Wednesday, September 28, 2016

CBR Astonishing Ant-Man Vol. 1: Everybody Loves Team-Ups

Scott Lang is back for All-New, All-Different Tales to Astonish!

This is probably in my Top 3 current favorite comics, so you know it's good!

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

Comic title: The Astonishing Ant-Man Vol. 1: Everybody Loves Team-Ups 
Written by Nick Spencer
Drawn by Ramon Rosanas & Brent Schoonover

Published by Marvel Comics 
From April 2016
Lineup Ant-Man series/All-New, All-Different Marvel Universe
Format: Softcover trade paperback collecting the special issue Ant-Man Annual #1, the one shot Ant-Man: Last Days #1 and issues #1-4 of The Astonishing Ant-Man.

After the original Ant-Man Hank Pym retired someone else took on the mantle of the tiny Avenger, literally ... Scott Lang!

Scott Lang used to be a down-on-his-luck thief and ex-con who's trying to change things for the better. Then again, he also used to be dead. Long story short, Scott is here to make amends now that he's been given a second chance to make things right with his daughter Cassie! That's why he's now offering the services of Ant-Man Security Solutions, putting his shady past knowledge to good use - for a fee!

This book Astonishing Ant-Man Vol. 1: Everybody Loves Team-Ups really picks up where the first trade Ant-Man Vol. 1: Second-Chance Man left Scott. In a pretty confusing way, Marvel went ahead and renumbered this book "volume 1", despite the same creative team of Nick Spencer and Ramon Rosanas still remaining aboard this series after the "soft reboot" that was Marvel's All-New, All-Different lineup. A lot of other books just went ahead and continued their normal numbering (I'm thinking of Squirrel Girl and Howard the Duck, for example). But not Ant-Man's book, this one starts over with a vol. 1 on the spine! And since this series wasn't really affected by the changes for all intends and purposes this should have been the second trade in their new Ant-Man ongoing series.

Volume 1 of the newly retitled series "The Astonishing Ant-Man", "Everybody Loves Team-Ups", collects the last issues of the previous series Ant-Man Annual #1, Ant-Man: Last Days and issues #1-4 of the new series.

The real change the series underwent through was the author now making much more references to Ant-Man's continuity and nods towards the Marvel Universe. They kept the previous issues light in the references to help new readers that would be coming on the title from the MCU film.

Our story opens with Ant-Man's first Annual! We get a quick look back after Scott Lang's "return from the dead" and an encounter he immediately had with the original Ant-Man, Hank Pym (then-Giant-Man). The two heroes go on a short adventures against classic Ant-Man foe Egghead (who apparently never died) and they saved  this computer technician Raz Malhotra. After a jump, we're now back in present day, Hank recently gave his life to stop the evil robot Ultron once and for goodb (see the Avengers storyline Rage of Ultron). Pym's basically fused with the robot now. Janet Van Dyne - aka The Wasp - came back to check on Scott after these events. Turns out Hank left Scott one last gift, a shrunken down secret lab! Somewhere else Raz also received a present in the form of the Giant-Man costume...
The Secret Wars tie-in sees Ant-Man trying his best to keep his business afloat, currently working for this rich lady Mary Morgan. She tasks him with a very special job. He learns that she used to be the Golden Age hero Miss Patriot. She also owns this entire retirement home for Golden Age superheroes and supervillains. They all get rejuvenated for a day thanks to the artifact Scott retrieves, their Last Days for one more adventure!

Scott decides to visit his ex-wife Peggy, now that he actually has some cash. He wants to see his daughter Cassandra Lang. But Peggy's angry Scott completely forgot to visit Cassie while she was in the hospital (see the previous volume to find out how she ended up there). Scott gets enrolled in trouble with the villainess Janice Lincoln, aka the new Beetle from Nick Spencer's previous comedic title Superior Foes of Spider-Man.

This new big bad the Power Broker is selling this app, the Hench App, which is turning Scott Lang's life into a nightmare! Need a super villain to take out a super hero for you? Just Hench it! To test field the app they send Whirlwind against Ant-Man. He's getting rich pretty fast and tries to sell his idea to Scott Lang's own archnemesis Darren Cross who's currently super-tiny.

After this Scott gets to see his former co-FF girlfriend Darla Deering (aka Miss Thing) again while the Hench App continues to ruin his day.

Finally a team-up between legacy heroes! Current Captain America Sam Wilson (formerly The Falcon) goes on an adventure with Scott!

The story is still pretty fun!

There's an over-arching storyline starting to form. What with Darren Cross' current ant-sized state and his revenge against Scott and the Hench app, the uber for supevillains!

Nick Spencer is clearly having a lot of fun with these C and D-listers of the Marvel Universe, the way he always does. Cherry-picking these often ridiculous forgotten foes from the past.

The comic has a great tone, pure deadpan comedy coming from Scott Lang.

This time there were a lot more references to Ant-Man's comic book history as well as the film. We even get a fun recreation of a Scott Lang and Sam Wilson meeting, although here they did not fight, they actually team up! And Sam's not the Falcon anymore, he's actually Captain America!

The art of Ramon Rosanas' is always fantastic! He's such an expressive cartoonist! All the characters have so much personality under hi pen.

We also have a guest artist on the annual, Brent Schoonover. He has a similar style, but I honestly kind of missed Ramon who only did the insert pages.

Finally the series also has gorgeous covers from Mark Brooks, which are a lot more detailed but really give the tone of the series, featuring some very funny details here and there.

Overall, the series goes from simply being titled Ant-Man to Astonishing Ant-Man, and nothing was lost in the process!!

It's an hilarious book, a Must Read, Highly Recommended! Great solid writing, always hilarious adventure. Scott Lang is such a fun relatable down-to-Earth "regular" superhero.

The short but fun Hank Pym/Scott Lang was a nice surprise, bringing some closer to the original Ant-Man. I love how the Annual also tied into the overarching plot of the trade, leaving with a great cliffhanger introducing an All-New Giant-Man!

I give it:
3 / 3 Howards!

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