I have a splitting headache tonight, so I’m going to be sprinting through my topic. The biggest news tonight is probably the first full teaser of Marvel’s Ant-Man. Yeah, I didn’t get a chance to see Agent Carter yet, so I can’t weigh in, but Ant-Man only burned up 2 minutes of my night.
My early feeling is… Eh.
Ant-Man has never quite resonated with me as a character. Hank Pym has been millstone around Marvel’s neck for years. Scott Lang’s best points are that he was the father of Young Avengers’ Stature and featured heavily in Fraction and Allred’s recent FF series. Eric O’Grady is best left dead, cloned, or whatever happened to him in Secret Avengers.
Pym was one of the original Avengers, alongside Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, and The Wasp. He then became Giant-Man because he felt inadequate when compared to Iron Man and Thor; not unexpected. He leaves the Avengers and comes back as Goliath; new name, new costume, same powers, same Pym. Then he creates Ultron (one of the Avengers’ worst enemies), has a chemically-introduced psychotic break, and renames himself Yellowjacket (new costume again!). Gets married, leaves the Avengers, joins the Defenders, attacks the Avengers as Ant-Man, rejoins as Yellowjacket, gets kicked out, whole line of failure, and then he hits The Wasp. Yep, a superhero who dealt with domestic abuse.
That last bit is Pym’s biggest claim to fame other than creating Ultron, which isn’t the best list of accomplishments. His career has been marked by a number of costume changes, status quo changes, and generally a lot of failure. Marvel has no idea how to handle the character and it shows. He lacks any sort of consistent status quo. Pym only stays around due to momentum; he’s an original Avenger and that bit of history can’t be expunged, so he gets to stay around.
The Ant-Man film was Edgar Wright’s baby, who seemed to have a particular affinity for the character. Wright (before he left the project) and Marvel Studios decided that no one particularly cared about Pym, so the film sidelines him and focuses on the second Ant-Man, Scott Lang.
Lang’s story is largely the same as the trailer. In the comics, he was an engineer who stole Pym’s suit and powers to pull a bank job; he needed the money to save the life of his daughter. Things happened and Pym let him keep the suit to become a hero.
From then on Lang’s career was actually less impressive than Pym’s. Pym failed a lot, but Lang was just there. His big moment was dying in Avengers Disassembled, which led his daughter to become the Young Avenger Stature. Then he was brought back to life, only to see his daughter die. He then took stewardship of Reed Richard’s Future Foundation in a particularly good run by Matt Fraction. With the upcoming film, Lang is getting a brand-new ongoing, which hopefully will be better than what has come before.
The less that’s said about Eric O’Grady, the Irredeemable Ant-Man, the better.
Unlike Pym, Lang has been mostly consistent since his introduction. Boring, yes, but consistent. He’s a guy who wants to be hero, but whose moral compass is a bit off at times. The film version looks to be the early version of Lang, a man who wants to be a father, but who keeps going about it the wrong way. It’s a decent direction; Pym still gets to show up and pass the Ant-Man torch along without buggering the whole thing up.
I can’t say that I’m looking forward to Ant-Man, but I’ll certainly watch it. At the very least, it looks to be a middle-of-road, unremarkable action film. Which works for a middle-of-road, unremarkable hero, I guess.
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