Off My Mind: The Redemption of Ant-Man

Posted by G-Man (32415 posts) - - Show Bio

Superheroes often have typical beginnings. They are involved in an accident that gives them superhuman abilities or suffered some tragic chain of events that inspired them to do heroic deeds. These heroes have a goodness rooted deep down in the core of who they are.

That isn't the case with Eric O'Grady in his journey in becoming Ant-Man.

Eric O'Grady has constantly abused the power and position of being Ant-Man. From time to time he has made small attempts at doing the "right thing" but is that enough?

With his current position as a "Secret" Avenger, this could be the time to prove to the his teammates and to himself that he can be an actual hero. He just needs to survive long enough to do so.

Eric O'Grady started out as a low-level S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. This would lead us to believe that perhaps there is something to his character since he was able to meet the requirements in becoming an agent.

== TEASER ==

From his first moments in gaining the Ant-Man suit, he demonstrated his lack of morals. His best friend, Chris McCarthy, was selected to be the first agent to wear the suit. The S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier they were on was under attack by HYDRA. Eric pushed his friend out of the way when they were under gunfire which resulted in Chris getting shot in the head.

With Chris dead and the helicarrier about to crash, O'Grady stole the suit from his best friend's dead body to escape and save his own life. He also using the death as an opportunity to hook up with his Chris' girlfriend, Veronica King. To make it worse, he actually tried making his moves after the funeral, on his gravesite! The two did have some intimate moments which resulted in King getting pregnant and O'Grady leaving her.

Despite O'Grady using the suit's power to sneak in and spy on women, there were some tiny traces of goodness in him. When confronting a high ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Mitch Carson (who was supposed to be the agent to wear the suit), Eric's suit jets accidentally torched and disfigured Carson's face. Rather than just run away, Eric did grab him and take him to the infirmary.

It's later revealed that Carson actually had a dark past and was using his S.H.I.E.L.D. status to cover up murders he committed. By exposing Carson in front of Iron Man and Hank Pym, Eric is given the Ant-Man suit and asked to become part of the Initiative.

While being part of the Initiative Eric continued to follow his selfish ways and tried using his position for personal gain. He didn't really take the training or his time there seriously. The only person he really got along with was Taskmaster.

After some time operating on Norman Osborn's Thunderbolts, O'Grady begins to question his direction. Helping out Captain America lead to his being asked to become part of the Secret Avengers. Eric still demonstrates moments of being a pig and tried using his status as an Avenger to further score with the ladies but being on a "secret" team doesn't really give him hero/celebrity status.

Recently in SECRET AVENGERS #23, it's shown that he really does want to change his ways. He knows he's not a good person deep down and that bothers him. He's trying to truly be a hero in order to make up for who he is and everything he's done.

I'm just a dirtbag hoping if he helps enough people, maybe, someday, he can look himself in the mirror again.

Is there hope for the Irredeemable Ant-Man? Can he become a better person by doing a bunch of good deeds? The fact that he's saving people to make himself feel better almost goes against the true nature of being a hero. Other heroes do what they do because they know it's the right thing. They aren't seeking the approval of others or themselves. It's a good thing that Eric O'Grady is trying as hard as he can. The problem will be if he tries too hard.

Will he lose focus during battles by concentrating on what he can do to be a hero rather than simply put an end to any present threat? He may also get in over his head facing opponents that are too much for him to handle on his own. It's possible that Eric O'Grady can sort through what it takes to really be a hero. Hopefully he'll survive long enough to become that hero and start feeling better about himself.

Staff
#1 Posted by Paracelsus (1598 posts) - - Show Bio

The route to recemption is different for each person(real life individuals as well as comic book heroes), but a basic rule of thumb is "Fake it until you make it!". If you act like a hero/heroine long enough then it will become second nature to you- as The Thunderbolts found out( they started out pretending to be heroes but then they became the "real deal"!

Terry

#2 Posted by Nudeviking (479 posts) - - Show Bio

Is there some sort of requirement that anyone who wears the Ant Man suit has to be a scumbag? What illustrious men have donned the Ant Man costume? A wife-beater. A thief. A sexual predator. Good job Ant Men at being dirtbags!

