Marvel's Ant-Man Prelude #1

While it's no secret that Ant-Man is going to hit the big screen in summer 2015, "Marvel's Ant-Man Prelude" #1 somehow snuck into the lineup of new comics virtually unnoticed, much like the heroic namesake of this title. Will Corona Pilgrim sets the story in the non-committal time period of "years ago" and artist Miguel Sepulveda keeps the cast ruggedly generic, choosing not to use any of the feature film stars as templates for the characters in this comic book.

The cast present in "Marvel's Ant-Man Prelude" #1 starts with Hank Pym and grows outward from his S.H.I.E.L.D. research and development lab. Tying the story so closely to the spine of the Marvel Cinematic Universe opens up the cameo appearance closet nicely for Pilgrim, who intelligently taps Howard Stark and Peggy Carter for appearances. Pilgrim writes Stark inline with his other appearances, but his handling of Carter is a little looser and marginally more humorous. Pym is the prototypical scientist, lost in his work and ignorant that the world around him continues to grind on, at least while he's involved in his project.

Pilgrim keeps everyone safe and the story free from any huge reveals or character developments. The mission is simple and clear: someone needs to use Pym's tech for a rescue mission. Pym makes it plain that no one is using it except himself. With that, Pilgrim makes Pym parallel to his 616 equivalent but also bolsters him with a decidedly heroic personality, making "Marvel's Ant-Man Prelude" #1 instantly more readable.

Sepulveda's art is serviceable and evocative of the characters, but he's not drawing Hayley Atwell, Dominic Cooper or Michael Douglas. Instead, he draws Peggy Carter, Howard Stark and Hank Pym. The cast is tight and remains distinguishable throughout the issue. Bit's inks separate and, at times, almost elevate the characters off of the backgrounds, which are detailed just enough to be settings but don't offer readers any distractions. Colorists Jay David Ramos and David Curiel punch the characters forward a bit more with their color choices and wash the backgrounds with textures and gradients, helping even the open panels to appear atmospheric. The overall effect appears a bit like Colorforms, which isn't all bad, despite appearing simpler than a typical comic.

"Marvel's Ant-Man Prelude" #1 gets playful and has some fun stitching in bits from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, offering hardcore readers a chance to scratch the Ant-Man itch months before the film hits screens. This isn't ground-breaking comics, but it doesn't have to be. It's DVD-style bonus material for the most dedicated fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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