THE ASTONISHING ANT-MAN #13
Writer: Nick Spencer
Penciller: Brent Schoonover and Ramon Rosanas
Colorist: Jordan Boyd and Wil Quintana
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Release Date: 10/19/16
The last issue of Nick Spencer’s Ant Man epic is here! His run started in 2015 with Ant Man, and continued with The Astonishing-Ant Man. Both series centered around Scott becoming a hero/business man in Miami, but most importantly Nick Spencer’s runs focused on Scott learning to be a better father.
This arc of The Astonishing Ant Man has proven that Scott will do anything for his daughter, including going back to jail to protect her. Scott is on trial, and things aren’t looking good for him. It doesn’t even look like She Hulk can save him from this one. Things get even worse when Darren Cross and his crew crash into the court room. It takes Stinger and Ant-Man tag teaming to finally defeat their arch-nemesis.
Cassie Lang is one of my favorite characters, and her relationship with her father has been one of my favorite things to read every month in The Astonishing Ant Man. So it’s very sad to see The Astonishing Ant-Man #13 ending a run of Ant-Man that focused on Cassie and Scott’s relationship from the beginning, and what an interesting roller coaster it’s been.
In the first issue of the 2015 run of Ant-Man, the book finally reunited Cassie and Scott after a few years of Cassie rolling in her grave from the events of Avengers: The Children’s Crusade. They started out on great terms! Scott and Cassie weren’t just father and daughter, they were best friends. Cassie and Scott have one of the strongest bonds in the Marvel universe. So it came as a shock when Cassie wasn’t on speaking terms with her father in the beginning of The Astonishing Ant-Man with the few month gap after Secret Wars.
This leads me into the opening of Astonishing Ant Man #13. Scott’s life as a hero started with his love for his daughter. He used his skills as a burglar to become Ant-Man because he wanted to be a better man for Cassie. “So, yeah, if it all starts with her — I guess it should end there, too.”
Scott isn’t a perfect hero, and this issue highlights that. From the beginning of this issue it doesn’t even look like She Hulk, one of the best lawyers in the Marvel universe, can save Scott from going to jail. The friends he made along the way try to be good character witnesses, but in execution they dig Scott’s case into a deeper hole. Showcasing these characters highlighted another great aspect for this series and Scott’s character in general. He’s always looking to give people second chances. You can be a cybernetic terrorist, a guy in a bear suit, or even an ex-superstar girlfriend. It doesn’t matter. Scott will always be there for his friends to give a second chance because he knows what it means to get second chances. And that’s why these are the characters who fight by his side when his arch-nemesis Darren Cross crashes into the court room.
This is when the father/daughter story really starts to pick up because Darren Cross is not only Scott’s arch-nemesis, but Cassie’s arch-nemesis also. He kidnapped her, stole her powers, and her heart. The perfect way to end this final battle is with Scott and Cassie fighting together to defeat the man that ruined their lives and their relationship. Spencer doesn’t make Cassie helpless in this battle. Cassie and Scott have an opportunity to both save each other, and I’m glad Cassie was the person to have the final blow. Throughout her arc in The Astonishing Ant-Man she has been trying to prove herself as a hero, and her getting the final punch finalizes her heroism and strength.
This issue was the perfect ending for both Scott and Cassie’s arcs. Scott learned how to be a better father, and allowed his daughter to “spread her wings” (pun totally intended here). Cassie and Scott had to find trials in their relationship for their bond to become even stronger in the end. That’s the real message from both Ant-Man and Astonishing Ant-Man.
Even though Scott and Cassie are the stars of this book. The character that surprised me the most was Peggy Burdick, Cassie’s mother and Scott’s ex-wife. From the pages of Young Avengers, Peggy has always been against Scott’s superhero ways. She resented Cassie for getting powers and for Cassie wanting to become a hero like Scott. Throughout Spencer’s run in Ant-Man, Peggy made Cassie’s death an excuse to shelter her and force her to become a normal girl. But in this issue Peggy finally realizes that Cassie was born to be a hero, and she should be proud of her daughter dressed in a purple costume with wings.
In many ways this is not just a perfect conclusion to the stories built up in Nick Spencer’s run of Ant-Man, but the perfect ending to a story that’s been building since Young Avengers. Published all the way back in 2005. Young Avengers was the series that made Cassie a hero. She idolized her father, and wanted to do right by his name. But throughout the decade it never seemed like Cassie and Scott could be heroes together because of their circumstances. Cassie became Stature when Scott was dead, and Scott resurrected just in time to find his daughter sacrificing herself. Spencer’s run took Cassie and Scott on a well deserved journey to become each other’s heroes as Ant-Man and Stinger.
Ramon Rosanas artwork has always been a perfect fit for The Astonishing Ant-Man. His art style is simplistic. He focuses more on the character’s facial expression, instead of giving us flashy action sequences. This works for The Astonishing Ant-Man because this series has never been a flashy book. That’s proven when Cassie and Scott spend most of their time talking about their relationship as the other heroes are having a major brawl with Darren Cross. Half of the big fight happens off screen! Proving that this book has never been about epic superhero brawls, and that’s okay.
This issue focuses on Scott’s monologue, the character witnesses in the court room, and the heart-to-heart Cassie and Scott have during their battle with Darren Cross. Leading this issue to having a lot of talking head scenes, but Ramon Rosanas and Brent Schoonover’s artwork always makes these talking head scenes interesting to look at. Either through the use of flashbacks or emotional character interactions.
What makes Rosanas and Schoonover’s pencils work so well in this book is the coloring by Jordan Boyd and Will Quintana. The colors bring brightness to the conversations, and I really enjoyed the tinted coloring for the flashbacks. It made the flashback scenes with Cassie and Scott have an even more emotional weight.
The Astonishing Ant Man #13 is not only a perfect ending to Nick Spencer’s run on Ant-Man, but a perfect conclusion to Ant-Man and Stinger’s journey as heroes and as father and daughter. Here’s hoping for an Ant-Man and Stinger book from Marvel to continue Cassie and Scott’s journey together!