If you had asked me a few years ago about the chances of Marvel being able to make Ant Man popular in the mainstream, I’d say you had lost your mind. Ant Man/Giant Man was easily the most under loved member of the founding Avengers. During the golden age of heroes at the inception of comics, he was popular…but there are so many other heroes to choose from currently that it’s very hard to get behind a man who can simply grow big and small. What reinvigorated the series was the excellent movie, and after its release Ant Man has been giving a new series. In today’s Comic Corner, we’re taking a look at The Astonishing Ant Man!
Featuring Scott Lang rather than Hank Pym, I find myself thoroughly enjoying the change of character. What Scott has that Hank lacked is charisma. For many years, we simply knew Hank Pym as one of the smartest men in the Marvel Universe. Whether we were talking about him creating a cyber Thor with Reed Richards, or discovering the Pym Particle all on his own, questions of his intelligence never arose. With the brainiac characters, you often have to have a balancing factor. Typically, it’s not cool just to be very intelligent. Peter Parker has his biting wit. Reed Richards has his family to balance him out. Bruce Banner smashes things. Hank Pym just grew big and married a woman who could shrink.
Scott Lang is fascinating because he’s a criminal turned hero, a man who was killed and resurrected. His daughter was a Young Avenger! Sometimes, he’s even a hero turned criminal (or bumbling idiot, oops!). What’s often the most interesting about the way the comics are written is that they have humor woven into the most bare bones concept of the comic books. In the recent Astonishing Ant Man #9, there was a hilarious run through of a heist that was going to be committed. Not being able to help myself, I chuckled while reading the exploits of Scott Lang. I will say that the art can vary in quality from issue to issue, but for the most part it maintains a pretty “okay” level of quality. Unfortunately, it never rises above that.
The side characters are often forgettable, as Scott himself steals the show. To be honest, as I sit writing this, I can only think of the name of Scott Lang’s daughter, and a character called Ms. Thing. Beyond that, I can’t remember the name of a single character that has come across the pages. Don’t get me wrong, they’re memorable. There’s that dude in the bear suit! Oh yeah, Scott’s robot employee! Oh, and that one lady, The Beetle! Beyond that, none of the characters make a significant impression, although the series is fairly new.
Ant Man is a sharply written, sometimes under drawn hidden gem. Scott Lang is a compelling, and interesting character. Unfortunately, he’s surrounded by a crew of underwhelming D-listers that mostly serve to fill out the content of the issue. I wish there were more tie ins with other notable Marvel characters. I wish the art style didn’t feel so dated, although I understand the retro feel they’re going for. I do think that over the next few years, Ant Man will find his footing. For now, the Astonishing Ant Man is definitely something you should pick up, and forgive for its misgivings.
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