ASTONISHING ANT-MAN: EVERYBODY LOVES TEAM-UPS
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artists: Brent Schoonover, Ramon Rosanas
Color Artists: Jordan Boyd, Wil Quintana
Cover Artists: David Marquez, Justin Ponsor, Mark Brooks, David Nakayama
Letterers: VC’s Travis Lanham
Assistant Editor: Chris Robinson, John Moisan
Editor: Will Moss
A little fact about me, among the first two series I subscribed to when I began collecting 2016, The Astonishing Ant-Man was one of them. After absolutely loving the MCU’s introduction (and Paul Rudd’s performance), I knew I wanted to follow along with Scott Lang and all of his adventures both big and small. With Zeb Wells’ current mini-series run of Ant-Man approaching the end, it was great getting to revisit this volume after some time away. Watch out for big spoilers!
Everybody Loves Team-Ups isn’t underselling you on the tile. There are a lot of team-ups. While trying to successfully run a security business down in Florida, Spencer explores Lang’s relationship professionally, romantically and genuinely through so many different characters. Looking back at his and his late mentor’s last conversation, helping out forgotten golden age heroes of the past, secretly being there for his daughter, managing former villains, and even being targeted by arch-villains. I mean I could go on. There is a lot going on here that Spencer weaves together expertly on top of taking place during mid-Universe Retcon and Civil War 2. No small feat.
The bulk of this story is played out between Scott looking to get some work for his company. His first big break doesn’t go so well as the more sinister side of’ Silicon Valley’s members starts up an app that while being pitched to Darren Cross (the villain from the movie, but also long time villain from comics that has hurt Scott’s daughter) ruins that deal. His next big offer comes from a former girlfriend and F.F. teammate, Darla Deering. When I first read this volume I hadn’t experienced the amazing work that Matt Fraction and the Allred’s did on F.F. It was great getting reading this again knowing more of who Darla was while also being bummed she would take advantage of Scott, using his failures and struggles to boost her show’s ratings. Even when Spencer puts Scott in the most vulnerable moments, there is a big chance it’s gonna come back to bite him. Even teaming up with Captain America has consequences for Scott.
Nick Spencer’s run of Scott Lang as Ant-Man felt like the perfect introduction to the character in the comic universe. Looking back through this read now, I feel like Paul Rudd gave some very big inspiration to this run as Scott shares that quippy humor, set apart from Spider-Man by how awkward and uncomfortable Scott can be. I also want to think that as the film inspired this series somewhat, Spencer’s run did the same as Scott starts up his security company in the sequel movie as well.
The thing I love most about the Ant-Man from both Spencer’s run (aside from the humor) and on with other writers is that it genuinely feels different from the rest of the heroes I love to read about. There are plenty of heroes that make mistakes, but Scott Lang can make like twenty back to back just trying to do good. He struggles constantly in the eyes of everyone in so many ways. Even when he succeeds, Scott manages to fail. That’s something so great about reading this. As a reader (or any character that points things out to him) you almost always feel like we know what he should be doing, yet he does what he thinks is best for others. It’s imperfect and it’s real. I appreciate that. Do yourself a BIG favor and take a little time to check out this read if you are looking for a hero that is a little more out there.