Last one of the characters appearing in Ant-Man, a secondary antagonist this time: Mitchell Carson, portrayed by Martin Donovan. In the movie, Carson appears both in the flashbacks and in the present story: first he’s introduced as the Head of Defense for S.H.I.E.L.D. (and the one responsible for Hank Pym‘s dismissal from the agency), then he’s revealed to be a mole from HYDRA. In the present story, he works for Darren Cross to obtain for him Pym’s tech, and judging from his storyline, this is not the last we’ve seen of him. Anyway, let’s see who he is in the comics!
Not much is known about Mitchell Carson’s early life, apart from the fact that he didn’t live exactly a normal and happy childhood. He apparently had some daddy issues, to the point that, at age fifteen, he ended up killing his own father, making it look like an accident. This (allegedly) traumatic event triggered something into Mitch’s personality, and he abandoned himself to a spiral of violence, but a clever one: he committed many homicides, but always managed to get away with it, and never been caught or even suspected for his crimes. His criminal record was so immaculate that he even managed to enter S.H.I.E.L.D., world’s greatest security agency, and managed to climb the ranks up to become a security officer. Carson’s true nature went mostly unnoticed by his superiors, while he enjoyed channelling his violence through “legit” ways, such as brutality towards S.H.I.E.L.D.’s prisoners. The first time Carson felt totally powerless was when Spider-Man, Captain America, X-23 and Black Widow captured an alternate-Earth version of Tony Stark, a techno-psychopath who went by the name Iron Maniac. The alternate Stark was placed into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody, but he managed to adapt to the sedatives used on him and to reactivate his cellmate, a Life Model Decoy of former criminal Diamondback. The duo broke out of their cells, and vanquished all the resistence they found on their way, overpowering also Mitch Carson and his security team. Again, only the intervention of superheroes (the New Avengers) saved the day, while S.H.I.E.L.D. could do nothing but stand and watch. Mitch Carson was a man used to have control, and the sensation of being powerless was unbearable to him: that’s why he signed up for a dangerous experiment to select the one who would have become the new Ant-Man, the user of Hank Pym’s new suit after Scott Lang‘s demise.
Predictably enough, Carson turned out to be the one best qualified to become the new Ant-Man, and won the title. Just before he was given his new suit, however, a low-ranking officer, Chris McCarthy, decided to try it just to learn how it felt…unfortunately, that happened immediately before an attack from HYDRA. During the battle McCarthy was killed, and his best friend, another of Carson’s subordinates, stole it: it was Eric O’Grady, an agent lacking the basic morality, who wanted to use the suite for personal benefit. Enraged, Carson started a wild hunt to track down the suit and the man who had stole it from him, and his skills and experience paid out: he found the new Ant-Man effortlessly, but during their first battle he lost to his adversary, and he came back home with a face horribly disfigured by burnings. This was more than enough to make “the dark Carson” emerge once again, and the security agent ended up stealing an older Ant-Man suit and don it to hunt for the new one. Mitch had learnt who was the man behind the helmet, and it was easier now for him to track him down: confronting O’Grady, this time he was ready, and he easily cornered his enemy thanks to his superior skills and training. Carson defeated O’Grady, but instead of arresting him he preferred to have some fun with him, a payback for his burnt face: he brought him to an isolated place and started torturing him, in the meanwhile revealing to his prisoner some details from his past just to scare him even more. Mitch would have certainly killed Eric, but he didn’t know that the suit he had stolen had a position tracker: Iron Man had been sent to retrieve the suit, and he found Carson torturing O’Grady. The hero had no difficulty in arresting Carson, and charged him of attempted murder and theft of highly dangerous tech. Mitch Carson was brought back to S.H.I.E.L.D. and put in custody, but it would have been just a matter of time before he would have come back to claim what was his.
Mitch Carson is a violent and brutal man, who barely contains his darkest nature by channeling his instincts into a job that allows him to vent from time to time. As a high-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. officer, he’s extremely well trained in both armed and unarmed combat, and he has quite an expertise in the use of explosives and firearms, as well as in espionage and intelligence gathering. During the time he donned the Ant-Man suit, he was able to shrink to minimal size, to control ants, and to augment his physical strenght along with density. With all the abilities of a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and none of the morality, Carson is an extremely dangerous man, a wolf hiding among shepherd dogs, ready to bare his fangs.