Selected by Turnaround’s resident graphic novel and comics expert, Leo Sutherland, these Marvel Ant-Man graphic novels are the perfect way to gear up for the July 2015 film release of Marvel’s Ant-Man…
At the end of April, Avengers: Age of Ultron kick-started the summer blockbuster season and set the seeds for the third phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, there is one film left to go in Phase Two that will be hitting big screens on 17 July 2015. That is, of course, Ant-Man.
Not only that, but you will be getting two Ant-Men for the price of one. Now, odds are unless you are a Marvel Zombie, this is you first exposure to both Hank Pym and Scott Lang. The obvious starting point would be Marvel’s Ant-Man Prelude, which is the official prequel to the film. However, for those looking to dig a bit deeper, we have prepared for you a list of essential reading to bring you up to speed.
Dr. Henry Pym was the second leading character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby alongside Larry Lieber. A mainstay of the Marvel Universe and a founding member of the Avengers, Hank’s superhero career has been a series of highs and lows. Whilst he is the inventor of Pym Particles and helped found the world’s greatest team of superheroes, he also created an artificial intelligence that has frequently tried to take over said world, his marriage to Janet Van Dyke (The Wasp) has been tumultuous to say the least – and on top of all that, he can’t settle on one super hero alter ego. Here are some must-read titles featuring Hank Pym (AKA Ant-Man, AKA Giant-Man, AKA Goliath, AKA Yellowjacket… you get the idea).
Ant-Man/Giant-Man Epic Collection: The Man in the Ant Hill – By Stan Lee, Jack Kirby & Larry Lieber
Marvel, £25.99, p/b, 9780785198505
This new volume in Marvel’s epic collection collects Hank Pym’s early appearances by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby from his invention of a growth serum that alters his size to his debut as the Astonishing Ant-Man. Also included is the introduction of his wife Janet Van Dyke, who would take on the identity of the Wasp and team up with Hank against enemies of all sizes including the Scarlet Beetle and the Black Knight, and Hank’s first identity change as he re-debuts as Giant-Man! A must read for any fans of classic Marvel stories and a great introduction to one of the most important characters in the Marvel Universe.
Ant-Man: Season One – By Tom DeFalco & Horacio Domingues
Marvel, £18.99, h/b,
For those looking for a more streamlined introduction to the character, this is for you. Written by legendary Amazing Spider-Man writer Tom DeFalco and art by acclaimed artist Horacio Domingues (Fantastic Four: True Story), this original graphic novel retells Hank Pym’s origin in a more modern setting and also examines the many factors that made him the man he is today.
Avengers A.I. Vol. 1: Human After All – By Sam Humphries & Andre Lima Araujo
Marvel, £12.99, p/b, 9780785184911
Finally, for a glimpse into Hank’s more recent exploits, Avengers A.I. is a great start. Continuing directly out of Age of Ultron (the comic not the movie), the Marvel Universe had just returned to normal after a visit from time travelling Avengers lead to Hank putting a virus in Ultron’s programming which prevented the Age of Ultron timeline from happening. Unfortunately, this also resulted in the creation of the rogue A.I. Dimitrios. To combat this threat, Hank and S.H.I.E.L.D. A.I. Division chief Monica Chang assemble a new team to combat the A.I.s that have spawned from the Ultron virus.
Like his predecessor, Scott Lang career has been a series of up and downs. Turning to the career of professional burglary after his previous career as an electronics expert failed to support his family, Scott ended up in prison for three years. However, his time in prison was not wasted as he furthered his studies in the electronics field, which landed him a job with Tony Stark working in design and security systems. But when his daughter Cassie developed a serious illness, Scott was forced to return to burglary. Breaking into Hank Pym’s home, he stole the Ant-Man suit in order to rescue the one surgeon who could save his daughter’s life. Planning to return the suit and turn himself after his daughter was saved, Scott instead found himself receiving Pym’s blessing to keep the suit provided it only be used to uphold the law. Since then, he has been a member of multiple super hero teams. He appeared to have died during the events of Avengers Disassembled only to return to find his daughter Cassie taking up super heroics in his absence, and he is now in charge of his own security firm. Scott has never really settled in one series, so to make things easier, here are our main recommendations.
Ant-Man: Scott Lang – By David Michelinie, John Byrne, Bob Layton & George Perez
Marvel, £18.99, p/b, 9780785192664
This collection is an ideal starting point for those wanting to familiarise themselves with Scott Lang. Includes his origin and all his early appearances featuring his rather dubious past, right up to being excepted as a member of the hero community as he finds himself teaming up with the likes of the Avengers, Iron Man, Spider-Man and the Thing. Featuring work from legendary Marvel creators including David Michelinie (Amazing Spider-Man), George Perez (Avengers), John Byrne (Uncanny X-Men), Bob Layton (Iron Man) and many more!
Fantastic Four by Matt Fraction Omnibus – By Matt Fraction, Mark Bagley & Mike Allred
Marvel, £75, h/b, 9780785191100
Scott has been associated with many teams throughout his career. But one he frequently returns to in the Fantastic Four having worked as their technical consultant and even joining a temporary version of the team whilst most of them were trapped in the Negative Zone. So when Reed and Sue Richards decides the family needs a long vacation (through all of time and space) and they need some stand ins to stay on earth and look after the Future Foundation, Ant-Man is a natural choice. But when Marvel’s first family don’t return as quickly as was expected, Scott alongside She-Hulk, Medusa and Ms. Thing must try and fill the void they have left behind, whilst trying to win over the kids of the Future Foundation and the general public. Written by Eisner Award winner Matt Fraction (Invincible Iron Man, Hawkeye) and art by Eisner nominee Mike Allred (Silver Surfer)!
Ant-Man Volume 1: Second-Chance Man – By Nick Spencer & Ramon Rosanas
Marvel, £11.99, p/b, 9780785193876
Finally, the current adventures of Scott Lang released to coincide with the film. Wanting to start afresh and spend more time with his daughter, Scott move to Miami and establishes his own security company: Ant-Man Security Solutions. However, he soon finds himself not only having to contend with his ex-wife, but the arrival of the son of his first enemy – Darren Cross – who not only wants to bring his insane father back, but exact revenge on Scott in the worst possible way. Nick Spencer (author of the fan favourite Superior Spider-Man series) brings his trademark humour to the series as Ant-Man finds himself turning to old foes and Marvel D-Listers the Grizzly and Machinesmith to help run his company and save Cassie whilst also showing a new twist on the superhero drama as Scott tries to make up for missed time with his daughter. A perfect jumping on point for new readers!
Now you have no excuse not to be in-the-know… But don’t worry if you’re left wanting, because we have even more! Click here for more Ant-Man titles available from Turnaround.