#3 Posted by leokearon (1790 posts) - - Show Bio

I miss the G.I. Ant suit

#4 Posted by AtraCruor (237 posts) - - Show Bio

@Nudeviking: Though it doesn't make much difference to the canon, since finding out that the writer never intended for Hank to become a wife beater and by the time he found out how it'd been drawn it was too late I do feel a bit for Hank's character and that he got a bit of a raw deal.

#5 Posted by Hit_Monkey (882 posts) - - Show Bio

@leokearon said:

I miss the G.I. Ant suit

Me too. It looked so cool!

#6 Posted by FoxxFireArt (3553 posts) - - Show Bio

Really, aren't some of the best heroes the kind that aren't actively trying to be one?

#7 Posted by Spydey (401 posts) - - Show Bio

Negative. Hank was never a "BAD" person. O'Grady's just a douche of all douches. Seriously. I don't like him. But Hank, he was, I don't know..'weak'? He wanted to do good. He tried, but unfortunately the bad things he did had just a large negative impact(on morals as well) as the good things he tried to do. And I mean, that whole thing he pulled to get back on the team, where he set up the event or whatever...yea. C'mon.

#8 Posted by War Killer (20129 posts) - - Show Bio

Eric O'Grady is my favorite Ant-Man and one of my personally favorite characters. The irony is that most the things he's done goes against everything I believe/support and I think that's one of the reasons I love his character so much due to the fact that through all of the crap he's done, deeeeeeeep down he still wants to be a hero. Most writers who I've seen take on his character have continue to further make him into the selfish jerk we've come to know him as, and for a time it seemed like Marvel wanted him to stay that way and be the unlikeable character he's become known as for. But as a reader who enjoys watching heroes rise above themselves, to put aside their selfish and personal thoughts and actions, and to become more than anyone would have ever imagined, that's the kind of hero I want to be rooting for.
 
Hopefully this isn't the end of Eric O'Grady and instead is his first real step towards that redemption he's been looking for his whole life. Will it be easy, probably not and it shouldn't be, but no matter how it may be, the fun part about comics is jumping into the passengers seat with these characters and watching as they make that journey, and one day, finally see them make it.

#9 Posted by Danial79 (2346 posts) - - Show Bio

Isn't his whole thing that he's "irredeemable"? :P

#10 Posted by psbrown1989 (25 posts) - - Show Bio

To be honest, I loved O'Grady's character from the beginning of Irredeemable Ant-Manhis character can be fun at time and then totally inappropriate at the next. In thunderbolts I feel like he brought comedy relief to a team full of murders and villains. To be able to see into his mind, and read his desire for redemption is great and I was rooting for him in this issue hoping he would get out alive and save the kid. I think what will ultimately bring about his redemption is the fact that he is hanging around the Avengers. its just like in real life, if you hang out with good, moral people, then you will obtain their traits through association

#11 Posted by pspin (891 posts) - - Show Bio

At least he thought of a new way to use tha Ant Man suit... Ms. Marvel would be my favorite after that too

#12 Posted by Sammo21 (692 posts) - - Show Bio

I like O'Grady as Ant-Man, but I wish he would get the old mask back opposed to the original Ant Man helmet.

#13 Posted by greenlucario (219 posts) - - Show Bio

@War Killer: Totally agree with everything you said. I personally loved the way he was characterized since Secret Avengers #1 and I really hope this wasn't the end of him because I too love to watch heroes become more than they were and to rise above the circumstances that life has dealt them.

#14 Posted by AndyPhifer (104 posts) - - Show Bio

I've always loved O'Grady, since his first time in the suit. I'm beyond happy he's finally getting a chance to shine.

#15 Edited by KidSupreme (829 posts) - - Show Bio

I never really followed him before but i would start now.

#16 Posted by Kairan1979 (16723 posts) - - Show Bio

@Sammo21:

I agree. I really liked G.I.Ant-Man suit. I guess Pym got jealous that is was created by his Skrull imposter.

#17 Posted by PrinceIMC (5421 posts) - - Show Bio

My problem is they turned him into Scott Lang. The suit is the same instead of the cool armored one he first had.

