Dr. Henry "Hank" Pym is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. 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). The character, a scientist that debuted in a standalone science-fiction anthology story, returned several issues later as the original iteration of the superhero Ant-Man with the power to shrink to the size of an insect. Alongside his crime-fighting partner/wife Janet van Dyne, he goes on to assume other superhero identities, including the size-changing Giant-Man and Goliath; the insect-themed Yellowjacket; and briefly the Wasp. He is a founding member of the superhero team the Avengers.
Debuting in the Silver Age of Comic Books, Hank Pym has featured in other Marvel-endorsed products such as animated films; arcade and video games; television series and merchandise such as action figures and trading cards. Michael Douglas portrays the character in the 2015 Marvel Studios film Ant-Man and will reprise his role in the upcoming film Ant-Man and the Wasp.
|First appearance||As Hank Pym:
Tales to Astonish #27 (January 1962)
Tales to Astonish #35 (September 1962)
Tales to Astonish #49 (November 1963)
The Avengers #28 (May 1966)
The Avengers #59 (December 1968)
Secret Invasion: Requiem #1 (February 2009)
Avengers: Rage of Ultron #1 (April 2015)
|Created by||Stan Lee
|Full name||Henry Jonathan "Hank" Pym|
|Partnerships||Wasp (Janet van Dyne)|
|Notable aliases||Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket, Wasp, Scientist Supreme, Ultron|
|Abilities||Leading authority in myrmecology research
Size-shifting from nearly microscopic to ~100 feet gigantic (both at extremes)
Ability to transfer his size-shifting ability to other beings and objects
Bio-Energy Projection, also known as a Bio-Sting (particularly during his periods as Ant-Man & Yellowjacket)
Maintains strength of normal size in shrunken state
Flight using grafted wings (as Yellowjacket)
Telepathic communication with ants using a cybernetic helmet (as Ant-Man)
Superhuman strength, stamina, durability and mass in giant form (as Giant-Man, Goliath and Yellowjacket)
Hank Pym debuted in a seven-page solo cover story titled "The Man in the Ant Hill" (about a character who tests shrinking technology on himself) in the science fiction/fantasy anthology Tales to Astonish #27 (cover date Jan. 1962). The creative team was editor-plotter Stan Lee, scripter Larry Lieber, penciler Jack Kirby, and inker Dick Ayers, with Lee stating in 2008: "I did one comic book called 'The Man in the Ant Hill' about a guy who shrunk down and there were ants or bees chasing him. That sold so well that I thought making him into a superhero might be fun."
As a result, Pym was revived eight issues later as the costumed superhero Ant-Man who starred 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). The character's adventures became an ongoing feature in the title. Issue #44 (June 1963) featured the debut of his socialite girlfriend and laboratory assistant Janet van Dyne. Janet adopted the costumed identity of the Wasp, and co-starred in Pym's subsequent appearances in Tales to Astonish. Wasp also on occasion acted as a framing-sequence host for backup stories in the title. In September 1963, Lee and Kirby created the superhero title The Avengers, and Ant-Man and Wasp were established in issue #1 as founding members of the team.
Decades later, Lee theorized as to why "Ant-Man never became one of our top sellers or had his own book," saying,
I loved Ant-Man, but the stories were never really successful. In order for Ant-Man to be successful, he had to be drawn this small next to big things and you would be getting pictures that were visually interesting. The artists who drew him, no matter how much I kept reminding them, they kept forgetting that fact. They would draw him standing on a tabletop and they would draw a heroic-looking guy. I would say, 'Draw a matchbook cover next to him, so we see the difference in size.' But they kept forgetting. So when you would look at the panels, you thought you were looking at a normal guy wearing an underwear costume like all of them. It didn't have the interest.
Pym began what would be a constant shifting of superhero identities in Tales to Astonish, becoming the 12 ft (3.7 m) tall Giant-Man in issue #49 (Nov. 1963). Pym and van Dyne continued to costar in the title until issue #69 (July 1965), while simultaneously appearing in The Avengers until issue #15 (April 1965), after which the couple temporarily left the team.
Pym rejoined the Avengers and adopted the new identity Goliath in Avengers #28 (May 1966). Gradually falling to mental strain, he adopted the fourth superhero identity Yellowjacket in issue #59 (Dec. 1968). Pym reappeared as Ant-Man in Avengers #93 (Nov. 1971) and for issues #4–10 starred in the lead story of the first volume of Marvel Feature (July 1972 – July 1973). During this run he appeared in a redesigned costume with a nail as a weapon. After appearing occasionally as Yellowjacket in the 1980s and battling mental and emotional issues, Pym would temporarily abandon a costumed persona. Pym joined the West Coast Avengers as a scientist and inventor in West Coast Avengers vol. 2, #21 (June 1987). The character 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).
