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How Scott Lang saved Marvel's Ant-Man

Hank Pym drove the character of Ant-Man into the ground. But fifteen years later, writer David Michelinie came up with a new Ant-Man who saved not only the day but the character.

When Scott Lang became Ant-Man in 1979’s Marvel Premiere #47, he seemed like a strange choice to take on the role. The original Ant-Man Hank Pym was one of the world’s greatest geniuses, on the level of Reed Richards, Bruce Banner, and Tony Stark. Meanwhile though Scott Lang had been a brilliant electrical engineer, he was more recently an ex-con thrown in jail for using his talents to steal from people. He’s also a father with a sick daughter.

But as unusual as his background was, it turned out Scott Lang was exactly what Ant-Man needed.

While some point to storylines that come decades after his origins as the moments that “broke” him as a character, in truth Hank Pym is a problem pretty much from his introduction in Tales to Astonish #27 in 1961. From that very first experiment, Pym regularly puts himself in totally unnecessary danger, and often to seriously negative consequences. He actually takes up the study of ants because upon shrinking for the first time they almost kill him. When he learns how to grow large he eventually gets stuck there, and later discovers his size-expansion is dangerous for his heart. An accident in another experiment will create a temporary psychotic break in him. At times he spends days locked in his lab working with a certain mania, only to emerge with results like Ultron, one of the Avengers’ most dangerous enemies.

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Jim McDermott avatar
Jim McDermott: Jim is a magazine and screenwriter based in New York. He loves the work of Stephen Sondheim and cannot take a decent selfie.
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