Writer: Leah Williams
Artist: Marco Castiello
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover Artist: Woo Cheol
Editor: Chris Robinson
Publisher: Marvel Entertainment
The War of the Realms continues on in this week’s Giant-Man #1, which gathers some of the Marvel Universe’s (literally) heaviest hitters together to infiltrate the lair of the Frost Giants. They’re big, but can they be blue too?
That part about being blue isn’t just literal, but also figurative here. One thing each member of this squad has in common — aside from the ability to change size and various affiliations to the late-ish Hank Pym — is that they’re all sad in some way. Ant-Man (Scott Lang) has been separated from his daughter Cassie; Giant-Man (Raz Malhotra) recently broke up with his boyfriend; Goliath (Tom Foster, nephew of the original) has feelings of inadequacy in comparison to his uncle; and Atlas (Erik Josten) has recently escaped HYDRA custody after being forced to serve them. Add the bitter cold of Florida (you read that correctly), and we’ve got the makings of a fun event tie-in!
Giant-Man is very exciting to me in particular because it features the return of Raz Malhotra, the newest Giant-Man (IT’S THE TITULAR ROLE!) for the first time since (I believe to be) Secret Empire. Because I’m me, I always root for the minor supporting characters who are never guaranteed to show up again, and Raz has definitely been underutilized since his introduction a few years ago. Seeing that he’s the aforementioned titular character, I’ll count this tie-in as a win, even if he’s technically sharing it with his co-stars.
As alluded to above, the premise here is considerably simple. Queen Freyja has tasked the four men to avenge the fallen Loki by disguising themselves as Frost Giants to exact vengeance — naturally, it goes tits-up pretty fast. The real appeal here, for me anyway, is the interplay between each of them. Because they all have some sort of history with Hank Pym and Pym Particles, there’s an inherent rapport that writer Leah Williams captures perfectly in dialogue. Williams has been rising in the ranks at Marvel lately (her Age of X-Man: X-Tremists is also very good), so I’m obviously glad to see her at the helm of one of my favorite corners of the Marvel Universe.
A bit of a side note, but I find it very interesting that this series doesn’t carry the full War of the Realms branding like all the others do, even though it’s billed as tie-in. Maybe it’s gauging interest as a backdoor pilot of sorts for an ongoing? The fact that we’ve never had an Ant-Man team-up book up until now does seem like an oversight, and I wouldn’t mind seeing it continue further after this storyline.
I think the art of Giant-Man, headed by Marco Castiello and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg, is very good, which is reliant on two factors: big boys and a frosty palette. You do get a sense of scale despite the constrictive layouts throughout the issue — you’d expect at least one double-page splash spread given the premise here, but nada. And while Rosenberg does sell the chilliness of Florida (again, you read that right) setting, she also makes an effort to contrast the snowy ice with pops of warmth, like an orange sky that contrasts with the deep blues of their Frost Giant disguises. Letterer VC’s Joe Sabino does his reliably good work, though I’m mildly disappointed there isn’t even bigger text on display here. It’s Giant-Man!