Saturday, November 19, 2011

CBR Ant-man & Wasp

Time to review a Marvel Comics for a change!
This one is a little self-contained story released not that long ago.

About one of my favorite Marvel super heroes Hank Pym, the original Ant-man!

Comic title: Ant-man & Wasp
Art by Tim Seeley & Victor Olazaba
Story by Tim Seeley

Published by Marvel Comics
From 2011
Lineup Ant-man
Format: Collects the three issue series Ant-man & Wasp as well as Tales to Astonish #44-48 from 1963.

"Ant-man & Wasp"
Catchy title, heh? It has a certain ring to it.

Ant-man & Wasp were originally the superhero codenames of scientist Dr. Henry Pym and his partner (first, and love interest later on) Janet van Dyne.
Pym developed what he called Pym-particles, once released as a gas contained in his and the Wasp's belt would allow them to either shrink or grow back.
The character, though never with a book of their own, were popular enough to be included in what would become Stan Lee & co's all-new super team book series The Avengers. Since they've been from day one founding Avengers members the characters have been mostly associated with that brand.

Now 50 years later, things changed a lot around the Marvel Universe.
The original Wasp is no more. He went by several other names since then, though Hank Pym is now called the Wasp himself in memory of his lost spouse. After a brief stint with his own variant Mighty Avengers team, he now leads Avengers Academy.
Someone else goes by the name Ant-man at the moment, Eric O'Grady. O'Grady is loud, annoying and irrespectful for the legacy his carrying around. After all he stole the Ant-man's suit originally.

Pym is trying to make amends for all the bad decisions and choices he did in his life.
O'Grady is just doing what he does best, be a pain in everyone's butt.
And the world is not as innocent and simple as it was no more.
But some things never change, there still is an Ant-man & Wasp around we can count on...

Small World!

Small World is a 3-issues mini-series about the current latest incarnation of the dynamic duo.

It all started when O'Grady got a message from a world renowned master thief which owed him one favor. The Black Fox heard A.I.M. (aka the "Advanced Idea Mechanics" super criminal group) was after one of Hank Pym's invention. A sort of digital heaven the scientist supreme (that's his actual title!) built for another departed friend, Bill Foster. (who assumed temporarily some of Pym's other identities like Goliath or Giant-man).
O'Grady, being the great guy he is decided he had to alert Pym of what was coming after him...

Meanwhile Hank Pym settled finally in his new Wasp identity as well as head of the Avengers Academy.
Pym was also opening a woman shelter to provide help for victims of domestic abuse.

Once Eric O'Grady arrived there, problems ensued..

Sexy ghost girls coming out of people's mind, O'Grady causing havoc wherever he goes through, people screaming, girls running away and even the genius Wasp contingency plans for everything might not cover what the two will encounter! And what exactly was A.I.M. really after??

Right from the first pages, both characters are perfectly well captured and defined.
Hank Pym and his ever changing costumed ids, his guilt and best asset, his super-mind.
And O'Grady, with a girl in underwear, lying and brash.

Tim Seeley, a personal favorite artist/writer of mine and creator of Hack/Slash, has a complete grisp on his characters, who they are and where they're going to.
I honestly got this for him originally mostly, not Ant-man.
The art is great, sometimes cartoony and top notch all around. Crisp brilliant colorful layouts.
The story is accessible enough but still anchored in the current Marvel U. With little nods and references to current and past continuity. (for example, O'Grady mentions another of Pym's "failures", the death of, yes, yet another partner and friend of his, Scott Lang - another Ant-man)

"A Double-Length Ant-Man Super Epic!"

But wait! There's more!

The book also collects Tales To Astonish issues #44 to 48 from 1963!
Simply put, the original Ant-man and Wasp's origins and first couple of issues.
In stories by Stan Lee himself with Ernie Hart, with art by Jack Kirby and Don Heck - no less!

I'm honestly not a big fan when Marvel puts these classic tales to "buff" the trade paperback bookss, but I thought it was pretty fitting for Ant-Man and Wasp (also 3 issues would have make such a short TPB).

True enough Ant-Man first appeared in Tales to Astonish #27 and made some other appearances in some other issues after that, but #44 took the time to re-narrate his origin as well as adding Janet, the Wasp, for the first time! (I consider this his "real" origin)

Overall, it was a fantastic comic book!
I just love these characters, and this book is a great introduction to them, both the original and the current Ant-Man.

Yes, Hank Pym changed his costumed alias since then, again! (and has shown to be able to change back whenever... he just can't make his mind about it!!)

It kinda feels like Marvel cut Tim Seeley's story short during the 3rd and last issue though...
Some bits are skipped (Bill Foster's digital world) and not mentioned again, the plot threads are quickly resolved (the "joining the A.I.M." part, the finale confrontation..)... I'm pretty sure this was supposed to be either a real on-going or at least a bigger on-going, though Tim Seeley didn't comment on that... so, who knows!

The classic stories are also great, Stan Lee at his best (which I consider to be his 60s runs).
And I know Ant-Man faced a lot of silly villains back then (aliens controlling giant robotic monsters, Ant-Eaters, Egghead, the Porcupine,..) but they were his, and were all about showing how Ant-man as a scientist and smart hero could defeat them...whatever silly death trap they put him through!

I give it:

  2.5 / 3 Howards!


  1. Good review. Love your illustrations.
    I have a blog myself, would you check it out?

    1. No need to copy-paste~

      Like I said on dA, just drop me a word.

    2. Sorry, wasn't sure where to post.