Coming into this book, we already know that Hank Pym is on a road to redemption. After assuming the name his wife served under as an Avenger, Pym has proven himself to be an integral part of not only the Avengers’ history, but its future as well. This story brings him into a confrontation with Eric O’Grady, who is wearing Pym’s old Ant-Man togs.
Seeley goes to great lengths in this story to set the two characters at opposite ends of the heroic spectrum, with Pym announcing the opening of multiple Janet Van Dyne Centers for Women and solving a crisis in time, while all O’Grady manages to do is get drunk, make some ill-planned advances on Avengers Academy students, and further prove that while he may have been indoctrinated into the ranks of the Avengers, the Eric O’Grady Ant-Man is still more irredeemable than astonishing.
Tim Seeley pulls double duty on this book, writing and drawing the adventures of the shrinking heroes. Seeley’s art is detailed, expressive, and fun — a fine mix for a story that should be light-hearted. The ability to draw his own story certainly allows Seeley to jam quite a bit into this book, as he not only uses this first issue establish who the characters are, but he also sets up the story, solves some other sidebar tales and brings in a number of cameos. You can check out the first few pages in the preview right here on CBR.
Seeley’s art is sharply detailed and keenly consistent throughout the book. The backgrounds aren’t flat colored panels, but rather functional environments, complete with a “Jarvis doesn’t work here. Clean up after yourself,” sign hanging in the kitchen. All of the characters are drawn with a great range of expression, and Seeley plays up the moments that could only happen in an Avengers comic, such as Reed Richards’ dazed acknowledgment of O’Grady’s greeting. Seeley’s heroes look the part, but his women all look to be in a great deal of pain, or setting themselves up for a great deal of pain with the poses and posture that play more to cheesecake pin-ups than action adventures. Throughout the issue, the incomparable colors of Val Staples help push this book into fearless superhero territory, filling Seeley’s art and threatening to help the characters pop off the page.
An interesting start to an awkward team-up, this book celebrates the Avengers corner of the Marvel Universe with great delight. This issue reads like an issue of “Marvel Team-Up” from the 1980s, with enough nods and winks to continuity and ongoing (or recent) events without letting itself be anything more — or less — than it is: a fun set-up to an adventure that promises some predictable moments that will be juxtaposed with more than a few surprises. Seeley is setting O’Grady up for a bit of character evolution. I’m looking forward to seeing if the character agrees and steps up or continues to revel in his scoundrel ways.