It’s time to look at another Marvel novel. It’s been quite a while since I read one and naturally this one came out to help hype the movie and vice versa. Ant Man is typically a fun character who can certainly hold his own book, but with Ant Man comes his army of ants and that’s where things typically start to get a little dicey. This book was fun, but the animal violence does do a number on it and this would have probably been even worse if it was in film format.
Scott is just trying to have a good time as he goes on various dates, trying to find a step mom for his daughter. He’s had no luck so far and then the cops let him know that a dangerous criminal has escaped a maximum security jail and may be coming over to destroy him and his family. As such, Scott, his daughter, and his ex wife have been given police protection and this threatens to destroy all of the harmony that Scott has built into his life. He may have to don the costume to fix this mess, but will his daughter be able to forgive him for embarrassing her in front of her friends by having to be with an escort? Only time will tell!
The book is more about the comic continuity than the movies, which is neat since it means that we can have more references like Spider Man being around. Iron Man also has a guest star appearance although he looks pretty bad. He is given one job, to protect Cassie. (Scott’s daughter) Then he allows her to leave and get held at gunpoint by the main villain. That’s definitely not the greatest way to prove that he’s a good hero deep down. Scott trusted him and this is how he was repaid. I definitely thought that it was a bit much as there’s no way Cassie could have escaped. Tony got in a lot of good burns along the way though, but his quick banter was not enough this time.
We may as well launch into what went wrong with the book now. Towards the end of the book, a lot of ants start to commit suicide by the thousands. Across the entire East Coast they start to go extinct thanks to a virus that hit them. This was a plot point that we really did not need. The book could have just made the ants go crazy or something, but dying off like that definitely wasn’t cool.
I also had a bit of an issue with how the book ended as Scott just walks away from the main villain, leaving her to get swarmed by ants and flies. She somehow lived through the experience, but that was a very cruel/downright evil thing to do and I thought that it really wrecked any chance that Scott had of being a likable lead. He was essentially going for the “eye for an eye” mentality, which is something that villains usually do. It just felt really drastic and it made me lose respect for the main character.
Another issue with the ending involves how Scott’s secret identity is out. This isn’t a negative, but I’m just going to call plot hax on the whole deal. No matter how unpopular Ant Man is next to heavyweights like Iron Man and Thor, the whole point of the secret identity was to protect Cassie and his ex wife. That’s because there will always be villains who want revenge and when people know who Scott’s allies are, they will be targeted. Cassie is now in danger from just about every villain. The book plays it off as if nobody cares about the reveal, but it’s actually a rather dicey ending for Scott. This will completely change the status quo assuming he ever gets another book again.
Beyond that, it was a fairly enjoyable read. I blasted through just about the whole book in one sitting. The print was nice and large so the read was very manageable. I’ll take 300 large print pages over 80-100 regular sized ones any day. Large print is just soooo much better than the normal size. I wouldn’t say that this novel was quite as good as the Civil War one or the Fantastic Four adventure, but it was still another good addition to the book format.
Scott was mostly a good main character despite his mean streak at the end. I could do without the constant flirting though as he comes across as very shallow and two dimensional. You are left wondering why and if you should even root for him as he doesn’t seem like a guy who will stay with a commitment for very long. It’s good that he can take a joke though even if the rest of the characters typically can’t. Unfortunately, Cassie was not quite as good as Scott or even close. She started out as a decent character who didn’t care for Scott’s strict rules, but still abided by them. That changed midway through the book as she constantly complained about Scott’s secret identity and gave him a hard time about everything. She went off the handle several times and you cannot sympathize with her revenge plot or her crush on a random guy in school. She comes across as a rather shallow character as well, but a much more annoying one and blaming everything on Scott just isn’t cool.
The villains are ultra generic so there’s no real need to talk about them. I think that the cops looked decently good and they gave it their all the whole time. They even saw through Scott’s fake story in the nick of time! They may not have it all together since they are outsmarted by random prisoners, but they came through when it counted. Although, getting shot and evaded in one scene made one agent look pretty bad and woefully unprepared.
Surprisingly, there is not a whole lot of action here. It’s more of a comedy/slice of life book. Ant Man has a quick bout with some gunmen and against some other insects in the cliamx, but that’s about it. Mostly, it’s about the Scott Lang drama as he tries to be very polite even when everyone takes turns insulting him. He tries to be the bigger man and now he can also be known as the smaller one. (There are a few jokes about that, which he handles well)
Overall, Natural Enemy was a fun book to read. It’s one of those titles that you will breeze through and enjoy while going through it, but on a technical level, it still made enough mistakes to keep it from a high score. The animal violence was just unacceptable and the ending wasn’t that good either. I do like the potential of his identity being public though and it certainly gives him a lot more freedom in day to day life. The only problem is that Cassie and his ex wife will be in permanent danger now. It’s why it was so easy for Iron Man as he didn’t really have any friends except for Pepper. She would be in danger, but nobody else. Ant Man has a lot more to lose at this point. I recommend checking out this book if you happen to see it on the shelf. You’ll have read through the volume before you know it!