New Reviews of Old Comics
I am unabashedly an Ant-Man fan and have been for a long time. I was psyched to get the Marvel Essentials edition with Ant-Man in a used book store (even if some of the work in there was less than ”essential”), and I’m more than a little annoyed that Ant-Man and Wasp were unceremoniously excluded from the blockbuster Avengers movie. I still think he’s a solid character.
In this issue of Marvel Feature we get the continuation of a story from issue #5, but it’s not too difficult to pick up what’s going on. “Hellstorm!” written by Mike Friedrich with Herb Trimpe handling the art side , starts with Jan Pym passed out in the wreck her home with Hank unable to do much because he’s stuck at Ant-Man size (see previous issue, which I didn’t), though he is still smart enough to protect her from falling glass. After an odd exchange with her chauffeur Jan discovers Hank is not dead like she (and the chauffeur thought). While Hank and Jan, mostly Hank, scour their scientific minds for a cure to perpetual tininess, oddball villain The Whirlwind breaks into their lab looking for Wasp. Cue fight scene. Since he’s the featured character Ant-Man, with help from the Wasp, is able to repel their attacker despite their diminutive stature, but not before Pym’s lab is destroyed by fire. The issue ends with the two tiniest Avengers standing on a newspaper headline announcing their death; a famous quote from Mark Twain comes to mind. Also, I think the chauffeur is the Whirlwind, but that’s not too difficult to figure out.
Overall I would classify this as a very enjoyable read. The good: Friedrich turned in a decent story, Trimpe provided some interesting visuals, and the book had a nice flow with the Pyms getting inventive to best the Whirlwind. The bad: I hate covers with word balloons, the Whirlwind seems like the dumbest villain ever and I don’t have the next issue. The ugly: nothing. This reinforces my belief that titles like Marvel Feature which rotate characters without their own were a great idea that was sadly dropped sometime in the 80s. There are so many great characters out there, why focus on just a few dozen or so “big” names.
File under “Famous Letter Writers” – Mike W. Barr of Akron, Ohio appears in “Astonishing Ant-Mail” wisely espousing the virtues of Ant-Man. One can only assume this is the same Mike W. Barr who would come to write some pretty well known Batman stories for DC, among others.