It has been over two years since the last Ant-Man solo series, but with a new movie on the horizon, another series was bound to happen. Scripted and drawn by Marvel legends Al Ewing and Tom Reilly, respectively, we are in for a nostalgia-driven treat. Specifically, nostalgia for an earlier era in comics history when there was a zip, a bang, and overly dramatic captioning to remind us comics are great. That’s what Ant-Man is and then some in a new four-issue mini-series launching today.
Ant-Man is a celebration of the character’s 60th anniversary, and as Ewing put it himself, “You’ll find out how Henry Pym, Scott Lang, and Eric O’Grady impacted each other’s lives in ways they never knew themselves.” In the first issue, it’s all about the classic Ant-Man, quite literally, as the majority of the issue is set at a time when villains like Egghead and Window Washer were his monthly foes to fight. Expect some old-school comic writing and artistry in this issue.
Before that, though, Ant-Man #1 opens in a futuristic world. As the preview shows, the future is like something out of Tron with an Ant-Man hero at the helm. Detailed via some rather clever captions that get a bit meta, the story seems to have a darker and more fantastical purpose than one would assume as the main story carries forward. This opening frames the entire issue like a celebration of classic comics, which is, of course, a great idea given its anniversary intentions.
The main story will be a bit too old-school for some, I’m sure, especially younger readers. This main story lives and dies by the incredible artistry of Tom Reilly who is backed by color artist Jordie Bellaire. The style is straight out of another era, down to the color choices and aged look of the gutters. It’s like you’re holding an old comic with aged paper. The future setting is defined well visually as it removes the lines of pencil and ink, using only colored shapes to define the character and setting. It sets them apart well while creating a mysteriousness to the future unbound by conventional comics styles.
Those who enjoy the goofiness of Golden and Silver Age comics will adore what the creators are doing here. Not only are thought balloons back, but the way characters speak to themselves out loud or how Ewing captures the gusto of a caption will bring you back to another era of comics creation. The captions in particular are written in a style similar to Stan Lee, as the energetic voice is as excited as you are about the incredible adventure unfolding page by page.
By issue’s end, it’s quite clear this series will dip into a different era, with each issue bookending a bigger story together. That’s quite alright, especially for an anniversary celebration. However, it does make a lot of this book about the journey of revisiting an old style rather than the main story mattering a lot. The events taking place don’t have much to do with the larger story, making it read like a side adventure with a small portion of the book building towards something bigger.
Ant-Man #1 is a fun romp through an earlier era in comics when moxie was everything, and the adventure of it all was the destination. It honors and celebrates the past while ever so slightly building towards something to look forward to in a trippy new miniseries.
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