Henry Jonathan Pym
Dr. Henry Pym, an American biochemist with extensive knowledge in other scientific fields, married Marie Trovaya, a brave and beautiful young woman who had been a political dissident in her native Hungary, from which she had fled. Naively believing that his American citizenship would protect her, Henry and Maria Pym traveled to Hungary shortly after their marriage. The Pyms were confronted by agents of the secret police there. Henry Pym was knocked unconscious and Maria was murdered. Pym was greatly distraught by his wife's death, and decided to do whatever he could in the future to battle injustice and inhumanity.
Back in the United States, Pym discovered a rare group of subatomic particles, which have become known as the 'Pym particles.' Pym was able, though the application of magnetic fields, to entrap the particles within two separate serums. One serum would reduce the size of persons and objects, and the other would restore them to their normal size. Pym tested the reducing serum on himself and discovered it was more powerful than he had expected: it reduced him to the size of an insect. Pym became entrapped in an anthill and was pursued by the ants within. He escaped and restored himself to his normal size with his other serum. Deciding that the serums were too dangerous to exist, Pym destroyed both of them. However, weeks later he reconsidered his decision and began to recreate the serums, whose existence he then kept secret. Inspired by his experience in the anthill, Pym undertook a study of ants, and theorized that ants communicate through psionic / electrical waves transmitted through their antennae. After months of work, Pym succeeded in creating his first 'cybernetic helmet,' which would enable him to communicate with ants through transmitting and receiving psionic / electrical waves. Thinking that someday he might want to use the shrinking potion on himself again, Pym also designed a protective costume for himself. That same day, however, Pym received an assignment from the government to concoct a gas that would provide people with temporary, limited immunity to radioactivity under certain specific circumstances, based on his previous work. The government also assigned four other scientists to assist him in the project. The K.G.B., the Soviet Intelligence agency, learned of Pym's project and sent agents who held Pym and his assistants prisoner in their own laboratory. Only Pym knew the entire formula for the gas they had by now developed, and he refused to tell the Soviet agents. The agents set about searching the laboratory for the formula, intending to kill Pym and his assistants afterwards. Unseen, Pym donned the cybernetic helmet and protective costume and, using his reducing formula, shrank himself to the size of an ant. He escaped to an anthill outside, put a large number of ants under his control through the helmet, and used them to attack, the agents and free his men, who then overpowered their assailants. Pym then restored himself to normal size. Afterwards, in the guise of the Ant-Man, Pym battled various menaces, including the criminal scientist Elihas 'Egghead' Starr, who was to become Pym's greatest enemy.
After an alien being from the planet Kosmos killed the scientist Vernon van Dyne, Pym revealed his secret identity of Ant-Man to van Dyne's daughter Janet, who wished to avenge his death. Pym taught Janet how to use the gas within which he now contained the 'Pym particles,' and which he used to shrink himself in size, and through bioengineering, gave her the ability grow insect-like wings when she used the gas to shrink herself to insect size. As the Wasp, Janet van Dyne assisted the Ant-Man in finding and defeating the murderous Kosmosian. Pym and van Dyne gradually fell in love; van Dyne reminded Pym of his deceased first wife, Maria. Pym and van Dyne became crime-fighting partners in their costumed identities, and were two of the founding members of the Avengers.
Pym next developed a series of capsules containing the Pym particles which he and van Dyne used to grow or shrink to various heights, he also developed capsules that enabled him to grow to greater than normal heights. Thereafter, Pym preferred to use his power to grow to giant size for crimefighting, and called himself Giant-Man. At first he found that he could not support his own weight if he grew to a height above twelve feet. Later, he was able to reach far greater heights, even 100 feet, and still move about comfortably, but he became weaker in proportion to the amount he grew beyond twelve feet.
However, his size-changing imposed great strains on Pym's body that he believed could be fatal, and, upon deciding that their careers as Giant-Man and the Wasp were proving too great a danger for van Dyne. Pym decided to retire as a costumed crimefighter. Acceding to his wishes, van Dyne retired as a crimetighter, too. Sometime later, however, Pym and van Dyne learned that the Sub-Manner was heading for New York City. Fearing trouble, they decided to alert the Avengers, van Dyne, as the Wasp, was captured by first the undersea barbarian leader Attuma and then by the Collector. In order to help the Avengers rescue van Dyne, Pym decided to use his growing power again, he donned a new costume and adapted the new name of Goliath. By this time both Pym and van Dyne could change size simply by willing themselves to do so, due to their exposure to Pym particles over the years. However, Pym could only achieve one height other than his own, that of 25 feet, and could only do so for exactly 15 minutes. In the course of the Avengers' battle against the Collector, Goliath overstayed this time limit, and, on trying to regain his normal size, could not shrink beneath ten feet.
Eventually Pym regained his ability to shrink to insect size, but lost his ability to grow to ten feet in height. The Collector later subjected Pym to treatments that enabled him to grow to 25 feet in height for up to 15 minutes.
Around this time Pym experimental with robotics and created a robot with the potential for high intelligence. The robot turned against its creator and escaped from Pym's laboratory. It later became one of the Avengers' greatest adversaries under the name of Ultron.
