Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Cory Walker
Publisher: Marvel Comics
With the initial origin arc out of the way, Robert Kirkman has the daunting task of maintaining interest in his unconventional superhero, Ant-Man. For those who don’t know, former S.H.I.E.L.D. “agent” Eric O’Grady stole the new Ant-Man outfit off the body of his dead best friend during an attack on the heli-carrier. From there he takes a liking to spying on women in the shower, paying people to mug women so he can rescue them, and almost making whoopee with his dead best friend’s girlfriend on top of his dead best friend's grave. Sounds like a great guy, right?
In the first six issues of this series Robert Kirkman seemingly redefined or broadened the term “anti-hero.” After all, the title of this series is “Irredeemable,” and he is the most shameless superhero ever. Eric is on the run from S.H.I.E.L.D, but he has managed to avoid registration completely and has possibly been forgotten about with the end of the Civil War and Captain America’s “death.” So what can Kirkman do to keep this title from getting bland? Throw in the Avengers and the new Marvel main squeeze, Ms. Marvel.
What I like best about this issue is that Ant-Man has no idea who Carol Danvers is. He hasn’t the slightest idea about most superheroes, but he is quite content hanging out in Ms. Marvel’s shower watching her. I don’t know whether I should say “cool” or “perv.” The idea behind Ant-Man is every fourteen year old boy’s dream: to have the superpowers to shrink oneself and invade the privacy of a hot female, be it your favorite teacher or your crush. Kirkman captures O’Grady’s immaturity brilliantly, but you really have to wonder how anybody like Eric O’Grady managed to work at S.H.I.E.L.D. I guessing that somewhere down the line Kirkman may reveal that Eric O’Grady is a genius; he’s already mastered the ant-suit pretty well, but something tells me there is a lot more to him than stalking pretty girls and running from S.H.I.E.L.D.
This issue does exactly what the cover suggests it does: it takes Ant-Man and Mighty Avengers #1 and molds them together as Ant-Man hitches a ride off of Ms. Marvel’s mini-carrier and into the battle seen in the pages of Mighty Avengers. But Eric has no desire whatsoever to join the Avengers, and he makes a break for it. Then he stumbles upon an older jewel thief. Kirkman does three things really well in this scene. First, there is a great deal of humor when the old man calls Eric “Spider-Man.” Second, the way Eric uses his powers is both funny and very creative, well worth seeing. And third, the moral and ethical debate that Eric seems to have with himself when the jewels come into his possession is worth reading. All of this comes after Eric spots a broken parking meter. I can’t help but mention how hilarious I think it is that Eric proceeds to stop this jewel thief only to rob the man himself. It’s brilliant, and it’s really worth buying this book for, just the idea that he’s nothing more than a petty criminal, but he still manages to do the right thing.
There is a slight bit of redemption for Eric as he decides to save someone buried under rubble rather than steal the jewels and money. It reminds me of the “Indiana Jones Complex” where Indy is always on the brink of fame but something always spoils it. That’s kind of what we get with Eric: he’s on the brink of a criminal career but something always spoils it. The ending is also very interesting and I raise my eyebrows wondering where Kirkman will go next.
Cory Walker takes on the art duties for this issue, and I have to say, I am quite impressed. Phil Hester’s work on the previous six issues really fit this title; it was “Bruce-Timm like” and cartoony, but it maintained an edge. Walker’s artwork is a bit more realistic and anatomical than Hester’s. Both styles definitely look similar, and both fit this title extremely well, but Walker’s seems to be a little more realistic while maintaining the “animated” look.
I think it’s safe to say my fears about the quality of this title have gone away as Kirkman and Walker deliver in this issue. I really hope readers are still giving this title a chance. It really is pretty good.
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