Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

With Ant-Man And The Wasp hitting theaters this summer, it was inevitable that Marvel would bring these two characters together in the comics, but Scott “Ant-Man” Lang and Nadia “The Wasp” Pym have a very different relationship than their big-screen counterparts. In fact, they don’t really have a relationship at all. That changes in the pages of Ant-Man And The Wasp (Marvel Comics), a new miniseries that strands the two heroes in the Microverse after Scott reaches out to Nadia for help getting back to Earth from space. The quantum-entanglement subatomic transport goes wrong because Scott screws up the timing. Nadia rushes to his rescue, only to wind up in an even more dire situation when she’s blinded by a miniscule “space vampire.”

The highlight of this series is Javier Garrón’s artwork with colorist Israel Silva, which does remarkable work creating a microscopic environment full of wonder and danger. Mark Waid’s story is fun but fairly standard superhero fare, but Garrón makes it more imaginative thanks to his strange designs for the inhabitants of the Microverse, which are rooted in microbe biology rather than anything humanoid. Ant-Man And The Wasp #2 introduces a new race of amoeba-like beings that pose a big challenge in regards to expression, giving Garrón the opportunity to experiment with eyes, mouths, and tentacles to evoke emotion in unexpected ways. This also brings a lot of humor to the page, particularly in the character of Burr, who wears a full business suit to distinguish himself from his colleagues. Silva’s work reinforces the fantasy of this environment with vibrant shades that embrace all the colors of the rainbow, and his rendering matches the sharp detail in Garrón’s linework to add evocative texture.

Image: Marvel Comics

There’s some clumsy exposition delivery in the second issue, and while it makes sense for these relative strangers to fill each other in on their backstory, the dialogue reads like a recap, hitting the major beats but lacking dramatic momentum. Getting the details of Nadia’s history spotlights the narrative gymnastics Waid has had to perform to introduce Hank Pym’s daughter from the movies into comic book continuity. Nadia isn’t the same character as Evangeline Lilly’s Hope Pym—though the name Nadia is a variation on a Russian word meaning hope—and in the comics, she has more in common with Black Widow than anyone else, raised in a Russian prison-school training future assassins.

Image: Marvel Comics

Waid’s interpretation of Nadia isn’t as aggressively sunny as Jeremy Whitley’s version in The Unstoppable Wasp (returning with a new volume in October), but he still holds on to the blend of empathy and intelligence that makes Nadia a bright spot in the Marvel Universe. Her personality blends well with Scott Lang’s dim-witted but endearing character, and the rapidly escalating stakes quickly create camaraderie between them. These first issues lay the groundwork for a richer friendship between the size-changing heroes, kicking off this adventure with exciting action in a striking subatomic world.

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