While “Ant-Man: Larger Than Life” #1 is clearly set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Ant-Man in the spotlight of Will Corona Pilgrim’s story is Hank Pym. Andrea Di Vito provides the art, with colors from Veronica Gandini and lettering by Clayton Cowles. As an added bonus, two early Hank Pym adventures are reprinted in this issue, giving readers a chance to check out “Tales to Astonish” #27 as well as #35 of that series.
The lead-in focuses on Hank Pym experimenting in his lab. Rather than working on his formula, Corona Pilgrim sets Pym on the task of learning how to communicate with ants. The story would prove quite boring if the writer explored the full scope of the scientific process (not to mention the story is only twenty pages), so the answers come quickly but lead from one field test to the next, montage-style, to secure readers’ attention and maximize efficiency. That brisk story packs in some surprises but does nothing for the development of Pym as character worthy of readers’ interest.
Cowles’ lettering choices clue the readership into the difference in method Pym uses when communicating with his potential ant allies. The letterer is able to keep Di Vito’s art clean and crisp, largely due to the concise cast in “Ant-Man: Larger Than Life” #1, while at the same time playing to the space provided by the leaner cast and action-driven story. The Ant-Man costume at play in this issue doesn’t allow for Di Vito to utilize a wide range of emotions, instead having Ant-Man emote via body language. This leads to a lot of dynamic Ant-Man poses, which look neat but do nothing to add depth or emotion to the adventure occurring in this comic. It all looks nice and Veronica Gandini drops in some lively color choices, but nothing in the comic is outstanding or ready for cross-promotion of any sort. “Ant-Man: Larger Than Life” #1 is a serviceable story with good art that simply adds some optional depth to the characters set to take to screens in July.
All plot and little else, “Ant-Man: Larger Than Life” #1 is a decent glimpse in to the world of Hank Pym and the origins of Ant-Man. Unfortunately, it falls short of being anything more than a printed commercial churned out by the hype machine as Marvel’s latest cinematic release draws nearer. The addition of the two stories from “Tales to Astonish” elevates this comic nicely, giving readers a peek into the origins of Ant-Man and the variation in genre this character has experienced, from the horror tale of “The Man in the Ant Hill” to the boldly costumed debut of a hero in “The Return of the Ant-Man!”