I’ve been scared of bugs for as long as I can remember. And it makes sense — bugs are scary! Because of this, Ant-Man has always felt weird to me. Spider-Man’s fine. He got bit by a spider, something that is very scary, but otherwise doesn’t spend much time around them for the most part. Ant-Man, though, can not only become as small as an ant, but has the ability to communicate with them, and regularly exists alongside them. The notion of that terrifies me! Why would anyone want to hang around ants that are their own size?
Now, Zeb Wells’ Ant-Man doesn’t exactly change this — if anything, it’s even worse. Scott, homeless, lives among the ants at microscopic scale. This sounds horrible. But what it does remember is that even if Scott is okay with them, bugs are scary. And bugs controlled for evil are terrifying. That’s what our beloved Scott Lang has to contend with, as a bunch of horrible evil bugs plan on taking over the world. And despite the book’s comical nature, it never forgets that this is a kind of terrifying thing. Burnett’s art does an excellent job portraying the Insect Lords as something that I personally find scary without losing the fun, cartoony vibe that the book aims for.
That vibe is the best part of the book, honestly. Scott’s desire to impress his daughter works really well the way that Wells and Burnett portray him — he’s definitely a loser, but he’s a loser who is genuinely trying his best and can do great things when he has a reason to. The interactions between Scott Lang and his daughter Cassie are an absolute delight — even when it’s kind of sad to watch this family try to function together, they’re both so incredibly endearing that I can’t help but enjoy every page. Scott’s entire goal in this miniseries is to impress his daughter, and in his success he also manages to impress the readers.
There’s a lot of personality throughout the book, through Burnett’s art and Wells’ writing. One particularly good bit that I am beyond delighted was included in the trade collection was the recap page every issue, which were told from the perspective of various ants in Scott’s colony, and other bugs. Wells gives all these recappers such distinct and funny personalities in how they recount the previous issue’s story, and I genuinely cannot believe this creative team got me to care about a bunch of bugs. I mean, I hate bugs! I don’t think I can say just how well this has to be written to get me to care about bugs at all.
This book, alongside Spider-Ham, was Zeb Wells’ big return to Marvel after a stellar run in the late 2000s and a pretty significant hiatus. And let me tell you, this is absolutely a triumph. It’s a fantastic single volume that serves as both an introduction to Scott Lang as a character and a furthering of his story, one that I have a hard time seeing anyone find anything but delightful. This book is a perfect example of a creative team firing on all cylinders.