Character Analysis: Hank Pym
By: Christopher Johnson
(Disclaimer: All stories and images belong to Marvel Comics…not to me)
Doctor Henry “Hank” Pym also known as “Ant-Man” “Goliath” “Yellowjacket” “Wasp” “Giant Man” and “Scient Supreme”, but who is he? I mean not to ask if he is a hero or villain because unlike the first character we looked at (“Kaine”Hero or Monster”) Pym is clearly a hero. It’s just somethings he has done has lead people to not like him. I will not prove how all his actions have made him a hero but I will look into some of the more popular and yes…dastardly actions and give you my thoughts as to why Hank Pym is the best superhero.
Hank Pym began his work isolating two sets of particles. The first set allowed someone to shrink and the other set allowed that person to return to normal size. In testing the first serum he discovered that he had a problem with ants. Thus, as the saying goes “If you can’t beat ’em, control ’em”. He created a helmet to control ants and in doing so he went on many adventures fighting the likes of Egghead and Whirlwind. Pym eventually met a socialite named Janet Van Dyne, who aided Pym as the superhero Wasp after her father was kidnapped. Not long after this the pair helped found the avengers. Now consistently being around a demi god, a man in an iron suit, a living legend, a hulk, a speedster and others can make you feel useless when all you do is shrink/ talk to ants and even your sidekick wife is more useful then you. These feelings made Hank craft the Giant Man persona. As this superhero Hank now has the ability to grow insanely tall and loses the ability to talk to ants. Hank and Janet leave the avengers and Hank later rejoins as Goliath. A mishap traps him in giant for affecting his self esteem. Afterwards once he regains his size changing abilities, he creates the robot Ultron that accidentally gains sentience. Not long after that, Pym inhales some botched chemicals which induces schizophrenia and causes Pym to undergo a personality crisis and he shows up at the Avengers mansion as the Yellow jacket. He then claims he has killed Pym. Janet realizes it’s Pym and accepts his marriage proposal. The wedding was crashed by “The Circus of Crime” and during the fight Pym returns to his normal self.
The Infamous Moment
Several years later after many missions and leaving a couple times, Pym rejoins the team as Yellow jacket but is forced to be on somewhat a hiatus as the team went through a reconstruction. When he returns he had a mental breakdown and demonstrated hostile actions toward Janet and attacks an opponent from behind after they stopped fighting. This caused Captain America to suspend Pym from the team. In order to convince the avengers to let him back on the team he created a robot called “Salvation-1”. He planned on attacking the avengers with it then stopping it and regaining good standings with the team. Janet finds out his plan and tries to convince him to not go through with it so he slaps her. After this Janet divorced him and Captain America expels him from the avengers. Hank Pym is contacted by Egghead(Who is thought to be dead)to steal some Adamantium. While Hank is committing the crime he is confronted by the Avengers. Egghead erases all connection to Pym, so when Pym starts blaming dead villain everyone is thoroughly convinced that Pym is mentally insane and is incarcerated. Later on, Egghead tries to kill Pym but is accidentally killed by Hawkeye. This proves Pym wasn’t lying and is cleared of all charges.
After this Pym left the avengers and joined the west coast avengers as Hank Pym. Throughout the years he dated the superhero Tigra, was teleported to a pocket universe, was impersonated by an alien, was one of the leaders of the registration side in Marvel’s Civil War where he helped create a Thor clone called Ragnarok and was the leader of the Avengers Academy.
Whenever I tell people that Antman is my favorite superhero I typically receive two responses; either “Who?” Or “You’re joking….right?” Well, with what I have presented I doubt I have you convinced you because what I have said hasn’t been very flattering. Before I talk about the two biggest actions he has going against him, I just want to highlight all the self esteem issues that the man has. In a way this makes Hank Pym somewhat relatable. No matter what we acheive or accomplish there are always complications that can make us lose faith in our own self…our abilites. (Though I believe on our own we can do nothing anyway.) It is just so fascinating that a superhero like Hank Pym can doubt what he can do not matter all he had done. Not too many superheroes are relatable in that way. Now, the two biggest marks against Pym are; creating Ultron and slapping his wife. I personally have no problems with him creating Ultron. It creates this intriguing story of how the one of the Avenger’s biggest villains was created by one of it’s founders. Now, I can not give you reasons why Hank slapping his wife can be considered good but it can be understood. At this time Hank had just gone through a mental breakdown and was gasping at straws trying to get back in the good graces of the avengers.Thus what he did may not be excusable but it is understandable.Now I would like to discuss Avengers Academy. Avengers Academy was the first series I bought myself and it really is a story of redemption. In short Hank Pym created the “Avengers Academy” to take these students who were destined to become evil(They were tortured by Norman Osbourne) and train them to become heroes. This story gave Hank redemption because he showed he growing these kids and teaching them using his mistakes and shortcomings.
In the end I hope I have convinced you that Hank Pym’s personally is the shining part of who he is as opposed to some bland blue boy scout. When written properly Hank Pym can be a very interesting character. You will be able to see Hank Pym in action played by Michael Douglas in “Antman” being released July 17th. Thank you for taking the time to read this overview of a longtime Avenger. If you would like to be informed of future articles you can either “sign up” by entering in your email in the box to the right or if you have a wordpress account just click the “follow” button