#18 Posted by mtrakos (563 posts) - - Show Bio

G.I. ANT Man suit was great. Eric is a great character, love using the hero thing to get laid. A lot of us out here would spy on Ms Marvel in the shower and do other misc sketchy deeds.

#19 Posted by Miss_Garrick (1757 posts) - - Show Bio

@Nudeviking: The 2nd Ant Man, Scott Lang, was only a thief to pay for an operation to save his daughter's life, so he is the least dirtbag of the bunch.

#20 Posted by LordRequiem (1310 posts) - - Show Bio

It's funny that he was a little pervert. Everyone has their vices, and we obviously knew his.

#21 Posted by Or35ti (1101 posts) - - Show Bio

This guy is just such an asshole. Taking your friend to the hospital after burning his face off doesn't make him a good person, he just took responsibility to save him but he's still an idiot and a jerk with too much power. but at least he's not evil, just a d*ck.

#22 Posted by hectorsquall (1137 posts) - - Show Bio
Hang in there Bro!
#23 Posted by AlKusanagi (602 posts) - - Show Bio

And here I thought that this was going to be another wife beating topic...

I never really got that whole thing... I mean, why did Hank build a laboratory in the kitchen anyway?

*rimshot*

#24 Posted by Nudeviking (479 posts) - - Show Bio

@Miss_Garrick said:

@Nudeviking: The 2nd Ant Man, Scott Lang, was only a thief to pay for an operation to save his daughter's life, so he is the least dirtbag of the bunch.

I think you're right. Scott Lang is the least scummy of the three, but he's still not an entirely heroic character.

#25 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6885 posts) - - Show Bio

Never really have liked O'Grady myself, have always considered him somewhat of a tool. His willingness to at least try is admirable, but what's to stop him from becoming the Kevin Costner of super heroes? Seriously, and anyone who knows an inkling of Costner will know what I speak of.

#26 Posted by Wowlock (208 posts) - - Show Bio

@mtrakos said:

G.I. ANT Man suit was great. Eric is a great character, love using the hero thing to get laid. A lot of us out here would spy on Ms Marvel in the shower and do other misc sketchy deeds.

You're right about that ! If I would become that small and can enter the bathroom of female superheroes.....well who would've turn down such a chance ? :D

Aside from his Irredeemable qualities, I think the way he ''tries'' is the main focus point of his story. He will struggle a lot along the way. We all know being bad is easy, anyone can do bad things. It is the will and desire to be better that gives you worth.

So far, he showed he has some fight in him but still in the crossroads of making the difficult choice. I can tell one thing though , no matter what road he takes, it won't be a walk in the park because even if he give up and try to return his totally selfish and jerk ways, he will find that he is changed and it is not as easy to be a jerk as in the past.

#27 Edited by SpidermanWins (3982 posts) - - Show Bio

@Spydey said:

Negative. Hank was never a "BAD" person. O'Grady's just a douche of all douches.

this

#28 Edited by venomoushatred1001 (12334 posts) - - Show Bio

@leokearon said:

I miss the G.I. Ant suit

OMG I love that suit :D

Eric O'Grady
#29 Posted by Miss_Garrick (1757 posts) - - Show Bio

@Nudeviking: Yeah, but I'll take him as Ant-Man over the other two any day.

#30 Posted by Nudeviking (479 posts) - - Show Bio

@Miss_Garrick said:

@Nudeviking: Yeah, but I'll take him as Ant-Man over the other two any day.

Oh absolutely. Lang is definitely the lesser of three evils when it comes to Ant-Men.

#31 Posted by Miss_Garrick (1757 posts) - - Show Bio

@Nudeviking: Maybe the Ant-Man identity should be retired since it seems to attract men of questionable values.

#32 Posted by GiveUpNed (73 posts) - - Show Bio

@Miss_Garrick said:

@Nudeviking: Maybe the Ant-Man identity should be retired since it seems to attract men of questionable values.

Edgar Wright (Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) is making an Ant-Man film which is coming out in 2014.

