After nearly as decade and a half, Ant’s quest comes to a conclusion! Your Major Spoilers review of Ant #12 from Image Comics awaits!
Writer: Erik Larsen
Artist: Erik Larsen
Colorist: Erik Larsen
Letterer: Ferran Delgado
Editor: Josh Eichhorn
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 9, 2021
Previously in Ant: Hannah Washington has spent years looking for answers, and finally her quest comes to its epic conclusion.
IT’S BEEN A WHILE
More than a decade ago, the previous issue of Ant ended with the main character apparently dead. I’m not sure if that was ever addressed anywhere else, but Ant #12 begins with a character that Erik did NOT buy the rights to being blown away, followed by Ant being attacked by strange sewer creatures. She tries to escape, showing off her powers and skills, only to be intercepted by Daredevil of the Special Operations Strikeforce. They fight together for a bit before Ant/Hannah is finally taken down, awakening in a lab where she is greeted by… her dead father? It seems that the experiments that empowered her also implanted a control device into her that clouded her thinking, and Pops Washington is the only one who knows how to disengage it. He does so, and a grateful Hannah returns to her life, finally possessing all her memories. She is able to connect with her mother once more, returning to her normal life as a young woman in new York, even making a new friend before setting out once more to use her cool super-powers as the city’s protector.
AS SEEN IN ‘SAVAGE DRAGON’
I can’t remember how long it has been since Ant made her reappearance in the pages of Larsen’s ‘Savage Dragon’, but I remember thinking at that point that he was going to bring her back. According to the back matter of this issue, it’s been in the works for several years, initially with her creator Mario Gully onboard, then with Larsen himself after a series of mishaps and delays. This issue, accordingly, has a LOT of heavy lifting to do, as Ant’s original comic book(s) didn’t make a lot of linear sense. The story gained tons of barnacles as multiple writers tried to clean it up, forcing the plot of this issue to be a thorough sweeping of the decks that ends up not being a lot of fun. Erik brings his usual brilliance to the pencils, and even takes great joy in illustrating the shadows and reflections of Ant’s carapace in action, but those visuals can only do so much. By the end of the issue, I was breathing a sigh of relief that things were over so that Erik can get on with what he wants to do, now that he owns the character.
BOTTOM LINE: CLEARING THE DECKS FOR A RELAUNCH
After so many years, Ant #12 will probably puzzle more readers than it thrills, but for those of you who have waited to see the end of Hannah’s story, this book isn’t half bad, especially Erik’s art, earning 3 out of 5 stars overall. The best part of the issue is watching a skilled creator with decades of monthly comics experience under his belt unraveling a story knot made by a horde of other, perhaps less skilled creators, and while that’s fascinating on a process level, it may not be the most entertaining package. Still, I’m interested in seeing the new Ant #1 when it comes out.
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Erik Larsen is a seasoned veteran, and nothing in this issue is anything less than solid and well-constructed, but it's clearly just housekeeping to conclude the old stuff, and even great layouts can't entirely ameliorate that.