Ant-Man has the advance buzz as Nick Spencer’s follow-up to his sublime run on Superior Foes of Spider-Man. That buzz is probably comparing Ant-Man to the wrong book, but this is still something in that general corner of the Marvel universe and worth your time.
Superior Foes was a grand farce. Pure comedy. Ant-Man has its humor, but it’s not an outright farce. It’s the bittersweet tale of a man who’s trying to get his life together and be there for his family, but not having the easiest go of it.
Scott Lang’s life is a little… complicated. His social skills are lacking. He has a criminal record. His ex-wife is pretty frustrated with him and the environment might bring around their daughter. He’s broke. He was dead for a while. Things could be going better.
The motivating force for Lang is an attempt to get his life together so he can be a bigger part of his daughter’s life. The comedy comes from the chaos that erupts as tries to do this.
The first issue concerns Lang’s quest to get a job as head of security for Tony Stark, suffering through the indignities of a job interview and the lengths he must go to as he attempts to land that position. To be sure, the quips are there. So is plenty of the “awkward interactions” school of humor. But there’s a strong undercurrent of heart to this book. It’s earnest in a way I wasn’t necessarily expecting and there’s not much absurdism here.
Spencer’s dialogue is as sharp as ever. Ramon Rosanas does a good job drawing the deadpan aspects of the humor. (A rarer talent than you might think.)
This book falls a bit closer to Fraction/Aja Hawkeye than it does to Superior Foes, but is still very much in that old Wackerverse vibe with Hawkeye, Superior Foes and perhaps Daredevil.
Without giving away anything, the ending of the book suggests that Ant-Man might be off in his own little corner of the Marvel universe, which would be a very good thing. This is a book that needs to be a half-step away from the “story of the universe” to be able to look at it through its own lens.
Recommended in general, but very highly recommended if you like things in that Hawkeye <-> Superior Foes continuum. Marvel seems committed to keeping a corner reserved for this type of title and that’s a good thing.
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.