ficticons: (babs try me!)
[personal profile] ficticons posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Scott Lang was Marvel's second Ant-Man and (by my calculations) the person who had the name and the suit for the longest time. He's someone I'd like to see more of around here*, so to contribute to that and to One Perfect Moment week, here is one of his early adventures.

It's from Marvel Team-Up #103 (March 1981), by David Michelinie (writer), Jerry Bingham (penciler), Mike Esposito (inker), Diana Albers (letterer), and Bob Sharen (colorist). The story is called "The Assassin Academy" and, as the title of the comic and the post indicates, involves him teaming up with Spider-Man.

6 pages and 3 panels from a 22-page story.


Scott and Cassie Lang are having dinner one evening when Gus Sweezer, someone Scott knows from jail (more on that shortly), shows up and offers him a place in "the sweetest little deal since the great train robbery". It involves someone paying crooks a regular paycheck to commit crimes, whether they are successful or not, and on-the-job training. Scott politely declines since he'd only taken to crime (burglary) when his electronics business wasn't doing well enough for him to support Cassie and his wife Peggy; after being caught, convicted, and later paroled for good behaviour, he is now a law-abiding citizen. Gus leaves after telling Scott where the new job is based and telling him to join in if he changes his mind.

However:





Spidey checks out the building and notes a large weapons stockpile and a room full of beds. However, he doesn't realize he's been caught on a security camera as he explores.


He drops down onto two men guarding two "huge steel doors" and provides us with what I think could be a really great Context is for the Weak panel.

but quickly finds himself in a trap - a dark room with a door that has slammed shut behind him.


He soon meets the man behind the mysteries - the Taskmaster, also in an early appearance I think - who says that he aims to show this graduating class of the Manhattan branch of his crook-training academies that "super heroes ain't as though as they're cracked up to be!"

Spidey attacks, but the Taskmaster has analyzed various superheroes and is able to use or anticipate all their moves thanks to his "photographic reflexes". This causes Spidey to mutter that fighting him "is like taking on all of the Avengers at once!". Finally, the Taskmaster uses a "powerstick [he] patterned after Daredevil's billy club" to knock Spidey on the head from behind. "Y'see, class? These jokers in the costumes ain't all that awesome when you know how to handle 'em!".

Meanwhile, Scott has arrived outside the builing Peter is investigating. It's the same place Gus mentioned the night he was killed.




I thought this was a nice touch, since AFAIK all later references to that time in prison are causes of grief for Scott.

He and a bunch of other "new recruits" are then taken to a large "ready room" where, to everyone's suprise (and Scott's horror) they see Spidey on display with his hands and feet immobile. Scott recognizes the Taskmaster from a previous encounter (in Avengers #196) and realizes he's found the person responsbile for Gus' death.

The new recruits are dismissed and two guards left to watch Spidey.

There are a bunch of ants swarming all over the other guard. Ant-Man frees a grateful Spidey, and the two of them get the location of Taskmaster's next strike out of one of the guards.

At the site, a scientific supply warehouse, the heroes interrupt a heist in progress. Taskmaster mutters that their presence "wasn't part of the game plan" - and it does seem like a game or test of some kind, because he's shouting advice and encouragement to his men as they attack - so as a distraction, he yells something else to two of his men.



Spidey and Ant-Man catch up to Taskmaster. Spidey engages him, but can't get an advantage. Taskmaster boasts that he's seen films of both of him and Ant-Man, so with that plus his photographic reflexes he's able to anticipate what they're going to do next...

I think that is Scott's Perfect Moment from this comic. I don't think he could know that Hank first tested his Pym-particle serum/gas/whatever on a chair (IIRC), but that was not in a crime-fighting situation so it doesn't matter in this case. Also, I like the fact that Scott was able to use the facts that 1) the Taskmaster announced the reason for his success to the heroes and that 2) he's new at this superhero business to his advantage. This is quick, on-your-feet thinking which is appropriate to the situation.



And so he would be, too - for as long as he was alive.



tags that we don't have on-comm (but could have at delicious, maybe?) - creator:jerry_bingham, creator:mike_esposito, creator:diana_albers, creator:bob_sharen

* could one of the tag wranglers or mods please add the 'char: ant-man/scott lang' tag to this Heroes for Hire post? It could also do with a 'char: power man/luke cage' tag.

Date: 2010-07-30 02:16 am (UTC)
jjgalahad: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jjgalahad
DAILY BUGLE headline:

"SPIDER-MAN TERRORIZES CRIME-FREE NEIGHBORHOOD WITH GIANT ANT"

Date: 2010-07-30 04:03 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ultimatecharm
It's always nice to see Cassie before her Young Avenger days.

Date: 2010-07-31 02:31 pm (UTC)
seele02: (Default)
From: [personal profile] seele02
I keep waiting for them to call back to the old "Cassie is a God-awful cook" gag. It's a good thing Vision hasn't got actual taste buds.

Date: 2010-07-30 05:27 am (UTC)
shale: Guybrush Threepwood (Default)
From: [personal profile] shale
I miss Scott. His supporting role in FF is easily the brightest part of the DeFalco run.

Date: 2010-07-30 04:47 pm (UTC)
thedropout: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thedropout
"Punch your cookies." *snicker*

Date: 2010-07-30 09:50 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] falseaesop
Hrm, with a little tweaking Ant Man could help Spider-Man do a real "The spiders. I'm summoning the spiders. Because I'm Spider-Man!" gambit.

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