Comic Book Review: Ant-Man #1

The Irredeemable Ant-Man #1 is a comic that I have been looking forward to ever since the Revolution began this blog. I have always liked Ant-Man; however, I was skeptical about the idea of yet another new Ant-Man. I never thought that Marvel should have killed off Scott Lang. At any rate, my skepticism was increased even more by the fact that I’m not a big fan of Phil Hester’s style and I have not been impressed by Robert Kirkman’s run on Ultimate X-Men. However, Ant-Man looks like it has the potential to be a rather fun title so I’m willing to give it a try. Let’s roll this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Penciler: Phil Hester
Inker: Ande Parks

Art Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: The issue begins with Ant-Man stopping a mugger from harming an innocent woman. The woman thanks Ant-Man and then Ant-Man asks her out to dinner. The woman accepts his invitation and they are to meet at eight o’clock that night.

We then shift to six months ago. We are aboard a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier. We see five S.H.I.E.L.D. agents playing poker. They are debating whether Nick Fury really exists or if he is nothing more than an Urban Legend.

We then cut to Dr. Henry Pym in a lab on the same helicarrier. Pym is hard at work on constructing a new Ant-Man outfit.

We then cut to two of the guys from the poker game last night: Eric O’Grady and Chris McCarthy. They just barely report to duty on time. Chris had to go wake up Eric in order to make sure that Eric wasn’t late again. Evidently, Chris is the motivated successful agent and Eric is the slacker loser agent.

We cut back to Dr. Pym conducting try outs with several of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s top agents to determine who will become the new Ant-Man. The new Ant-Man is going to be a S.H.I.E.L.D. operative.

We shift back to Eric and Chris having lunch. Evidently, Chris has scored a date with an agent named Veronica. Eric has had a crush on Veronica and has asked her out before, but she has always declined his offers. Eric is slightly jealous of Chris.

We cut to later that day with Chris on his date with Veronica. We learn that the two of them have been dating for a while and Chris has kept it a secret from Eric. And then, oh my god!!! Did Marvel just spoil the contents of Civil War #5?!?! Maybe not. One poster here at the Revolution has suggested that this is merely a reference to the Iron Maniac in Marvel Team Up.

Chris then tells Veronica how he saw the “Evil Tony Stark” today. We learn that Tony Stark killed the Human Torch during a fight at the prison in the Negative Zone. However, during the fight, Human Torch melted Tony’s face. So, now Tony looks like Freddy Krueger with his face all melted. Since Tony has become so dangerous, S.H.I.E.L.D. has been keeping him in stasis about the helicarrier. Chris then saw a guy who looked like Tony Stark in shackles being escorted by some S.H.I.E.L.D. security guards.

We cut to Mitch, a high ranking security officer, placing Eric and Chris on duty guarding a lab. Mitch doesn’t tell them who or what they are guarding or if they are to be preventing people from leaving the lab or from entering the lab. Suddenly, the lab doors open and Dr. Pym steps out. Eric all freaked out about not knowing what to do, hits Pym in the face with his rifle and knocks Pym out. They drag Pym back into the lab and decide to wait for Mitch to come back and tell them what to do. Eric is freaking out about how he has screwed up again. While our boys are waiting, they notice the Ant-Man.

Chris tries on the Ant-Man outfit. Suddenly, Chris then accidentally shrinks when he tries to take off the Ant-Man helmet. Eric thinks that Chris has disappeared. Scared, Eric runs out of the lab.

We cut to Mitch supervising the security team escorting a captured Wolverine onto the helicarrier. We then shift to Eric hiding in his room commenting on how “screwed” he is. Mitch busts in and demands to know what Eric did while guarding the lab. Mitch says that the Ant-Man suit is missing. That only a few agents knew about the suit and they are all suspects in this case. Mitch was one of those few agents and he is not happy about being a suspect.

We shift to Chris making his way through the helicarrier’s ventilation system. Chris is having a tough time controlling the various gadgets of the Ant-Man suit and thinks that being a super hero sucks.

We then see Veronica meeting with Eric in Eric’s room. Veronica wants to know where Chris has been since he has now been missing for a day. Eric tells Veronica that Chris is on a classified mission. Eric then mentions to Veronica that he was surprised that she and Chris had been dating for a while since Chris has also been with Kristen over in weapons for almost two months. We see Chris watching them through the air vent to the room. Chris is less than pleased with Eric’s duplicitous behavior.

