February 4, 2015
Ant-Man's starting a new life and a bold new adventure, and you know what that means? He needs to borrow some money! Also, an old enemy returns.
Things have not been looking up in the world for our intrepid hero, Scott Lang. Just as he was about to get the job of a lifetime in last month’s issue, his life was again turned upside down when his ex-wife dropped the bomb that she and Lang’s daughter were moving to Miami. Our Ant-Man #2 review has us taking a look as Scott Lang applies for a bank loan and fights a guy in a bear suit.
Like any caring father, all Lang wants to do is provide the perfect life for his daughter, which he spends a lot of this issue trying to accomplish. Sandwiched between an opening and ending scene revolving around fighting the bearskin-clad hero Grizzly, is the story of Ant-Man applying for a bank loan to start his own private security firm. If you remember the fantastic Ant-Man #1, you’ll recall that Lang was just an ant’s length away from a high-paying gig at Stark Industries before everything got twist turned upside down.
As with any Nick Spencer book, a lot of the background and referential details are told through well-written thought boxes. Spencer could very well be the best monologuer in the business, and Ant-Man is so far enhancing that resume. Scott Lang’s internal conversations are both relatable and remarkably witty to the point that it really feels like a comic book character is talking directly to you, instead of just musing aimlessly. There are a couple times in this second issue when his goofy thoughts cross the line from being quick-witted to speaking like a chatty teenager, but it doesn’t get in the way too much. The rest of the time, all of his internal thoughts are kept light and fun, while still giving you all the details you know going forward and any background information you need about the past.
One thing I appreciated about Superior Foes of Spider-Man and now Ant-Man is just how relatable the main character and his struggles are. Maybe a little less so in Superior Foes, but Nick Spencer knows how to craft a hero that you’ll want to root for. I always like comics that show superheroes going up against normal human problems, and that’s almost entirely what Ant-Man is so far. He wants to start a private security firm, but all the super hero powers in the world won’t help him to do so, so he needs a bank loan. Naturally, the ex-con with little-to-no work experience is not granted the loan so he has to come across it in other means.
In this particular case, those other means are accomplished by accidentally unleashing a Nazi gold-spewing robot free to roam around a Miami bank. Similar to how Lang impressed Iron Man last week by committing a crime, he tries to show the bank how easy it is to steal from them by taking all the necessary steps to do so. Turning off the lights, opening the vaults, etc, are all done to get his point across and show off his new slogan “Who knows how to not get your stuff stolen better than the guy who used to steal your stuff?” Once he does this and accidentally opens the vault containing the giant robot, he’s able to leverage his superpowers to get the bank loan as he wanted, but not in a conventional way by any means – or how he initially intended.
In a weird way, despite wanting to root for Lang, his story is better the more he fails. Seeing the creative ways he overcomes his own screw ups is where a lot of the best moments of the series have been derived from so far, and it gives the comic a strange sense of wanting him to succeed yet fail at the same time.
Last month’s issue gave us what we needed to know about Ant-Man and little else, which was fine, but this month took some time to slip in some more relevant information. Grizzly, who surprise attacks Lang to start off the issue, turns out to be after the wrong Ant-Man. He’s after, as our current Ant-Man helps him deduce, Eric O’Grady who took up the mantle of Ant-Man while Scott Lang was dead. They once again reference the weird living/dead situation of the many Ant-Mans, and reinforce the idea that there have been several of them with different adventures.
So far through the first two books, Ant-Man has a great sense of comedic timing in its art. The jokes have a cinematic feel to them thanks to how frequently characters are smash cut to and away from at just the right time. My favorite in particular this issue is when Lang is positive that his old pal Tony Stark wouldn’t mind that he used his endorsement on a billboard. The next panel is simply Stark looking at the billboard on a monitor saying “Sue.” It’s a level of chemistry between writer and artist that makes the story, its characters, and their silly jokes jump off the page every time.
Being that this is Ant-Man after all, there is of course another great sequence showing Scott Lang shrinking down and going inside something large to dismantle it. These could get old eventually, but so far I’m loving them. It goes to show just what a unique character Ant-Man is, and Lang even references that he could take his chances “going twelve rounds” with the robot he’s fighting, but he’s able to use his shrinking ability to just go inside and muck with the wiring instead. When he is fighting full-sized, such as his small tiff with Grizzly, his fighting is appropriately drawn as fluid and fast.
Scott Lang starting his own security firm and recruiting other down-and-out ex-cons is a great premise that gets established in this issue, and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here on out. It’s hard to imagine he’ll actually end up recruiting the villain who is teased at the end of the issue, but who knows with the ever-slick Scott Lang at the helm.