After a year-long run, Nick Spencer’s The Astonishing Ant-Man comes to a close, wrapping up his entire run with the character of Scott Lang. Let’s see how it closes out. Is it good?
The Astonishing Ant-Man #13 (Marvel Comics)
It’s trial day for Ant-Man. While he has an incredible lawyer backing him up in the form of She-Hulk (before the whole Civil War II: Electric Boogaloo incident happened), he’s in a bit of a jam. He wants to stay out of jail, but he can’t tell the truth about the break-in since that’ll expose Cassie Lang, his daughter, and her involvement. Plus, he’s facing down sort-of-lover and ex-ally, Beetle, in the courtroom, who somehow wiggled and tricked her way into prosecuting him. It’s not the best spot for him to be in.
Something feels a little off in the finale to Astonishing Ant-Man; something convenient, coincidental, and a bit lacking. The issues between the characters are easily solved (though that could be because characters actually talked for once instead acting stupid) and story elements that should probably have received some clarification — don’t. While what resolution we do get is sweet, given how easily things are forgiven, it makes things seem very forced and artificial in hindsight.
Overall, the plot itself has a lot of problems. The whole conflict with Ant-Man and his daughter that has been built up since the beginning could have been easily solved and prevented. Think about it. Lang talks about how much he loves his daughter, but at her weakest moment after a villain ripped out her heart, he abandoned her because she would be better off without him in his mind. He didn’t explain why he did it, warn her about who did it (hell, he didn’t even tell cops or other superheroes about who did it), and proceeded to spy on her life and not actually leave her life. Between the sudden abandonment and discovering that he was spying on her, Cassie got mad and then easily manipulated by another villain after that person revealed the truth to her instead of Scott doing it. Thus she went after the criminals, who should really be wanted by the police, and Scott was forced to pull her out of the fire. And frankly, as Cassie points out in the actual comic itself, Scott didn’t even need to cover for her; she wouldn’t have gone to jail for breaking and entering having been an Avenger, a minor with a spotless record, and after explaining the situation the whole situation to her mom’s cop boyfriend, her side would have been understood. This whole story is made possible because the main character is an idiot and didn’t think things over very well.
Can’t argue with that last point.
Then there’s the resolution itself. Scott is found not guilty and makes up completely with his daughter, though his business ends up going down the drain as a result. While the happy ending is fine and feels right (we went full-circle to where we began), it feels too clean and open ended. The big bad of the series is defeated relatively easy and quickly, and we don’t get any follow-up with what happens with his son, his company, the fact that everyone now realizes he is still alive, and Hench App. What made Cassie’s mom decide to suddenly have a change of heart out of the blue? She went from completely against Scott and Cassie superheroing to being perfectly fine with everything. What about her lover, the police officer who arrested Scott and was mad at him for all of this? What happens to Machinesmith and Grizzly now that the business they worked for is done? What happened to Darla Darling? Did she get killed during the climax or did she just disappear from the story (she never reappeared after the panel showing her beaten)? What about that hint of Darla and Scott getting back together? What about Morgenstern’s lawsuit against Scott for breach of contract? The comic made a point to bring it back up again, but is it still happening? Also, where did Cassie get that Stinger costume from for that big battle in the court room? Neither she or her mom had it when they came in, but then all of a sudden, Cassie had it on and everything. That last question was more of a plot hole than anything having to do with being open-ended, but my point still stands. The story doesn’t feel complete, with the way it swept everything else under the rug. It’s rather annoying since Nick Spencer could have easily dropped the three-page recap at the beginning of the issue and used the page length to at least quickly answer everything in the epilogue, especially since the recap reiterated points we already knew.
The art in Astonishing Ant-Man #13 is split between Brent Schoonover and series regular, Ramon Rosanas. To Brent’s credit, his art style is not too far off from matching Rosanas’ own (less realistic, but still in the same ballpark of how Rosanas draws characters), so the switching between both styles of art isn’t particularly bad. Even with two different colorists, Jordan Boyd and Will Quintana, the coloring style is still seamless. Everyone comes together well to provide solid layouts, decent looking characters, and some alright action. The real problem with the art is all the small flaws that keep popping up consistently; issues with foreshortening, word balloons going outside of the panels, odd coloring choices on She-Hulk that makes it look like light is reflecting off of her, action that can be very stiff, missing pupils, people missing in panels even though they should technically be there, and strange inking at times. When the art is good, it’s pretty good, but when it’s bad, it just doesn’t look right at all.
Hey wait a minute! Don’t interrupt him! I was learning about a brand new side to these villains!
Is It Good?
The Astonishing Ant-Man #13 is a finale that, while wrapping up the main plotline, leaves way too many loose ends with all of its side characters and plotlines. It’s also bogged down by a plot that only works if the main character is very incompetent and suffers from artwork that goes back and forth in quality. In what should have been a very easy landing from the creators, the end results of their Ant-Man run leaves me wondering if their run was sadly ended before its time. If you have enjoyed the ride up until now, you’ll probably enjoy the results of the ending, despite the unanswered questions. If you didn’t, this ending won’t change your mind.