Lemire & Perez Relaunch ‘Hawkeye'; Spencer & Rosanas Launch New ‘Ant-Man’ [NYCC]
One is perhaps the most predictable solo title Marvel could launch in 2015; the other may come as more of a surprise. 2015 sees new #1s for two Avengers; Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man in January, and Clint Barton, Hawkeye, in March -- hot on the heels of the resolution of the previous Eisner-winning Hawkeye series from Matt Fraction, David Aja and Annie Wu.
Announced at the Axel-in-Charge panel at New York Comic-Con on Sunday, Ant-Man is an ongoing series from writer Nick Spencer and artist Ramon Rosanas -- and the first trade collection should be safely in stores in time for Ant-Man movie to hit theaters in July. Meanwhile Hawkeye #1 sees Jeff Lemire make his Marvel debut, teamed with artist Ramon Perez on pencils.
With Paul Rudd playing Scott Lang in the Ant-Man movie, and Lang taking the helm from Michael Douglas's Hank Pym, the announcement of this latest series further cements Scott Lang as the Marvel Universe Ant-Man. Pym has moved on to become one of the Marvel Universe's senior scientists emeritus (even a scientist supreme, if you like your scientists like you like your burritos), while Lang is the hero brought back from the dead and integrated ever deeper into the fabric of the Marvel Universe.
There is a certain bitter irony in the possibility that one of the only permanent and successful superhero identity transplants may take place between two straight white men. (The third claimant to the code name, Eric O'Grady, is both currently dead and using the name 'Black Ant'.)
Scott Lang is a fairly generic character -- one of the most interesting things about him is that he's a family man, and with his daughter Cassie killed in The Children's Crusade, that's not a fun avenue to pursue. Hopefully he'll get a bit of a personality makeover in concert with whatever the movie plans to do with him, just as Guardians of the Galaxy turned the similarly generic Star-Lord into an engagingly rakish man-child. Maybe Marvel can also bring Cassie back? (Bring her back, you jerks.)
Speaking of former Young Avengers, fans of Kate Bishop may take comfort in knowing that she'll still be part of the new/relaunched Hawkeye series from Lemire and Perez -- though any fan of the Fraction/Aja/Wu Hawkeye may approach this relaunch with understandable trepidation.
The 2012 Hawkeye series felt like lightning in a bottle; a reinvention of a character (or two) that was wholly tied to the synergistic voice and style of a superb creative team. The series was a critical and commercial hit, and Marvel has been trying to replicate its success ever since with solo titles like Black Widow, She-Hulk, Moon Knight, and Magneto. It's probably worth mentioning that Hawkeye was not cancelled; it ended at the creators' request, in part because Fraction is clearly shifting his focus to creator-owned work.
Lemire and Perez are as redoubtable a team as Fraction and Aja, but the previous Hawkeye book will cast a long shadow, and trying to approach its success under the same title with the same cast of characters is going to be difficult. If the new book is too like its predecessors, fans may cry foul; if it's too different, they may walk away. How Lemire and Perez thread that needle will be fascinating to watch in 2015.