Writer: Nick Spencer / Artist: Ramon Rosanas / Marvel Comics
You gotta appreciate how Nick Spencer has such finesse with the characters he writes. He’s given Sam Wilson so much depth over in Sam Wilson: Captain America, while simultaneously giving Scott Lang new life as a hero trying to do right but continually getting lured into these situations where the right thing costs him to lose admiration and respect from those in his personal life counting on him. There are two very different characters, but both successors for Mantle were given to them (or taken first then given in Scott’s case) so it’s only right that this team up comes to fruition.
The pacing of this issue outweighs the action, but the dialogue is the most fun part. The way Scott treats Sam in his new role is similar that close co-worker that just got the promotion and is trying to live up to the new job title and you remind them that you knew them before their come up so they don’t have to take it so seriously around you.
Sam comes to Scott with a mission to be a hero, which is the pick-me-up Scott needs since his luck has been doing laps in the toilet as he explains to Sam (who is reluctant to hear this shit). We find later the mission is heroic yet requires Scott’s unique expertise for permanently borrowing things that aren’t his… okay, stealing, it needs his talent for stealing. Scott just can’t seem to escape his particular knack for burglary, It’s quite ironic as it has been mostly heroes that need him for this and are basically enablers. Yet Spencer has Scott Lang always willing to help out.
Rosanas comes through as usual with the visuals for this. Rosanas’ illustrations are smooth, clear, and always capture the emotion of snark or sarcasm the characters are flexing in any given panel.
The action parallels the dialogue toward the end as Scott discusses how Sam represents the true archetype of a hero while he himself is simple the errand boy. Spencer has Scott’s self-deprecation so fine tuned that it never comes off as whining or self-pity, because as a reader, having seen Scott’s ups and downs, you gotta agree that the homie is speaking facts. However, Scott still strives to do better no matter his place on the totem pole, it’s just that life keeps throwing those curve balls ESPECIALLY when we least expect it (hint for the last page). This book stay enjoyable as fuck, man.
This team has transformed an obscure, often overlooked B-list hero into a such a great, great character of interest. If you have a friend or random stranger next to you that isn’t in the know about Astonishing Ant-Man AKA Shrink Game Scott Lang — do them a favor and put them on point for one of the most underrated heroes in the Marvel Universe.