Graphic Novel Review: Marvel Platinum: The Definitive Ant-Man

Marvel Platinum: The Definitive Ant-Man

Marvel Platinum: The Definitive Ant-Man - Credit: Archant

A big volume of stories featuring the smallest hero of them all...

(Panini Books)

With the imminent release of the movie starring Marvel’s size-changing friend of formicidae, it seems even the company’s lesser-known heroes are being mooted for celluloid stardom.

The character of Ant-Man dates back to the dawn of the Marvel Age of Comics, with his origin found in Tales to Astonish, one of the anthology series of the early 1960s. Scientist Henry “Hank” Pym became “The Man in the Ant Hill” after discovering how to reduce himself to the size of an ant, but only narrowly escaped alive after falling into a nest of the insects.

Inventing a helmet which allows him to communicate with ants, Pym dons a costume as the superhero Ant-Man, eventually gaining a partner in the form of Janet Van Dyne, aka the Wasp, and becoming a founder member of the Avengers.

Switching his costumed identity to variously Giant-Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket and even the Wasp after Janet was believed dead, Pym suffered a host of mental breakdowns, and surrendered the Ant-Man identity to reformed ex-con Scott Lang.

It is Lang’s incarnation of the character who stars in the film, and so he has his fair share of appearances in this collection, including his two-part debut adventure in the try-out book Marvel Premiere. A divorced father who strove to escape Pym’s shadow, Lang suffered his fair share of traumas over the years, but also became an effective member of both the Fantastic Four and the Avengers.

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During a period when he was dead (it’s comics, he got better), the immoral low level SHIELD agent Eric O’Grady stole an upgraded costume to become the “Irredeemable” Ant-Man, using his powers for personal benefit, including spying on women while shrunk to ant-size. A couple of issues from his short-lived series are included here for the sake of completion.

Then it’s bang up to date with Scott for the first issue from his new series, which comes in the wake of his own resurrection, and the death and rebirth of his daughter Cassie, but strives to begin a new era for the character ready for his film debut.

A first-rate collection of strips from a who’s who of industry talent, and the perfect companion volume to accompany the new film.