“Ant-Man” #1 hits the new comic book racks this week with plenty of buzz surrounding the character as the feature film debut of Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby’s creation crawls ever nearer. Written by Nick Spencer with art by Ramon Rosanas, the new series gives Scott Lang — the second Ant-Man, and main character of the Paul Rudd-starring movie — a turn under the spotlight.
Spencer packs this extra-sized (ironic, no?) issue tight with history and personality, giving readers everything they need to know about the character regardless of their familiarity beyond recognizing that “Ant-Man” and “Spider-Man” are both hyphenated heroes. The writer introduces readers to Scott, his former (and future?) employer Tony Stark, his daughter Cassie, and his ex-wife Peggy, before clueing readers in to just how far down-on-his-luck Lang truly is. By all regards, this Marvel hero is a loser, and Spencer doesn’t let up on that fact. He also doesn’t let Lang crumble under the weight of his failures. Spencer gives readers a believable character who is, quite possibly, the most human hero to ever call himself an Avenger.
“Night of the Living Deadpool” artist Ramon Rosanas brings his meticulous style to “Ant-Man” #1, filling every panel with detail and character, from the fraternal handshake Hank Pym shares with Lang in a flashback panel to the scowl built into every muscle of Peggy’s stance when readers meet her for the first time. Rosanas is integral to the storytelling process, the perfect fit for this comic book, in much the same way Chris Samnee is ideal to draw the adventures of Daredevil. He just clicks. Everything about Lang’s life comes through the page in Rosanas’ drawings (marvelously colored by Jordan Boyd) without ever becoming overwhelming. Despite this debut issue containing thirty pages of new story, Rosanas packs every page with panels and every panel with details, animated characters and strong storytelling.
Not once in the thirty pages does any one panel take up more than half a page, underscoring the minutiae present in Lang’s life and indicating to readers just how much life Lang has lived. Spencer doesn’t pore over every detail of every battle, but, using the springboard of Lang’s resume, hits the bullet points for readers. Cassie, Peggy and Stark are all supporting players in this adventure, Spencer making it perfectly clear that he’s telling Ant-Man’s tale. Furthermore, Spencer ensures that readers know where Lang’s heart is by the end of the issue — even if this is your only experience with Ant-Man, there is no mistaking why he fights the good fight.
The best part of this comic, however, is the fact that Spencer packs an entire story — and an entire history — into a single issue. Once upon a time, this may have been a one-shot or an Annual, but “Ant-Man” #1 gives readers a complete, detailed story to welcome them to Scott Lang’s neighborhood. I didn’t realize “Ant-Man” was exactly the comic book I was looking for right now, but it is, as Spencer and Rosanas have captured the same energy, enthusiasm and passion for the character that Waid and Samnee have in “Daredevil.”