Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Ramon Rosanas, Jordan Boyd
Release Date: 24th June, 2015
Okay, cards on the table time… I’ve never really been a fan of Ant-Man. That’s not to say I particularly disliked the character, but rather that I simply had no real opinion of him either way. I knew he existed, I knew his abilities and I knew he had a funky helmet, but that’s about it. To me, he always seemed a bit like the Marvel equivalent of Aquaman; a fairly dumb (on paper, at least) set of super powers and a silly name that made him the butt of a lot of jokes when people were running through the Avengers roster.
Thankfully it looks like I’m not alone, as writer Nick Spencer has opted to embrace the inherent silliness and convoluted backstory of Scott Lang in this glorious new series from Marvel. Hell, even Scott himself can’t keep track of the previous Ant-Men and which of them turned evil, or died, or moved on to greener pastures. His job history is littered with gaps – such as the time he was, well, dead – and he has decided to name his ants in order to help foster a better working relationship. Don’t get me wrong though, this isn’t a parody of the character, but rather a look at a down-on-his-luck superhero struggling to make his way in the world, complete with lashings of the same trademark Spencer blend of wit and heart that he showed off to perfection in Superior Foes of Spider-Man.
The humour here is absolutely top-notch, with Spencer seemingly having honed his absurd gags and hilarious running internal monologue to perfection. Whether it’s applying for a bank loan, interviewing for a job at Stark Industries, fending off a villain in a giant bear costume who thinks he’s one of the other Ant-Men, or just with his day-to-day interactions with his teenage daughter and ex-wife, Spencer brings Scott Lang to life brilliantly, making him a protagonist you instantly find yourself rooting for.
The artwork, provided here by Ramon Rosanas and colourist Jordan Boyd, fits the style and tone of the book perfectly. A little bit David Aja, a little bit Chris Samnee and a little bit Steve Lieber, the visuals here are clean and distinctive, and the creative layouts and expressive characters provide a smooth flow to the comic that keeps everything moving forwards fluidly. Lang’s powers are recreated brilliantly, and the series contains some impressively cooky visuals moments, such as Scott shrinking down to crawl inside a toothpaste tube to get the last remnants to brush his teeth.
If you’re not already a fan of Ant-Man… who cares? I doubt many people were massive fans of Fred “Boomerang” Myers prior to Superior Foes of Spider-Man, and that ended up being one of the best comics on the shelves for almost two years. Nick Spencer continues to enhance his reputations as one of the sharpest, funniest writers in the business today, and if the upcoming Marvel Studios movie captures at least some of the charm and wit on display here, it’s going to be an absolutely joyous cinematic experience.
You can purchase Ant-Man Volume 1: Second Chance Man T from Turnaround Publisher Services (who generously provided the review copy of this title) via their official website.