Review: Ant-Man Vol. 1 – Second-Chance Man by Nick Spencer and Ramon Rosanas

Ant Man coverI’ve never read an Ant-Man comic, but the impending release of a blockbuster film, plus the creative team collaborating on Marvel’s new series, persuaded me to check out the first volume of the revamped title. I’m so glad I did. Nick Spencer and Ramon Rosanas have created a funny, thrilling, and heartfelt superhero tale that deserves to stick around for the long haul.

Ant-Man has a convoluted backstory – – then again, name a superhero who doesn’t. Several characters have donned the mantle made famous by the original, Hank Pym; more recently, ex-con Scott Lang has been wearing the suit, and it’s he who stars as the protagonist in this latest incarnation. Nick Spencer does a nice job making all that history palatable for newcomers, never sweeping continuity under the rug, but not getting bogged down in it either. When Second-Chance Man opens, Lang is applying for the role of Stark Industries’ Head of Security, a job he desperately needs to ensure he retains visitation rights with his daughter. His narration is laced with sarcasm and self-deprecation; this is a guy who stumbled into the superhero business, and doesn’t believe he deserves a seat at the same table as Thor, Captain America and Iron Man. And given his tendency to give into temptation – – he’s an ex-thief, after all – – he’s probably right.

Spencer litters his scripts with humour, and for the most part the jokes land perfectly. It’s not all light and fluffy, though – – especially when an old foe surfaces and kidnaps Lang’s daughter. Now, I know what you’re thinking: the old villain-kidnapping-heroes-daughter trope. Been there, done that. But Spencer makes it work, due in no small part to artist Ramon Rosanas, whose work reminds me of Chris Samnee, with its clean, slick line-work. Much of the book’s humour relies on visual gags, and Rosanas pulls this off with the required subtlety. He’s equally adept at the big action scenes; one of this volume’s highlight’s is Ant-Man’s battle with the Midasbot – a Nazi-gold spitting killer machine.

Ant-Man works because it humanises its titular character. Scott Lang is an everyman, who has screwed up, and will continue to do so. But deep down, despite everything, he has a good heart, and he wants to do right by his daughter; wants to be the father she deserves. Ant-Man doesn’t possess universe-shattering threats, but it packs a ton of heart, and offers a refreshing change of pace from the other titles on Marvel’s list.

ISBN: 9780785193876
Format: Paperback
Pages: 120
Imprint: Marvel Comics
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Publish Date: 23-Jun-2015
Country of Publication: United States

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