On Friday, Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lily make their second foray into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the Ant-Man and the Wasp. The sequel to 2015's Ant-Man, the film will play it heavy for laughs, which will serve as something of a palate cleanser for those still recovering from the snap heard 'round the universe over in Avengers: Infinity War.
Scott Lang and a Van Dyne daughter are also making (tiny) waves in print, on the pages of a five-issue mini-series, written by Mark Waid, that just so happens to share a title as the movie. This story features the first ever team up between Scott's Ant-Man and the latest iteration of the Wasp and sends them on a misadventure that begins with both characters being stranded in the Microverse (Scott's fault, of course). The mishap forces the two to rely on one another to survive this, as-of-yet unexplored section of the Marvel subatomic universe.
The pairing is the quintessential odd couple. Scott Lang, the second hero to carry the mantle of Ant-Man after Hank Pym, has a lot on his resume: thief, former Avenger, formerly dead, former small business owner, current member of the Guardians of the Galaxy(yes, that is actually a thing), and father to Cassie Lang (The Young Avenger formerly known as Stature, and currently Stinger). Throughout his comic book history Scott has been well-intentioned in his motives, and snakebitten (many times comically so) in his actions. It has made life as the second Ant-Man a bit of a challenge, if we're being kind.
Young Nadia Pym/Van Dyne, on the other hand, is actually the third hero to call herself the Wasp. The first, and most famous, being Janet Van Dyne, who Nadia has to thank for her last name, while the second being her father Hank Pym (her mother being Hank's first wife, a Hungarian scientist named Maria). Nadia has never met her father, but she did inherit his gift for science.
She is also a graduate of the Red Room, the same Russian training program that developed Natasha Romanoff into the Black Widow. She only knows of her father through his research, as she was abducted by the Winter Soldier and enrolled in the program as a child. Now in her early teens, her goals are to carry on her father's research and legacy and to somehow live up the rather idealized version of Hank Pym she's crafted in her own mind. (She tends to gloss over the part about how her father created Ultron, and is blissfully in the dark about the fact that her father is not dead as she believes, but actually fused with the killer robot.)
Ant-Man and the Wasp the mini-series just put out its third issue on Wednesday. SYFY WIRE spoke with legendary comic book scribe Mark Waid (who has written seminal runs on Captain America, Daredevil, and All New/All Different Avengers), who is currently chronicling Nadia and Scott's first meeting.
First and foremost, speak to me about why Ant-Man and the Wasp? What was it about the potential dynamic between these two characters that excited you going into this mini-series.
I've been itching to get my hands on Marvel's Microverse for some time now. As a quantum physics wonk, I do a lot of reading about subatomica and am constantly floored by the material that's just sitting right there, real-world science, that'd make for some awesome visuals and storylines.
So how well has Javier Garrón realized the visuals you had in your mind's eye leading up to this story?
Brilliantly. He's got a clever, devious mind, that man. Not only is he talented, he's sharp.
Is there a great deal of brainstorming that went on between you two as you developed the mini-series?
Honestly, not initially — the pitch and outline were written before he came aboard. But we've been working more closely with each issue to where there's an upcoming sequence in issue five that was purely his idea!
What's you're first memory of Scott Lang as a character, and what's a standout moment for you from his early days as the second Ant-man? Could be the same story, could be two entirely different moments.
I was on board with Scott Lang from his very first appearance. And I have the same standout moment in mind that you do and that everyone reading this does — seeing him riding one of Hawkeye's arrowheads.
You're the co-creator for Nadia Van Dyne/Pym. Is there anything or anyone who inspired her creation? She's a fairly recent addition to the Marvel comic universe but so Intrinsically linked to so many facets of Avengers history.
In the wake of the first Ant-Man film, I was asked to create a Wasp who hewed a little closer to movie continuity without breaking Marvel continuity, and I found a great place to retrofit Nadia into the mythos (being a deep student of Hank Pym history, as I am). I had the Russian connection in mind, and when I was trying to find a name for her and learned that "Nadia" means "Hope" in Russian, it was fate.
Through two issues, the main tension between Nadia and Scott seem to be the legacy of the two characters. They're both inheriting their superhero identities from Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne. Can you speak how you're playing with Nadia's... let's say issues with how Scott assumed the mantle of Ant-Man?
Nadia has a really, really complicated relationship with her dad, especially since she's never met him. To that end, he's so deified in her imagination that she's super-protective of his legacy — overly so right now, but our story's not yet over.
Also on that same note, this story is taking place in a section of the Microverse we've never seen before. What should we be looking forward to as we discover more about it?
The weirdness of the quantum realm. The model of the atom we were all taught at school, which is that of electrons orbiting the nucleus like planets going around the sun, has been proven archaic. What physicists now believe is that everything in the universe, even the vacuum of space, is built from "quantum foam," small and ever-changing regions of energy that, gathered together, form atoms and molecules. And it's all connected in a manner we're still trying to dope out. Scott and Nadia get to the heart of it.
Scott has been a character who has been portrayed (especially recently) as well-meaning in his intent, but terrible-to-outright-horrible in his execution. Are we getting more or that Scott in this story?
Yeah. I don't sell Scott short in the brains department — sometimes fans forget how educated he is — but "educated" and "smart" don't always go hand-in-hand, do they? At its core (without spoiling any of the plot for those who have yet to read it), Scott and Nadia are essentially stuck with one another during this trip through the Microverse.
Ant-Man and the Wasp may be one of Marvel's premiere duo's but Scott and Nadia don't know each other from a hole in the wall prior to this adventure. How much fun are you having taking these two out for their first run as a team?
Oh, that's the real appeal for me, character-wise. I always get a special kick out of writing male-female teams that aren't based on romance or sexual chemistry. There aren't enough of those in superhero comics, so I'll bring them to the table whenever I'm allowed.