Following the death of van Dyne, a grieving Pym took on yet another superhero identity as the new iteration of Wasp, in tribute to the woman he had married and divorced by this time, in the one-shot publication Secret Invasion: Requiem (Jan. 2009). Giant-Man appeared as a supporting character in Avengers Academy from issue #1 (Aug. 2010) through its final issue #39 (Jan. 2013). Pym returned as the Wasp in the mini-series Ant-Man & The Wasp (Jan. 2011), and also appeared as a regular character in the 2010-2013 Secret Avengers series, from issue #22 (April 2012) through its final issue #37 (March 2013).
After Secret Avengers, Pym joined the Avengers A.I. after beating his creation, Ultron. Then, he appeared in many comic books like Daredevil (Vol. 3 and 4) and the graphic novel Rage of Ultron.
Biochemist Dr. Henry "Hank" Pym discovers an unusual set of subatomic particles he labels "Pym particles". Entrapping these within two separate serums, he creates a size-altering formula and a reversal formula, testing them on himself. Reduced to the size of an insect, he becomes trapped in an anthill before he eventually escapes and uses the reversal formula to restore himself to his normal size. Deciding the serums are too dangerous to exist, he destroys them. Shortly afterward, he reconsiders his decision and recreates his serums. Pym's experience in the anthill inspires him to study ants, and he constructs a cybernetic helmet that allows him to communicate with and control them. Pym designs a costume made of unstable molecules to prevent bites or scratches from the ants, and reinvents himself as the superhero Ant-Man. After several adventures, Pym is contacted by Dr. Vernon van Dyne asking for aid in contacting alien life. Pym refuses, but is attracted to Vernon’s socialite daughter Janet van Dyne. Vernon is subsequently killed by an alien criminal who teleports himself to Earth, and Janet asks for Pym's help in avenging Vernon's death. Pym reveals his secret identity to Janet, 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 find and defeat Vernon's killer. The pair become founding members of the superhero team known as the Avengers.
Pym eventually adopts his first alternate identity as the 12-foot-tall Giant-Man. He and the Wasp develop a romantic relationship. In comics three decades later, a flashback reveals Pym adopted the Giant-Man identity out of feelings of inadequacy when compared to powerful teammates Iron Man and Thor. Shortly afterward, Pym and van Dyne take a leave of absence from the Avengers.
Pym adopts the new identity of Goliath upon returning. A mishap traps the character in giant form for several issues, and affects his self-esteem. After regaining control of his size-shifting ability, Pym creates the robot Ultron that accidentally achieves sentience and becomes one of the Avengers's greatest foes. During a botched experiment, Pym inhales chemicals that induce schizophrenia, and suffering from a personality crisis, reappears at Avengers Mansion as the cocky Yellowjacket, claiming to have disposed of Pym. Only the Wasp realizes it is Pym and takes advantage of his offer of marriage. Pym eventually recovers from the chemicals during a battle with the Circus of Crime at the wedding.
After several adventures with the Avengers, including another encounter with Ultron, the pair take another leave of absence. The heroes reencounter Hank Pym at the beginning of the Kree-Skrull War, and once again as the Ant-Man persona and has a series of solo adventures.
After aiding fellow superhero team known as the Defenders as Yellowjacket, Pym returns to the Avengers. He is eventually captured by an upgraded Ultron that brainwashes his creator, causing the character to regress to his original Ant-Man costume and personality — arriving at Avengers Mansion, thinking it to be the very first meeting of the team. Seeing several unfamiliar members, Pym attacks the team until stopped by the Wasp. After Ultron's brainwashing is reversed, Pym rejoins the Avengers as Yellowjacket. Pym is forced to briefly leave the team when the roster is restructured by government liaison Henry Peter Gyrich.
Also at this time, he noticed Scott Lang's theft of the Ant-Man suit. After Darren Cross's defeat and aware of Lang's use of the stolen goods, Pym let Lang keep the equipment albeit only to uphold the law.
Returning 14 issues later, Hank Pym participates in several missions until, after demonstrating hostile behavior toward Janet van Dyne, he attacks a foe from behind once the opponent had ceased fighting. Captain America suspends Yellowjacket from Avengers duty pending the verdict of a court-martial. Pym suffers a mental breakdown and concocts a plan to salvage his credibility by building a robot, Salvation-1, and programming it to launch an attack on the Avengers that he will stop using the robot’s weakness at the critical moment, in hopes of regaining his good standing. The Wasp discovers the plan and begs Pym to stop, whereupon he strikes her. Jim Shooter, the writer of this story, says he intended only that Pym accidentally strike her while gesturing at her dismissively, and that artist Bob Hall misinterpreted. Pym is subsequently expelled from the Avengers, and Janet divorces him.
