Monday, 18 May 2015

Ant-Man #2 - Marvel Comics

ANT-MAN No. 2, April 2015
The popularity of Scott Lang is arguably an enigma of the Marvel Universe. On the one hand the electronics expert is supposedly a reformed thief who has put “his somewhat sordid past” behind him, a super-hero who has the ability to significantly shrink in size and communicate with insects, and a doting loving father who will do simply anything to remain part of his teenage daughter’s life. But on the other this supposedly honourable and well-principled ex-con is undoubtedly one of life’s biggest losers, an admittedly well-meaning but ultimately unthinking and selfish crime-fighter who, as Nick Spencer demonstrates in Issue Two of “Ant-Man”, can’t even be trusted not to steal a pile of bank notes given half a chance.

Such a scathing attack upon the former Avenger’s appeal may seem somewhat harsh given that this titular character’s debut actually outsold such popular titles as “The Walking Dead” by “Image Comics” and “Justice League” by “DC Comics” in January 2015, thanks to an impressive circulation figure of 73,370 copies. But such 'casual curiosity' for a new book on the comic stands did not last long with only 40,192 purchasing this following edition; presumably as a result of many first-time buyers finding the dishonest, manipulative and ungrateful security advisor disagreeable and unlikeable.

“Welcome To Miami” certainly does little to make Lang any more affable an astonishing hero. Indeed this periodical’s storyline of Ant-Man purposely deactivating the security systems of “The First Capital Bank of Miami” in order to compel them to grant him a loan, demonstrates just how completely unreliable and untrustworthy the man is. It is little wonder that the financiers’ initial reaction to the charlatan's tampering is a strong belief he is actually “robbing the bank!”

Worse it is entirely as a result of Scott’s reckless behaviour that the Midasbot is released from the vault. If he hadn’t broken into the depository’s data network and spent two hours criminally scrambling phone networks and unlocking security features then there would have been no need for a superhero to leap to the rescue and save countless lives in the first place… Nor for the treasury’s guard to die having been seemingly turned into a Nazi Gold statue through ‘atomic power and alchemy!’

Lang’s final fall from grace at the end of the comic, where he pockets a load of money because he thought the bank had declined his loan, does not show Ant-Man as the sort of flawed hero the likes of which Stan Lee once wrote about in the Sixties and Seventies. Instead Spencer’s script simply makes this second incumbent of Hank Pym’s costume come across as someone with no different a moral compass to those robbers and muggers ‘Ant-Man Security Solutions” will presumably detain.

Less unappealing, though only marginally so, is Ramon Rosanas artwork. The Spanish penciller’s pages are crammed full of fast-paced panels which really help invigorate a comic that is predominantly based within the dialogue-heavy boardroom of a bank. But with the exception of the fantastically over the top supervillain the Grizzly, the illustrator’s actual drawings are rather stiff-looking and wooden-like in their movement. Something which quickly makes the numerous picture frames somewhat suffocating and offputtingly overpowering.
The variant cover art of "ANT-MAN" No. 2 by Andy Park

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