There’s an app even for that.
In the past few years the Marvel Comics line-up of secondary superheroes really kicked into gear in the publisher’s solo titles. We’ve previously raved here at borg.com about Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye and Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto’s Black Widow. Another popular secondary Marvel superhero is the current Ant-Man, Scott Lang. In comicbookdom there’s probably no superhero more put-upon than Lang’s Ant-Man. His crazy backstory, the origin of his powers, and his inability to catch a break makes him instantly appealing, so much so that he’s the one that got his own Marvel Cinematic Universe movie last year.
Actor Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man was one of the highlights of this year’s Captain America: Civil War, and that same Ant-Man has headlined his own series this year with Marvel’s monthly The Astonishing Ant-Man. And the entire year has been about Lang trying to explain to the reader how he ended up in prison. Again. Series writer Nick Spencer provided this year’s best humor in his choice of situations he dropped Lang into, his choice of team-ups and sidekicks, and loads and loads of superhero inner-monologuing and witty banter.
Whether it’s a single issue team-up with Captain America aka Sam Wilson or Ms. Thing aka Darla Deering, The Astonishing Ant-Man has been a fun read in a year full of drama-focused fiction and non-fiction. Spencer plants Lang in today’s world with not a lot of situations that are grave in the way other comic book series are grave–Lang is plagued with plenty of First World Problems (although saving Miami from a Giganto is probably important to the locals). But every month in different ways The Astonishing Ant-Man is full of the comic book fun you liked as a kid. Artist Ramon Rosanas consistently created a visual treat full of Ant-Man doing everything we love–the little guy that saves the day, whether or not he gets recognized for it. Then there are those personal issues–struggling between his ex-wife Peggy, his ex-girlfriend Darla, his ex-whatever Janice aka Beetle, and She-Hulk even makes an appearance. Above all else is his efforts to stay a hero in the eyes of Cassie, his daughter-turned-criminal via the amazing new “Hench” app.
So why not partner with a bunch of secondary Marvel not-so-supervillains to bail out his daughter?
The Spencer and Rosanas team shines the best with the trio of Lang and his two employees, hacker/terrorist/cybersecurity expert and C-3PO with attitude Machinesmith and Griz, a powerful guy to have around who sports a bear suit. And some of the best, and most original, cover art this year can be found in the standard monthly covers and a host of great variants by several notable contributing artists.
You can check out The Astonishing Ant-Man in two collected editions. The Astonishing Ant-Man Vol. 1: Everybody Loves Team-Ups, includes issues #1-4, Ant-Man Last Days Issue #1, and Ant-Man Annual #1, and is available here. The Astonishing Ant-Man Vol. 2: Small-Time Criminal collects Issues #5-9 and is available here. And available here for pre-order is The Astonishing Ant-Man Vol. 3: The Trial of Ant-Man, collecting the rest of this year’s Issues, #10-13.