Henry Pym

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See Marvel Comics * List of Marvel Comics characters *Ant-Man


Henry Pym the original Ant-Man
Henry Pym the original Ant-Man

Contents

Facts and Stats

  • Height: 6 ft.
  • Weight: 185 lbs.
  • Eyes: Blue
  • Hair: Blond
  • First appearance: Tales to Astonish #27 (Jan. 1962)

Summary

Dr. Henry "Hank" Pym is a comic-book scientist and superhero in the Marvel Comics universe. Created by editor and plotter Stan Lee, scripter Larry Lieber and penciler Jack Kirby, the character first appeared in Tales to Astonish #27 (Jan. 1962).

Publication history

Henry "Hank" Jonathan Pym debuted in a standalone science fiction story in the SF/fantasy anthology Tales to Astonish #27 (Jan. 1962), in the seven-page cover story, "The Man in the Ant Hill," about a scientist who tests a shrinking technology on himself. Eight issues later, the character and the technology were recruited for a new costumed-superhero feature, "Ant-Man," in the 13-page, three-chapter story "Return of the Ant-Man/An Army of Ants/The Ant-Man’s Revenge" in Tales to Astonish #35 (Sept. 1962). Both issues’ stories were by the same creative team of editor-plotter Stan Lee, scripter Larry Lieber, penciler Jack Kirby, and inker Dick Ayers. Joining Pym in #44 (June 1963) was his socialite girlfriend and laboratory assistant, Janet van Dyne, who adopted the identity of superheroine the Wasp and co-starred in all future Pym stories. The pair went on to become founding members of the superhero group the Avengers in that namesake comic-book series that debuted in 1963.

Pym adopted an alternate identity as the 10-foot-tall Giant-Man in Tales to Astonish #49 (Nov. 1963). He and the Wasp continued to star in the feature "Giant-Man" through #69 (July 1965), while simultaneously appearing in The Avengers through #15 (April 1965), after which the couple temporarily left the team.

Pym rejoined the Avengers and adopted the new identity of Goliath in The Avengers #28 (May 1966). Gradually falling to mental duress, he adopted a fourth superhero identity, Yellowjacket, in #59 (Dec. 1968). Temporarily eschewing a costumed persona, Pym joined the team the West Coast Avengers as a scientist and inventor, known simply as Doctor Pym, in West Coast Avengers Vol. 2, #21 (June 1987). He returned to the Avengers as the superhero Giant-Man in The Avengers Vol. 3, #1 (Feb. 1998). When the team disbanded after a series of tragedies, Pym, using the Yellowjacket persona again, took a leave of absence beginning with Vol. 3, #85 (Sept. 2004), alternately numbered Vol. 1, #500 in an anniversary return to the original series numbering. As Yellowjacket, Pym returned to the Avengers on a full-time basis as a leader of the 50-state superhero program, the Initiative, in Avengers: The Initiative #1 (April 2007).

Fictional character biography

Tales to Astonish #35 (Sept. 1962): Henry Pym’s costumed debut as Ant-Man. Cover art by Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers.
Tales to Astonish #35 (Sept. 1962): Henry Pym’s costumed debut as Ant-Man. Cover art by Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers.

Henry Pym is a biochemist initially married to a Hungarian woman, Maria Trovaya, who is later killed by the Hungarian Secret Police. Shortly afterward, Pym discovers what he calls "Pym particles," a rare group of subatomic particles from which he formulates a size-altering formula. Testing the solution on himself, Pym discovers that one type of particles shrinks objects while the other restores an object to its natural size. Pym shrinks himself to the size of an insect and has a dangerous encounter with ants from a nearby anthill. Tales to Astonish #27 (Jan. 1962) After restoring himself and undertaking an exhaustive study of ants, Pym constructs a cybernetic helmet that allows him to communicate with and control ants. Pym designs a costume and reinvents himself as the superhero Ant-Man. Tales to Astonish #35 (Sept. 1962) On his first adventure, Pym defeats several KGB agents trying to steal his formula for an anti-radiation gas.

Pym is later contacted by Dr. Vernon Van Dyne, who asks for Pym’s help in contacting aliens. Pym refuses, but becomes attracted to Vernon’s daughter, Janet. Vernon Van Dyne is later killed by an alien outlaw and Janet asks for Hank’s help to avenge his death. Pym then reveals his secret identity to her, and uses Pym particles to graft wasp wings beneath her shoulders, which appear when Janet shrinks. Janet assumes the alias of the Wasp, and together they track down and defeat Vernon’s killer, forming a working partnership and a romantic relationship.

Avengers founder

Tales to Astonish #56 (June 1964). Pym in his first Giant-Man uniform. Cover art by Jack Kirby and Chic Stone.
Tales to Astonish #56 (June 1964). Pym in his first Giant-Man uniform. Cover art by Jack Kirby and Chic Stone.

