Dish Of The Week 2/5/20: Ant-Man #1

Each week I highlight the ultimate Comfort Food Comic release. This is the comic that gets me the most hyped. The comic I’ll remember and revisit the most. The one that gave me that special feeling above all the other releases that new comic book day.

The Dish Of The Week for 2/5/20 is Ant-Man #1 by Zeb Wells, Dylan Burnett, Mike Spicer & VC’s Cory Petit.

Phew! Just like Scott Lang coming up on a villain ant sized & punching their lights out, this comic sort of jumped out of nowhere and hit me hard! It ended up being one of the most enjoyable, bright, fun comics Ive read in awhile. Ive never been a HUGE fan of Scott Lang or any of the Ant-Men but of all of them I dig Scott the most. His recent elevation in comics due to the movies has been a welcome turn. I was a big fan of Nick Spencer’s previous run and didnt quite realize how much I missed the guy until I started reading this.

Firstly, lets talk Zeb Wells. This writer man, just one of my alltime favorites. He is one of those creators batting 1000 for me. When I think over his entire bibliography in comics, Ive enjoyed almost every issue he’s done. Some of my all time Comfort Food Spider-Man faves like Peter Parker: Spider-Man 42-43, Peter Parker: Spider-Man 56-57 & Amazing Spider-Man 555-557 are Zeb Wells joints. The guy can WRITE!

One of my favorite things about his writing style is he writes FUNNY. And I dont mean funny like the comics he writes are all tonally light comedic takes like Ryan North’s Squirrel Girl or Chip Zdarsky’s Howard the Duck, or a joke every panel like Akira Toriyama’s Dr. Slump. You get a tight compelling story that is full of craft but the jokes in it just kill. They arent like the sometimes forced Spidey quips you see or anything like that, its just clever, well crafted comedy that runs in tandem with the stories he tells. Its never the driving force of the comic, its just a treat that helps shape it. I think thats a very admirable skill to pull off and the guy does it every single time. Its really impressive.

Dylan Burnett is a hell of an artist. Ive really enjoyed his unique, kinetic style that is full of charming expressions. I thought his recent work on X-Force was fine but I feel that book really wasnt a good match for his art. THIS book though shines through! Maybe its colorist Mike Spicer’s bright evocative palette that makes it work so much, but I really think Burnett’s talents deserve to be on a lighter, more expressive title.

The book opens with Scott & his daughter Cassie foiling a crime and this team-up brings me so much glee. I was always a fan of Cassie as Stature from the Young Avengers and when they killed her I thought it was one of the worst character deaths they ever couldve pulled. Thankfully that was rectified a few years back and we can now get some entertaining father/daughter superhero stories. As a HUGE Spider-Girl and MC2 Universe fan, I am just so into Cassie Lang adopting the Stinger name and costume. For those that dont know, the MC2 Universe is the alternate future continuity of Spider-Girl. In that future, Cassie became the superhero Stinger. When our main Cassie came back they had her don the same outfit & nom de guerre. Its just really cool as a fan to see someone in the main continuity reflect that alternative world. Im so into it.

The faces and jokes in this page are so great. Scott being Giant Man size and an A.I.M. goon in the beekeeper mask getting sick in his giant hands as Scott gestures is just peak comedy.

The next few pages we see Scott’s current status quo is living in an ant hill because he has no money and that will never get old. The conversation between Cassie and Scott here is where you see Burnett’s greatest strength, his facial expressions, really being shown off

I keep seeing these Cassie faces in my head. These are so funny and they are always going to stick in my head as all time favorites. The true mark of a Comfort Food Comic. Just amazing artwork.

Scott then gets hired to find out where a huge batch of missing bees have gone, because as far as people know, he can talk to bugs. Its such a subtle genius idea to have him deal with bees instead of ants. It subverts expectation while also being genuinely funny and opening up some fun plot threads.

This page & panel here is an example of that Zeb Wells comedy I was talking about. It really makes me crack up while quietly moving the plot along. While reading Scott saying there isnt a Bee-Man, my mind immediately went to Spider-Man & general Marvel Universe villain – Swarm – the Nazi comprised entirely of a swarm of bees surrounding his skeleton in a purple cape. Lo and behold, look who shows up 2 pages later:

People, Swarm RULES!! When I was a kid, one Christmas morning I received this Marvel Spotlight Collector’s Pack of the Lethal Foes OF Spider-Man

Marvel Spotlight Collector’s Packs were these cool boxed sets collecting an entire mini or storyline of comics that you’d usually find in like a Toys-R-Us or department store in the 90s. Swarm was one of these Lethal Foes of Spider-Man in this set, and as a little kid, few things are cooler than a malevolent hooded figure made out of bees!! I have loved pretty much any appearance of this insane Marvel Universe villain. There is an episode of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends about Swarm,a totally different take on the bee villain, but they all say Swarm in the episode a billion times, and its become an inside joke between me and my friends to say Swarm like they do in that episode. Swarm is just one of those comic book character I will never get enough of. He’s great, he’s special and its such a delight to see him show up as an Ant-Man character. It just makes SO MUCH SENSE!!

We find out Swarm has stolen all the bees in the area to bolster his own power and Scott leaps into action surrounding himself in bees to take down Swarm. We soon find out Swarm did this in order to be able to stop:

Vespa – the Specter of Hornets, Thread – the Silkworm Ghoul and Tusk – the Rhino Beetle Hulk!! OOOOOOOH MAN, THATS GOOD!! More insanely cool looking, extremely interesting insect comprised villains!! I want to know EVERYTHING ABOUT THEM!!! I would read a whole series about Swarm keeping these monsters at bay. I cant even express how hyped I am too see what Ant-Man, Stinger & Swarm can do here to stop them. These are the gold nugget ideas you see and think “WHY DIDNT I THINK OF THAT?!” This is what I want comics to be. This is pure Marvel Comics comics. Bright fun adventures with excellent writing and art, obscure wacky villains against the personal, down to earth heroes only the MU has. Great continuity beats, great relationship stuff, an intriguing and exciting plot and all done in the MOST entertaining way possible. If this one isnt on your radar, PLEASE, go check it out ASAP – you wont regret it.

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