by Matt Fraction, Lee Allred (Writers), Michael Allred (Artist), Laura Allred (Colorist)
The Story: Both sides of the imminent battle prepares as both Dr. Doom and the Future Foundation gets their stuff and strategies together.
The Review: Cohesion is not something to be underestimated or dismissed in terms of importance. Sure, every readers desire a certain amount of memorable scenes, great lines and solid action, but not everyone thinks about their context and how important it is that every scenes follow each other in a natural manner. We may get fan-favourites characters or some of the best concepts ever put on paper, there needs to be a setting in which they can grow naturally to perfection before being unleashed for the readers enjoyment.
This issue, in a way, shows a certain lack in that regard as while the crazy antics and the rather fun mix of serious and comical matters are still very much present, not all of the scenes leads up to another really well.
It’s a bit of shame, as a lot of the very best elements that makes this series enjoyable are present, with the children’s antics, the willingness to mock some of the elements of its premise and the use of the odder ideas of the Marvel universe. The council of Dooms, the search for various robotic replicas, the Watcher and his girlfriend, Dakor the magician along other such ideas are used rather well in this issue, with a certain degree of importance, yet levity given to them.
Where it seems to falter a bit with this is the fact that there is a disparity between the scenes featuring Dr. Doom and his plans, their tones being a bit darker than what is usual to this book, with his scenes clashing a lot with other scenes in their tones and overall presentation. The book jumps from seriousness to fun without much of any transition or gradual acclimation, with a scene in a hot spring with all the kids that then leads to Scott Lang admitting that he killed a man in prison and that he somewhat enjoyed it. It does provide some depth to Ant-Man, yet it feels disconnected from the rest of the issue.
At the very least, Lee Allred is able to make most of the setups in the issue fun, as this issue is a good lot of preparation toward the inevitable conclusion in two issues. Giving either some good character moments with Ahura and Medusa, Scott Lang and the Watcher or setting up the mystery of Scott Lang’s plan, he is at the very least able to keep the readers interest. Not everything ends up being interesting, due to the clash of natures between some scenes, but the issue does manage to entertain despite some of its flaws.
Some these flaws are easily overlooked by some of the bigger strengths of this book, notably Michael Allred’s art, which is especially strong here. Despite the clash in tones, his art has the ability to unify everything as his panelling, character mannerism and Jack Kirby inspired vision makes the visuals shine. The characters are expressive in a way that is cartoonish at times, but it all adds up to the energy of this book, which can be seen in an especially great way in the hot spring scene and the one in which the students and teachers gather robots for Ant-Man and his plan. Mixing the hyperbole with the more humane and mundane elements, Allred is able to convey some of the wonders of the Marvel universe and its kooky elements quite well. His scenery and backgrounds are nothing to slouch at either, with Japanese hot springs, the blue area of the moon, underground meeting, old castles and Manhattan being portrayed in the comic without hurting the flow and with enough attention to details as to bring out the desired themes and tones in their designated panels.
The colors of Laura Allreds are not to be dismissed either, with a very rich palette being presented here. Using a multitude of colors, Laura Allred does not forget to push to the forefront preeminent colors in order to let readers identify the important elements in each pages, something she does very well either through carefully placed elements or through the backgrounds. It ends up looking a bit chaotic in some pages, yet it tonally fits with the book and how it presents itself, which is definitely a plus for her work.
The Conclusion: There are some serious clashes in tones in a lot of scenes, which leads to a certain crisis of identity in this issue featuring a lot of setup, yet the charm of several of its characters, neat concepts and the ever-amazing art and colorization by Michael and Laura Allred manages to make this enjoyable nonetheless.
-Hugo Robberts Larivière