We cut back to the present time. We see the girl that Ant-Man saved from the mugger. She is sitting at the bar of a restaurant. Eric O’Grady comes walking over to her and introduces himself. He then tells her that he is Ant-Man and asks her if she can keep a secret. End of issue.

Comments
The Good: I really liked Ant-Man #1. This was a fun issue! This issue was nicely paced. I like that Kirkman began the issue in present time and then flashed back to six months ago for a little set up and then ended it back in the present. That is a great method to employ with a debut issue of a new title. The beginning of the issue got the story off to a quick start before we got the background information on all the players in this story. The ending was well done since it delivers a twist that Ant-Man is no longer Chris. It is Eric. The reader is left wondering how Eric became Ant-Man and is hooked into getting the next issue.

I really liked Eric and Chris. I dig the friendship between the smart motivated agent in Chris and the dumb slacker agent in Eric. These two character have some nice chemistry from the very start. I love having Eric as Ant-Man instead of Chris. Chris is the obvious choice to be the hero. But, Eric is more fun. Eric is dumb and entertaining. That should make for a very unusual super hero. I mean, c’mon, Eric is revealing his identity to some woman that he just met at the end of this issue! He certainly isn’t the brightest bulb in the bunch.

Ant-Man #1 is a funny issue and Kirkman really impressed me with his fast paced and witty dialogue. The scene where the agents are playing poker and debating if Nick Fury is an Urban Legend was well crafted. The dialogue was fast and funny. The dialogue for the entire issue was quick and amusing. Kirkman creates a very comfortable and enjoyable style of dialogue that is entertaining to read.

Kirkman did a great job laying the foundation for Ant-Man on solid character development rather than mindless action. This gives me hope for this title. Anytime an author spends the time to construct a new title on the foundation of excellent character development and good character chemistry and interaction you know that you have the potential for a quality title. Eric definitely has plenty of personality and is certainly a very unlikely super hero.

Ant-Man is similar to Ambush Bug and the Justice League International in style. The hero isn’t very heroic. However, he is very funny and it is entertaining to watch him bumble his way to victory. I think that the comic book industry really under values the more humorous approach to a super hero. The market is overcrowded with dark, gritty, violent and “realistic” super heroes. The humorous style of The Irredeemable Ant-Man is a breath of fresh air.

I’m surprised at how much I enjoyed Kirkman’s writing on this issue. I have been totally unimpressed with his rather tepid and lackluster run over on Ultimate X-Men. However, Kirkman really delivers a great issue with Ant-Man #1. Maybe this style of comic better suits his writing talents than Ultimate X-Men. At any rate, Kirkman deserves plenty of praise for delivering a tight, well written and enjoyable comic book.

I love Ant-Man’s new design. His new costume fits his more playful and goofy demeanor. The mask and the antennas definitely give me the Ambush Bug vibe. Even though I don’t really dig Hester and Parks’ art, I love Hester’s character design for this new Ant-Man.

The Bad: I’m just not a big fan of Phil Hester’s style of art. Either that or Parks’ inks. The art looks terribly sloppy and rather amateurish. It gives this comic a very messy and unprofessional look.

Now, I’m going to rant on something that is not Kirkman’s fault nor will it count against my rating of this issue’s story. I cannot believe that Marvel would totally spoil the events of the upcoming issue of Civil War! Or maybe the poster is correct and this issue is referring to the events concerning a certain Iron Maniac as seen in Marvel Team Up. I wouldn’t know. I don’t read Marvel Team Up.

Overall: The Irredeemable Ant-Man #1 was a great issue. Pure fun and excitement. And in a time where DC has been giving us heavy stuff like Infinite Crisis and Marvel has countered with their equally dreary Civil War, Ant-Man is a wonderful and much appreciated change of pace. I definitely recommend Ant-Man if you enjoy the humorous approach to the super hero genre. And if you like Hester and Parks’ art then you will enjoy this title even more than me. Definitely give The Irredeemable Ant-Man a try!

3 Comments

  1. I might have messed up reading the diologue, but I got that there was the evil deformed Tony Stark, and then he saw another guy who looked like tony being taken away in shackels, Implying that there are two tonys (tonies?. I might be off base, but if not, who totally called the clone thing?

  2. Actually, that stuff about Stark references, I presume, the evil Tony Stark from Marvel Teamup. It was established that the Iron Maniac, as he’s called, was scarred by Torch and is an evil, insane alternate reality Tony Stark.

  3. i think that iron man was the iron maniac from team-up

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