Ask anybody what a superhero is supposed to be and they’ll say it’s a
guy in a costume who fights villains and stands for “truth, justice and
the American way.”
Most of the time, that’s a decent explanation.
That’s a fine description of Superman, Spider-man and Batman.
And then there’s the new Ant-Man.
As the star of Marvel Comics’ “The Irredeemable Ant-Man,” this hero is a loathsome, piggish and slimy jerk.
But you know what? He’s also a very entertaining loathsome piggish, and slimy jerk.
The comic series, which has been available in a collected-form softcover book for awhile now, follows the
story of Eric O’Grady, a U.S. security agent of questionable ethics, as
he steals a superhero costume and goes on to use it not for the public
good, but for the good of himself.
The costume, the latest version of the classic Ant-Man duds (and yes,
there were a few Ant-Men before him), allows him to shrink to the height
of a few millimeters while keeping the strength of a regular man. It’s
also rigged with special equipment that allow him to fly and command
Those abilities give O’Grady just enough opportunity to show us just how
much of a jerk he can be. He uses his powers to watch women taking
showers, hide from his boss and sucker people into buying him free
meals. And just to be clear, it’s not that he wasn’t a jerk without it.
In one scene before he swipes the costume, O’Grady lies to a woman he’s
interested in, telling her that her boyfriend (who is also O’Grady’s
best friend) is sleeping around on her.
Yeah, he’s a real gem.
But that’s just it, as you read “Ant-Man,” you keep wondering just how
low he can go and still be a hero. The answer: Quite low, indeed.
Written by Robert Kirkman (“Invincible”) and drawn by Phil Hester
(“Green Arrow”), “The Irredeemable Ant-Man” is proof that balancing acts
are fun to watch. You want him to keep the balance (heroics vs.
jerkiness), but at the same time, you’re eager to see everything come
crashing down upon him.