Pym, together with the Wasp, Iron Man, Thor and the Hulk, went on to found the superhero team the Avengers. The Avengers #1 (Sept. 1963) Shortly after the group’s formation, Pym developed a gas and later tablet that could increase his size, and using these became Giant-Man Tales to Astonish #49 (Nov. 1963) and later Goliath. Avengers #28 (May 1966) Unfortunately, this change was driven by an inferiority complex and feelings of inadequacy when comparing his powers to those of Thor or Iron Man.<ref name=af>Miniseries Avengers Forever #1—12 (Dec. 1998—Feb. 2000) This situation was exacerbated when Pym found himself trapped in giant form for a time. Avengers #28—35 Pym then suffers a serious setback when he creates the robot Ultron,Avengers #54 which becomes sentient and plots to kill Pym and the rest of the human race. Pym then has a mental breakdown and reappears at Avengers Mansion as the cocky "Yellowjacket," Avengers #59 (Dec. 1968) which he later speculates<ref name=af /> was the result of his subconscious desire to remove the inhibitions that kept him from proposing to Janet. Pym recovers after the two are married.

Downfall and redemption

Pym, now using the Yellowjacket identity, and his new wife return to the Avengers briefly before taking a leave of absence so that he can pursue full-time research. The Avengers encounter Pym at the start of the Kree-Skrull War, when Pym has been reverted to a caveman-like state by the alien Kree. Avengers #90 (July 1971) After Pym is restored to normal, he and Janet retire from the Avengers, although Pym returns briefly as Ant-Man to repair the android Avenger the Vision. Avengers #93 (Sept. 1971)

Following two adventures alongside the Defenders,Giant-Size Defenders #4 (May 1975) and Defenders #23—25 (May—July 1975) Pym returns to the Avengers (again as Yellowjacket) at the insistence of his wife, but is now uncomfortable in his role as a super-hero. Pym’s vulnerability is exploited by Ultron, who brainwashes him—causing Pym to regress back to his original Ant-Man costume and personality, forgetting all of his subsequent adventures with the team. As Ant-Man Pym attacks the Avengers until stopped by Janet. Avengers #160 After Ultron’s brainwashing is reversed, Pym re-joins the team as Yellowjacket until he is forced out when the roster is restructured by government liaison Henry Peter Gyrich. Avengers #181 (March 1979)

Pym and the Wasp later rejoin the Avengers, but by this stage Pym has begun to mentally deteriorate and is verbally abusive towards Janet. On their first mission after rejoining the Avengers, Pym attacks a foe who had ceased fighting. Leader of the team Captain America brings charges against Pym, and he is suspended from Avengers duty pending the verdict of a court-martial. At this point, Pym suffers a complete breakdown, and becomes extremely paranoid and violent. Pym then concocts a plan to salvage his credibility—he builds a robot and programs it to launch an attack on the Avengers at his court-martial. Pym then plans to expose the robot’s weakness at the critical moment and regain his good standing with the Avengers. Janet, however, discovers the plan and begs Pym to stop, at which point he strikes her. Although the robot does attack the Avengers as planned, the Wasp reveals Pym’s plan, and together the Avengers defeat it. Pym is subsequently expelled from the Avengers. Avengers #212—213 (Oct.—Nov. 1981)

Avengers #28 (May 1966): Giant-Man become Goliath. Cover art by Jack Kirby and Frank Giacoia
Avengers #28 (May 1966): Giant-Man become Goliath. Cover art by Jack Kirby and Frank Giacoia

Left penniless and friendless in the wake of his disgrace, Pym is then manipulated by his old foe Egghead (believed at the time to be dead), who tricks him into stealing the national reserve of the metal adamantium. Upon leaving the scene of the crime, Pym is confronted by the Avengers, whom he had anonymously summoned, but now is forced to fight. Pym is defeated and blamed for the theft, as Egghead skillfully erases all evidence of his involvement. Blaming a supposedly dead villain is taken as further proof of Pym’s madness and he is incarcerated.Avengers #217 (March 1982) During Pym’s imprisonment, he suffers another setback when Janet begins a relationship with Tony Stark, the alter ego of fellow Avenger Iron Man. Avengers #224 (Oct. 1982)

Still not fully satisfied with his victory over his archenemy, Egghead then reforms the supervillain team the Masters of Evil and kidnaps Pym at his trial and creates the impression that Pym himself staged his own escape. Egghead then plans to use Pym in another of his schemes, but is tricked when Pym uses Eggehead’s own apparatus to defeat the entire roster of the Masters of Evil. In a final act of desperation, Egghead attempts to kill Pym, but is stopped and accidentally killed by the Avenger Hawkeye, whose brother had been murdered by Egghead years ago. With the real perpetrator exposed, Pym is cleared of all charges. After an emotional farewell with Janet and his former team mates at Avengers Mansion, Pym leaves to devote his time to full time research. Avengers #228—230 (Feb.—Apr. 1983)