#33 Posted by The Impersonator (5375 posts) - - Show Bio

I didn't know Ant-Man was a pervert. =P

#34 Posted by JonesDeini (3620 posts) - - Show Bio

@Miss_Garrick said:

@Nudeviking: The 2nd Ant Man, Scott Lang, was only a thief to pay for an operation to save his daughter's life, so he is the least dirtbag of the bunch.

Word. I wouldn't consider Hank a dirtbag either. Did he hit Wasp, yes. And as a man who grew up in an a household I would NEVER belittle the real toll of domestic violence. But Hank Pym was A) Never intended to hit her by the writer, it was too late to change the art B) In Story was having one of his (now) sadly familiar psychotic break downs. As a man who struggles with mental illness I can relate to doing things out of character while not fully in control of oneself. Quiet as kept Hank Pym's one of Marvel's most noble and relatable characters, but continues to get a bad wrap because his most iconic moment is an infamous one. Writers like Dan Slott have done their best to rehabilitate his image and move him past his past, but most readers either don't read those stories (Mighty Avengers stands out as the best example) or simply write them off by saying once a wife beater, always a wife beater. Funny how that same logic doesn't apply to Reed Richards or Peter Parker...

On the topic of Eric, I actually like that he's a bastard at his core. I think characters like him are the most interesting to read because they challenge us as readers. Making a character that supposed to be hated, while not making them a caricature is one of the most difficult challenges any writer can face. Doing so while making a reader connect with the character is a twice more herculean trial. A prime example of it being done right would be Ike of Nick Spencer's Morning Glories. He's a smarmy, narcissistic, self-serving, unrepentant bastard and he embodies all the things I hate. But damned if he isn't humorous and charming. And worse yet, damned if I don't relate to him on multiple levels and have to confront that fact and examine myself because of it. John Constantine is likely my second favorite fictional character ever and I find myself at least once an issue going "John, you fraking bastard!!! How could you, man?!" but the thing is I'd hate to see John or Ike "redeemed", that would break the characters for me. It would make them less real if you follow me. Not every character needs to be molded into what the general populace considers a "true" hero. As far as I'm concerned the world needs their irredeemable bastards.

#35 Posted by redhood21 (814 posts) - - Show Bio

atleast he doesnt hit women! he's allright. poor guy took a bite out of deadpool once....didnt go so well

#36 Posted by LeaderVladimir (150 posts) - - Show Bio

Poor Ant-Man. He'll never get over the fact he beat the Wasp. Give him a break, Marvel.

#37 Posted by geraldthesloth (33313 posts) - - Show Bio

People are still trying to milk the fact he hit wasp? It was forever ago, get over it.

#38 Posted by geraldthesloth (33313 posts) - - Show Bio

Eric O'Grady is the best thing to happen to Ant-Man.

#39 Posted by fACEmelter88 (609 posts) - - Show Bio

Eric is awesome for being such a bastard at the same time. I knew he was going to be a great jerk/hero when he was spying on Ms.Marvel in the shower...lucky bastard.

#40 Posted by Apis (83 posts) - - Show Bio

Some heroes are bound to be asses; at least this Ant-man has some personality.

#41 Posted by daredeville (84 posts) - - Show Bio

@JonesDeini said:

@Miss_Garrick said:

@Nudeviking: The 2nd Ant Man, Scott Lang, was only a thief to pay for an operation to save his daughter's life, so he is the least dirtbag of the bunch.

Word. I wouldn't consider Hank a dirtbag either. Did he hit Wasp, yes. And as a man who grew up in an a household I would NEVER belittle the real toll of domestic violence. But Hank Pym was A) Never intended to hit her by the writer, it was too late to change the art B) In Story was having one of his (now) sadly familiar psychotic break downs. As a man who struggles with mental illness I can relate to doing things out of character while not fully in control of oneself. Quiet as kept Hank Pym's one of Marvel's most noble and relatable characters, but continues to get a bad wrap because his most iconic moment is an infamous one. Writers like Dan Slott have done their best to rehabilitate his image and move him past his past, but most readers either don't read those stories (Mighty Avengers stands out as the best example) or simply write them off by saying once a wife beater, always a wife beater. Funny how that same logic doesn't apply to Reed Richards or Peter Parker...

