Writer Nick Spencer expands the cast of this title just a bit more by bringing in another recovering supervillain in “Ant-Man” #4, while artist Ramon Rosanas proves up to the task of tackling the new cast member. Scott Lang is still the titular character in the issue, but he does give up a few panels to his newfound ally, Machinesmith. Spencer also specs out some panels to Crossfire, giving the “third-rate Bullseye knockoff” some humanity and purpose in the story of Augustine Cross’ attempts to resurrect his father, Darren Cross.
The Crosses all have history with Scott Lang (and, to a lesser extent, his daughter Cassie), making the imaginary brain map of this story a crazily woven cat’s cradle. Spencer keeps Lang at the core of this story, but the growing cast is becoming a bit of an ensemble, which has both merits and faults. How Spencer balances that will remain to be seen but, for now, it all works out nicely with a smoothly paced tale and dynamic, believable characters trying to get things done.
Rosanas’ art is as critical to the success of “Ant-Man” #4 as Spencer’s story, and the two intertwine quite nicely. The artist fills the story with ranging emotions and expressions, persuasive storytelling and understated detail that is on par with the likes of Chris Samnee. For the most part, Grizzly is a slumping bear suit but, when Rosanas needs to or is given the opportunity, he packs an astonishing amount of detail into Griz’s facial tells. Similarly, Machinesmith is mostly limited to angry, mechanical-edged expressions, but Rosanas finds ways to dress that up with humor and humanity. Ant-Man’s action sequences are packed with detail and smothered with scale-changing scenes, which is a visual treat surpassed only by the level of nuance that Rosanas packs into Lang’s office or Cross Technologies’ hallways. Jordan Boyd dials up some patterns when necessary but, mostly, he keeps the colors bold and fresh, not overly heroic but not Miami-garish either — just steady and sharp. Lanham rounds out the visuals with logo-ready callouts for Machinesmith and the call-to-arms of “Avengers Assemble!” He also drops in some next-level declarations that are word balloons with text bursting out the bubble, only to be contained by a sharp, red border, further emphasizing the shouting within.
“Ant-Man” #4 continues to provide readers with an entertaining exploration of a man trying to live up to a heroic ideal. Scott Lang knows he’s got a long way to go to be a hero but, most importantly, he just wants to be a good dad. Spencer shows readers that might be just as important as heroics and illustrates the lengths a man will go to in order to try to return normalcy to a portion of his life. In that quest, Spencer has peeled back the bravado and amped up the humanity, making “Ant-Man” #4 a relatable adventure tale with some interesting personalities lining the journey.