With the arrival of Marvel’s latest movie Ant-Man hitting theaters soon, the brand looks to add its smallest superhero to the ever increasing world of it’s Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Although Ant-Man doesn’t carry the weight of some of the more well known heroes, he does have a significant history in the world of the mighty Avengers.
Like many of the other well known Marvel heroes, Ant-Man was the creation of Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby – The Holy Triumvirate of the comic book wold if there every was one. Ant-Man is also known for being one of the first members of the Avengers alongside, the Hulk, Iron Man, and Thor.
Before Ant-Man hits theaters July 17th, it’s important to do some reading on the primary character. In the upcoming film, Ant-Man will be portrayed as Scott Lang, a con artist turned hero. Lang takes on the mantle of Ant-Man, which has been passed to him by his mentor, Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man.
Before seeing the movie this weekend, here are a few suggested CYNOBS essentials to read up on.
The Avengers (1963) #1 – The Coming of the Avengers
Not only is this issue significant in featuring Ant-Man and his female sidekick Wasp, the issue also brings about the first introduction of the Avengers as a team. Though Ant-Man existed long before this issue, it introduced the character as one of the original Avengers.
Heroes must unite for the first time to fight Loki, the foster brother of Thor, who’s body has been locked up. However, Loki has escaped his body and is is using his soul to wreak havoc by tricking the Hulk into doing his dirty work while simultaneously trying to bring about the downfall of Thor.
This story is more significant for the future ramifications featuring Ant-Man and his eventual team up with the rest of the Avengers. It’s a fun story as it not only shows the original formation of the Avengers, but also reveals a quality glimpse into who Ant-Man is and the role he plays with the rest of the team.
The Avengers (1968) #55 – Mayhem Over Manhattan
While most of main stream MCU fans now know Ultron as a creation of Tony Stark / Iron Man, it was actually Hank Pym who created the villain. His goal, much like Stark’s, was to create a peacekeeping automation to safeguard human kind.
The story introduces a character known as the Crimson Cowl, a villain in league with a group of super villains known as the Masters of Evil. The Masters of Evil are obsessed with the downfall of the Avengers, primarily Thor and Iron Man.
Although the Pym / Ant-Man connection is not examined in great detail, it provides an entertaining issue more for the double reveal of Ultron, posing as the Crimson Cowl, posing as Jarvis, Tony Stark’s faithful butler. It’s a bit of a strange altercation but now classic in the history of the Avengers while bearing witness to the original introduction of Ultron.
The Avengers (1980) #195 – Assault On A Mind Cage
While it was initially surprising that Paul Rudd would be playing the character of Scott Lang and not Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), fans have come to terms with to the concept. Having a pre-established history already in place with Pym now allows audiences to jump right into an adventure without going through the whole process of an entire origin story in a 2-hour span. It has to be assumed that they’re be some flashbacks to a younger Pym but a bulk of the story will center on Lang.
This issue sees Scott Lang team up with Yellowjacket, the apparent villain of the upcoming film played by actor Corey Stoll. The two seek to infiltrate the Solomon Institute for the Criminally Insane to rescue Wasp.
This is a good issue to read as it has a fun heist theme; something that will be similar to the upcoming film. Rather than rescuing a fellow Avenger, Rudd’s Ant-Man seeks to infiltrate and safeguard the Ant-Man Technology for his former mentor Hank Pym. Oddly enough, the technology he’s trying to protect is in the hands of Yellowjacket!
The Avengers (1968) #59 – The Name Is…Yellowjacket
This story comes across a bit confusing while representing a classic villain battling the mighty ranks of the Avengers. Events never features Ant-Man but is more about Wasp and the mysterious Yellowjacket.
Yellowjacket is the newest and most buzzed about vigilante in town, even gaining the respect and admiration of J. Jonah Jameson at the Daily Bugle. Yellowjacket eventually busts into the Avengers hideout during a training session, gloating that he killed one of their members, Goliath, and has arrived to take their spot. After batting the Avengers, Yellowjacket then kidnaps Wasp back to his hideout.
It’s a good read as it shows the villianous side of Yellowjacket, the main antagonist portrayed by Corey Stoll in the upcoming film. Yellowjacket is never a true villain like Loki or Thanos but represents more of an between character – Never quite going over the edge but still out for himself and his own ambitions.
The Avengers (1982) #223 – Of Robin Hoods and Roustabouts
What’s not to love in seeing both Ant-Man and Hawkeye team up to battle the Taskmaster? If the Ant-Man franchise proves to be a success, it has to be assumed that at some point the Taskmaster will be introduced to the MCU.
Although the issue is more about Hawkeye than Ant-Man, it proves to be an entertaining arc. The basic premise of the story has Hawkeye in captivity at the hands of the Taskmaster at a carnival where Hawkeye once performed. Unbeknownst to Hawkeye, the carnival is a fronted recruiting ground for Taskmaster and his minions. After being thrown into a cage with an angry lion, Hawkeye’s fate appears to be sealed when Ant-Man shows up to save the day.
Not only do superheroes save the innocent; they save their kind as well. With Ant-Man’s inclusion into the MCU, it’s a guarantee that we’ll see him use his shrinking abilities and super strength to get our favorite heroes out of at least a jam or two moving forward.
What did you think of our list of comics? Let us know what your favorite Ant-Man story arcs are and if any of them made our list.
Ant-Man hits theaters Friday July 17th, 2015!