Nick Spencer and Ramon Rosanas relocated Scott Lang down to Miami last issue and now has him looking for some capital so he can make a living and quit residing in a dollhouse in “Ant-Man” #2. First, the self-proclaimed Astonishing Ant-Man has to tangle with the not-so-astonishing Grizzly, who Spencer uses to further establish the less-than-serious nature of the series and remind readers that even a C-List superhero can be heroic and entertaining.
Spencer brings a similar flavor to the issue and series that Matt Fraction has captured so well in “Hawkeye;” a downtrodden sort-of Avenger claws his way through life and demonstrates his mettle as a hero in the process. Lang doesn’t have the same girlfriend-left-me-dog-ran-away vibe that Clint Barton has; instead, he has a no-less-sympathetic plight as a divorced dad trying to do good by his daughter. This is where Spencer excels, because Ant-Man has become such a maligned character that Spencer uses this as the kind of obstacle that a true hero has to overcome.
More amazingly, Spencer is able to accomplish this in part with his use of a D-List villain, whose attempted revenge is taken out on the wrong superhero in the first place. If nothing else, Ant-Man seems like an A-lister next to the buffoonish Grizzly, but a later sequence between the two demonstrates Lang’s character and cements the optimistic outlook that compliments anyone looking to call themselves a superhero. Spencer also puts Lang in a situation that tests his moral compass in the most tempting way possible, and even throws in a twist where Lang’s potential dishonesty could arguably be justifiable. It’s further enhanced by a momentary lapse on Lang’s part, but one that he eventually corrects, showing that this hero with a criminal record is only human but ultimately one of the good guys.
Rosanas and colorist Jordan Boyd provide a consistently clean and precise look throughout the issue. Rosanas opens with a bold splash of Grizzly and his destructive intro, managing to make a guy who looks like he just bought a bear costume from Halloween USA and stumbled through a plate glass window appear both imposing and comical. A closing splash featuring Ant-Man’s next foe — and a familiar one to both readers of Spencer’s past Marvel work and longtime Scott Lang fans — is a bright, dynamic and ironically laid out billboard for next issue for those still unsure if they wanted to stick around after this one.
In between, Rosanas compresses his layouts to fit Spencer’s story, rarely going with fewer than five panels per page. Rosanas’ panels accommodate both the more verbose parts of Spencer’s script, such as when a desperate Ant-Man pleads with a bank for a loan, as well as the more visual sequences, like his battle with a long-forgotten Nazi robot within the vaults of said bank. Boyd largely shies away from color gradients and instead uses two-tones and subtle contrasts, also avoiding the usage of primary colors for the most part, save for Ant-Man’s own red costume. This allows the character to stand out in both a dank vault as well as the bright pastels of sunny south Florida.
Spencer and Rosanas, with their goofy supervillains and pulpish Nazi throwback, deliver both a fun-reading and fun-looking story in “Ant-Man” #2. Even those not sold on the contents will be immediately sold on the issue by way of Mark Brooks’ kitschy Ant-Man snow globe cover – kitschy, sure, but cool enough to hope that someone actually markets a product like that. Two issues into the series, and Spencer and Rosanas seem to have already found their comfort zone.