Wednesday, June 22, 2016

CBR Ant-Man: Second-Chance Man

Scott Lang is back being Ant-Man. Even his daughter his back just being a regular teenager.

Can Ant-Man get a second chance to become a new fan favorite?

Follow the reviews of Marvel's tiniest heroes - Ant-Man and Wasp!
Hank Pym: Avengers: The OriginAnt-Man Season One

Comic title: Ant-Man Vol. 1: Second-Chance Man 
Written by Nick Spencer
Drawn by Ramon Rosanas 

Published by Marvel Comics 
From June 2015
Lineup Ant-Man series/Marvel Universe
Format: Softcover trade paperback collecting the Marvel Now series Ant-Man issues #1-5.

After the original Ant-Man, Hank Pym, retired, someone else stole the costume... Scott Lang!

Following his run adventures along the Future Foundation, the second Ant-Man was given a brand new solo comic book series. It's no secret the live action MCU film had a big hand in that.

The character of Scott Lang was created by David Michelinie and John Byrne in 1979. Scott Lang is an electrical engineer, an ex-thief and a con man who turned to burglary when he couldn't afford the bills for his ill daughter Cassandra Lang. Scott even got caught and did time in prison. After getting out, he reformed, but not before doing one last job - stealing the Ant-Man suit from Hank Pym! After a pretty decent run in comics, Scott Lang was killed off during the Avengers Disassembled storyline...

After that Eric O'Grady would take up the mantle of Ant-Man in the great Irredeemable Ant-Man series and become an Avengers, teaming up with Hank Pym in the Ant-man & Wasp miniseries. Eric was also finally killed himself in a 2012 storyline of Secret Avengers. (Because they always end up killing fun size-changing heroes, see The All-New Atom for example). Shortly after Scott Lang was brought back to comics in the pages of The Avengers: Children’s Crusade miniseries only to witness the death of Cassie at the hands of the diabolical Doctor Doom, Scott was convinced by Reed Richards to come back from his superhero retirement to take over the Future Foundation while the Fantastic Four would only be away from the Marvel Universe for only "four minutes". During his tenure on the team he faced Doctor Doom and came out victorious, finally discovered the true physics behind Pym Particles and even started a new relationship with Darla Deering, aka Ms. Thing.

A new epic crossover storyline, AXIS, caused a huge reversal of the personality of every Marvel character, causing Doctor Doom himself to act heroic and use his powers to have a hand properly resurrecting Cassie Lang to atone for his past crimes. This is where this book picks up.

It all began when the Superior Iron Man called for Scott for a possible job opportunity. In competition with the likes of the villainess new Beetle, Scott finally decided to skip on the job despite coming up top for the position so he could leave NYC behind and move out to sunny Miami as a chance to stay close to his daughter who just moved there with his ex-wife Peggy. Scott really wants to keep this relationship he has with his daughter who's a huge part of his life, so he just decided to tag along on a whim.

But first things first, Scott also needs a new job. That's where Ant-Man Security Solutions comes in! Using both his electronics skills and his past life as a thief (and some tiny help from his Ant-Man suit) he will offer his services to anyone that needs protection from a (new) local superhero! But he's only able to sell his pitch to this private bank owner Mrs. Morgentern after saving them from some kind of nazi robot escaped from their vaults!

The next day while he's setting up shop, he's attacked by this C-List villain, Grizzly mistaking him for Eric O'Grady! So he gives him a job?!

But old enemies return, he even gets into trouble with merc' for hire Taskmasters! And soon Cassie finds herself in the crossfire of, well Crossfire. Who kidnaps her for his nephew Augustine Cross. Who needs to literally steal her heart for an heart transplant for his own father... Darren Cross of Cross Technologies! That's right, Scott Lang's very first main antagonist (who was more or less kept and adapted into the live action film by the way). They kept Cross in a state of suspended animation and blackmail the doctor Scott met years ago to transplant this pym particle-filled heart into the bad guy!

Scott enlists the help of Grizzly and this super-hacker robot Machinesmith to face them and retrieve Cassie! Yet the villains kind of win the day, leaving Darrent Cross with an unstable heart shrinking him constantly depending on his mood.

Maybe Scott should really distance himself from his family for now...

This is such a fun book!

Scott's clearly not the best superhero ever. He's kind of flawed, and always seemed to retain a chip on his shoulder. He doesn't even think he's the best Ant-Man, and the previous guy created Ultron and his follow-up was a shady SHIELD agent!

But self-doubts are part of his character.

Make no mistake, this is not just a rehash of the film or a return back to his origin story. This is the tale of an established character who has already a few decades worth of stories behind him. With highs and lows.

Scott is clearly a product of 1970s comics. He was a divorced dad, with a lot of issues. But he's also a lovable character who had to break a few rules in this past.

Nick Spencer writes a really fun series with a great tone. He gives Scott Lang a great strong voice, making him a pretty engaging character with a great relatable personality. This book actually kind of works as a continuation of his previous work, The Superior Foes of Spider-Man (which I just as Highly Recommend, by the way!).

Despite the character possessing over decades-worth of history, it's a really fun enjoyable read!

Scott Lang gets such a unique and fun supporting cast! Him and Grizzly make for such an unlikely team! There's also some great banter with his foes, notably with Taskmaster. And Cassie Lang's not the main character anymore there's a lot of focus on her since all Scott ever does is for her.

Ant-Man is a great character and concept. Even in comics, and despite being one of the original Avengers, Ant-Man's always been a B-tier character, but always a great character. All Ant-Mans (Ant-Men?) are always about fun weird science, vintage superhero heroics and comedy. While Hank Pym usually revolved around his identity crisis over the years from evolving into Giant-Man, Yellowjacket to even the Wasp as well, Scott Lang's always been the more low-key version of the character. And with his baggage as a thief and electronics expert, he's not as bound to the science lab as Hank was.

The comic kind of plays off the events of the movie but it's not defined by it. They both just have kin of the same setup with Scott being this ex-con dad out of his luck.

The comic features some terrific art. It's as fun and gorgeous to look at. The artwork comes from artist Ramon Rosanas and colorist Jordan Boyd. It's pretty fun, lively, detailed and slightly cartoony (kind of what you would expect from Superior Foes of Spider-Man), always gorgeous to look at and engaging. And let's not forget the gorgeous front cover art by Mark Brooks.

Scott Lang's never been put in better hands!

Overall, Ant-Man: Second-Chance Man is a great book! It's a really fun read!

Ant-Man always has been a fairly obscure superhero, and the Scott Lang persona is perhaps one of his less popular incarnations but they make for one super fun read here! He's a thief with a lot of heart. The character felt a bit somber for a while, but now he's back in full form, down on his luck and trying his best to keep a new job to keep both his ex-wife and daughter happy.

Ant-Man's always been this fun goofy character, a reminder of these 1960s-type of goofy superheroes.

You don't even need to be that familiar with the character, the book put things down and set it up pretty quickly making simple facts of years worth of material to give Scott Lang a new start here! It's a fun adventure!

And like the great quote from says on the cover, you'll be a fan of Ant-Man after reading this book! This one comes Highly Recommended, incentive from the movie or not you just must check this series out!

Also, don't read too much into the "volume 1" set on the cover, because of the All-New Marvel rebranding the following volume would also be numbered "vol. 1" on the side...

I give it:
3 / 3 Howards!

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