Our third favorite snarky Marvel hero, Ant-man (Deadpool and Spiderman are first and second), returned this weekend in Ant-man and the Wasp. This time, Ant-man (played by Paul Rudd) Scott Lang, is the ex-con trying hard to go straight, but the Hank (Michael Douglas) and Hope (Evangeline Lily) Pym won’t let him. They need Scott to do something dangerous, something that almost killed him last time. The whole comedic cast of characters—TI, David Dastmalchian and Michael Peña return as Lang’s cohorts. Peña takes several opportunities to steal the show. (I’ll tell you more about that in my review.) We also meet a few new faces—Bill Foster, played by Lawrence Fishburne and Ghost played by Hannah John-Kamen. Although the movie is entertaining and fairly easy to comprehend, there are a few inside details that are only revealed in the comics.
Whether you are wanting to impress a date or one-up a fan bro in a Twitter “well actually” battle, you should take a moment to read these five (5) important facts about Ant-man and the Wasp that are only in the comics. These facts are followed by a little perspective on the positioning of the new characters in the film in history and on pop culture today.
The name is thrown around by Hank and Bill Foster when they meet up. The comics reveal that Goliath was the name Hank Pym took for a while when the suit’s tech wouldn’t let him get any smaller than 10 feet tall. He fought as Goliath for the Avengers before moving on to other ventures, and storylines.
- Black Goliath. The incident that created Hank’s Goliath also led to Bill Foster’s stint as the superhero. Foster was Black Goliath, a Black man who fought alongside Ant-man and the Avengers. Foster’s story dates all the way back to 1966! However, Black Goliath didn’t debut until 1975 in a Luke Cage, Powerman Black Goliath would later get his own self-titled comics. He was also a part of the West Coast Avengers.
- Ghost in the comics is actually a character from another comic–Ironman. It seems that the MCU borrowed the character for this movie. In the Ironman comics, Ghost was a nemesis of Tony Stark who often worked to steal, destroy, and disrupt Stark’s tech. Ghost had some nefarious projects of his own, but he kept Ironman and the Avengers busy.
- Notice the pronoun I use for Ghost in the Marvel comics? That’s because Ghost was a White man named John Morley who first appeared in Ironman comics in the late 1980s. With Ant-man and the Wasp, the MCU has redefined ghost as a biracial woman named Ava Starr who wears a similar uniform to the Ghost in the comics.
- Antman in Avengers: Infinity War. As you all should know by now, there is more to MCU films than what appears between the opening title and end credits. The MCU is notorious for sending clues to the next movie in the series or for connecting the characters to the rest of the Avengers. Stay seated during the credits to find out how our hero Ant-man links to the events in Avengers: Infinity War.
Some Additional Food for Thought
The new characters alone are significant additions to the MCU. Black Goliath was an influence alongside Luke Cage and Black Panther in the 1970s—the heyday of Black Marvel superheroes. Bill Foster’s appearance in 1966 was revolutionary in that he was an educated Black man working in a STEM career. This was during a time when Black people were fighting for the right to be seen and treated as fellow humans. He was a smart Black scientist, the colleague of Ant-man, and an advisor to the Avengers during the Civil Rights Movement. Just think about that for a moment.
Ghost’s depiction as a biracial woman is also a cultural milestone. Ava Starr is a smart, government-trained assassin who is also a scientist. She is basically an evil Ironman. Ava’s Ghost is a role model for Black girls and her biracial identity actually makes her character like a metaphor for the treatment of girls of color in STEM careers. The number of girls of color in STEM are growing, but they are still having problems with advancement. There is also still sexism and racism being reported in their workspaces. Like Ghost, the ground they occupy in STEM fields is fleeting, unstable, and in need of a White woman’s touch sometimes to give their work substance.
Get in line to watch Ant-man and the Wasp, in theaters everywhere.
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Jonita Davis is a writer, mother, a certified nerd, and writer of Black Girl Nerds. Davis is a critic and journalist. She has been writing for 13 years about the way pop culture and politics affect our lives as parents, women, black women, nerds, and people of this planet.