When Shakespeare wrote, “The time is out of joint,” I doubt he ever imagined that science fiction writers would take his metaphor literally. You’ve probably encountered several examples of objects consistently being moved a second or two ahead of time proper so that they appear invisible, or an object being out of synch with time in comic books and science fiction prose, if not Doctor Who. Writer Tim Seeley uses this device in Ant-Man & Wasp.
It turns out that Monica Rappaccini, head of AIM’s toxicology division, stole a virtual reality/mental imprinting device developed by Bill Foster and Hank Pym in order to bait Pym. She wants to recruit him into the organization. That means Rappaccini never wanted to kill the Wasp. Ant-Man, of course, is expendable, but she admires Hank’s mind if not his moral character. Yes, those last two words referring to Hank Pym surprise me as well.
This is a book for smart people by smart people. Seeley doesn’t just employ the time out of joint theorem. He explains it. He imagines a unique method of describing how something could be out of sorts with time. I was in awe when reading the mental jousting Rappaccini and Hank conduct. She makes cogent philosophical arguments, but Hank never forgets the core principle of AIM that makes them evil. By remembering that, Hank can ignore every word coming from Rappaccini’s mouth, and he can conceive the way to her defeat. That’s where Seeley’s utterly brilliant and Marvel multiverse specific explanation of temporal invisibility comes in.
I was less impressed with Ant-Man. Granted, he does something a tiny bit good in the end, but excepting the drop in the lake, his behavior is appalling throughout the final issue and the mini-series in general. Ant-Man resorts to trickery when trickery isn’t necessary. He lacks a hint of honor, and his juvenile insults grate on the nerves. Ant-Man appears to be loyal to the Avengers, but frankly, if he betrayed them in the end I wouldn’t really be all that shocked.
Seeley, Victor Olazaba and Val Staples team up to produce gorgeous illustrations. Seeley’s already impressive handle on proportion and rounded anatomy only grows more robust with Olazaba’s perfect inks and Staples’ depth-enhancing color shading. Rappaccini’s close-up exemplifies the group effort. Seeley provides the skeleton. In the example, her expression. He grants madness in her eyes as well as intelligence. Yes, she’s beautiful, but her sharp smile gives the witness an inkling as to her state of mind. Atop that, Olazaba accents the little lines stretching from her nose as if the cracks in her brain manifest in her visage. Then, Staples paints a striking blue to her irises which contrast Seeley’s glint and also denote the electricity of her thoughts. Staples furthermore adds a darker tint to her complexion here and there to represent bone structure in a more natural fashion.
I bought this series for Tigra, who sadly does not appear in this issue, but I stayed for the intelligence in the script and the sane, absolutely sane, Hank Pym. Thanks to this series and Avengers Academy Hank has become a bona fide champion.