With a movie just around the corner, what better time to launch a six-issue miniseries starring two of Marvel’s most miniscule heroes?
If you’re more familiar with the live-action incarnations of these characters, however, be aware that the stars of this book aren’t exactly the same as the ones headlining Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man & The Wasp movie. It’s still Scott Lang in the pointy-antennaed helmet, but rather than Evangeline Lilly’s Hope as the Wasp, here we have Nadia van Dyne, the cheery teen science-hero introduced in the recent Unstoppable Wasp series.
It’s the first time these two characters have met, but they turn out to make a pitch-perfect pairing, bickering in a way that perfectly captures the tone of the Marvel movies. Accordingly, Mark Waid and Javier Garrón serve up a continuity-light adventure that flies by, told with the agility of a wasp on the breeze.
Nadia is helping Scott get home from space in time for his daughter’s birthday, when a mix-up ends up with them both journeying to the Microverse. What starts out as a light comedy, with Scott as the dumb-dumb irritating super-smart Nadia, moves into more cosmic territory as we visit the sub-atomic realm. Garrón does a great job bringing the inhabitants of the Microverse to psychedelic life, with the help of Israel Silva’s kaleidoscopic colors.
That’s fortunate, because the weirder corners of the Marvel universe are central to the tale Waid has chosen to tell — and so are colors. I won’t spoil why, but the shared red hues of Ant-Man and Wasp’s costumes prove to be particularly important, even setting up the inevitable cliffhanger.
The issue skips between various tones — comedic, cosmic and the darker undercurrents of the Microverse — but it never feels jarring. That’s partly thanks to Nadia and Scott’s frenetic frenemy rapport, which acts as constant without ever becoming as irritating as they find each other. But largely it’s down to the flexibility of Garrón, who is as good at drawing eerie creatures as he is bringing expressive fluidity to dialogue-heavy scenes.
Appropriately for a story about Pym particles, Ant-Man & The Wasp #1 is a pleasingly small-scale story — there’s no big bad, or promise of earth-shattering consequences — which manages to squeeze in comedy, fun superheroics and even a sprinkling of genuine peril.