Friday, January 16, 2015

Ant-Man #1

It is amazing the way comics require characters to go through radical changes, usually totally ignoring previous continuity and characterizations, in order to meet the criteria of a new series or requirement.

Nick Spencer doesn’t have an easy job here. He’s writing the new adventures of Scott Lang; Ant-Man, but Spencer has to set some new ground rules. Scott Lang is now a bit of a screw-up. He’s always been an ex-con, but he’s struggling a lot more here than he was in his last appearances in FF. Lang has still done all of the things we remember, but he’s much more of a sad sack; a perennial loser who sleeps in a run-down apartment on a bare mattress.

His daughter Cassie? Instead of being the confident 2nd-generation hero Stature, she’s a normal high school student. She’s very comfortable with her Dad’s powers, but her mother isn’t. Lang’s ex-wife has the biggest role I’ve seen in any comic so far as she tries to keep Cassie clear from her loser of a Dad.

So these are some pretty big changes! That said, this is a really good comic. Every reader is going to start rooting for Scott Lang to succeed from page one forward. Cassie is a cool gal and a great friend to her Dad. Ant-Man’s powers are neat, useful, and handy. It may have taken a slew of changes to make it work, but the high concept for Ant-Man’s new series sure seems like a winner to me.

Spencer fills out the first issue with some established Marvel characters to make sure we see Ant-Man from a few different perspectives. Victor Mancha (from Runaways), Prodigy (from Young Avengers), and best of all, the new Beetle (from Superior Foes of Spider-Man) are all competing with Lang to be Iron Man’s new head of security. The different personalities and outlooks are a great glimpse into the many levels of the Marvel U. The interaction between these characters really gives me hope that Spencer might be picking up the same tone as he established in Superior Foes.

And as a Hank Pym fan, I’m pleased that Lang seems to be nothing but kind towards his mentor and benefactor. I don’t want to see Pym thrown under the bus in any more new stories!

Marvel has been a bit risky with the art on some of their new launches recently. Fortunately, Ant-Man’s art is top notch from the start. Ramon Rosanas has a style that reminds me of Chris Samnee’s fantastic work on Daredevil. The new Ant-Man suit is a modern-update on the original, classic look. Rather than skewing too heavily towards a “realistic” or Marvel cinematic look, Lang’s costume looks wonderfully “comic book” based. Rosanas’ style is wonderfully modern while still giving all the characters a classic Marvel flair.

The Pym references along with the recap of Lang’s history as Ant-Man gives me high hopes that Spencer knows this character’s place in Marvel history. I think we’re in for a treat. This is a GOOD new series. 

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