Throughout comic book history, new characters have taken on the moniker of heroes before them, following their legacy of helping people and saving the world. In March 2019, one of those tiny heroes who has had a big impact celebrates 40 years in comics.
Scott Lang, a reformed ex-con and electronics expert, became the second Ant-Man in March 1979. David Michelinie and John Byrne created the burgeoning hero, introducing Scott in The Avengers #181, followed by his debut as Ant-Man in Marvel Premiere #47.
Scott was an electrical engineer who became a thief to add excitement to his life, which was later retconned to state that he stole to provide for his family. He served four years in prison, learning more about electronics and was then hired by Stark International to work in the design department.
When his daughter became very ill, Scott sought Dr. Erica Sondheim to help cure her, but Sondheim was kidnapped by Cross Technological Enterprises, prompting Scott to return to his criminal ways. He broke into Dr. Hank Pym’s house and stole the Ant-Man suit and shrinking gas. Using the Ant-Man suit, he broke into Cross Enterprises and found that Sondheim had been kidnapped by Darren Cross. He rescued the doctor and she in turn saved his daughter’s life. Scott was going to return the Ant-Man suit, but Pym understood his motive for the theft and offered to let Scott keep the suit if he used it for good.
Ant-Man’s ability derived from using a gas form of the Pym particles to shrink himself to ant size and return to normal. He can even shrink to the subatomic level to visit subatomic universes, and over time Scott developed the ability to change size by his own will. His cybernetic Ant-Man helmet gives him the telepathic ability to communicate with insects and has an amplifier that allows normal sized humans to hear him. Using his electronics expertise, he made some modifications to the Ant-Man suit, putting a Pym gas dispenser in his helmet and adding an electric disrupter to the helmet.
In some of his early heroic episodes as Ant-Man, he helped Iron Man when he was trapped in his suit after a system overload and helped Hank Pym (as Yellowjacket) try to rescue the Wasp who had been kidnapped. He fought alongside the Avengers against Taskmaster and tried to stop the Raiders at an electronics engineers’ convention. At Stark International, he went up against the malfunctioning GARD computer security system. With the Fantastic Four, he made his first journey into the micro-world and fought alongside the Thing against its inhabitants.
During the Armor Wars, he helped Iron Man find who possessed copies of his technology and later he joined the Avengers to infiltrate Taskmaster’s lair and fought the villain with Hawkeye. He was part of an Avengers back-up team that began when Baron Zemo’s Masters of Evil captured the current Avengers team. He helped Wasp defeat Titania and the Absorbing Man as they tried to kill an incapacitated Hercules at a nearby hospital.
For a period, he worked for the Fantastic Four as their technical consultant when Reed Richards was missing. Later he formed a temporary Fantastic Four team with Human Torch, She-Hulk, and Namorita after three original members were trapped in the Negative Zone.
He played a key role in curing the Hulk of Lou Gehrig’s disease by shrinking to microscopic size, entering Hulk’s genes and replacing the damaged ones with healthy genes. He joined the Avengers as an official member and appeared in the Alias series, as the love interest of the series lead, Jessica Jones, and fought alongside her against the Purple Man.
When Avengers Disassembled began, Scott was killed while trying to aid his teammate, Jack of Hearts, who appeared to be under someone else’s control. His death was retconned during the limited Avengers: The Children’s Crusade series when Iron Lad took the Young Avengers and Wanda Maximoff back to when Avengers Disassembled began. It was learned that Jack of Hearts was under the control of an insane Scarlet Witch when he exploded. Scott’s daughter, who had become the heroine Stature, pulled him away from Jack of Hearts, and the explosion caused Scarlet Witch to regain the memories she had lost during the period and pull them, Scott included, back to the present.
Sadly, the happy reunion didn’t last when a battle takes place over Scarlet Witch, and when Scott is seemingly killed by Doctor Doom, Cassie goes after him and is killed herself.
Scott joined the new Defenders with Iron Fist, Doctor Strange, Red She-Hulk, Namor, Silver Surfer, and Black Cat. He became the Future Foundation’s leader when Reed was time traveling with the Fantastic Four and tried to use the new resources to avenge Cassie’s death and make Doctor Doom pay for it. Ant-Man defeated Doom and later during the AXIS story a repentant Doom used Scarlet Witch’s power to resurrect Cassie.
He and Cassie moved to Miami and opened Ant-Man Security Solutions, where he ended up employing a reformed Grizzly. Cassie was kidnapped by Augustine Cross, who wanted to use Cassie’s heart, which was affected by Pym particles, to revive Darren Cross. Ant-Man, Grizzly, and Grizzly’s former cohort Machinesmitth infiltrated Cross’ plant to save Cassie, whose heart was already implanted into a now revived Darren. Dr. Sondheim, who had been blackmailed into helping Darren, implanted a new heart in Cassie and Scott shrank to the microscopic size to aid in the surgery. After saving Cassie’s life, Scott decided to distance himself in the hopes of giving her a normal life away from the heroes and supervillains.
In the Secret Wars event he recovered an Asgardian artifact and delivered it to Mary Morgan, learning that she was Miss Patriot. Mary then used the artifact to rejuvenate retired Golden Age cohorts into modern Miami.
In the All-New, All-Different Marvel event, Ant-Man became a target via Power Broker’s Hench App, but the contract was rescinded when Darren Cross couldn’t pay it. Scott and Raz Malhotra confronted Power Broker as he was promoting the Hench App 2.0, but Power Broker and his henchwoman, Blacklash, got away. Scott invited Raz to join him in Miami where he could train as a hero, then invited Hijacker, Whirlwind, the new Beetle, the Voice, and the Magician to join Ant-Man Security Solutions. Together, they fought Darren Cross, Crossfire, and Augustine Cross.
When Secret Empire occurred and Steve Rogers was revealed to be the HYDRA leader, Scott joined Hawkeye to search for the Cosmic Cube fragments to reform the Cube and get Steve back to normal. During the quest, Cassie got kidnapped by HYDRA, forcing Ant-Man to become a double agent to keep her safe. In the final conflict, Ant-Man shrank Bucky Barnes down so that he could enter the Cosmic Cube and reawaken Kobik, which brought Steve back to defeat his HYDRA doppelganger.
Branded a traitor for his actions when HYDRA blackmailed him, Ant-Man joined the Guardians of the Galaxy to get away from Earth. Later he tried to return to Earth with Nadia Van Dyne’s help, but things didn’t go as planned and the two became quantum-entangled with each other.
In 2015, Scott Lang’s Ant-Man joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Ant-Man, portrayed by Paul Rudd. He returned a year later in Captain America: Civil War in a huge fight between Avengers and colleagues. Rudd donned the Ant-Man suit for the sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp, in 2018, and is set to star in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame.
Scott has appeared in several of Marvel’s animated shows, including Avengers Assemble, Ultimate Spider-Man, Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Avengers Reassembled, and Guardians of the Galaxy – all voiced by Grant George. In video games, Scott’s Ant-Man has appeared in Marvel Heroes, Avengers Alliance, Disney Infinity 3.0, Marvel Pinball, and Lego Marvel’s Avengers.
According to The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide #48, the first appearance of Scott Lang in Avengers #181 in near mint condition is valued at $105. His second appearance, debut as Ant-Man, and origin in Marvel Premiere #47 at the near mint condition is worth $160. Elsewhere in the collectibles market, Scott Lang’s Ant-Man is available in toys, action figures, and related material that represent his comic book and MCU likenesses.