Ant-Man #4, by Nick Spencer (writer), Ramon Rosanas (artist), Jordan Boyd (color artist), Travis Lanham (letterer), Idette Winecoor (designer) - Oh jeez, a Miami Vice cover. It was inevitable given the location, I suppose.
So Augustine Cross has covered all the bases in his attempts to bring his father back. He’s got the right doctor, he’s got the goons to kill her and her son if she doesn’t comply. He’s got Cassie Lang, whose heart is accustomed to being large and the strain that comes with that, and donor hearts the doctor can transplant into Cassie after. And he has an adaptive security system full of things designed specifically to stop Scott Lang. But Grizz has been attending the Super-Villain Anonymous chapter in Miami, and that’s how he ropes in Machinesmith to take out the security system, enabling Scott to get in. Where he is promptly stepped on by Darren Cross. Crap monkeys. At least it saves Scott from anymore awkward conversations with his ex-wife about where her daughter is.
I’m sure Cassie will pull through – Spencer doesn’t strike me as the sort to kill her off, not after Fraction and Allred just brought her back – but I hope having a new heart doesn’t signal the end of her superhero career entirely (since it presumably wouldn’t be accustomed to size-changing). I still hold out hope for father/daughter crime-fighting adventures.
Additionally, I don’t see this continued recruitment of super-villains ending well for Scott. Grizz seems appreciative, but Machinesmith is pretty clearly already looking to make it pay off for him, and I don’t think Scott’s providing medical and dental will change that. Letting criminals be involved in setting up security for places in probably bad, since they then know how to get in. Since Stark has apparently gotten Scott blackballed from the superhero community, I imagine it’s only a matter of time before the Avengers show up to defeat Scott and what they’ll think is his new, second-rate Masters of Evil. I wonder, though, whether this is Scott trying to give people a second chance because he got one once, or if, as Tony suggested, he’s just taking the easy route? Rather than try to force Machinesmith’s hand, or use his parole officer as leverage, he just agrees to give him a job, because it saves time, regardless of the consequences.
Rosanas’ artwork helped carry the scene where Augustine makes his pitch. Spencer writes him as though it’s just another sales pitch, so he’s mostly calm, but occasionally gets either excited or tender, for that human touch. And for the most part, Rosanas draws him as calm and collected. He’s almost always gesturing in some way with his hands. Either putting a finger to his chin to appear thoughtful, or pointing with the index finger to illustrate some point. He even hugs the tank his father is in, to better illustrate his point about bringing a family together. It also has to be significant that during that whole spiel, we only see Darren Cross’ legs, or parts of his arms. We see him in his entirety earlier in the issue, but once Augustine starts the sales pitch and moves closer, we’re too close to see all of Darren. It creates a sort of distance, because we don’t see him as an entire person, just parts. This makes me wonder if Augustine is really trying to revive his father, or just looking for a chance to unlock some secrets trapped within him. The last time Darren Cross appeared, Dr. Sondheim double-crossed him, by putting his worn out heart back inside him. She’s not in much of a position to do that this time, so perhaps Augustine’s going to pull the fast one.
Rocket Raccoon #10, by Skottie Young (writer), Jake Parker (artist), Jean-Francois Beaulieu (color artist), Jeff Eckleberry (letterer) – Even Cable thinks that’s too many guns. Haha, just kidding, Cable never thinks there are too many guns.
Rocket’s trying to make some cash to pay off his court costs. Then he gets word from a criminal who says he has info on the Book of Halfworld, but Rocket will have to pay. Bye-bye clean record, hello arrest warrant. Klep shows him a photo of a case kept in a vault in a place called Tower City, and Rocket’s off, though he has to beat up some more cops and Cosmo first. Cosmo got jobbed in that fight, I tell you. Didn’t use his mental powers at all. Anyway, now Rocket’s in Tower City, and he’ll get right after that case, as soon as he finishes barfing.
This series is not exactly packed with plot. Young seems content to allow space for gags and reaction jokes, most of which involve Groot. Either Rocket’s irritated with how much Groot enjoys his drink, or Groot’s dealing with some surly bartender. Which is OK, I suppose. The relatively low number of panels – this issue averages a little over 4 per page, and only tops 5 panels 3 times - gives Parker space to draw weird aliens and hideous undersea beasts. The number of panels does increase near the end of the issue, as Rocket has to flee and fight his way through security. Which I’d guess is meant to convey a rising sense of tension or danger. Except Rocket dispatches his opponents so quickly it’s hard to buy in. Oh well, we know someone else is out there looking for the book, so that’ll be a problem for Rocket eventually. Something about Tower City makes me think of Ratchet & Clank, which isn’t a bad thing.