Return to the Avengers

Pym later rejoins the Avengers, first in an advisory role and then as a full-fledged member (as the non-costumed Doctor Pym) of the West Coast Avengers,West Coast Avengers Vol. 2, #21 (June 1987) and later rejoining the East Coast team as Giant-Man. Avengers #368 (Nov. 1993) During this period, he and the Wasp became friends again, and eventually resumed a romantic relationship. Pym faces a moment of truth soon after this, as together with the Wasp and many of the other Avengers, he apparently sacrifices himself to stop the villain Onslaught, but actually exists in a pocket universe for a year before returning to the mainstream universe. Avengers Vol. 2, #1—13 (Nov. 1996—Nov. 1997)

Avengers #59 (Dec. 1968). Pym’s debut as Yellowjacket. Note also Pym in the second Goliath uniform, in this stylized tableau. Cover art by John Buscema and George Klein
Avengers #59 (Dec. 1968). Pym’s debut as Yellowjacket. Note also Pym in the second Goliath uniform, in this stylized tableau. Cover art by John Buscema and George Klein

Pym makes a valuable contribution once the team reforms,Avengers Vol. 3, #4 (May 1998) and as Giant-Man he scores victories over both Imus Champion Avengers/Squadron Supreme Annual ’98 (Sept. 1998) and his flawed creation Ultron. Avengers Vol. 3, #19—22 (Aug.—Oct. 1999) While in his Giant-Man guise, both he and the Wasp are plucked out of the timestream by the being Immortus, and team up with several Avengers from various periods in the team’s history, including the mentally unbalanced Yellowjacket that the Avengers first encountered.<ref name=af /> Pym’s psychological problems worsen during an encounter with the sorcerer Kulan Gath, as he is temporarily transformed complete with a Yellowjacket-style persona. The subsequent attempt to break the spell results in another Henry Pym being created from the extradimensional bio-mass Pym used to grow, with each Pym reflecting an aspect of his personality—Giant-Man the thoughtful, scientific aspect and Yellowjacket the impulsive apsect. During the events of the Kang Dynasty, Avengers Vol. 3, #41—55 (June 2001—Aug. 2002), Avengers Annual 2001 (Sept. 2001) the two Pyms began to deteriorate from being apart, but were restored when the Wasp helps them realise that the two need each other. The integration of their personalities enables Pym to resolve his past problems, and he decides to adopt his Yellowjacket costume once more. Avengers Annual 2001 (Sept. 2001) After the events of Avengers Disassembled and the disbanding of the team, Pym and Janet left the team to re-kindle their relationship in England. Avengers: Finale (Nov. 2004)

Soon after this Pym and the Wasp and a number of other metahumans are then transported to a "Battle World" by a god-like being to battle each other.Beyond! #1—6 (2006) During the events of Civil War, Pym adopts his Yellowjacket persona and sides with Iron Man, believing superheroes should register with the government and be held responsible for their actions. Together with Reed Richards and Tony Stark, Pym creates a clone of Thor to help against the anti-registration heroes, but is horrified when the clone kills Bill Foster—who has had taken up Pym’s former identity, Goliath—in battle.Civil War #7 (2007) Pym is later kidnapped by Young Avenger member Hulkling, so that the young Skrull-Kree Hybrid can impersonate Pym and free several captive anti-registration heroes in anticipation of the final battle between the two factions.Template:Fact

At the conclusion of the Civil War, Pym is named "Man of the Year" by Time magazine for his role. Pym then becomes one of the chief administrators at Camp Hammond, a U.S. military base for the training of registered superheroes in the government program the Initiative. He and the Wasp call off their attempt at reconciliation, and Pym becomes involved in a romantic relationship with the superheroine Tigra.

During the Avengers: The Initiative storyline "Killed in Action," Yellowjacket is blasted and seemingly vaporised by a mad clone of MVP.

Powers and abilities

Dr. Hank Pym is a scientific genius of the highest order with expertise in the fields of quantum physics, robotics/cybernetics, artificial intelligence, biochemistry, and even entomology. Notable achievements in robotics include the invention of Ultron and occasional repair of the android Vision. Pym also discovered the self-titled "Pym particles" that enable mass to be shunted or gained from an alternate dimension.

"Doctor Pym." Detail, cover of West Coast Avengers Vol. 2, #21 (June 1987). Art by Al Milgrom and Joe Sinnott
"Doctor Pym." Detail, cover of West Coast Avengers Vol. 2, #21 (June 1987). Art by Al Milgrom and Joe Sinnott

Pym has experimented with size-shifting for much of his adult life, initially via ingested capsules and later via particle-filled gas. Enough exposure eventually allows Pym to change size at will, as well as change the sizes of other living beings or inanimate objects. He is able to attain a stated maximum height of roughly 100 feet. Pym’s costume is composed of unstable molecules and automatically adapts to his shifting sizes.

