It’s obviously harder to see now, since he has had a hit blockbuster film now (with a sequel due soon!), but there was a time that Ant-Man was not exactly a property that anyone wanted anything to do with in the world of comics. Even the original Ant-Man himself, Hank Pym, quickly gave up the identity to move on to (literally) bigger things, becoming Giant-Man and then Goliath and then Yellowjacket. The Ant-Man name languished for years until Scott Lang broke into comics by, well, breaking into Hank Pym’s closet and stealing the Ant-Man suit to help save his daughter’s life.
Scott Lang was killed during Avengers Disassembled (don’t worry, he got better) and so a new Ant-Man showed up, Eric O’Grady, the “Irredeemable Ant-Man.” He eventually died as well, and a resurrected Scott Lang reclaimed the Ant-Man crown, just in time for Lang to be the Ant-Man featured in the hit film. With three men sharing the identity over the years, they had a lot of opportunity to do some good (and some, well, not so good), so we’re going to count down the most repugnant things Ant-Man has done (this will mostly be Eric O’Grady) and the most heroic things Ant-Man has done.
15. REPUGNANT: GHOSTING MS. THING
Darla Deering was a pop star who was dating Johnny Storm when Johnny realized that he had to go on a trip with the rest of the Fantastic Four and they had all agreed to find replacements for themselves while they were away (it was a time travel trip, so it was only supposed to last four minutes). Since it was such a short trip (and since he forgot all about finding a replacement), Johnny just gave Darla a special Thing suit that Ben Grimm had used in the past when he had lost his powers and she became “Ms. Thing.”
She fell in love with her fellow replacement hero, Ant-Man (Scott Lang), but after the Fantastic Four returned, their relationship grew stale. When Scott’s daughter came back to life, Scott realized he needed to take a break from Darla…but just never told her that. He just “ghosted” her, which is cruel.
14. REPUGNANT: SEDUCING FRIEND’S GIRLFRIEND
Eric O’Grady was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and he had a crush on another S.H.I.E.L.D. agent named Veronica. However, she was dating his best friend, Chris. When Chris was forced to steal an Ant-Man suit during an attack on the helicarrier, he couldn’t return to normal size. While Chris was “missing,” Eric told Veronica lies about his friend. When Chris finally returned to normal size, he was tragically killed. Eric then took over the suit.
He then seduced the grieving Veronica at Chris’ funeral and they almost had sex on his grave. They later did have sex, at which point Eric was no longer interested in her and blew her off, not even finding out that she had gotten pregnant from their one night stand. He had no interest in being a father.
13. REPUGNANT: HIS WHOLE RELATIONSHIP WITH ABIGAIL
Eric obviously had father issues, which was present in the twisted relationship that he had with Abigail, who he met while they were both working for Damage Control as super-powered workers. Eric was disguising himself as a new hero, the Slaying Mantis instead of Ant-Man, since the suit was stolen. Damage Control gave him a fake name, as well, for his secret identity. He grew close to Abigail, but when he found out that she had a kid, he screamed at her and broke it off.
Eventually, they decided to give their relationship a second chance, but Eric soon began cheating on her with superhero groupies and their relationship ended. This was more repugnant because he clearly cared about Abigail (she was an empath, so she could tell) and yet he still treated her like crap.
12. REPUGNANT: BESMIRCHING SCOTT LANG’S REPUTATION
After finally coming clean about the whole stolen costume situation, Ant-Man initially was stripped of his costume, but since no one else could be found that could use the suit as well as he could (he was a natural at things like talking to ants), Hank Pym begrudgingly approved giving Eric a second chance as part of the government-sponsored superhero training course called the Initiative.
As soon as he showed up for training, however, he was picked out of the crowd by drill sergeant Taskmaster (who had fought Scott Lang a few times), and Eric felt that he had to distinguish himself from Scott Lang. However, the way he did so was to cruelly bad mouth Scott Lang as a loser who only pretended to be an Avenger! Eric even decided to pin some of his creepiest actions (which you will see later) on Scott!
