twitter to challenge him to a fight.