Left penniless, Pym is manipulated by an old foe, the presumed-dead Egghead tricking him into stealing the national reserve of the metal adamantium. Pym is confronted by the Avengers (whom he had covertly summoned), and after being defeated is blamed for the theft, as Egghead erases all evidence of his involvement. Blaming an ostensibly dead villain is taken as further proof of Pym’s madness and he is incarcerated. During Pym’s imprisonment, Janet has a brief relationship with Tony Stark. Egghead later involves himself, and while attempting to kill Pym is himself accidentally killed by Hawkeye as the latter's brother had been murdered by Egghead years ago. With the real perpetrator exposed, Pym is cleared of all charges. After bidding farewell to Janet and his teammates, Pym leaves to devote his full-time to research.
Pym reappears in the West Coast Avengers, first in an advisory role, and then as a full member in a non-costumed capacity. He begins a short relationship with teammate Tigra, and after a verbal taunting by old foe Whirlwind contemplates suicide, but is stopped by the heroine Firebird. Pym and Janet eventually resume a romantic relationship.
The character eventually returns to the Avengers, joining the East Coast team as Giant-Man. The pair, together with many of the other Avengers, apparently sacrifice themselves to stop the villain Onslaught, but actually exist in a pocket universe for a year before returning to the mainstream Marvel Universe.
Hank Pym returns and aids the team as Giant-Man, and makes a significant contribution by defeating criminal mastermind Imus Champion and his flawed creation Ultron, simultaneously overcoming his old issues of guilt over Ultron's crimes — revealed to be due to him having used his own brain patterns to create Ultron, and so believing that Ultron's attitude reflects his darker side.
During the Destiny War between Kang the Conqueror and Immortus, two versions of Hank Pym are drawn in: Giant-Man of the present and Yellowjacket immediately prior to his marriage to Janet van Dyne. Yellowjacket briefly betrays the team to Immortus and the powerful Time-Keepers try to create a timeline where he will not turn back into Pym, but he rejects this decision in time to help his allies. Observing the final battle, Libra - who brought the team together by using the Destiny Force to tap into his subconscious awareness of the cosmic balance - reflects that both Pyms were necessary so that Yellowjacket's betrayal could bring the team into the right position to attack the Time-Keepers, while Pym's presence as Giant-Man both provided a stable support and irritated Yellowjacket to provoke his own actions.
Back in the present, an encounter with Kulan Gath results in Pym being split into his two personas of Pym and Yellowjacket, after a spell cast by Gath temporarily transforms Pym into a swashbuckler-style Yellowjacket, followed by the Yellowjacket persona manifesting a physical presence from the extradimensional bio-mass Pym uses to grow. After the Giant-Man Pym spends some time appearing almost emotionally stunted, reciting facts with no sense of emotional depth even when facing the new threat of a supercharged Count Nefaria, the Yellowjacket Pym replaces him, only for his impulsive nature to making a situation worse when Diablo turns an entire village into variations of the Hulk, Yellowjacket's plan to stop the Hulks resulting in them merging into one massive Hulk before he can shrink it down to a more manageable level, requiring them to bring in the original Hulk to essentially merge with the other Hulks and force them to split. The two Pyms begin to deteriorate from being apart, but are restored when the Wasp helps the two halves realize they need each other. Pym is eventually able to resolve his problems and adopts his Yellowjacket persona once again.
After the events of the "Avengers Disassembled" storyline, Pym takes a leave of absence, and in the one-shot title Avengers: Finale, the character and Janet leave for England to rekindle their relationship. Pym and Janet's relationship fails and it is revealed in flashback during the Secret Invasion storyline that he has been replaced by an alien of the shapeshifting Skrull race. The impostor Yellowjacket, the Skrull Criti Noll, is a central character in the Civil War storyline, joining those heroes that support the Superhuman Registration Act. At the conclusion of the Civil War, the impostor is named "Man of the Year" by Time magazine for his role in freeing several captive anti-registration heroes.
Noll becomes one of the administrators at Camp Hammond, a U.S. military base in Stamford, Connecticut, for the training of registered superheroes in the government program The Initiative. He ends the attempt at reconciliation with Janet and begins a romantic relationship with Tigra before eventually being exposed and defeated by the hero Crusader. Following a final battle between Earth's heroes and the Skrulls, the real Pym is found with other "replaced" heroes in a Skrull vessel. After Janet is seemingly killed in battle, Pym takes on a new superhero persona, the Wasp. in tribute to her. He rejoins the Avengers and eventually leads the team.
