The “Avengers: Origins” series of one-shots kicks off with a tale of two founding Avengers: Ant-Man and Wasp. Delivered in a painterly style, this story really has few surprises to offer up, but is packed with a healthy double-dose of nostalgia.
The artwork from Stephanie Hans is very nice to look at, but in some spots it struggles to tell the story, going for a dramatic angle, pose, or setting. One such instance has a newly-shrunken Henry Pym riding astride an ant and pointing to the horizon, but his reach is nowhere near the field of vision of his mount, limiting the image to simply be fun. Still, Hans’ art is a refreshing break from the standard fare on the comic racks nowadays. It’s not as groundbreaking as Alex Ross’ painted work was when his pages first hit the comic book pages in “Marvels,” but it is different enough to be noticeable. Hans also updates the first-time costumes of Ant-Man and Wasp, keeping them iconic while also giving them modern sensibilities.
Aguirre-Sacasa’s story updates the story of Hank Pym and his Pym particles for a new set of readers. It doesn’t completely forsake the history of Stan Lee’s and Jack Kirby’s creation from “Tales to Astonish” #27, although it does compress the timeline between Ant-Man’s origins and Wasp’s introduction into Pym’s life. Aguirre-Sacasa has a nice sense of Pym’s voice and puts a wistful spin on the story by having Pym reflect on this tale as the yarn itself unfolds.
My biggest gripe on this thirty-page story is the fact that this issue is painfully broken into chapters that just don’t need to be segmented. The story would move along fine without “Chapter Seven” being dropped in, and some of the chapter distinctions don’t even make sense, as the parsing occurs in the middle of a scene. Honestly, though, that’s a gripe that is easily dismissed and the story is enjoyable despite those being in place.
As initial installments of event stories go (if this “Avengers: Origins” can truly be considered an event) this one is a fun kickoff with two characters that just don’t get enough love. Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne are inspirational to a generation of heroes, especially Avengers, and really should be celebrated a little more often and more impressively.