Eric O'Grady was a low-level agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and is the third man to use the superhero codename Ant-Man. O’Grady’s best friend and fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Chris McCarthy had been chosen to wear Dr. Henry Pym's latest prototype of the Ant-Man suit. When McCarthy was killed during a HYDRA attack on S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, Eric immediately stole the armor from his best friend’s dead body. O’Grady has proven to be a man of very few morals with willingness to lie, steal and manipulate to suit his own selfish plans, which include using his superhero status to stalk women. O'Grady is often depicted engaging in humorous and questionable acts, and his bravado and arrogance have regularly put him in dangerous and compromising situations. Yet as Ant-Man, O'Grady still manages to be a “hero”.
Eric O’Grady was created by writer Robert Kirkman and artist Phil Hester in 2006. He first appeared in a special introduction story for his upcoming series in Civil War: Choosing Sides #1.
After repeatedly abusing the powers of Ant-Man for his own gain, Eric O’Grady ended up saving the life of a child and being offered a job by Damage Control. Later he would defend Manhattan during World War Hulk but is eventually arrested by S.H.I.E.L.D. O’Grady is rescued from torture at the hands of his former colleague Mitch Carson by Iron Man who, along with Hank Pym, reluctantly agrees that O’Grady is the most capable of handling the Ant-Man suit. They return the suit to him in exchange for him joining The Initiative. Despite admitting to his ex-girlfriend Abigail that he loves her and that he is trying to change, O’Grady continues his lewd and irredeemable ways. He is eventually offered a position with the Secret Avengers by Steve Rogers who believes that O'Grady can be a better person.
Major Story Arcs
Eric moved to New York and used his suit to stalk a woman named Beth and even spy on Ms. Marvel. He shortly met the Black Fox while the latter was breaking in a jewelry-store. The Black Fox first thought he was dealing with a super-hero, but Eric let the Fox know he merely used his costume for his own gain and would not turn him in if the Fox would split the money from the jewel theft with him. After this incident Eric and the Fox became friends whom often visited each other playing various games on their X-Box.
After some time Eric came into contact with a woman who gave him a chance to join the Damage Control cooperation in their Search-And-Rescue branch and has started a relationship with Abigail Dunton, aka Visioneer and a new friendship with fellow employee Monstro. He suddenly found himself surrounded by a loving girlfriend and her young daughter, whom Eric had a good relationship with. His new relationships and his time with Damage Control started to change Eric slightly and he really started to help people out. He even helped battle the Hulk and his Warbound during the World War Hulk storyline.
He then joined the The Initiative and got into a fight with Stature for telling lies about her father, and former Ant-Man, Scott Lang to impress their instructor Taskmaster. When K.I.A. attacked Camp Hammond, rather than help battle the villain and save lives, O'Grady instead decided to sit this one out and watch an episode of Chuck on his iPod with Taskmaster.
O'Grady again turned sheep during the Skrulls " Secret Invasion" of Earth and instead of going out into the battlefield with the other recruits, he shrunk down and hid behind at Camp Hammond. Discovering that the Skrulls had made Camp Hammond their base-of-operations, O'Grady was reluctantly forced to actually do something to help Earth's conflict.
After the Secret Invasion, Eric "graduated" the Initiative and was placed on Norman Osborn's newest formation of the Thunderbolts. His first mission lead him to the cockpit of Air Force 1, which he entered hidden between Yelena Belova's breasts. He then made his way through the plane to climb on Doc Samson's back to place a gamma emitter on him.
Eric began to realize he wanted no real part in the team and admitted the only reason he's probably on the team is because he had edited his own S.H.I.E.L.D. file to make himself seem more accomplished than he actually is. Eric confided in his team-mate Paladin about how he doesn't want to be part of the team alongside murderers and psychopaths. O'Grady confessed he was afraid to say anything or flee because Osborn would probably have him killed to avoid a potential loose end.
O'Grady and Paladin quickly struck up some semblance of a friendship when they found they both simply weren't in favor of Osborn's regime and their mutual belief that serving Osborn wasn't in their best interests. O'Grady tried to convince Paladin to murder Osborn so the two of them would be free from his service, but Paladin suggested they wait it out as Osborn will likely not remain in power long due to his history of mental issues.
When the team were sent to capture Black Widow and Songbird, O'Grady spent most of the time avoiding any conflict and shrinking down in size and hiding. When the team were commanded to execute Black Widow and Songbird, team-mates Ghost, Headsman and Paladin turned on the rest of the team to instead save the women from some of their bloodthirsty team-mates. O'Grady witnessed the entire thing from hiding in a vent.