The cosmic entity Eternity reveals to Pym that he is Earth's "Scientist Supreme", the scientific counterpart to Earth's Sorcerer Supreme. The Norse trickster-god Loki later claims to have been posing as Eternity in order to manipulate Pym.
Hank Pym creates Avengers Academy, a program to help train young people with newly acquired superpowers. Pym returns to his Giant-Man identity in Avengers Academy #7. Pym later joins the superhero team known as the Secret Avengers. When a future version of Pym's sentient robot Ultron conquers the world of the present in the "Age of Ultron" storyline, a time-travel plan involving Wolverine and the Invisible Woman succeeds in having the past Pym make a change in his creation of Ultron, which destroys the robot with a computer virus.
Pym and Monica Chang, A.I. Division Chief of the espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D., assemble a new team called the Avengers A.I., consisting of Pym, Victor Mancha (his grandson), the Vision, and a Doombot. The team is later joined by Alexis, who is eventually revealed to be one of six sentient A.I.s to be spawned from the Ultron virus along with Dimitrios. Months later, Pym, again using the Yellowjacket identity, is shown as a member of the Illuminati. Later, an accident merges Pym and Ultron during Ultron's latest attack. After the hybrid human/machine eventually abandons Earth, a funeral service is held in Pym's honor, and Scott Lang receives one of Hank's labs.
Pym/Ultron resurfaces after helping the crew of a spaceship under attack. Ultron is now Pym's armor rather than being merged with him. Back on Earth, he rejoins the Avengers, but his teammates and others discover Ultron has gained control and is impersonating Pym. The Avengers end up defeating him by plunging him into the sun, but both Hank and Ultron survive and continue to do battle with one another internally.
During the Secret Empire storyline, the Ultron/Hank Pym had set up a base in a unidentified forest in Alaska. Upon being alerted by the approach of Sam Wilson's task force by a robot version of Edwin Jarvis, the Ultron/Hank Pym decides to give his "family" a warm welcome. When Tony Stark A.I.'s team and the Hydra Supreme Steve Rogers alongside Hydra's Avengers confront each other, they are captured by the Ultron/Hank Pym who forces both teams to sit at a dinner table. The Ultron/Hank Pym argues that he is doing this because the Avengers have become less of a family over the years as so many of them jump to obey Captain America or Iron Man despite past experience confirming that this should be a bad idea. The Tony Stark A.I. counters that the only reason the team failed as a family was because of Hank Pym's attack on Wasp. Outraged, the Ultron/Hank Pym nearly attacks the other heroes, but Scott Lang is able to talk him down by arguing that Hank Pym remains his own inspiration. The Ultron/Hank Pym allows the Tony Stark A.I.'s team to leave with the Cosmic Cube fragment, arguing that he will leave Hydra Supreme's plans with Hydra alone as it appears to be the best chance for world peace.
After discovering that the Infinity Stones were reformed back into the Univerve, Ultron/Hank Pym decided to collect them all. He send the aliens he had infected with his virus to take the Space Stone from Wolverine while he himself went to claim the Soul Stone. The aliens eventually failed at their task, but Ultron/Hank Pym was able to steal the Soul Gem from Magus after ruthlessly killing him. However, unbeknownst to Ultron, as he claimed the Soul Stone, the fragment of Hank Pym's soul entered the Soul World where he was greeted by the fragment of Gamora's soul, who revealed to him that he was going to be trapped there forever.
Hank Pym is a scientific genius with a Ph.D in biochemistry and nanotechnology, and expertise in the fields of quantum physics, robotics/cybernetics, artificial intelligence, and entomology. Pym discovered the subatomic "Pym particles" that enable mass to be shunted or gained from an alternate dimension, thereby changing the size of himself or other beings or objects. Pym is the creator of the robot Ultron, who he created as an experiment after examining Dragon Man, showing his knack for AI and Cybernetics.
After constant experimentation with size-changing via ingested capsules and particle-filled gas, Pym is eventually able to change size at will, and mentally generate Pym particles to change the sizes of other living beings or inanimate objects. Pym retains his normal strength when "ant" size, and possesses greatly increased strength and stamina when in "giant" form, courtesy of the increased mass. Pym's costume is synthetic stretch fabric composed of unstable molecules and automatically adapts to his shifting sizes.
Pym also uses a cybernetic helmet he created for achieving rudimentary communication with ants and other higher order insects. As Yellowjacket, then later as Wasp, Pym wears artificial wings and has bio-blasters called "stingers" built into his gloves. He took up the Wasp mantle in memory of Janet, who was believed to be dead at the time.
