Written by Zeb Wells
Art by Dylan Burnett and Mike Spicer
Lettering by Cory Petit
Published by Marvel Comics
‘Rama Rating: 7 out of 10
Scott Lang makes his return as a headliner in Ant-Man #1, and while it takes a bit for this story to warm up, once it does, writer Zeb Wells and artist Dylan Burnett seem to be having a blast. Despite some pacing problems in this debut issue, there’s a sharp wit and a beautiful sense of artistry that lets this creative team stick the landing.
But like I said - it does take some time for Wells and Burnett to get there. It’s in part because the first two-thirds of the book feel like expositional table-setting - we’ve got Scott teaming up with his daughter Cassie, as Ant-Man and Stinger put the kibosh on some A.I.M. drug dealers. But given that this is Scott Lang we’re talking about, he’s also a bit of a scrub, couch-surfing in an anthill and desperately trying to scape together some scratch to get his own place. Unfortunately, that set-up both goes too long and yet not deep enough - there’s a lot of telling rather than showing when it comes to Scott and Cassie’s histories and dynamic, all of which seems to rely on readers having already read Nick Spencer’s previous run with the character.
Yet once Wells gets all that out of the way, sparks start to fly - in part because Wells’ take on Scott flying solo feels stronger than his team-up with Stinger, but also because the script starts playing to its creative team’s strengths. For example, while jokes about Scott being a penniless scrub feel a little played out by now, a bee commenting on how weird it is for Scott to mount him is genuinely hilarious. (And that’s to say nothing of the two twists involving the book’s villains.)
More importantly, though, the book’s final third gives Burnett a chance to flex his considerable muscles. Burnett’s style is like a cross between Steve Lieber and Ryan Ottley (or even James Harren) - it’s dynamic and fun, but there’s a sense of humor behind every sharply rendered grin. Without spoiling too much, the fight sequence that Burnett delivers towards the end of the book is probably the coolest Ant-Man has ever looked, as he battles the most appropriate villain of all time wearing the most unorthodox armor he’s ever sported. (Again, I can only say so much without spoilers.) But what’s most impressive is that Burnett is showing how versatile he is - the setting for Ant-Man is a bit more domestic than, say, Cosmic Ghost Rider, but Burnett still makes Scott hopping onto an insect or Stinger going on a midnight swamp mission look like a blast.
While it takes a bit for the team to start firing on all cylinders, there’s a lot to appreciate about Ant-Man #1. Even though there’s certainly some narrative fat readers have to chew through at first, once the exposition is over, there’s a great sense of humor - and even more beautiful artwork - to enjoy. This might not be a book that blows up the sales charts -heck, it might not even be Scott Lang’s most standout adventure - but there’s definitely enough to warrant checking out a second issue.