“Ant-Man” #3 continues the grounded superheroics of Scott Lang as he opens up his security firm in Miami and continues his path to redemption in the eyes of his family. Nick Spencer digs deep into Lang’s history to reveal what will be the overarching villainy of the next few issues, using continuity as tool to create new opportunities to explore the titular hero’s desire to leave the past where it belongs.
Spencer has patiently expanded the scope of the book, focusing on Scott first, then moving into his new status quo, and — in this issue — he explores the world around him as he establishes Ant Man Security. Lang is a single parent who just wants to get home from work early enough to spend time with his daughter. Work, however, involves surviving a face-off with Taskmaster as part of an as-yet undisclosed plot by Augustine Cross, the son of the man Scott Lang stopped when he first donned helmet. Lang is not a guy who plans ahead and Taskmaster is a perfect foil, a mercenary who tries to think of every contingency. A lot of Scott’s attitude, one would bet, comes from his own feelings of inadequacy. He never considers why a paper clip company would need a state-of-the-art security system; he’s only grateful that anyone would hire him at all. So, when Taskmaster reveals the paperclips were to a ploy to also keep Lang’s ant pals at bay, he winds up being his own worst enemy once again. By lacking the confidence to really look at the situation from all sides, Scott winds up on the pointy end of Taskmaster’s sword long enough to keep him from getting to Cassie’s talent show and even from protecting her as she gets pulled into the plot.
Spencer’s grasp on character helps fuel the issue simply by letting them be who they are. The dialogue is hilarious throughout and the exchange between Ant-Man and Taskmaster about the status of their own rivalry is a highlight. I would also love to see more use of Hench, the mercenary app, across the Marvel Universe. The only disappointment comes from Peggy, who Spencer still portrays as a bit of a killjoy in the book. It’s understandable that, because the series is from Scott’s point of view, she won’t always be portrayed in the best light though she is only trying to protect her daughter from harm. However, all of her appearances to this point have amounted to “Stop,” “No” and “Don’t,” putting a wrench in any opportunity for Scott to have a real relationship with Cassie.
Ramon Rosanas and Jordan Boyd are settling in to a fine balance on art. The Miami setting looks great under Boyd’s bright, clean color palette and Rosanas illustrates everything with clear, thin lines that pull in the reader’s eye. His pop art style finds the maximum use of each panel, tilting camera angles and perspectives to achieve the best impact for the story. The work is well-detailed and his Taskmaster, quite a sight. As they continue to explore Scott’s new status quo, it will be exciting to see them take bigger and bigger chances with the visual style of the series.
Three issues in and “Ant-Man” is another entertaining, high quality comic from Marvel. Spencer does dense plots well and what’s coming up next will be a true test of how the premise of this series can hold up. If anyone can pull off the mundane drag of work life with the complications of spandex, Spencer has proven he can in his previous work like “Superior Foes of Spider-Man.” Here’s to the little guy in all of us.