Ant-Man #1 (Comics Review)

The next couple of movies from Marvel are going to be Avengers: Age of Ultron in May this year and then Ant Man in July this year. The latter will close out Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and we will then have to wait till next year’s Captain America: Civil War for the next phase. Ant-Man will leave the MCU in a rather interesting place, what with the hero being a reformed thief who wears a Sci-fi suit that can shrink him down to the size of an ant and he goes around riding on top of ants as his shtick. Rather interesting premise, and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing this movie.

This is where Ant-Man #1, out this week, comes in. As with many other comics released recently by Marvel, this too is meant to highlight the titular hero, who also goes by the name Scott Lang, so that fans old and new alike can grow comfortable with him by the time the movie rolls around in about 7 months. The first size, with almost ten extra pages than a regular comic, does some interesting things, but it also feels like a going-through-the-motions kind of comic. The art is actually pretty decent here, but the story, not so much.

Ant-Man 001

The original Ant-Man, Hank Pym, has often been a founding Avenger in various iterations of the character/teams. Scott Lang is thus the second hero to go by that name, and he is pretty much Pym’s successor in that regard. As a reformed criminal who has marriage issues, parental issues with respect to his daughter, and commitment issues. That creates the backdrop for some really interesting stories, especially once it all transitions to the big screen, since Scott is unlike any of the other heroes with respect to his background, save perhaps Black Widow.

In this first issue, writer Nick Spencer gives a long and extended introduction to the character. We see what kind of a man Scott Lang is, what drives him, what his dreams are, what his weaknesses are. And in all of this, what I took away was that Scott is far too much of a self-pitying character. He is a tortured protagonist sure, but he also wallows too much in his self-pity and that often took away from the larger story.

Not that the larger story was all that exciting to begin with. Scott needs a job, Tony Stark needs a new head of security for his company (in New York I presume since post-AXIS Tony has shifted HQ to San Fransisco), voila, problem solved. Though of course, Tony needs someone who is smart and driven, which is where Scott comes in for an evaluation test. It is kind of a really… convenient story, sort of, that is far too much by the numbers. There are some supporting cast members in this story but none of them are worth a mention since they were either bland or caricatures.

The overall experience reading through was that I was reading a novel more than I was reading a comic. With all the extra pages, and all the drawn-out character stuff, the pacing was really off, and I got bored at several moments as well, to the point where I just wanted to put the comic down and move on to something more exciting.

The issue, from a story/character/dialogue point of view, isn’t all that bad, but it seemed as if Nick didn’t take the effort to really involve the reader in Scott’s struggles, to really care about him. Perhaps if the supporting cast had been a bit better, things might have been different.

The art is by Ramon Rosanas, colours by Jordan Boyd, letters by VC’s Travis Lanham, and the cover by Mark Brooks. The cover is really good, I must admit. The transitions are pretty smooth and Scott’s expressions convey a lot. The internal art is also pretty decent actually, definitely better than than the story itself. There is a bit too much shading and inking in some panels, not to mention that the shadows in general are far too prevalent, but there’s some good energy here, especially early on when Scott is using his powers.

Nowhere near as good a start to the series as I was expecting, but early days yet.

Rating: 5/10


Posted on January 11, 2015, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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