In part one of our coverage of "The Irredeemable Ant-Man," CBR News spoke with Editor Tom Brevoort for the basics on Marvel's new ongoing series, announced today at Wizard World L.A. Now, in part two of our look at "Ant-Man," we speak with series writer Robert Kirkman for some inside info about the series.
"Ant-Man" is a book that's been in development for a number of years. "When I first signed my exclusive with Marvel I started talking to editor Tom Brevoort about two projects," Kirkman told CBR News. "A book called 'Mutant 2099,' which later became part of the 'Marvel Knights 2099' thing I did. And another book... called
'Ant-Man.' So in a way, I've been putting this book together for almost two years. Of course, after I started doing 'Marvel Team-Up' and some other things, 'Ant-Man' kinda got put on the back-burner for a while. I'm told the series is set to launch in October. It's all tied in with 'Civil War,' which is cool, so it's gotta come out at the right time."
As Tom Brevoort mentioned, the new Ant-Man will make his debut in the pages of "Civil War" and the ripples from Marvel's big summer story will continue to be felt when the ongoing "Ant-Man" series launches in October. "The aftermath of Civil War will be so epic and so far-reaching it's going to touch every corner of the Marvel Universe in some way," Kirkman said. "Ant-Man will be right there, in the thick of things. It's probably the most important book in the entire Marvel Line, or at the very least close to it. We have big stuff in store here."
Some of the big stuff in "Ant-Man" includes a new character continuing one of the Marvel Universe's oldest heroic legacies and appearances by a number of the MU'S most recognizable and popular faces. "Ant-Man is a hero for a new generation," Kirkman stated. "This guy is going to be different in almost every way from any other hero in the Marvel Universe. I think people will be shocked with where we go with this character. He has a helmet, he still shrinks, and he still talks to ants and other insects, but past that he's totally different. It's an all new guy in the suit, but fans will be familiar with dozens of characters who appear in the book. From Hank Pym to Wolverine to Nick Fury... they're all in here. The book is very much tied to S.H.I.E.L.D., so the Marvel Universe will play a big part in this series. The series is very 'plugged in,' so to speak."
In the first story arc of the "The Irredeemable Ant-Man," readers will feel plugged into the vast expanse of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s headquarters. "The story, for the first story arc at least, is set almost entirely onboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. heli-carrier," Kirkman explained. "Our main characters are two low-level S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who somehow come into possession of a new Ant-Man armor that Hank Pym is developing for S.H.I.E.L.D. for espionage purposes. I don't want to come out and say they steal it, but that's pretty much what they do. There's a lot going on in the heli-carrier that we don't see a lot of in the Marvel Universe. I mean, it's essentially a floating city. There's a lot of ground to explore. You make your main character less than an inch tall and you really have plenty of room for stories.
"Readers get in on the ground floor," Kirkman continued. "Even though Ant-Man appears in 'Civil War,' in our first arc we get to see him get his powers and learn how to use them and all that good stuff. There're a lot of things that can go wrong on board the heli-carrier and the often do. Eric and Chris are childhood friends, who've been with each other through college, into the military and eventually to S.H.I.E.L.D. Once they get the new Ant-Man armor, their lives get way more complicated-- and dangerous. Telling you anything more would really give too much away. Also, this book is dense; I think two or three issues worth of stuff happens in every issue. I talked it over with Phil [Hester, the book's artist] early on to make sure he'd be cool with doing the book this way, but we're doing the book in a sixteen-panel grid format. Not all pages will have the full sixteen panels, in fact, not many of them will, it's like 'Dark Knight Returns,' where larger panels would be formed by combining smaller panels in a strict grid. It makes for a very rewarding storytelling experience and I think readers will agree that they got their $2.99 worth when they're done. And that's important to me."
On many of those packed pages readers will be meeting the supporting cast of "Ant-Man." "It will be all S.H.I.E.L.D. agents for the first arc at least--then, well... I don't want to give too much away," Kirkman said. "Mitch Carson is a tough-as-nails S.H.I.E.L.D. security agent. He works directly below Dum Dum Dugan and our main characters really look up to him. Then there's Veronica King, the sexy S.H.I.E.L.D. agent they both have the hots for. Hank Pym, who really needs no introduction... he's going to be very involved with the plot of this book. Not the main character, but certainly an important member of the cast. Hank Pym fans will like this book. Spider-Man fans will like this book. X-Men fans will like this book. Uh... people who hate the X-Men will like this book."
Characters like Spider-Man and the X-Men may occasionally drop by in "The Irredeemable Ant-Man." "The book will feature guest appearances from time to time, nothing major and certainly nothing that gets in the way of telling the story of these characters," Kirkman explained. "For instance, Wolverine appears in issue one, but it very much meshes with the flow of this issue and doesn't stand out like a contrived guest appearance."
Both of the previous Ant-Men, Henry Pym and Scott Lang, interacted with other Marvel heroes as members of The Avengers. The new Ant-Man won't be joining any teams right away, but Kirkman isn't ruling out the possibility. "Who knows what the future holds?" he said. "I hear there might be two Avengers books soon... they're going to need some extra members for that, right?"
Kirkman recommends that everyone buy "The Irredeemable Ant-Man," especially fans of his creator-owned books. "This book is going to be very dark, actually," he explained. "It's not going to be completely without humor, but this is a very serious book. It's going to have its fair share of superhero action, but it's also going to be a lot of character exploration and there will be a lot of growth among the characters. It'll be a mix of the tones from my creator-owned books 'The Walking Dead' and 'Invincible'... but with less zombies and more superheroes."
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