Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Army Ants: The Untold Story (Part 1 of 3)

I left my story unfinished some years ago. I had a plan for a final showdown between the Wasp Empire and the Army of Ants, which would have been basically my version of Return of the Jedi. The largely unpublished sequence, called the Fall of Valhalla, is as follows…

The Fall of Valhalla

This would have started in issue 25, and run through issue 36, as a 12-issue storyline and ultimately the third ‘graphic novel’ of the series. Let's pretend a bi-monthly schedule, so ideally these would have appeared in 2000 and 2001, since the previous run ended in 1998, and I needed at least a year to recharge after that. I was earning my teaching certification at the time, so I probably wouldn't have had time even if I had the motivation and inspiration, but since we're revising history, let's go for it.

The Wasp Empress is on her deathbed, having been poisoned by General Groth (leader of the fly army, and ally of the wasps). General Groth  and Colonel Irons (a traitorous ant who is now a cyborg) had assumed control of the Wasp Hive. 

They frame Baron Sh’Ak (leader of the hornets and right hand to the Empress) with the crime. He manages to escape the Hive before his staged court martial and execution, rendezvousing with the ants. Some of his elite hornet soldiers realize Sh’Ak had been framed, and know that the primary culprit is General Groth.

When last we left our ants, most (including the Ant Queen) were imprisoned by the Wasp Empire deep within the bowels of Valhalla Complex, the Imperial Wasp Hive. They had been taken captive when the Ant Hill fell during the Year of the Ant storyline. Led by Sarge, these prisoners stage a breakout, and begin a riot within the deepest parts of the hive. They are aided by the general chaos within the hive, as some rank and file doubt who they should be following, and the chain of command starts to break down.

Concurrently, a strike team of remaining ants who had not been imprisoned when the Ant Hill fell (Gunner, Vince, Phil, Zak, Honeydew… and Baron Sh’Ak who had joined them as his only remaining option) launch a raid. They intentionally crash a stealth jet of ladybug design into the tether that attached the hive to the tree. They set bombs within to explode.

Entering the hive, they fight their way to the rioting prisoners led by Sarge. Together, they fight their way to the hangar bay. There, all don gliders and parachutes, fleeing the hive. At the last, the team detonates the explosives within the stealth jet, severing the tether that had connected the hive to the tree. It falls twenty meters (in a story called Terror at Twenty Meters), collapsing when it hits the ground. It is left unknown who within survived the fall, and who perished, but the ants presume that the bulk of the Wasp Empire is wiped out in the fall, and the bulk of its military might - its vast weapons of war - could not have survived the devastation of the hive.

For all intents and purposes the war is over. Baron Sh’Ak remains to rebuild the Wasp nation, although he declares that he seeks no further enmity with the ants, and that he may lead his people to start again elsewhere. This is left as an unresolved thread, and I had no plan for what, if anything, to do with this.

In an epilogue, the ants establish a new temporary hill, while the Queen reveals that Sarge had been the love of her life; she could not marry him because of his common caste, but in this new world, she is casting off old rules and she will marry him. They wed in a small ceremony and together they begin to oversee the restoration of the ant nation.


  1. Michael! I stopped checking your blog about 10 months ago due to an insanely busy and much-tougher-than-usual school year, so I decided to check in now that I'm in my second week of summer and all caught up on the things I neglect while teaching. Man! I missed SO MUCH! I mean, I'm used to you doing incredibly cool things during those several-month-breaks that life forces me to take, but you've been more creatively busy than usual, it seems. I spent the day catching up on all the posts that I've missed, am really enjoying the quality of all that you've produced, and will be ordering copies soon. Also, I'm SO SORRY to learn that your cancer returned and that you had to suffer through another round of treatments. I'm heartened to hear that these treatments seem to have gone as smoothly as such treatments can, and that you are in relatively good health given the circumstances. Needless to say, I'm wishing you and yours all the best going forward. I'll check this space regularly over the next couple of months, and hope that next academic year isn't so crazy that I have to disappear for months (or even a year) at a time.

    1. Thanks! It's good to hear from you, and hope you and yours are well.