With the recent Marvel Now event Age of Ultron in full effect, the question has come up more once: Is Hank Pym to blame? Anytime the highly advance artificial intelligence launches an evil plan, Hank seems to take the blame for it. In general though I think most people see the good he does, using his genius and size changing abilities, as a counter balance to his mistakes. Does that make him a hero? That’s the question I’m examining in this weeks article. Let me start by making my opinion on this matter absolutely clear; No I DO NOT think Hank Pym is a Hero. I think the guy is an ego maniacal schizophrenic who happens to be one of the dumbest smart men in the Marvel Universe. If you think I’m crazy for thinking this, let’s examine his history.
As I said Hank Pym is a genius. As a young biochemist, he discovered subatomic particles that allowed him to create a size altering formula. What does he call these particles? “PYM” Particles. Of course he does. Now I get discovering something and naming it after yourself, so I’ll let that one slide. He uses the size altering formula on himself and shrinks down to insect height. It’s all fun and games until he runs into a nearby ant hill and almost gets killed! So what does he do? He returns to normal size and builds a cybernetic helmet that allows him to control ants. He then returns to insect size and lords over the ants that had defended their ant hill. Really?
After he’s built himself these incredible tools, he decides to become an adventurer/superhero under the guise of Ant-Man. A short time later, Hank is contacted by another scientist named Vernon Van Dyne, who is looking for his help in making contact with alien life. Hank refuses to help the Van Dyne. So what happens? Vernon Van Dyne is killed by an alien criminal. Vernon’s hot fashionista daughter, Janet, comes knocking on Hank’s door and asks for his aid in gaining revenge on the alien that killed her father. Now, conveniently, Hank has the time to help! How does he help? He reveals his secret identity of Ant-Man, pumps Janet full of his Pym Particles (Yes I know how that sounds.), and then grafts small wasp wings to her shoulders so that when she shrinks she can fly. Really?
After they gain their revenge on the alien criminal, Ant-Man keeps Janet around as his sidekick The Wasp. They superhero around for a while and some how luck their way into becoming founding members of the Avengers! After teaming with the likes of Thor and the Hulk, Hank starts to feel inadequate. He makes some modifications to his size altering formula, allowing him to grow instead of shrink, and calls himself Giant-Man. Because on a team with two big strong guys, what they really need is ANOTHER BIG STRONG GUY… Really.
After defeating the Masters of Evil, Hank and Janet decide to take a leave from the team. Hank returns shortly after though, eager to return to the spot light of being an Avenger I’m sure, but decides Giant-Man isn’t manly enough so he goes by Goliath now. Feeling like he isn’t appreciated for his contributions to the team, he creates an artificial intelligence based on his own brain waves named Ultron. The same Ultron that is one of the greatest and most deadly foes the Avengers have ever faced? Yep, that Ultron. Way to go Pym. Ultron tries to enslave all humans, deeming them inferior. I WONDER WHERE HE GOT THAT IDEA FROM? Maybe from the brain patterns of the man who decided to rule over the ants he deemed inferior? Yeah. Thanks Hank.
The Avengers manage to temporarily defeat Ultron, but as we all know he would be an ever-present threat to the world. Later Hank suffers from an “Allergic” reaction to some inhaled during an experiment. Right. He bursts into Avengers Mansion, now dressed as his new super identity Yellowjacket, and claims to have killed Hank Pym. If only. The only person who realizes Yellowjacket is Hank himself is Janet, who doesn’t seem to off put by his new personality. In fact, they become engaged to be married! But unfortunately for Janet, Hank reverts to his original personality on their wedding day.
He disappears from the scene for a while, not to reappear until the start of the Kree/Skrull War. The Kree had tried to do us all a favor by reverting Pym into a caveman, too dumb to hurt anyone. The Avengers were likely prepared to leave him as such, except they need Pym to fix the Vision. If only Tony Stark had more experience with artificial intelligence based on human brain waves. He’s later mind-wiped and brain-washed by Ultron and attacks the Avengers. He is restored and once again rejoins the Avengers on several missions, again switching to his Yellowjacket super identity, and becomes more hostile towards Janet and more aggressive in the team’s confrontations. Eventually, Captain America court-martial’s Hank for attacking a surrendered opponent.
This triggered a mental breakdown, in which Hank comes up with the genius plan of creating a robot to crash in during his court-martial. This would allow Pym, in his misguided mind, to defeat the robot taking advantage of the design flaw be builds into it. ….. YEAH CAUSE BUILDING ULTRON WORKED OUT SO WELL, YOU SHOULD BUILD ANOTHER ROBOT! Idiot. Wasp discovers Hank’s plan and pleads with him not to go through with it. How does Hank respond? He backhands his wife. This is where Hank Pym becomes known world-wide as the poster boy for spousal abuse. Way to go Hank. The robot attacks the Avengers anyhow, and not Yellowjacket, but WASP saves the day! Toilet, meet Hank Pym’s life.
He leaves the Avengers, Janet divorces him, and is broke as a joke. He’s manipulated by the long thought deceased Egghead into stealing some adamantium, goes through some more very public bad times, but eventually clears his name. Well cleans it as much as you can being a wife beater who created the most dangerous robot in the world. He decides to leave his team and friends to devote all his time to his research. Yeah, because that’s worked out so well in the past… He joined the West Coast Avengers, but not as any of his super identities, just as a consultant. He then managed not to mess up too bad for the next decade of so.
He was then taken and replaced by Skrulls. The Skrull Hank Pym, returned to the Yellowjacket mantle, which always seems to be a sign Hank is about to mess up, and was instrumental in the Civil War between Marvel’s Heroes. He came up with the negative zone prison 42, and the Avengers Initiative. These could be argued as two of Hank Pym’s biggest accomplishments, yet they were actually achieved by an impostor. In all fairness though, he carried on the Pym tradition of being horrible at all things robotic. He talked Tony Stark and Reed Richards into letting him build a cybernetic clone of Thor that went out of control (Shocker…) and killed people including the modern Goliath, Bill Foster. He then, again in true Pym form, tried and seemingly succeeded in killing Janet Van Dyne.
Hank Pym is not a super villain. I want to be certain that you know, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying he is no hero because the primary result of most of his endeavors, no matter how good his intentions, is disastrous for the world. He should turn and become a super villain, because he’d probably have more success at it. We now live in the Age of Ultron, were the world and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are all beat to hell and half dead. Ultron is controlling his world dominating forces from the future, and where is Hank Pym? HE’S AT HOME, WASHING HIS TIGHTS! Do the world a favor Hank and stop making robots. The world is ours to make, we just have to be sure not to abuse that power.