Tiny But Mighty

I’m impressed with Ant Man. He’s one of the smallest superheroes there is, but wrong-doers are afraid of him regardless. They speak of Ant Man with respectful, slightly fearful tones. They talk about how they can’t get away with anything now that he’s on the radar. He’s a force to be reckoned with, and word has spread about his accomplishments. It takes a lot of personality to sell yourself like that when you’re a little guy, but Henry Pym manages to do it.

His reputation overrules his height. I know he retains the strength that this human size self possesses, but it still doesn’t seem like he would be a match for a gang of bad guys. It seems like they’d just have to jump and down enthusiastically to get him out of the picture or nail him with a well-timed punt. But, luckily for all of us, villains can often be blunt instruments who don’t think things through. Ant Man uses that combined with his tiny size to his advantage. His confidence means he enters a situation and just handles it.

Of course, his small stature gives him trouble at first. He forgets to plan for how little he will be and how that will change what he can easily reach. It’s only through some finagling that he is able to get the serum that returns him to his full stature. And then there’s that small part where he almost becomes lunch for an army of ants.

Seeing that made me thinking how easily Honey, I Shrunk the Kids could have become a superhero origin story. They just needed costumes!

Though they got off on the wrong foot, he changes his relationship with the ants. It’s an interesting dependency sort of friendly one. It’s interesting. He creates antennae to communicate with them in their language, and they help him get out of  several sticky situations – his miniature state does get him into unique types of trouble. The ants heed his calls for assistance and in some ways, they do act like an army. It’s not quite like Aquaman and his sea creatures, but it’s close.

Pym wouldn’t have survived long as a superhero without his intelligence. Well, to be fair, he wouldn’t have become Ant Man without it. Besides the notable feat of being able to transform himself and building the cybernetic helmet to talk with the ants, he had to learn how to operate from a place almost no humans are used to it. The world is not built for creatures that are only a few inches tall. It’s a different way of living and just figuring out how to get from point A to B is a challenge. Pym figures it out. Clothing is also tricky. If it doesn’t move with him as he transforms, well, he’d spend a lot of time walking around not wearing a thing. Luckily, Reed Richards helped him out and gave him clothing made from unstable molecules that will grow or shrink with him. It seems like Pym replicated the process for his costumes and later, for the Wasp.

I like when smart wins. Superheroic strength and speed are all good and well – I wouldn’t exactly turn any of those powers down if I fell into them – but having brains can be the difference between getting the job done or being a formidable foe who strikes fear into the heart of night (or something). And even though I enjoy seeing a good fight, watching a hero use his or her head to achieve victory or to get out of a terrible situation is more entertaining. I’d almost always bet on brains over brute force, and I’d definitely go that way if Ant Man was involved. He’s won fights with ingenuity again and again, and his odds only improved once he got the Wasp to stand by his side.

Besides, rooting for the little guy is fun.

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