By Ben Morse
In February, writer Rick Remender and artist Gabriel Hardman assume command of SECRET AVENGERS, jettisoning some current members of the team while bringing in new faces to the roster. Surviving the transition will be Eric O’Grady, the latest Ant-Man, who started out as anything but one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, but has been doing his best to earn the moniker.
“Eric badly injured a man in order to steal the Ant-Man suit and he’s been trying to make up for that since,” reminds Remender. “He’s a guy who is amoral by nature; he’s capable of rationalizing any number of misdeeds. He basically went through life taking whatever he wanted, manipulating people, and behaving like a general ass. One day, he went too far, and after the theft of the Ant-Man suit and subsequent battle with the man intended to wear it, he disfigured that man.
“After that, Eric slowly began to feel bad about being a bad guy. So his service in the Avengers is a classic redemption arc. He’s not exactly guilt-plagued, but he wants to make up for his misdeeds. My editorial pals and I worked up a very distinct vision for his arc, a very new direction, and I think it’s pretty exciting. I don’t think people will see it coming.”
Following his rocky start, Eric made cautious inroads into heroism, serving with the morally questionable Thunderbolts before earning a position with the Avengers as appointed by Captain America himself, Steve Rogers. A man who followed an almost identical path will now be the new leader of the Secret Avengers when Hawkeye takes over.
“[Clint Barton] of all people has to respect the difficulty in finding redemption,” says Remender. “In my mind, [Clint ant Eric] are simpatico, having more in common than almost anyone else in the Avengers. Clint definitely understands how a person can fall into the wrong crowd and behave in a villainous fashion. So he cuts Eric some slack, maybe even takes him under his wing.”
On the flipside, Eric must also contend with the original Ant-Man, Hank Pym, now Giant-Man and also the creator of the suit he stole, becoming a Secret Avenger. Though they have been able to team and find some common ground in recent time, the size-changing heroes have a dynamic that can be called contentious at best.
“[Eric’s] relationship with Pym is strange to say the least,” notes Remender. “But Hank recognizes that the powers that be have decided to give Eric a second chance, and he is honoring that. But I will say this: in the next year you will see this story develop. There is some big crazy on the horizon.”
Ant-Man Digital Comics Spotlight
IRREDEEMABLE ANT-MAN #1: Eric O’Grady becomes the latest Ant-Man
AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE #8: Ant-Man joins the Initiative and fights Hank Pym in the process
THUNDERBOLTS #142: While with the Thunderbolts, Ant-Man battles the Avengers and has a rematch with Stature
SECRET AVENGERS #2: Ant-Man joins the Secret Avengers and attempts to prove himself to new teammates like War Machine
ANT-MAN & THE WASP #1: Current and former Ant-Men Eric O’Grady and Hank Pym must team-up
Stay tuned for more Secret Avengers Spotlight and be sure to get SECRET AVENGERS #21.1 on January 25!