11. REPUGNANT: ATTACKING THE AVENGERS
Hank Pym had a serious history of mental instability. This led to him briefly snapping and taking on an alternate personality as Yellowjacket (before coming to his senses but deciding to remain as Yellowjacket). Therefore, it is difficult to judge Hank too harshly for things he did while suffering one of his nervous breakdowns, but the fact remains that he did do some bad things during that period.
The most famous bad thing he did while suffering from a nervous breakdown was when he attacked the Avengers in Avengers #161! Hank (who had returned to his Ant-Man identity for the attack) actually had a very impressive showing against Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. The only one who was able to stop him was his own wife, the Wasp!
10. REPUGNANT: SPYING ON WOMEN HE PICKED UP
When we first met Eric O’Grady as Ant-Man in Irredeemable Ant-Man #1 (by Robert Kirkman, Phil Hester and Ande Parks), he is saving a woman from having her purse stolen. When she asks what she can do to repay him, he asks if she will have dinner with him. She agrees and they go out to dinner in the next issue (he scams her into paying by pretending to have lost his wallet while saying a girl from a fire).
She offers him back to her apartment for tea, and then calls it a night. He then sneaks back into her apartment with his Ant-Man suit to spy on her while she showers. You can tell that this was far from the first time that he’s tried this particular trick before and it is highly unsettling.
9. REPUGNANT: SPYING ON MS. MARVEL
While SHIELD was tracking him down to recover their stolen suit, Eric escaped and hid in the purse of a woman on the street. That woman happened to be Carol Danvers, then known as Ms. Marvel, the leader of the Mighty Avengers (Iron Man’s registered superhero version of the Avengers). Eric ended up falling asleep in her purse.
When he woke up, he discovered her showering. He once again spent his time spying on her in the shower. This time, though, Eric had the idea that he should take nude photographs of Carol while she showers and then he could sell them (we had established in the first issue that in his pre-Ant-Man days, Eric had sold naked photos of the girl he was dating at the time). His plan was interrupted but damn that is incredibly sleazy.
8. REPUGNANT: BEATING UP LANG’S DAUGHTER
After the death of Scott Lang during Avengers: Disassembled, his daughter, Cassie Lang, discovered that she had absorbed some Pym Particles from being in Scott’s presence for so long! She could shrink but she could also increase her size. She took the name Stature and became a member of the Young Avengers.
After Civil War ended and the anti-registration side lost, while some heroes remained on the run and refused to comply, most heroes gave in and registered. Cassie was one of them, so she went in for superhero training at Avengers: Initiative, where she then saw Eric O’Grady slandering her father. She fought him (Eric was shocked to learn that he could grow in size, as well) but he tricked her into thinking she had stepped on a fellow hero and used the distraction to sucker punch her. He then disgustingly shouted, “Who’s your daddy now?”
7. HEROIC: SAVING A CIRCUS FILLED WITH PEOPLE
One of the all-time coolest superhero team-ups occurred in Avengers #223, when Hawkeye and Scott Lang teamed up to fight an evil plot by Taskmaster that involved him running a circus as a front for his “henchmen for hire” operation (Hawkeye, an old carny, was checking out the circus by himself while Scott was there with his daughter, Cassie).
After escaping from one of Taskmaster’s traps, they were about to capture him when he revealed that the “human cannonball” that was about to be launched was actually a bomb disguised as a dummy and as soon as it landed, it would trigger a detonation that would kill most of the people at the circus. They were too late to stop its launch, so Hawkeye had to shoot Scott on one of Hawkeye’s arrows and Scott landed on the bomb and pulled the plug before it exploded.
6. HEROIC: DEFEATING ABSORBING MAN AND TITANIA
One of the all-time great Avengers storylines was “Under Siege,” where the Masters of Evil took control of Avengers Mansion and captured most of the Avengers, while beating Hercules close to death. The only non-captured Avenger was the Wasp. She was with Hercules at the hospital when Absorbing Man and Titania were sent to finish Hercules off. Scott Lang visited Wasp in the hospital and the two heroes ended up having to beat a villain who had taken on an entire team of Avengers to save their friend’s life!
