Astonishing Ant-Man (originally just Ant-Man) is a 2015 Marvel comic book written by Nick Spencer (Morning Glories, The Superior Foes of Spider-Man) with art by Ramon Rosanas, published as part of the "All-New, All-Different Marvel" initiative that sprung from the aftermath of Secret Wars.
It features Scott Lang, the second Ant-Man (and focus of his 2015 movie) as he moves down to Miami, Florida to be closer to his recently-resurrected daughter Cassie, starting a security solutions firm while there. Oh, and Scott's starter villain Darren Cross has been revived by his vengeful son, so that's kind of an issue.
Originally published in January 2015 for the "Avengers NOW!" branding (without its "astonishing" adjective), this series had an initial run of five issues, an annual, and a one-shot prelude to Secret Wars, ultimately returning from hiatus in October 2015 with the previous creative team intact.
Now titled Astonishing Ant-Man, it picks up eight months from where it left off — namely, with Scott and his employees (and fellow reformed criminals) Grizzly and Machinesmith providing their services to a retirement home for golden age superheroes led by Mary Morgenstern, the former Miss Patriot. It also turns out he's presently estranged from Cassie, as to avoid putting her in harm's way — and that he's telling the story in flashback from prison.
Astonishing Ant-Man provides examples of:
- The Adjectival Superhero: Astonishing Ant-Man, though the adjective itself was added post-Secret Wars.
- Affirmative Action Legacy: Scott gives the Giant-Man suit to Raz Malhotra, a gay man of Indian descent.
- Back from the Dead: Darren Cross —who died after his only appearance in Marvel Premiere #47— is revived, thanks to his son Augustine and Cassie's Pym Particle-irradiated heart.
- Big Bad Wannabe: The Magician, who wants to avenge his father's jailing at Giant-Man's hands in Astonishing #2. It doesn't pan out for him.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Although she saves Scott from Cross during the break in, Beetle only reveals she's prosecuting against Scott but would throw the case if Scott sneaks her Pym Particles, however thanks to Cross, this plan fails so Beetle decides to turn against Scott by calling Peggy to testify against Scott, however when Peggy is in favor for Scott and loses the trial, Beetle is never seen again.
- The Bus Came Back: Darla Deering (also known as Ms. Thing, and Scott's girlfriend) didn't show up anywhere in the original run of issues, but came back in Astonishing #2, where it's stated that Scott packed up and left New York for Miami without even telling her. She's understandably pissed, but after battling a wannabe villain together, they talk it out and amicably break things off for now. Turns out Darla hired their mook via the Hench app and filmed the fight for her reality television show pilot.
- "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Cassie tells Scott despite Scott taking the fall for the break in for Cassie, she tells him that as a minor and a former Avenger, the charges wouldn't have stuck if she was charged.
- The Corrupter: Darla's agent seems to be this for her, setting up a scenario that would bring Scott to them for the sake of her reality show pilot.
- Covers Always Lie: Though appearing on the cover of Astonishing #1, the issue in question doesn't actually feature Beetle, Gladiator, Porcupine (currently a reformed criminal working for Jessica Drew), or the new Giant-Man.
- Dating Catwoman: Scott finds himself in this kind of relationship with the new Beetle. He's kind of bummed about it, as Captain America specifically warned him to avoid it when he first became an Avenger. Lampshaded whens she says she doesn't really want a Black Cat or Elektra kind of thing with Scott.
- Disappeared Dad: Scott's status quo toward Cassie in Astonishing, but justified in the sense that he already put her in harm's way by moving to Miami, so he's keeping some distance between them for her benefit.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: After Scott is thrown in jail and spends almost 8 months there after taking the rap for the break in to Cross Industries from Cassie, he almost loses the trial until Darren Cross, Crossfire and Egghead pop up in the courtroom and try to attack Scott, however thanks to Cassie, She-Hulk, Darla, Machinesmith and Grizzly, they defeat Cross and the judge drops Scott's charges thanks to Peggy, Scott and Cassie become to the new superhero duo in Miami.
- Good Parents: Cassie's mom Peggy (understandably) doesn't want Scott influencing their daughter, and his actions kinda prove her conviction to be well-founded.
- I Just Want to Be Special Again: Cassie isn't taking retirement from hero work well.
- It's Personal: When Cassie finds out that Augustine Cross stole her heart to resurrect his father, her mission changes from getting her powers back to revenge.
- Legacy Character: Scott himself, of course, but it seems that a lot of the villains working for Hench are this too, with such titles as the Magician and Blacklash. Hijacker is a twofer: he took the name and look of the original Hijacker, but he's actually a successor to Overdrive.
- Mythology Gag: Scott's team-up with Sam Wilson —currently Captain America— in Astonishing #3 was likely inspired by their altercation in the Ant-Man movie. It's also worth nothing that Nick Spencer is writing Scott's title concurrently with Sam's own book, at the moment. Lampshaded in the solicitation, which points this out, then acknowledges it doesn't quite work, before concluding "Please buy our book, movie-watcher people!"
- Recruiting the Criminal: A villainous example —- the Hench app (think Seamless, but for on-demand villainy) starts posing a major headache to Scott.
- Scott himself recruited criminals into his security business with the intent of reforming them.
- Reformed Criminal: Scott and his cohorts.
- Shout Out:
- Stalking Is Love: A rare platonic example; Scott is checking up on Cassie at the start of Astonishing, but she doesn't know it because he's always shrunken down when he sees her. When Cassie ultimately finds out, she's understandably freaked.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: The Magician, who only wants to make his father (the original Magician) proud, in spite of the fact that he left their family for a new one.
- WHAM Episode: Astonishing #6 has Cassie joining with Power Broker and Hench after Broker reveals to her that Darren Cross stole her heart and Scott kept it secret from her so Cassie is given Pym Particles and becomes Stinger in exchange for taking down Cross after Cross stole Broker's Hench App idea.
- WHAM Shot: The first page of issue #1 only shows Scott's face as he's lying in bed and starts to reminisce the past eight months of his life. The last page comes back to the present to show Scott is behind bars.Scott (Narrating): Oh, wait, almost forgot, one other thing—Scott (Narrating): [Jumps to present] — I did end up back in prison. There was that.
- What You Are in the Dark: After earlier having abandoned the heroes, Beetle secretly comes back and stops Crossfire from killing Scott.Beetle: No one will ever know I'm secretly...a nice person.
- Whole Episode Flashback: Taken Up to Eleven since the first eleven issues of the series are used by Scott to recapitulate the past eight months and how he ended up back in prison. With the exception of #6, #8 and #10, every issue opens up with a splash page of Scott in the present to re-establish the book's framing device.
- Wolverine Publicity:
- An in-universe example; Darla's agent uses Scott to help boost ratings for Darla's new reality show pilot.
- Another in-universe example; Scott advertises his business with a big billboard featuring Iron Man. Iron Man later sues to have it taken down.
- Parodied with Sam Wilson's guest appearance; the solicit mentions that Sam is showing up in a book with Scott Lang, just like in the Ant-Man movie, but then admits that the synergy is kind of ruined since unlike in the film, Sam is Captain America instead of the Falcon.
- Woman Scorned: Darla comes for Scott with a bullet in Astonishing #2, but it's hard to fault her for being pissed off at him. Ultimately, they talk through their issues and break up amicably.
- Working for a Body Upgrade: In issue 6, Cassie ends up making such a deal with the Power Broker in exchange for getting her powers back.