Marvel Studios is completely dominating the movie scene with their Cinematic Universe. Since the release of Age Of Ultron back in May, the big question that’s been bugging everyone from studio heads to hardcore fans and everyone in between is: Is Marvel finally big enough to go small? Now that all the big heroes have gotten their shine, going smaller (literally and figuratively) seems like as good a place to go as any. Netflix is releasing four series about street-level characters Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, & Iron Fist before bringing them together for a Defenders series sometime in the future, and this Friday’s Ant-Man is Marvel’s second attempt (following last year’s Guardians of the Galaxy) at small and/or relatively obscure characters.
Paul Rudd stars as Scott Lang, a thief who takes up the mantle of the Ant-Man from Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). It’s a great palette cleanser after the global stakes put forth in Age Of Ultron and has a light, 90s action/adventure movie feel to it, which is a nice change of pace; it’s also getting scarier and scarier that the MCU has yet to produce a truly *bad* movie. We’ll see how long they can keep this up.
Ant-Man isn’t the only (or even the first) hero who can control his body size. DC has a hero called The Atom who’s similar, and arguably better, than the Ant-Man. Check out our reasons why below.
Ant-Man: As a character in Marvel comics, Ant-Man first appeared in the one-shot series Tales To Astonish in 1965, the Silver Age of comics, as Dr. Hank Pym, a brilliant scientist who invents Pym Particles.
The Atom first appeared in the Golden Age of comics circa 1940.
Pym Particles power Ant-Man. When he becomes small, he retains his regular human strength, but his strength and endurance increase with his size. He can also use his helmet to communicate with ants and project his voice when he’s small. He’s also a world-renowned scientist with Ph.D’s in both biochemistry and nanotechnology.
Thanks to the remnants of a white-dwarf star whose energy he absorbed, The Atom has complete control of his body on a molecular level, meaning his power’s only limited by his imagination. He can not only increase and decrease his size, but also his mass, meaning he can become intangible and fly or be able to punch through concrete. He’s travelled through phone lines and fiber optic cable, and shrunk into Superman’s bloodstream to manually destroy Kryptonite.
Four people have taken on the shrinking powers of Ant-Man in Marvel Comics; the first and most well-known is Hank Pym, who made his debut in 1962; the second was Scott Lang (pictured above, left), who made his debut 1979; Eric O’Grady (pictured above, right) was #3, a low-level S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who stumbled on the suit and selfishly took the title for himself; number four was Chris McCarthy, who was accidentally shrunk down to ant-size and crushed by O’Grady taking the costume off.
Over the course of the last 75 years, there have been four different Atoms. Al Pratt (above, top) from the Golden Age in 1940; Ray Palmer from the Silver Age in 1961; Adam Cray (above, center), introduced in early Suicide Squad stories in 1990; and Ryan Choi (above, bottom), first introduced in 2006.
Ant-Man has made appearances in several Marvel direct-to-DVD movies, most notably Ultimate Avengers. He’ll be making his big screen debut in both Pym and Lang form in the MCU edition Ant-Man, opening wide in theaters tomorrow (July 17).
The Atom also has a handful of direct-to-DVD appearances to his credit, but is most notable for appearances on Justice League: Unlimited, Batman: The Brave and The Bold, and being played by Brandon Routh on The CW’s Arrow this past season.
Ant-Man is in theaters tomorrow July 17th!