By Eric Drumm
They say nice guys finish last, and the current incarnation of Ant-Man
proves that theory in spades! In the pages of IRREDEEMABLE ANT-MAN, Ant-Man is lying and cheating his way right into a whole lot of trouble! Scribe Robert Kirkman gives us an inside look at the little guy who's been making a big mess.
agent Eric O'Grady heard opportunity knocking when he lifted the newest Ant-Man suit design. Using it to win bar fights and spy on ladies, its clear that Eric is only looking out for No. 1 with his newfound powers. More of a super jerk than a super hero, he still finds a way to win readers over with his detestable charm. Is Kirkman having as much fun writing this clown as much we are reading it? "Probably more," he confesses. "Well, maybe not. I'm a guy who really loves writing comics, it's not even remotely work for me. Telling the tales of Eric O'Grady, dirt bag extraordinaire is the most fun in the world." When it comes to little man himself, Kirkman is having a ball making him into a complete schmuck, saying, "It's great! It's sort of like reading a 'choose your own adventure' book and always picking the thing I would never do, or that I think someone should never do, or the thing I might do in any given situation and never admit it. It's a very different kind of character than anything I've ever written. So yeah, it's GREAT!"
Who wouldn't have fun when they get to work with superstar talent like veteran artist Phil Hester? Giving life to our favorite lowlife, Kirkman couldn't be happier to be on the creative team for ANT-MAN. "Phil (and the whole art team, Ande Parks on inks and Bill Crabtree on colors) is fantastic to work with. He's a seasoned pro who knows how to tell a story and I'm always amazed when I see the pages and what Phil's done with my story," he beams. "The whole team deserves an extra blue star on their homework due to the sixteen panel grid we use on the book and the dense storytelling. I bet they probably do three times the panels of a normal comic...and drawing all kinds of small panels is not the easiest thing to do."
The panels may be small, but the adventure is as big as it gets. Taking the low road of superheroics, O'Grady has to slither around his own lies to stay off S.H.I.E.L.D.'s radar. Taking the name "Slaying Mantis" to cover his tracks with his Damage Control team, he has managed to not only dupe his teammates but steal the heart of member Visoneer. With his web of deceit growing with every issue, a crash is inevitable. Kirkman tells us that even O'Grady himself may be starting to feel the pressure. "I think if you read closely into the last page of issue #9, you'll see that even Eric is starting to get fed up with himself. Living a life of lies is hard work, it's very stressful, and it's all going to come crashing down around Mister O'Grady very VERY soon" he warns.
Pulling a fast one on S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Initiative in issue #9, Eric thinks that he is safe. However, with former mentor and friend Mitch Carson determined to bring in the man behind the Ant-Man mask, his luck may be running a little thin. "It's only a matter of time before S.H.I.E.L.D. catches up to him," confirms Kirkman. "They're S.H.I.E.L.D. for crying out loud. You can't hide from S.H.I.E.L.D in the Marvel Universe unless you're Nick Fury
." Nick Fury he ain't, so this Ant-Man better watch out for the big S.H.I.E.L.D. issue boot that is out to squash him.
With so many schemes in motion, Ant-Man is going to have to come up with one more: the one that will save his neck. Will it be too late before he hatches the plan that will get him out from under S.H.I.E.L.D.'s magnifying glass? Kirkman says that it just might be. "Eric's 'master plan' comes to a head in issue #11. What is that, you say? Well...even Eric himself doesn't know until issue #11. You'll see Eric at his lowest, bleakest point in that issue...and he may not even be able to pull out of it. You'll never believe what Eric does next!"
Watch O'Grady put pilfered Pym particles to terrible use in IREEDEEMABLE ANT-MAN #10 by Robert Kirkman and Phil Hester on sale in July.