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C2E2 EXCLUSIVE: Spencer Prepares “Ant-Man” for His “Last Days”

by  in Comic News Comment
C2E2 EXCLUSIVE: Spencer Prepares “Ant-Man” for His “Last Days”

A second chance is a powerful and potentially life-changing thing, and no one in the Marvel Universe understands that better than Scott Lang, better known as Ant-Man. Picking up the mantle from Hank Pym allowed the ex-con a second chance at being a better man and a better father to his daughter, Cassie. A few years back, Lang was given an even more miraculous second chance when he was brought back from the dead by the reality-warping powers of the Scarlet Witch.

In Marvel‘s current “Ant-Man” series Lang is making the most of another chance to be a better father to Cassie who herself was resurrected by a heroically inverted Doctor Doom in the recent “Avengers & X-Men: AXIS” event. It hasn’t been an easy road for Scott, who is prone to making comically bad decisions. It’s led him to relocate to Miami where he’s started his own security company, and he’s recently given two ex-supervillains the same chance he was given, by hiring them on as employees.

The thing about second chances is you never know when the extra time you’re given will run out — and unfortunately for Scott, Marvel’s massive “Secret Wars” event is about to begin. His time runs out this August in the “Ant-Man: Last Days” one-shot by regular series creative team writer Nick Spencer and artist Ramon Rosanas, which finds the title character and his new hometown dealing with the impending end of the Marvel Universe. The story was announced by Marvel Saturday at C2E2 2015 in Chicago, and Spencer spoke with CBR News exclusively about it, plus the upcoming “Ant-Man Annual” and what the series two new cast members, Grizzly and Machinesmith, add to the book.

CBR News: Nick, what will be on Scott’s mind when the end of the Marvel Universe arrives for him in the “Last Days” one-shot?

Nick Spencer: You’re going to see Scott dealing with a lot of things that come from the end of our first arc here. Plus some other things from his recent past are going to be popping up in it.

It seems like a “Secret Wars” book that falls under the “Last Days” banner would be especially bittersweet for Scott, who’s made some big strides in getting his life back in order, and has just been given a second chance with his daughter. Is that the case? How would you describe his emotional status when this arc begins?

At the end of the first arc Scott is really in a different place than where he was when we began. So there’s a lot for him to reflect on, digest, and process. This “Last Days” special was a good moment for us to start to deal with that.

Will Scott’s new stomping grounds, Miami, greet the end of the world in the same way as New York? Or can we expect something different?

What you’re going to see is a very Miami-esque response. One of the things that I thought about immediately was that the closest real world parallel we have to this is probably New Year’s Eve 1999. [Laughs] So I thought it would be fun to take a look at it from that perspective. Miami has a not entirely somber response to the impending doom.

Ramon Rosanas is drawing the “Ant-Man: Last Days” special and I believe he’ll have drawn every issue of “Ant-Man” leading up to it, including the Annual. So how does it feel to be working with an artist that’s so quick and so good with the action and humor that’s integral to this series?

Ramon has been our guy from the start. He’ll be drawing the present day sequences of the Annual and Brent Schoonover will be drawing the flashbacks. I’m really excited to see Brent’s work. I’m a big fan of his. He recently did some “Punisher” work and he’s got a really fun style. I’ve been wanting to work with for awhile. So when we got a chance to do a flashback bit I asked for him.

And Ramon has just been an amazing collaborator on this book. He’s doing a fantastic job on Scott and I hope we get to work together for a long time. He’s been an absolute perfect fit for the book.

When we first chatted about “Ant-Man” before issue #1 was released, I compared the series to the brilliant but cancelled FX private eye show “Terriers.” And now that four issues have been released it seems like that was an especially apt comparison because it appears that “Ant-Man” is very much a series that blends private detective fiction with superhero stories.

Yeah, I think that’s right. It was an astute comparison at the time and I think it’s been born out. We’ve seen Scott putting together his new company and bringing in some colorful companions. So the book is getting to be more an ensemble piece and that’s fun. In terms of the future we’re going to make sure we put these characters to good use.

It also feels like your last Marvel series “Superior Foes of Spider-Man” was about working class criminals, and this is about working class superheroes and ex-cons trying to do something better with their lives.

Yeah! Obviously we have some bad guys who are trying to turn over a new leaf and go straight. That’s a fun thing we didn’t get to play with all that much in “Foes.” So watching Grizzly and [Machine]Smith try to walk that path is going to be a lot of fun for us going forward.

They have very different out looks on their situation. Grizz is much more sincere in his efforts to walk the straight and narrow. With Smith, it’s pretty easy to see him going back to his old ways

What made you want to draft these guys for this book? They’re fun takes on private eye archetypes with Grizzly being the muscle and Machinesmith being the hacker.

Exactly. I was looking for some strong archetypes to build from and those two seemed like natural fits for a business like Scott’s. So we took those archetypes and gave them a Marvel twist and had fun with the concept. These are exactly the kinds of job openings that Scott would have available.

Let’s talk about the stories that pave the way for August’s “Last Days” one-shot, May’s “Ant-Man” #5, which wraps the series’ first arc, and July’s “Ant-Man Annual.” It seems like these issues are just as much about Scott Lang’s past as they are his future.

Yeah, especially in the “Annual.” In that we’re going to explore something that I’ve been pretty keen to get into, which is Scott’s relationship with Hank Pym. Obviously some big things happened to Hank in “Rage of Ultron.” So we’ll be dealing with the aftermath of that and Scott’s reaction to it and in the process we’ll kind of flashback to their last adventure together. It’s been an absolute blast to write the two of them together. They have fantastic chemistry and Hank is one of all my all-time favorite characters. So getting a chance to write him, especially in something like this, has been a lot of fun.

Will you be dealing at all with the new status quo for Hank Pym that was established at the end of “Rage of Ultron?”

No, the situation is that Scott is going to get word of what’s happened to Hank and that’s going to kind of jog his memory about their last encounter together. So we won’t be touching on Hank’s new status quo here.

Finally, how much fun have you had on “Ant-Man” so far? And if the shape of the Marvel Universe post-“Secret Wars” permits it would you be up for penning more of Scott Lang’s adventures?

Yeah, if everybody wasn’t dead I’d totally be up for doing some more “Ant-Man.” I’d be very excited about where we leave Scott at the end of the first arc. I think there’s a lot of story potential there. So if the universe wasn’t ending and Marvel wasn’t ceasing it’s current superhero line I would totally be down for some more “Ant-Man.” [Laughs]

“Ant-Man: Last Days,” by Nick Spencer and Ramon Rosanas, is scheduled for release in August.

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