Right in time for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is the second Epic Collection featuring not one but three different versions of Ant-Man. That is if you count Hank Pym, Scott Lang, and Black Goliath as Ant-Man equals. Spanning Ant-Man tales from 1964 to 1979, this collection features a wide breadth of tales, making it a fascinating snapshot of a character with more transformations than most.
Running 544 pages, Ant-Man No More collects Tales to Astonish #60-69, Marvel Feature #4-10, Power Man #24-25, Black Goliath #1-5, Champions #11-13, Marvel Premiere #47-48, and material from Iron Man #44. In truth, this collection is more about two characters than three. This collection carries out Hank Pym and Wasp’s adventures that were started in the first Ant-Man Epic Collection, heavily feature Black Goliath’s start, and then in a short two-parter, introduces Scott Lang. Given Lang’s portion’s length, it’s a bit of a surprise they didn’t save it for the third Epic Collection, but one can only imagine the cover for this alone will sell books, so why not, right?
The first half of this collection is all about Wasp and Hank Pym–going by Giant-Man–and their adventures. They fight all sorts of colorful villains like the Human Top, Madame Macabre, and the Wrecker. We’re talking B-lister villains at best. Heck, in one of these tales–which were initially two stories in one issue, so shorter in length–Hank must defeat a giant spider with some particles leaking on it. They are hokey, but in that silliness is a bit of charm.
The strength of this section resides in the subtle unease you’ll get in how Giant-Man treats Wasp. It’s unclear if Giant-Man’s macho egoism was meant to feature toxic masculinity at the time, but it screams dysfunctional here and there in this chunk of stories. Knowing full well Giant-Man will eventually strike Wasp, one can imagine where the inspiration came for that story as Hank snaps at Wasp at times or makes her question the relationship entirely.
It’s interesting to see how many of the tales in the first quarter of this collection involve Giant-Man getting big. The second quarter–which features a new costume for Giant-Man designed by Wasp–gets small with many tales involving Hank interacting with insects. This switches things from big superhero knock-em-outs to science fiction yarns.
A little over halfway through this collection, the narrative switches to Black Goliath, who is introduced in Power Man #24. Originally published in the ’70s, the comic takes a major turn as things modernize compared to the first half. This chunk of the story has Black Goliath fight Luke Cage, team up with him, fight aliens and Stilt-Man, and interact with the Champions. In general, he’s a cool character (how can he not be with that ab-window costume?), and he serves as a solid Giant-Man-style character.
Closing out the collection is Marvel Premiere #47-48, introducing Scott Lang as Ant-Man. Running 34 pages, David Michelinie, Bob Layton, and John Byrne deliver a fantastic and efficient origin story. Printed in 1979, the story reads like any modern tale, as it was certainly ahead of its time.
Customary of Epic Collections, there is a decent back-matter section with penciled pages–Norman Rockwell’s nephew drew the start of a few pages of Tales to Astonish #61, who knew–and uncolored covers. It helps remind us of the artistry and history behind the book, albeit it’s a slim section.
Ant-Man/Giant-Man Epic Collection: Ant-Man No More is a great way to explore Marvel’s foray into the growing superhero brand. Featuring three different heroes spanning 15 years, it’s an excellent Epic Collection for history buffs or for fans of Ant-Man looking to get a wide scope of the character.
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