Pym also carries a variety of weaponry, provisions, and scientific instruments, which are shrunken to the size of microchips and stored in the pockets of his uniform.
During his stay with the West Coast Avengers, Pym constructed a one-man-vehicle with artificial intelligence named Rover. Rover is able to communicate with Pym, and is capable of flight and discharging energy and acid.
There are a number of characters in the Marvel universe that have also used the "Pym particles" to effect size changing. These include Janet van Dyne, Clint Barton, Bill Foster, Scott Lang, Erik Josten, Rita DeMara, Cassandra "Cassie" Lang, Eric O'Grady, Tom Foster, Raz Malhotra and Nadia Pym.
In an alternate future in the miniseries The Last Avengers Story #1-2 (Nov. 1995), Ultron wishes for a decisive victory over the Avengers. After eliminating the team, he has Hank Pym gather a new group. After recruiting other heroes and mercenaries, Pym leads them to victory though fatalities are heavy on both sides.
Hank Pym is featured in several of the Marvel Zombies miniseries, appearing as one of the cannibalistic zombies in Marvel Zombies #1-5 (Feb.-June 2006), Marvel Zombies 2 #1-5 (Dec. 2007 - April 2008) and Marvel Zombies Return #4 (Oct. 2009). Although he experiences a brief return to morality in Marvel Zombies 2, throughout most of the series he is presented as being comfortable with his transformation, noting to a captured Black Panther that he thinks he might still eat people even if he was cured of the infection, and setting out to consume a new universe even after learning that the hunger can be beaten. He is opposed in his expansion efforts by the zombie Spider-Man, who finally manages to defeat his own forces with nanites configured to 'eat' zombie flesh.
The MC2 imprint title A-Next, set in a futuristic alternate universe, features Henry Pym and Janet Pym's twin children (Hope Pym and Henry Pym Jr.), who have turned into the supervillains Red Queen and Big Man respectively.
In this reality, Hank Pym is an intelligent, Hulk-like brute. He also appears in issue #13 of Marvel Team-Up (vol. 3).
In the post-apocalyptic "Old Man Logan" storyline, Hank Pym (as Giant-Man) is one of the numerous superheroes killed by the Red Skull's army of villains. Decades after his demise, a Connecticut settlement dubbed "Pym Falls" is built around his massive skeleton. In addition, his Ant-Man helmet is shown in the possession of a young boy named Dwight, who uses it to command an army of ants in order to enforce the payment of tolls across a bridge.
It was shown that during the fight in Connecticut, Giant-Man became enraged when the Wasp was killed by Hobgoblin. This led him to crush Vulture with his hands and step on Crossbones. As he charged the villains, Avalanche used his abilities to shake the ground. Moloids emerged and attack Giant-Man, causing him to fall to the ground.
The Ultimate Marvel imprint version of Henry "Hank" Pym is portrayed as a brilliant but mentally fragile scientist. He takes Prozac to battle his mental instability and depressive episodes. He gains his Giant-Man abilities after transfusing the blood of his mutant wife Janet Pym. The character is expelled from the Ultimates after his abusive behavior ends his marriage and his Giant-Man serum is used by S.H.I.E.L.D. to make an entire Giant-Men team. Now a pariah, he briefly joins with both pseudo heroes and then anti-American villains in his Ant-Man persona. The character eventually rejoins the Ultimates in his Yellowjacket identity. During the events of "Ultimatum" storyline, he sacrifices himself against the Multiple Man's suicide bomber duplicates to save the remaining Ultimates' lives.
After his death, the character's various formulas/devices are still in usage: the Giant-Man formula further replicated by S.H.I.E.L.D. to have multiple Giant-Women agents while his technology is eventually acquired by HYDRA.
Henry Pym appears in issue 13 of Marvel Adventures: The Avengers as a scientist working for Janet's father with no superhero identity, and was the one who gave his wife superpowers. He is visited by Spider-Man and Storm when Janet van Dyne (Giant-Girl in this continuity) falls under insect mind-control. He tells them how to free her (severing the antennae on her mask), gives her a new costume, and uses an insect telepathy helmet (identical to his Earth-616 Ant-Man helmet) to create an illusion of several giant-sized people, scaring the insects away. He returns in issue 20, becoming Ant-Man. He not only joins the team but begins a relationship with Janet.
Hank Pym was ranked as the 93rd greatest comic book character by Wizard magazine. IGN listed Hank Pym as the 67th greatest comic book hero, and 16th in their list of "The Top 50 Avengers".