Nick Spencer (W), Brent Schoonover (A), Jordan Boyd (CA)
Cover By: Julian Totino Tedesco
Publisher: Marvel Comics
I wasn’t really an Ant-Man fan until Nick Spencer started writing his comic last year. I never disliked the character, and I never found him to be “pathetic” because of his shrinking powers (I like old-school sci-fi, so silly powers never really bother me). It’s not the fault of the character or his writers. I just hadn’t been exposed to the Ant-Man much before. He definitely has a compelling backstory; ex-con Scott Lang steals the Ant-Man suit from Hank Pym to save his daughter. This is a setup for a very endearing and relatable character, and Scott Lang is all of those things.
All that being said, Nick Spencer’s run on Earth’s tiniest hero has been phenomenal. Now he is one of my favorite super heroes of either universe. He’s funny, charming, relatable, and he always picks himself up no matter how many times he gets beaten down. He gets beaten down a lot. He has a lot of relatable problems. He cares for his daughter so much that he moved to Miami for her, but his mistakes keep following him and interfering with that relationship. On top of that, he is not a perfect guy, so he contributes to screwing up the way his daughter perceives him too. All that being said, he (usually) has the best intentions and has heart of gold.
The art has always been really good in the series too. It has always been bright, defined, and fit the tone of the series very well.
The post-Secret Wars title has been primarily about a phone app created by the Power Broker called “Hench” and how it’s been messing with Scott Lang’s life. He’s also been trying to get his security service company off the ground with the help of his less-than-helpful employees, Grizzly and Machinist. He has faced off against villains like Whirlwind, the Voice, and the Magician(‘s son). He also teamed up with Captain America for a showdown with the Hijacker. He was hired by his ex-girlfriend and ex-teammate Darla Deering (with a surprise guest appearance by comedian Paul Scheer of all people, I’m not making that up). He has had to deal with his archenemy Darren Cross setting up a competitive app to Hench called “Lackey” His daughter, Cassie (formerly Stature of the Young Avengers) now hates him for being absent for so long. Now Cassie has signed up with Hench and has become the “villain,” Stinger (a pretty cool callback to the old Spider-Girl comics).
If this all sounds pretty disorganized, that’s kind of what the comic is going for. Scott Lang is a man whose life has never been completely together. The book kind of reflects that. However, each issue’s story has been tight and contained, rarely spilling over into the next issue. You always know what’s going on as a reader, and the book never becomes convoluted or confusing.
The Hench story has been ongoing since issue one of the current series. However, it’s hasn’t overstayed it’s welcome, and that reflects the writing skills of Nick Spencer. He has kept the Hench angle running in the background for most of the series. In some issues, it isn’t mentioned at all. When it does surface, it’s because of an important plot development, so the story is kept interesting.
Supporting characters Grizzly and Machinist are great comic relief. Grizzly is similar to Scott in that he usually has the best intentions in mind, but he is pretty inept. The Machinist plays off the both of them really well by being the self-serving member of the company who is equally inept.
To finally move onto the current issue, Ant-Man is putting together a team of C and D-list criminals to bring down the Power Broker. The team consists of Beetle, the Voice, the Magician, the Hijacker, and Whirlwind. The team does not get along particularly well, and they are not happy that their employer is an ex-Avenger.
Like I said, these stories tend to be really tight. The majority of the issue is the crooks of the team getting to know each other. You can really tell this is the guy who wrote The Superior Foes of Spider-Man. The conversation between the group is smart, funny, and keeps your attention. You are never bored watching these losers get to know each other.
If I were to compare this series to anything, it would be Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye. There is a story, and it’s usually interesting, but it’s not really what you’re there for. It generally has a “day in the life” feel to it. You’re reading the book for Ant-Man, and you’re constantly hoping that something in his life will finally go right.
This book is easily one of my favorite’s being printed right now. Give it a read. It will keep you smiling from beginning to end.
Issue Score: 9/10
Series Score: 9/10