It’s been a couple of years, so Hank Pym gets a new look. Mind, it’s based on an old look, to go with an old name. Bye bye Wasp II, hello again, Giant Man I. The reasons for the change make good sense, and I’m happy to see Hank embrace a large part of his history. Plus, I love colossal heroes and there’s already an Ant Man running around the Marvel Universe.
In the second issue of this book to focus on the older Avengers rather than the students, Hank’s not the only veteran to get a great big dollop of characterisation. Tigra’s emotions run riot as she learns the genetic identity of son William (named after her late husband), and Hank is caught in the crossfire.
Hank has problems of his own, as he must decide whether to bring the Wasp, currently in cosmic stasis in another realm, back to physical life. The risk is that Jan’s mind will be shattered after her extra-dimensional ordeal. But Hank misses her so very much …
The action this issue comes courtesy of an encounter with the Absorbing Man, who shows the cocky Academy kids just why he’s survived so long in the super-villain game. He’s not present simply to punch things, though – Crusher Creel casts light on Hank’s various issues, and highlights his humanity.
Christos Gage produces another script that’s as intelligent as it is entertaining. And it’s very entertaining. He’s doing a great job of sharing out the limelight over time, rather than attempting to shoehorn everyone into every issue. So Quicksilver and Speedball aren’t around this month, but Justice is shown to have Hank’s respect while Jocasta … well, let’s just say I’m not sure I trust her advice right now.
Tom Raney provides fantastic superhero art – he does action, he does emotion, he does cute cat-human hybrid babies. It’s a real shame that a production error credits regular artist Mike McKone with the pencils. Inkers Dave Meikis and Scott Hanna keep the visuals looking sharp, while Jeromy Cox and Andrew Crossley’s colours are a pleasure to look at. And Joe Caramagna makes calligraphy look effortless.
Topping off the latest issue of Marvel’s finest Avengers title is McKone’s cover homage to 1969’s Avengers #63, by Gene Colan and George Klein, which is pure delight.