“The End is the Beginning”
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Phil Hester
Published by: Marvel Comics
This week marks the end of one of the best series to come out of Marvel Comics in the past few years. Robert Kirkman is a man of many talents and one of the finest writers in comics today. Sometimes he doesn’t always hit the mark and sometimes he hits it out of the park, and in my opinion that makes him one of the greatest comic book writers around. He is an inspiration and if something isn’t well-received he releases something better. Battle Pope, Invincible, The Walking Dead and Ultimate Marvel Team-Up are some of the wildest and most well-done titles around. Kirkman managed to also hit one out of the park with The Irredeemable Ant-Man. Okay, so a lot of people didn’t read this book despite the praise of a number of reviewers and SBC’s own Steven Saunders. It developed a cult following but was not a big enough following to jump sales and keep this title around. It’s very unfortunate because amidst invasions, wars, countdowns, crises, and other “big events,” Ant-Man was an entire tank full of fresh air.
Ant-Man was so different than anything else being released. Instead of focusing on a character with a moral dilemma, the character was the moral dilemma. Eric O’Grady is a jerk, he’s a perv, he’s a slacker and he’s just not a great person. He doesn’t care about anyone but himself and that has not only caused the death of his best friend, but is what made him Ant-Man in the first place. If I were to compare comic books to TV shows, Ant-Man is the Family Guy of Marvel. It was wrong in so many ways, but each issue was more sadistic and enjoyable. Alas, Ant-Man goes to the chopping block like so many before it. For instance take a look at the cover and you can pretty much ascertain the overall tone of the entire series.
One redeeming quality of Marvel cancelling this title is the fact that it seems as though Robert Kirkman prepared for its short lifespan. There weren’t too many tangents and loose plot threads throughout the series and everything was neatly tied together by the end of the previous issue. This issue serves as one last throw at the innovative protagonist, a guy who is, for all intents and purposes, a
There are however, two major developments in Eric O’Grady’s life in this issue. The first is that his dead best friend’s girlfriend, the same girl he almost did the deed with on his same said friend’s grave, reveals she is pregnant with his child. I was thinking about how much it would suck not to see such a story develop. But Kirkman surprised me by having Eric live up to his personality and do the only decent thing he’s ever done. He tells her he doesn’t want the kid because he doesn’t want the kid to be like him or worse. This is both sad and satisfying for Eric and for readers, as he lives up to being the jerk we love, but also has matured to the point of knowing what could be best for a child. Of course you could argue the best thing he could do is raise the child not to be like him, but let’s face it, he doesn’t want that kind of baggage.
There is a very satisfying conclusion to this series however. Rather than have Eric O’Grady fade away into obscurity, he will don the Ant-Man armor and continue on in Avengers: Initiative. This is a very wise move and I am hoping that he garners enough of a fan base to warrant an Irredeemable Ant-Man #13 somewhere down the road. While all the plot threads have been closed and tied up for this series, keep O’Grady as Ant-Man in the Marvel U keeps the possibility to explore things such as the whole pregnancy idea.
It’s sad to see this book go. I loved everything about it from Robert Kirkman’s characterization to Phil Hester’s artwork. Marvel definitely had a hit on their hands, it’s just unfortunate that the cult following didn’t grow into something bigger. Either way this is a fantastic “series finale” if you will and when the trade paperback is released you should definitely pick it up. So long Eric O’Grady, you jerk, I’ll see you in Stamford.
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