As Yellowjacket and Ant-Man he had the normal human strength of a man of his age, height, and build who engages in intensive regular exercise. He retained this level of strength even when, as Ant-Man or Yellowjacket, he shrank to insect-size. At giant size as Giant-Man or Goliath, Pym's strength varied according to the height he achieved: at 10 feet tall, Pym could lift (press) 1000 pounds, at 25 feet tall he could lift (press) 10 tons, and at 100 feet tall, Pym could lift (press) 50 tons. The higher Pym grew past 25 feet, the more of his strength he had to use simply to support his own enormous mass.

He also uses a variety of aids, including a cybernetic helmet for communicating with ants (Ant-Man) and artificial wings and bio-blasters built into his gloves (Yellowjacket). Since his days with the West Coast Avengers as Doctor Pym, he has also armed himself with a variety of weaponry, provisions, and scientific instruments, which were stored in shrunken form in the pockets of his uniform.

Other versions

Earth X

In the alternate future of Earth X, Pym is one of the Avengers killed in battle against the Absorbing Man.Miniseries Earth X #0—12 (March 1999—April 2000)

Fantastic Four: The End

In this alternate future, Pym is seen to be wearing his Goliath costume, and has two children who aspire to become superheroes, calling themselves Beetle Boy and the Wasp.Miniseries Fantastic Four:The End #1—6 (Jan.—June 2007)

MC2

In the MC2 alternate universe, Hank and Janet are survived by their children Hope Pym and Henry Pym Jr., who become the supervillains Red Queen and Big Man respectively. Big Man later reforms.Avengers Next #1—5 (Jan.—March 2007; published biweekly)

Marvel Zombies

On Earth-2149, the reality of the Marvel Zombies, Pym uses his Giant-Man identity and is one of the many heroes infected and transformed into a flesh-eating zombie. After being turned into a zombie, he captures and hides his friend T’Challa, the Black Panther, to keep as an emergency food supply. Marvel Zombies #1—5 (2005) Pym later assumes leadership of the "cosmic" zombie group, the Galacti. Marvel Zombies 2 #1—2 (2007)

Ultimate Henry Pym

Ultimate Giant-Man. Scene from Ultimates #6 (2002). Art by Bryan Hitch.
Ultimate Giant-Man. Scene from Ultimates #6 (2002). Art by Bryan Hitch.

In the Ultimate Marvel continuity, Henry "Hank" Pym is a brilliant but mentally fragile scientist who takes Prozac and is married to Janet Pym. He is chosen to work on the "Super Soldier Project" for S.H.I.E.L.D. under Nick Fury. Hank is also the superhero "Giant-Man," able to grow to 59 feet and 11 inches (60 feet being the point where the human body cannot support its own mass). He gains his powers after experimenting on the blood of his wife Jan, who is a mutant. Ultimates #1—13 (March 2002—April 2004) After Hank’s abuse of his wife and subsequent flee/discharge from the Ultimates, Giant Man joins the Ultimate version of the Defenders. Ultimates Vol. 2, #7 This was, however, short lived and Giant Man defected to the Liberators, although aided the Ultimates in a final battle between the two teams. Ultimates Vol. 2, #9—12

In other media

Television

Films

A live-action feature film entitled, Ant-Man, is to be directed by Edgar Wright for a scheduled 2009 release. Wright has stated that the film will include both Pym, as a 60's era Ant-Man, and Scott Lang as Pym's successor in contemporary times.

Video game

Cards and miniature Games

Pym appears in his various guises in the HeroClix miniatures game and in the Vs. System card game.

Toys

  • In 1999, a toy line was produced for the Avengers: United They Stand cartoon series, with an action figure of Hank as Ant-Man released.
  • Toy Biz released a figure of Hank Pym in his Giant-Man costume in an Original Avengers box set that also included a miniature Ant-Man figure.
  • Toy Biz released the same figure in Series 4 of their Marvel Legends toyline a few years later, only as a repaint of Hank in his Goliath outfit. The figure also came included with miniature Ant-Man and Wasp figures. The figure was reissued in ML7, again as a short-pack.
  • In 2006, an exclusive series of Marvel Legends figures was released to Wal*Mart stores in the United States. This series required the purchasing 10 of the figures in the assortment to complete the "Build-A-Figure" toy of Giant-Man.
  • In 2007, after Hasbro took over Marvel Legends, a Hank Pym in his Yellowjacket persona was released with the second series. A mini Yellowjacket had previously been included with Wonder Man in the ToyBiz Legendary Riders series.

Bibliography

References

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