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Off My Mind: The Redemption of Ant-Man

He used to be considered 'irredeemable' but now is trying to become a hero.

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Superheroes often have typical beginnings. They are involved in an accident that gives them superhuman abilities or suffered some tragic chain of events that inspired them to do heroic deeds. These heroes have a goodness rooted deep down in the core of who they are.

That isn't the case with Eric O'Grady in his journey in becoming Ant-Man.

Eric O'Grady has constantly abused the power and position of being Ant-Man. From time to time he has made small attempts at doing the "right thing" but is that enough?

With his current position as a "Secret" Avenger, this could be the time to prove to the his teammates and to himself that he can be an actual hero. He just needs to survive long enough to do so.

Eric O'Grady started out as a low-level S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. This would lead us to believe that perhaps there is something to his character since he was able to meet the requirements in becoming an agent.

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From his first moments in gaining the Ant-Man suit, he demonstrated his lack of morals. His best friend, Chris McCarthy, was selected to be the first agent to wear the suit. The S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier they were on was under attack by HYDRA. Eric pushed his friend out of the way when they were under gunfire which resulted in Chris getting shot in the head.

With Chris dead and the helicarrier about to crash, O'Grady stole the suit from his best friend's dead body to escape and save his own life. He also using the death as an opportunity to hook up with his Chris' girlfriend, Veronica King. To make it worse, he actually tried making his moves after the funeral, on his gravesite! The two did have some intimate moments which resulted in King getting pregnant and O'Grady leaving her.

Despite O'Grady using the suit's power to sneak in and spy on women, there were some tiny traces of goodness in him. When confronting a high ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Mitch Carson (who was supposed to be the agent to wear the suit), Eric's suit jets accidentally torched and disfigured Carson's face. Rather than just run away, Eric did grab him and take him to the infirmary.

It's later revealed that Carson actually had a dark past and was using his S.H.I.E.L.D. status to cover up murders he committed. By exposing Carson in front of Iron Man and Hank Pym, Eric is given the Ant-Man suit and asked to become part of the Initiative.

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While being part of the Initiative Eric continued to follow his selfish ways and tried using his position for personal gain. He didn't really take the training or his time there seriously. The only person he really got along with was Taskmaster.

After some time operating on Norman Osborn's Thunderbolts, O'Grady begins to question his direction. Helping out Captain America lead to his being asked to become part of the Secret Avengers. Eric still demonstrates moments of being a pig and tried using his status as an Avenger to further score with the ladies but being on a "secret" team doesn't really give him hero/celebrity status.

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Recently in SECRET AVENGERS #23, it's shown that he really does want to change his ways. He knows he's not a good person deep down and that bothers him. He's trying to truly be a hero in order to make up for who he is and everything he's done.

I'm just a dirtbag hoping if he helps enough people, maybe, someday, he can look himself in the mirror again.

Is there hope for the Irredeemable Ant-Man? Can he become a better person by doing a bunch of good deeds? The fact that he's saving people to make himself feel better almost goes against the true nature of being a hero. Other heroes do what they do because they know it's the right thing. They aren't seeking the approval of others or themselves. It's a good thing that Eric O'Grady is trying as hard as he can. The problem will be if he tries too hard.

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Will he lose focus during battles by concentrating on what he can do to be a hero rather than simply put an end to any present threat? He may also get in over his head facing opponents that are too much for him to handle on his own. It's possible that Eric O'Grady can sort through what it takes to really be a hero. Hopefully he'll survive long enough to become that hero and start feeling better about himself.