I went pretty buggy over the new Ant-Man. Eric O’Grady is the new Ant Man’s name, and he’s pretty far away from genius inventor Hank Pym on the food chain. O’Grady is an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel’s super-police unit that is kind of the central place where scientific and security work gets done in the Marvel universe. But O’Grady isn’t exactly hanging out with Nick Fury and Dum Dum Dugan. No, O’Grady is just basically a scrub, a peon, someone whose job is just to scrub surveillance data for something – anything – interesting. It’s a tedious job, the bosses are jerks, and the uniforms are tight-fitting. At least O’Grady has a girlfriend, Veronica, which is more than can be said for his best friend Chris.
There’s a lot of character stuff in this first issue, a lot of what life is like for the average ordinary guy who is often shown in the background of nearly every story featuring S.H.I.E.L.D. It’s kind of reassuring to know that S.H.I.E.L.D. agents chase girls, play poker, and are addicted to XBOX like the rest of us. Sure it’s all setup, but the setup is clever and funny and interesting. We get a lot of exposition in this story – sometimes Hester and Parks give readers 16 panels per page. Yet despite this density, the story still works for me. I found myself caring for these guys. Maybe it’s because Eric and Chris are just ordinary guys, or maybe it’s because Kirkman is a really talented writer, but this comic zips along from page to page.
Along with the clever character stuff, there’s also a clever little twist with the two mens’ identities. Kirkman does some deliberate misguiding of the reader as we follow the story, and it leaves us a nice little mystery as the next few issues move the story along.
I loved Hester and Parks’s artwork on this book. I’ve enjoyed their work since the pair was teamed up on their long run on Green Arrow. Their art is just realistic enough to make the comic feel more or less real, while still being loose enough to do a wonderful job exaggerating their characters’ faces.
With Kirkman, Hester and Parks I knew this comic would be a winner. I’m happy to say after this first issue that I was right.