In the end, while their method of defeating Absorbing Man was a bit strange (Wasp blasted him in the eye and that made him momentarily return to his normal self, at which point they struck), it was still one of the most impressive victories by Ant-Man and the Wasp (besides, of course, the time Wasp kicked the X-Men’s collective ass).
5. HEROIC: DEFEATING SCORPIO
In the opening arc of his too-brief stint as the writer on The Avengers, Geoff Johns introduced a mysterious threat, where the capitols of the world all disappeared into black holes, along with other major cities. Scott Lang’s daughter was in one of those black holes, so he showed up to help the Avengers fight the bad guys, which included a new Scorpio, who was fighting the Avengers with an army of sophisticated robo-scorpions.
Ant-Man proved that he belonged on the team by using the cybernetic communication systems in his helmet to break Scorpio’s control and bring the robo-scorpions under his control. Scott joined the Avengers for the first time at the end of this arc (of course, since he was killed soon after, maybe he would have been better off not joining).
4. HEROIC: DEFEATING THE CREATURE FROM THE KOSMOS
In the early 1960s, before they were doing superhero comic books again, Marvel was almost entirely a “monster comic” company, as their titles like Strange Tales, Journey Into Mystery, Tales of Suspense and Tales to Astonish were filled with stories of fantastic monsters showing up on Earth where they would have to be defeated by clever scientists who invented ingenious solutions to the seemingly impending doom of the human race.
Tales to Astonish #44 evoked this, as scientist Vernon van Dyne accidentally brought a creature from the Kosmos dimension to Earth and it began wreaking havoc on the city. Hank Pym reluctantly agreed to let van Dyne’s daughter, Janet, help him avenge her father’s death. Hank turned her into the Wasp! Ant-Man and the Wasp were then able to save millions of people from the Creature from the Kosmos via a chemical that Hank whipped up in his lab.
3. HEROIC: SAVING THE VISION’S LIFE
The famous “Kree-Skrull War” opened up with the Vision being blasted by some Skrulls. The heroic artificial Avenger collapsed in front of his teammates and seemed to be near death. Luckily, Hank Pym showed up (back in his Ant-Man get-up) and went on a fantastic journey into Vision’s body in a classic story by Roy Thomas, Neal Adams and Tom Palmer.
Hank had to fight back against Vision’s defense systems inside his body. While there, he also discovered that Vision had parts in him from around World War II (this would later be used to prove that his body once belonged to the android Human Torch). In the end, Hank saved his fellow Avenger’s artificial life and looked about as cool as he ever did doing so.
2. HEROIC: DEFEATING LOKI
The Avengers first came together due to one of Loki’s tricks. The god of mischief figured that he would make the world believe that the Hulk was on a rampage. He would then lead the Hulk into a battle against Loki’s brother, Thor, which Loki hoped would end with Thor dead. However, instead of just Thor showing up to take down the Hulk, three other heroes also answered the call to duty: Iron Man, Ant-Man and the Wasp!
Once they realized it was a trick, the Hulk also joined up with them to attack Loki. Loki then went to his ace in the hole — he turned himself radioactive (this is apparently something Loki can do)! Luckily, Hank Pym figured out a way to trap him in a radioactive-proof container. Yes, the Ant-Man succeeded where Thor, Iron Man and the Hulk failed!
1. HEROIC: DEFEATING DOCTOR DOOM
After dying during Avengers Disassembled, Scott Lang came back to life during a Young Avengers storyline when they traveled back in time to see if they could prevent Scarlet Witch from ever starting to disassemble the Avengers! They could not stop her, but they were able to save Scott from being a victim of her wrath. He returned to the present and helped the Young Avengers (including his daughter) fight Doctor Doom. Tragically, Cassie was killed in battle with Doom!
A distraught Scott reluctantly agreed to lead the temporary Fantastic Four that we mentioned earlier. In the end, he was given a chance to fight Doctor Doom and Scott revealed that he had mastered the art of using Pym Particles to give himself super-strength and he kicked Doom’s ass, but made sure to show him mercy in the end, because that’s what Cassie would have wanted.
Can you think of any repugnant or heroic moments that we missed? Let us know in the comments section!
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