If there was ever one superhero I never expected to write about when I took this gig, it was Ant-Man. Sure there was the upcoming movie, but while I may write a brief hype piece or the odd reaction to a film, movies reviews aren’t really my thing around here. I leave that in the well and truly capable hands of the Unusual Suspects. I saw the movie, enjoyed the hell out of it, and was happy to see the movie was well received, but I figured that was all she wrote for me and the Man of Ant. However, it seems Ant-Man wasn’t done with me.
Aside from one game store that also sells a few comics on the side, my town, Grand Forks, no longer has what you would call a proper comic shop. Instead a majority of my comics come in the mail from a store in nearby Fargo that I’ve been with since my youth, Paradox Comics-N-Cards (there you you go guys, free plug).
Whenever in Fargo, I make it a point to hit the shop up to grab my stuff as well as look around and see what cool things have come out that I might have missed. Cruising the shelves I came upon this sucker:
Ant-Man and some dude in a grizzly suit in an obvious homage to Miami Vice?! Now that’s a cover! Cool cover or no, I got enough time under my belt not to simply be suckered by a cover alone, but then I checked the writing credits. Nick Spencer?! One of the biggest writers out there today was writing Ant-Man?!
Enjoying what I read I quickly scoured teh internetz and found the recently released collection of the book entitled Ant-Man: Second Chance and ordered it faster than you can say “Pym Particles”. Scott Lang is back and due to being dead for a time (don’t ask) has even less than a pot to piss in. With little more than the costume on his back Scott has only two things on his mind: making a few bucks and being there for his daughter, Cassie. About to get his life on track, Scott’s ex-wife drops a bomb. She and Cassie are moving to Miami. Determined to stay in Cassie’s life, Scott drops everything and heads to the land of sun, fun, that one Will Smith song and episodes of Burn Notice. To make ends meet, Scott opens up Ant-Man Security Solutions, with the clever slogan of (I kid you not) “Who knows how to not get your stuff stolen better than the guy who used to steal your stuff?.”
An ex-con whose only marketable skills are stealing stuff and being an C-list superhero, Scott’s story is the tale of one man simply trying to make good. Despite all the superhero craziness, Spencer writes the character in a very down to earth and relatable manner. It reaches a point where you don’t even balk at the shrinking thing as you see him use it is his day to day in ways the audience could see themselves doing were they to have the power.
To keep things from getting too sappy or melancholy, Spencer injects a strong dose of humor and fan service in the shape of references to staples of geek pop culture.
Spencer is totally playing to his audience, but again he weaves it through in a way where it sounds like a thing an actual person might say in that situation as opposed to just referencing things to sound cool. Truth be told, a good portion of the book is spent showing just how flawed and uncool our Ant-Man is. Scott Lang isn’t a paragon of virtue, he’s a thief that stole his own super power trying his hardest to be the hero and father he wants to be, and yet still falling short. It makes the drama as well as the humor of the book all the more real and grounded.
Now before anybody starts thinking the book nothing but pathos peppered with jokes let me assure you, this is still a Marvel superhero book and the book is full of the dynamic action you crave. While Ramon Rosanas’ art doesn’t set my heart on fire, the man is quite adapt at keeping the action understandable and giving us a good sense of Scott’s size and location from panel to panel which is something even the greatest artists struggle with and is pivotal when it comes to an Ant-Man book. Rosanas’ art has a very clean look, nothing is over-designed or extra flashy that helps the comic keep its grounded tone even the the biggest moments of funnybook hero absurdity.
When Stan Lee and the rest of the Bullpen started the Marvel Revolution, they created a world full of understandably flawed yet exceedingly likeable characters whose personal lives were as important as anything they did as a superhero. One can feel this classic formula in play with every page of Ant-Man making it one of the purest Marvel books in recent years.
If for some reason your still holding out on picking this up then you should know that this collection leads right into the new Astonishing Ant-Man series once again by Spencer and Rosanas set to drop once Doctor Doom quits controlling all of reality over in Secret Wars come this October. Pick up Ant-Man: Second Chance and be ready for all the great Ant-Man goodness we’ve got coming later this year. If you liked the movie even just a little bit you owe it to yourself to give this book a shot, I think you’ll be glad you did.
All hail the Age of the Ant-Man!
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