Astonishing Ant Man #6
Written By: Nick Spencer
Art By: Annapaola Martello
Release Date: 3/16/16
Astonishing Ant Man was my most anticipated book for this week, and probably one of my most anticipated books of the year. I have been a bit disappointed about Cassie’s story in the Ant Man series, and I was hopeful that a Cassie centric issue would help explain Cassie’s side of the story.
Astonishing Ant Man #6 switches points of view, instead of Scott Lang being the narrator the audience gets to hear Cassie’s voice. The issue opens up with Cassie being interviewed by the villain running the Hench X app. It’s revealed that Cassie wants to become a super villain. The rest of the issue explores what leads her to this decision.
As I stated earlier in this review I was previously upset with how Cassie had been represented in the Ant Man comic book. I was upset that the comic never had time to explain how Cassie felt after resurrecting from the dead and about losing her powers. I hated that in the last volume she played damsel in distress, but this issue fixed all those problems and made me truly happy to be a Cassie Lang fan reading Astonishing Ant Man.
The issue opens up with Cassie explaining how great and confusing her life use to be. She was an Avengers with the power to grow as tall as skyscrapers, but then she died and everything changed. She lost her abilities and gained a strained relationship with her father. Now she plays basketball…badly.
Cassie hears a group of mean girls talking about her superhero history on the school bleachers. At first she didn’t care, but then they started to talk about her father’s criminal past. That was the last straw. The heart breaking part about this is the reveal in the end of the issue that Cassie didn’t win the fight. Without her powers she couldn’t even defeat these set of mean girls, which makes me appreciate her damsel in distress plot in the last series. It finally made sense to me. She wasn’t a damsel for Scott’s story, but instead her own. Spencer plays with the damsel in distress trope in a new way.
Cassie is grounded for getting into a fight in school, but luckily Kate Bishop (Cassie’s Best Friend and fellow ex-Young Avenger) is there to rescue her. I’ve been waiting for this team up for a very long time! I love Kate and Cassie’s friendship, and in this issue you see a very real interpretation of a best friend relationship. When Kate finds out about the trouble and hardships Cassie’s been through she doesn’t agree with Cassie that she should become a hero again. She encourages her to embrace her vacation from super heroics. Kate states, “Seriously though try to consider this a well-earned vacation? ‘Cause if you ask me, It’s only a matter of time before you find some way — any way–to show us what you’re made of again.” Kate gives Cassie words of encouragement, but at the same time tries to give her friend good advice.
I am glad it’s the conversation between Cassie and Kate where Cassie truly airs out her feelings about her death. This is the issue where Cassie rightfully explodes. She is finally digesting that she died, and life won’t be the same. Even though she had the power to grow and feel big. She wasn’t invulnerable.
Another interesting aspect between Kate and Cassie’s relationship is the age difference. They started the hero gig at around the same age when they were on the Young Avengers. Now Kate is in her early 20’s and Cassie is still in high school. I love how Spencer doesn’t fully spell out the age difference, but with small comments from Cassie it comes across that Cassie is upset for the lost years in her life. She wants to have freedom like Kate, but instead she’s grounded by her mother. She’s still a child, but she doesn’t want to be treated that way.
Cassie’s friends and family are protecting her because she died. They never say it out loud, but that’s the reason why everyone in her life is being overprotective of her.
After Cassie’s conversation with Kate which she did take to her heart, but still thought it was time to end her vacation. This leads us to the present where Cassie has signed up to become a super villain. But just like her father she’s not actually a super villain. Instead she is working undercover to destroy the Hench X app or at least that was her plan. Until she found out the truth about her heart attack and why her father has been hiding from her. She was kidnapped and now she wants revenge. She will be helping Hench X by stealing from Darren Cross, the same person who stole her heart.
Like Father, Like Daughter. I love that Cassie has to steal to gain her abilities back. I wonder if she will run into her father during this heist. The last panel shows Cassie donning a new identity, Stinger. Which I am not going to lie I squealed when I saw this scene! I am a huge MC2 universe fan (Spider-Girl/Mayday Parker’s universe) and this is the same identity Cassie has in that universe.
This costume actually makes Cassie a lot stronger. It helps conceal her identity better and she is able to control over five thousands types of insects, not just ants. Cassie never had that ability as Stature.
This is a different art style from the other Astonishing Ant Man issues, but I thought it fit vey well for Cassie storyline. I especially loved how the character’s expressions were shown very well through their eyes.
And can I talk about geeking out over Stinger again because the artwork really made me geek out over her character. It’s the exact same design as the MC2 version!
My only nit pick is that I am not a fan of the thinned lined artwork. It makes their faces look unproportionate, and I wish there was more detail in the character’s mouths.
This book wowed me, and I can see it being a contender for my favorite issue of the year. As a Cassie Lang fan I was completely satisfied. Read this issue for the empowerment of Cassie Lang! I can’t wait to see where Spencer takes Stinger’s character.