In the real world, there’s pretty much an app for everything—maps, music, videos, messaging, making digital cats fart. The first issue of Astonishing Ant-Man, out today, adds another essential app: One tailor made to murder superheroes. Wait, what?
Spoilers ahead, of course.
The Astonishing Ant-Man’s main focus isn’t actually on the goofy app—we’ll get to that later. It’s largely re-establishing the status quo of Scott Lang as Ant-Man that is, mostly, similar to his earlier series from this year.
Scott’s still separated from his wife and his daughter Cassie, but the security solutions business he wanted to establish, both to show his reformation from a thief, and to be near his family in Miami, is getting into the swing of things. It’s nice, given that Scott already had a fresh start before Secret Wars demanded everyone start at issue #1 again. He didn’t need a new story, and Nick Spencer—alongside artist Ramon Rosanas—instead wrote a new chapter of a story that was already pretty fun.
But yes, the aforementioned app. It turns out Scott’s nemesis, Darren Cross (who, in a roundabout way, actually has Cassie Lang’s size-altering powers after a heart transplant. Comic books!), is on the hunt for an investment opportunity—and finds one in an alliance with a new version of the Marvel villain Power Broker. Before, Power Broker’s schtick was that, for a price, he gave normal people superhuman powers. His new one, however is a much more modern villainy: the Hench App.
Power Broker gives Cross a practical demo of Hench, which targets a specific hero, analyses their weaknesses, and then dispatches a matching villain to kill said hero for a fee. It’s basically like Uber for supervillains. Get paid to kill superheroes, all through one easy mobile app!
Naturally, as it’s only the first issue, Scott isn’t killed thanks to the attack from Whirlwind—Power Broker cancels the hit on Ant-Man at the last minute, just to secure the promise of funding from Cross. But he does get a feedback from the app request for his troubles:
It’s a brilliantly goofy plot device, and works as a modern update for Power Broker. Plus, it just kind of makes sense in a comic in 2015, especially one like Astonishing Ant-Man that leans a little more to the irreverent, down-to-Earth side of superheroics. Hopefully Hench will become a bit of an ongoing thing for Scott to have to deal with. That “other thing” he forgot to mention?
In the 8 months between Astonishing Ant-Man and the reboot of the universe in Secret Wars, Scott found himself back in prison. The more things change for Scott Lang, the more they stay the same.