On the topic of Eric, I actually like that he's a bastard at his core. I think characters like him are the most interesting to read because they challenge us as readers. Making a character that supposed to be hated, while not making them a caricature is one of the most difficult challenges any writer can face. Doing so while making a reader connect with the character is a twice more herculean trial. A prime example of it being done right would be Ike of Nick Spencer's Morning Glories. He's a smarmy, narcissistic, self-serving, unrepentant bastard and he embodies all the things I hate. But damned if he isn't humorous and charming. And worse yet, damned if I don't relate to him on multiple levels and have to confront that fact and examine myself because of it. John Constantine is likely my second favorite fictional character ever and I find myself at least once an issue going "John, you fraking bastard!!! How could you, man?!" but the thing is I'd hate to see John or Ike "redeemed", that would break the characters for me. It would make them less real if you follow me. Not every character needs to be molded into what the general populace considers a "true" hero. As far as I'm concerned the world needs their irredeemable bastards.

Great, great post. I wish there was a way to "like" or give a rate a post, because that one would get 5 stars.

I agree 100%. I personally prefer the flawed, the rough-around-the-edges, the anti-heroes. The ones who get things wrong sometimes. I think Marvel in general is pretty good at delivering characters like that, ones that are "whole people" – meaning real and relatable. That's why Hank Pym is such an interesting and great character. And Christos Gage is carrying on that kind of story with him in the pages of Avengers Academy, which I hope you are getting to read too, as it is full of great characters. I think what is also important to realize about Hank is that the Wasp forgave him, and he made amends with it too. He still feels guilt over the incident, but it is something they have dealt with together, which is a characteristic of a true hero in my opinion. (I can only hope that your personal situation bore such fruit for you and your family)

But you are also right that even despite all that, Hank will never be fully redeemed in many people's eyes, least of all his own. It's funny how much flak he's gotten for it when Magneto and Wolverine have murdered hundreds of people (one in genocide, the other in the name of "good" supposedly), and yet those two can be on the X-Men and Avengers and whatever else, and Hank takes a back seat in a lot of ways... but again, I think that is self-imposed for him. He doesn't believe he can handle the pressure of the spotlight the way his peers can... (again, read Avengers Academy for more great moments that highlight these qualities)

And as for O'Grady, I have only gotten to know him from his time in the Initiative onward, and I'd agree that his path is certainly one in which he may never be fully redeemed, but that is part of the charm and attraction of the character. You don't necessarily like him, you don't want to be him, but you can still relate, and oftentimes more so than the straight-laced heroes. Because you, me, and everyone else, are human, and we make mistakes too, and that is okay!

My favorites in comics who exhibit some of these characteristics (to varying degrees):

Daredevil (not a wrong-doer, more a "flawed" soul & his "disability"... the ultimate "triumph over adversity" hero in my opinion, I also love him as a person with a "disability" of my own: a learning disability),

Namor, Quicksilver, Prince Charming from Fables (arrogant cads, the lot of them, but with their own set of morals buried beneath their bluster),

Hawkeye (forever in the shadow of his powered and more famous cohorts),

Black Widow (flawed past, love, less-than-altruistic actions),

anyone in the cast of Ed Brubaker's Criminal, Incognito, Sleeper, and Fatale series,

Peter Quill/Starlord of the Guardians of the Galaxy (in a very general sense, he is Marvel's Han Solo. Favorite line, said with defensive vigor: "I get by!"),

Wylie Times and Cole Burns of 100 Bullets (checkered past, reservations on their actions..etc.),

Bras de Oliva Domingos from Daytripper (one of the most real characters I've read in a monthly series, and we get to see him at so many different points in his life – a really beautiful book that might just make you cry),

Asterios Polyp of Asterios Polyp (positively brilliant book written and illustrated by David Mazzucchelli who drew Batman: Year One, starring a arrogant and frustrating central character and a journey of some self-discovery – must-read),

and Casanova Quinn of Casanova (Matt Fraction's acid-trip-time-traveling-spy story that is disorienting, mad, fun, and beautiful all at once).

#42 Posted by Video_Martian (5645 posts) - - Show Bio

@geraldthesloth said:

People are still trying to milk the fact he hit wasp? It was forever ago, get over it.

THANK YOU!!! <3

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