O'Grady personally released a captive Captain America when the rest of the team weren't looking and helped Luke Cage free Iron Fist from Osborn's captivity. During a mission to capture the Agents of Atlas, O'Grady again spent the majority of the time shrunken down and hiding from the battle. O'Grady was confronted by their mentally unstable field leader Nuke who threatened to shoot him for negligence. O'Grady also struck up a friendship with another team-mate, Headsman, who likewise wasn't as amoral and aspired to better things than the rest of the team. Shortly afterwards, O'Grady watched as Nuke shot Headsman in cold blood.
As the Thunderbolts were dispatched to Oklahoma to take part in Osborn's attempted Siege on Asgard, the Thunderbolts were sent to obtain the Spear of Odin for Osborn to use to kill Thor and the other gods. The Thunderbolts were confronted by the Avengers, but by this point, both O'Grady and Paladin realized that serving Osborn wasn't in their best interests and turned on their own team-mates to ensure that Osborn didn't get his hands on the Spear of Odin. After O'Grady defeated Grizzly and Paladin dispatched of Nuke, the Avengers allowed the twp to go free since they ultimately proved themselves to be not loyal to Osborn or his cronies.
Heroic Age and Death
Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, invited him to become one of his agents in the covert Avengers team, the Secret Avengers.As a member of Steve Rogers' new team of Secret Avengers, Eric now wears a version of the original Ant-Man costume. Though he still has a lot of selfish acts to redeem, Eric is trying to become a better person and maybe even a hero in the process.
After faithfully serving alongside the Avengers and on occasion showing genuine altruism, Eric was beaten to death by a group of androids who were part of the Descendant movement. Eric died nobly trying to save the life of a child, however he was robbed of his heroic death when he was reborn as a robot called the Black Ant by the a Descendant and sent to infiltrate his former team.
Beware the Bite of the Black Ant
Black Ant pretending to be O'Grady returned to the Avengers in a new robotic body on behalf of the Descendants. Despite ulterior motives, He still fought alongside the Avengers as the heroic Ant-Man and displays many of his personality quirks. During a battle with the Masters of Evil, due to his new robotic nature, he was exempt from control by the Serpent Crown. As one of the two Avengers free from Taskmaster's influence, he and Venom valiantly fought to defeat the villains and free their comrades from Taskmaster's control.
His heroic rescue of the team was short-lived as Black Widow was quick to deduce that Black Ant was in fact now a robot working for the Descendants. Since he had just saved the team, Hawkeye and the rest of the Avengers refused to believe her accusation, so she quit the team in protest.
Ironically, shortly afterwards, Black Ant re-outfitted himself and initiated an attack on the Avengers headquarters where Venom and Valkyrie were left for dead and Hank Pym and the Human Torch were kidnapped. Managing to save himself and Valkyrie, Venom swore to personally kill Black Ant for fooling him and attempting to kill them.
Partnership with Taskmaster
Black Ant would show up again in Bagalia working with Taskmaster. They captured incriminating video of Captain America's allegiance to Hydra during Secret Empire. When they tried to sell that information to SHIELD, they were intercepted by Hydra loyalist, Elisa Sinclair, and place on the Secret Empire's version of the Avengers. During the final battle, they switched sides, realizing Hydra was ultimately going to fall.
Afterward, Black Ant and Taskmaster went freelance. They took a job with Kraven the Hunter rounding up Spider-Man's animal themed villains for a big hunt. Kraven targeted them for dishonoring the animals they chose as their codenames. Unfortunately, the meant Black Ant too. Taskmaster was paid to turn on Black Ant (which he did), however, when the force field containing the hunt fell, Taskmaster had a change of heart and rescued Black Ant.
Power & Abilities
With the aid of Pym Particles, Eric has the ability to shrink to the size of an ant, while retaining full size strength. He can also increase in size and communicate telepathically with insects via a cybernetic helmet.
While wearing the Ant-Man power suit, Eric is able to shrink to a height of about 1.5 inches. The suit has a jet pack to stabilize any jumps he performs when shrunk. Legs can spring from the sides of the suit to enhance his balance or allow for wall-crawling. The suit also possesses two robotic arms that release from the back when shrunk. When Eric was sent to Camp Stamford, Hank Pym added the growing powers of Giant-Man to the new Ant-Man suit. Pym then renamed the suit to G.I. Ant-Man.
Ant-Man has the strength of a normal man who engages in intensive regular exercise. At insect size his is compact but retains normal size strength. At giant size his strength is enhanced proportionately.
Eric O’Grady has standard S.H.I.E.L.D. weapons training.
- Eric O'Grady was featured in the HeroClix figure game as part of the "Chaos War" series. It depicted Eric in his second Ant-Man uniform from his time with the Secret Avengers.
- A figure of Eric O'Grady as Black Ant was released to celebrate the Ant-Man movie. Unlike the other Marvel Legends pieces of merchandise released to coincide with the movie, the Black Ant figure was a Walgreens exclusive.