This Wednesday, May 6, is a big day for one of Marvel’s smallest heroes. Not only did issue 5 of Nick Spencer and Ramon Rosanas’ Ant-Man become available, but the second theatrical one-sheet for the July 17th film was released. We’ve read through five months of an excellent run of Ant-Man, its first story arc concludes with today’s issue, and are now 2 months away from the big-screen adaptation. If you’re a fan of Marvel’s Ant-Man, then this was a day filled with plenty of rewards for being said fan.
You get the feeling that in today’s world of comic-books and movies, every hero and villain will get their fifteen minutes of fame. This year has seen the “Avengers: Age of Ultron” open in theaters, Marvel’s Daredevil première on Netflix, and Ant-Man return to the comics and be featured in his own movie. While the character of Ant-Man, in particular the Scott Lang incarnation, has always been regarded as a positively C-list (arguably D) character, over the past few months has gotten attention that no one would have ever thought he’d get years ago. After a rocky start to the production which saw director and writer Edgar Wright leave the project, the film seems back on schedule and looks to make fans of the size-changing, ant-communicating hero proud! Of particular interest is that despite all the WGA negotiations regarding involvement, Edgar Wright remains credited for the story, along with Adam McKay and Paul Rudd for the screenplay. Those are three people who are reason enough to root for this movie!
As for the Marvel Comic, which started in January of this year (2015), for many of the same reasons we should be rooting for the movie, we should be in the corner for “Ant-Man.” Writer Nick Spencer has brought an amount of love and heart to a character that truly deserves a little TLC more so than some of its other characters. Bringing his signature wit and meaningful attention to character development, Nick Spencer has created a compelling first story arc that’s more of a tale about fathers and daughters than avenging and heroics. Ramon Rosanas’ art only adds a nice flourish to a story that keeps you coming back and finds you rooting for the underdog.
Issue 5 ends with a conclusion to the beginning of the next chapter in Scott Lang’s life. He doesn’t have a job, his ex-wife doesn’t want anything to do with him, and he’s struggling to maintain a close relationship with his daughter, Cassie. After turning down a job offer from Tony Stark, Lang heads to Miami to be with Cassie even though his ex doesn’t want that. While in Miami, Lang finds himself involved once again in the antics of Darren Cross (the first villain he ever fought when introduced in Marvel Premiere 47 & 48). In the last issue, Augustine Cross kidnapped Lang’s daughter and planned on harvesting her heart filled with Pym Particles, “and therefore the only one that could take the strain of being transplanted into Darren Cross – bringing him back to life!”
Our story truly comes full circle as Lang has to contend with Cross yet again in nearly the same exact circumstances as previously seen in the two issues of Marvel Premiere. Spencer breaks out a great sense of humor with tongue planted firmly in cheek to acknowledge the outlandish nature of the plot. Through Lang’s self-deprecation and self-awareness, the reader is easily disarmed. But the biggest element of this tale comes near the end when Lang has to save his daughter. The powerful combination of Nick Spencer and Ramon Rosanas remind us in three pages of the unbelievable amount of heart and soul this series has. Oh, and how they tug at the heartstrings. “I know I could’ve been a better person — I know I could’ve been a better father. Just always seemed like no matter how hard I tried, I always came up short. But that won’t happen this time — I won’t let it happen this time!” Lang says as he *SPOILER* shrinks down to navigate Cassie’s bloodstream to target clusters of her white blood cells.* Spencer reinforces the idea that what makes Scott Lang more than just a run of the mill superhero is of how he’s not an avenger; not even particularly that special of a person, but of how he won’t give up on those he loves. Lang knows of all the things he’s done in life have brought him to this moment and that there is no one to look back on and blame, but himself for his poor choices. It’s a matter of living with your decisions and knowing that every day is another opportunity to turn it around.
“Ant-Man” is a wonderful and very touching story. Nick Spencer and Ramon Rosanas have given fans a character to cheer for and a book to anticipate each month. For those that are looking for a good Marvel title without feeling like you’ve become indebted to the history and impending “Secret Wars”, this is the title for you. And if Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, and Paul Rudd’s script is anything like Spencer’s writing, then “Ant-Man” will be another hit film for the whole family!
“Ant-Man” issue five gets five enthusiastic fans from this ant! “Ant-Man” the movie opens July 17, 2015.