Monday, October 24, 2016

The Astonishing Ant-Man #13 Review and **SPOILERS**

Only in Florida

Writer: Nick Spencer 
Artists: Brent Schoonover with Ramon Rosanas 
Color Artists: Jordan Boyd with Wil Quintana 
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham 
Cover Artist: Julian Totino Tedesco 
Cover Price: $3.99 
On Sale Date: October 19, 2016


It occurred to me recently that the corporate wisdom used to be that it was prudent to hire married men with families, because they are beholden to extreme feelings of guilt and worthlessness that will drive them to doggedly pursue even the most nominal title changes and salary increases. Now, it seems like many companies look for single, unattached employees who have only a cockroach-infested studio with a junior kitchette to go home to, and so think nothing of working twelve- and fourteen-hour days. I think what these companies really need are slaves, people who familial status is unimportant because they will simply be worked to a humiliating, early grave. Sure, there will be a deficit in Middle Management, but those people never actually do anything, anyway, so it shouldn’t have an impact on the bottom line. And slaves work pretty cheap—free, really, minus the expense of shackles and shackle oil. And I suppose one or two stalwart guys with whips. Seems like a recipe to put America back on top of the world, if you ask me! You didn’t ask me, though, nor did you ask me to review the Astonishing Ant-Man #13. But I did. And here it is!

Explain It!

The Trial of Ant-Man is about to begin. Ant-Man’s Trial? The Trial of the Man of Ants? Twelve Angry Ants? There just doesn’t seem to be a good way to work the word “Ant-Man” into the proceedings and maintain solemnity. Never mind that Scott Lang is only here because he copped to a crime committed by his daughter, and never mind that his lawyer is the great and green Jennifer Walters while the prosecuting attorney is his ex-girlfriend and ex-crime team member Janice Lincoln, and never mind that Scott Lang is going down in flames because he surrounds himself with miscreants and idiots that make for poor character witnesses—once you’ve self-identified as Ant-Man, people have already made their minds up about you. After an awkward testimony by Darla Deering, the judge calls a recess so Jen Walters can yell at Scott and make him feel more like a loser.
Out in the hallway, Scott encounters Janice, who informs him (in front of a bailiff) that she’s willing to throw the case if he can get her some Pym Particles. Seems she’s tired of being the bug-themed villain the Beetle, and yet she can’t shrink to insect size. She’s arranged for one of his suits to be brought into the courtroom so he can try it on and re-enact the crime in a scale model of the alleged scene—which sounds completely like something that would happen in a court of law, no problem! Unfortunately, it turns out she grabbed one of the old Ant-Man helmets, which contains a miniature laboratory that is being ransacked by shrunken versions of Egghead, Crossfire, and a seriously insane and jacked up Darren Cross wearing a weaponized Yellowjacket suit. When Scott puts the helmet on, he’s alerted to the fact that there are three tiny people just inches from his eyeball, so he tells everyone in the courtroom to evacuate just as his daughter Cassie and his ex-wife Peggy enter to witness the evil trio expand into fightin’ size!
Darren Cross has backup, but Scott Lang has backup too: his lawyer, She-Hulk, his witnesses Grizzly, Darla Deering, and Machinesmith, and his daughter Cassie, in her new Stinger uniform! Which actually looks pretty good. So they fight, and the bad guys lose, and then despite the fact that the courtroom is demolished, the case continues. Janice calls Scott’s ex-wife Peggy to the stand, thinking this will be the ethical nail in his coffin of morals…but instead, she praises Scott, says he has always been a good father and has tried to be good more often than not. That should get him into heaven’s vestibule, right? The entire case having been ludicrous from the beginning, the judge throws it out or declares Scott not guilty or something, and then he and his daughter Stinger go on crime patrol with the blessing of Peggy, and they all live happily ever after. The end.
This is the last issue, right? This feels like the last issue. All of the loose ends are conveniently wrapped up, all the bad guys got their comeuppances, and our protagonist gets a happy ending that he doesn’t entirely deserve. This was a pretty good series that started to drag towards the end, and this issue came across as a little messy, story-wise, at points. Still, we do get our questions answered, even if not entirely to our satisfaction, and it does seem like Scott Lang has been redeemed. The art is clean and sometimes seems to evoke the styles of other artists—particularly when She-Hulk busts out—but there’s not much to complain about there. This was a cool comic book that started out as a goof and wound up more like an episode of Family Ties, which isn’t such a bad thing.

Bits and Pieces:

We say goodbye to Scott Lang, and hello to a new superhero team that is sure to have an overlooked miniseries sometime in the next ten years. The ending of this series isn't as laugh-out-loud funny as it was early on, but it does get a little bit sappy and touching, which is almost as good as a guffaw for a comic book. Any kind of emotional register will do. God, anything to get people to interact with these things, we need to sell more comics!


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