Written by Nick Spencer. Art by Ramon Rosanas. Published by Marvel Comics.
When it was announced that Ant-Man was joining the likes of Thor, Captain America and Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe there were many people who knew next to nothing about him. That’s totally understandable as he would be considered a B-grade character and one who hasn’t really sustained an ongoing comic for some time. With Ant-Man hitting cinema’s around the world very soon, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at the most recent Ant-Man trade paperback. Written by Nick Spencer and art by Ramon Rosanas, Ant-Man Volume 1: Second Chance Man mixes humour with a story of redemption and second chances, in a package which is a delight to read.
The story opens on a job interview at Stark Industries with Ant-Man, Scott Lang, applying for a job as the head of the new security division. Through the interview, we find out about his history as an ex-con, how he was dead for a period and his relationship with other heroes. While it can feel a little like an exposition dump, it works well to introduce Scott Lang’s history and situation to the reader. From the get-go Spencer is trying to make Ant-Man as new reader-friendly as possible. You’ll have to read to find out if he’s offered the job – I’m not the kind to give away spoilers!
The job is only a narrative stepping stone as Scott moves from New York to Miami to be closer to his teenage daughter – much to the dismay of his ex-wife. In a different city, Ant-Man sets up his own security business – who better to keep your stuff safe than the guy who used to steal it – with a few reformed C-Grade supervillains as employees. Although, things start going wrong as someone from his past resurfaces and makes a situation very personal.
Ultimately, this volume of Ant-Man is all about Scott’s redemption and the second chance he has been given at an attempt to make his life better. Nick Spencer explores this in a variety of ways from Scott’s lack of a steady job, the stigma of being an ex-con and Scott’s persistence at trying to be a reliable father. Even in his heroic activities, there’s redemption to be found with Ant-Man being known to take the easy way out. While it’s a long road ahead of him, watching Scott at least attempt to make up for his shortfalls and mistakes is great to read. The reader is emotionally invested in him as a character, which will have you cheering during his successes and being disappointed when he fails or takes the easy way out.
Humour is a big part of Ant-Man Volume 1: Second Chance Man which helps not only helps make the reader invested in Scott, but also stops it from being a depressing story. A lot of the humour comes from character interactions, which are peppered with witty dialogue and the occasional pop culture reference. At the same time, the series knows how to make fun of the characters without it being nasty. Whether this be Tony Stark (Iron Man) who appears in the early pages; Scott, who is able to make light of his own situations; or Grizzly (employee and ex-villain) who is a man in a giant bear suit.
Much of this humour works well due to Rosanas’ expressive art. Through characters facial expressions and body language (as seen above) the humour becomes more than just words in a balloon but gives them tone.
While each superhero comic has its challenges when it comes to art, Ant-Man is unique in that it has to worry about scale on various different levels. Ramon Rosanas, with his crisp style, succeeds in this regard. In moments in which Ant-Man is required to shrink he makes the world around him look huge through the use of interesting angles and the size of the panels.
If you’re curious about reading Ant-Man in lead up to the movie Ant-Man Volume 1: Second Chance Man is a fantastic place to start. Spencer and Rosanas have been able to not only introduce new readers to the world of Scott Lang but have done so with wit and a story of a man given a second chance. Through, these elements readers will be invested in these characters and will feel the highs and lows on Scott Lang’s journey for redemption. Overall, it’s a fantastic read and comes highly recommended.
Ant-Man Volume 1: Second Chance Man is now available in all good comic book stores and digitally. You can also take a look at a preview of Ant-Man #1 here.
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