FF: Who is Ant-Man?

FF: Who is Ant-Man?

By Jim Beard

In a series of in-depth articles, the Daily Bugle attempts to peel back the layers of a most intriguing event: the Fantastic Four’s new replacements. Who stands in for the legendary Fantastic Four? How will they hope to fill such famous roles? The Bugle searches for answers…

FF #1 cover by Mike Allred

One of the most fascinating components of the new Fantastic Four answers to the name of Scott Lang. You might also know him as Ant-Man.

“Now, hold on a sec, there,” you’re saying. “Ant-Man? Isn’t that Hank Pym?” Well, yes and no. You see, Lang’s operated as the diminutive hero for the past few years, as an Avenger, a Hero for Hire, and yes, even as a member of the Fantastic Four. The changeover between Lang and Pym, the original Ant-Man, wasn’t exactly announced by a press release or a TV special, so you can be forgiven for not knowing.

But how’d he acquire the famous moniker of one of the Avengers’ founders? Where’d he get that fantastic equipment?

“To be perfectly blunt about it,” says Doctor Henry Pym with a slight, sly smile, “he stole it. But he did so with the best of intentions.”

A quick check through public records does reveal that Scott Lang, electronics engineer, served hard time for burglary several years ago. Pym shakes his head when presented with that fact, eager to explain the situation.

“Scott hit a rough patch a while back and chose the wrong path to get through it,” he notes. “But he did his time and tried to turn his life around. Then, his daughter got sick, I mean really sick, and, well, old habits are hard to break. God knows that I know that’s true.”

Lang broke into Pym’s lab, according to the famous scientist, and absconded with the Ant-Man gear, which he shortly thereafter used to rescue the doctor who held the key to saving his daughter’s life. Pym then forgave and forgot, even going so far as to tell Lang to keep the equipment and “do good with it.”

FF #1 preview art by Mike Allred

“After I learned about his daughter, what he was trying to do,” Pym reflects, “how could I in all honesty ask for it back?

“I hadn’t exactly been a shining example of what an Ant-Man could be—Scott’s exceeded my every expectation since that time. I’m proud of him.”

Since those early days, the second Ant-Man has made something of a name for himself as a hero, fighting at the side of Iron Man, Spider-Man, Alpha Flight, and a whole host of other costumed crimebusters. He’s acquitted himself admirably in that arena, as well as in that of electronics, an area some say in which he qualifies as a pioneer. Just ask Tony Stark.

“Scott Lang?” asks the billionaire industrialist in an exclusive holo-interview. “Good man. Brilliant innovator. Wish I could clone him. In fact, I think I will…"

That’s all well and good, but there’s also that little matter of Scott Lang’s death. Alleged death, that is.

“Probably not my place to talk about that,” says Stark with a frown. “That was a bad moment for all of us. The Avengers, I mean. I’m not even sure of the particulars of him coming back. I mean…if he ever died at all. Don’t quote me on that.”

Doctor Reed Richards, leader of the Fantastic Four as Mr. Fantastic, doesn’t seem to mind his chosen replacement’s dead-or-alive status.

“Scott’s a stellar example of an intelligent man who’s put himself on a path to a better future,” Richards insists. “I personally vouch for him and his work. His past is immaterial to me and my wife and the rest of the Fantastic Four; he’s proven himself time and time again, and we count him as not only a valuable ally, but as a good friend.”

FF #1 preview art by Mike Allred

Other sources tell of a recent tragedy, though, that haunts Scott Lang, one that unfortunately hit far too close to home. Recently, Lang’s daughter, Cassandra, aka Stature of the Young Avengers, fell in super heroic battle, reportedly at the hands of Doctor Doom, ruler of Latveria.

When asked to comment on the report, Mr. Fantastic, one of the world’s smartest men, seemed at first at a loss for words.

“I won’t speak for Scott on that matter,” he says solemnly. “All I can say is that he knows how to rebound from darkness. He could teach us all a thing or two on that score.”

Renowned “Fantastic Four expert” Dr. Thomas Brevoort has his own thoughts on just what Lang’s up against.

“Every hurdle is a big hurdle for Scott—he’s Ant-Man, a little guy!” he reminds us. “But in particular, the thing that’s really driving him at the moment is that his return to being among the living came at the cost of his daughter’s life. And while he tries to mask that pain, it’s a fundamental motivating factor in terms of what Scott intends to do with him life from this point on.”

The public will soon get their own chance to decide first-hand whether or not the second Ant-Man has the chops to head up the Fantastic Four in the absence of the originals, and if the direction he chooses will fortify him—or break him.

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