Written by Zeb Wells
Art by Dylan Burnett and Mike Spicer
Lettering by Cory Petit
Published by Marvel Comics
‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
A lot of development comes in a small package in Ant-Man #4, as writer Zeb Wells and artist Dylan Burnett swiftly escalate the threat of Macrothorax as he beats Scott and Cassie Lang at their own size-changing, bug-controlling game. While it feels a bit late in the game for a penultimate issue, Wells and Burnett’s action-packed enthusiasm can’t help but be contagious.
Starting with a surprisingly heartbreaking recap from a dying ant, Wells is turning in the best work of the entire series with this issue - being able to give the small and insignificant a deep emotional connection feels like the bread-and-butter of any Ant-Man series, and the value of life from both a human and insect perspective permeates much of this issue. While I do think Wells’ channeling of the self-deprecating Paul Rudd gets a little bit lost in the shuffle even with a fairly limited cast around him, the fact that Scott cares about people - from his daughter to the faceless ants around him - makes him a likeable, breezy hero that’s easy to follow.
Which is a good thing, because Wells’ script also tears ahead, making up for some serious lost time from the three previous installments. The insect intrigue following Macrothorax and his buggy benefactors is escalated at breakneck speed, and is only complicated when Scott and Cassie introduce new Pym technology to go alongside Macrothorax’s stolen Pym Particles. Sure, there are a few hiccups here and there - like Cassie suddenly being thrown into a convenient chasm that hadn’t been introduced previously, only to be played for laughs because Scott forgot he couldn’t fly - but the pacing is largely effective all around, giving Burnett a chance to really sink his teeth into some dynamic sequences.
And boy, does Burnett run with it. You’d be forgiven if you felt he was slumming it on an Ant-Man book - not for nothing, but the little guy often gets overlooked - but if his pages are any indication, he looks like he’s having the time of his life. Evoking the best of Tradd Moore and Daniel Warren Johnson, Burnett lends so much speed and detail to his pages, from a brutal bug massacre in the heart of an anthill, to Scott and Cassie soaring into battle on the backs of giant moths, to a particularly explosive page of Cassie using her augmented helmet to scream a pack of insects into submission. Burnett does great work balancing out some of Wells’ more densely packed pages, and colorist Mike Spicer keeps the energy running high with a wild rainbow palette that feels pitch-perfect for Ant-Man’s off-kilter science adventures.
Even with only one issue left to go, Ant-Man #4 makes some big strides forward, both in terms of progressing this miniseries’ storyline and scratching that narrative itch for comics fans missing their weekly hit from the House of Ideas. While Scott himself sometimes gets lost in the mix, Wells makes up for it with some satisfying twists and turns, while Burnett alone makes this series worth the cover price for his eclectic and exciting art. You might not expect it given Scott Lang’s diminutive size, but Ant-Man #4 might just be Marvel’s best book this week.