For several years, Pym had been in love with Janet van Dyne, but because of his repressed personality, resisted marrying her. One day while working in his laboratory, Pym accidentally dropped and smashed some vials containing various unknown gases. The released gases wreaked a radical temporary personality change in Pym. He took the new identity of Yellowjacket, claimed that he had murdered Henry Pym, kidnapped, van Dyne, and proposed marriage to her, as Pym had long wanted to do. Realizing that Yellowjacket was really Pym, Van Dyne decided to play along, fearing that she would worsen his psychological condition if she did otherwise. Van Dyne and Pym, as Yellowjacket were married at Avengers Mansion, but immediately afterwards, the Avengers were attacked by the Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime. The shock of seeing van Dyne in danger of death shocked Pym back into his normal personality. The Avengers defeated the Ringmaster and company. Despite the fact that Pym was married under an assumed name, the marriage between Pym and van Dyne was still legal, and Pym and Van Dyne happily agreed to let it stand. Pym eventually renounced his power to became a giant due to its continuing physical strains, and used the name and costume of Yellowjacket in Crimefighting, Pym spent periods of time with the Avengers, and even, once, with the Defenders, as Yellowjacket, but he spent most of his time completely devoted to his scientific research. He gave his blessing to Scott Lang when Lang used his old equipment to become the second Ant-Man.
Scientific research had always been Pym's preferred career, and he no longer found the excitement in crimefighting that he had earlier in his career. Pym began to have periods of tension and depression. He began to feel that he had never made a scientific discovery equal to his discovery of the Pym particles in the several years following that event. Moreover, he was plagued by guilt over creating Ultron. As a result, he was overcome with a sense that he was a failure as a scientist, judged by his own impossibly high standards. This sense of failure was exacerbated when he considered his wife's success as a fashion designer and realized that, as a millionaire, she was the principal source of money in their marriage. Pym began to take out his frustrations through verbally abusing his wife.
Matters came to a head when the Avengers battled the so-called Elfqueen. Suspecting that the Elfqueen was not acting from evil motives, Captain America attempted to calm her down. Yellowjacket, however, who was edgy because of his personal matters, blasted Elfqueen from behind without stopping to consider what Captain America was trying to do. As a result Elfqueen resumed fighting. Afterwards, Captain America felt forced to bring charges against Yellowjacket of acting recklessly, since innocent people could have been killed in the battle that Yellowjacket's action had started again. An Avengers court martial meeting was set to examine the charges. Now beginning to undergo a nervous breakdown, Pym built a robot to attack the Avenger during the court martial. Pym designed the robot to have a secret weak point which he would use to defeat it. Pym fantasized that his defeat of the robot would make him a hero in the Avengers' eyes and lead to the dismissal of the charges. When his wife protested his plan, he brutally struck her. But Pym's plan went awry, and it was the Wasp who ended up defeating the robot. Pym was expelled from the Avengers. Moreover, his wife Janet initiated proceedings that ended in their divorce.
Pym moved out of his wife's mansion. Astonishingly, Pym was now virtually penniless, since his books were out of print and he had somehow exhausted the money he had earned from his patents. Pym lived his life aimlessly until he was approached by his old enemy Egghead. Egghead claimed that he felt guilty over causing his niece, Patricia Starr, to lose her arm, and asked Pym to give her a bionic arm he had designed and attach it to her, in exchange for a large sum of money. Needing the money, Pym fulfilled his assignment, but found that the bionic arm placed 'Trish' Starr under Egghead's control. Egghead informed Pym that the bionic arm was booby-trapped and that he could detonate it, killing Trish unless he obeyed his orders. As a result, Pym was forced to help steal adamantium from the government and to fight the Avengers, who defeated him. However, Egghead had lied: the arm was not booby-trapped. Moreover, Trish Starr had been 'programmed' by her uncle's technology to claim that it was Pym's plot, not Egghead's. Hence Pym had no evidence that he had stolen the adamantium under duress, and so he was imprisoned on charges of treason.
During Pym's trial, he was captured by the third group calling itself the Masters of Evil, who claimed to be 'rescuing' him. Actually, they worked for Egghead, who, having successfully framed Pym, now asked him to join their criminal organization. Pym pretended to agree, and Egghead set him to work on developing a machine intended to lengthen the human life span. Soon afterwards, Pym announced it was finished. Suspecting a trick, Egghead and his allies had Pym hooked up the machine, just as Pym had secretly intended Pym had actually constructed various means of defeating his enemies into the machine, and now turned it against Egghead and the Masters of Evil and single handedly defeated them. Meanwhile, the Avengers had found Egghead's hideout. The Avenger Hawkeye sneaked into the hideout and saw Egghead aiming a gun at the unsuspecting Pym. Hawkeye fired an arrow into the gun barrel. The gun proved to be an energy blaster and backfired, killing Egghead.
Some of the Masters of Evil testified in Pym's trial as to how Egghead had framed him, and Pym was found not guilty. Upon his release Pym decided to give up being a costumed adventurer and returned permanently to a life of scientific research. However, as time passed. Pym decided he wished to add the Avengers without returning himself to life as an adventurer. Hence, he offered to become manager of Avengers Compound, the headquarters of the West Coast Avengers, in which role he would perform many of the same functions that Edwin Jarvis fulfills at New York City's Avengers Mansion. Pym's offer was accepted, and today he serves not only as Avengers Compound manager but as a trusted advisor to the West Coast Avengers.
Pym was on hand with the other Avengers who seemingly sacrificed their lives to absorb the energies of the being known as Onslaught. In reality, he was shunted to another dimension. When he and the other heroes were restored to Earth, Pym found that he was capable of his full range of size-changing abilities, although he could not shrink and grow other objects unless he specifically treated them in his laboratory. He and the Wasp also returned to their previous romantic relationship.
Pym helped re-form the Avengers with the other restored heroes, stopping the menace of the sorceress Morgan Le Fey. He then agreed to stay on as a reserve member, returning to his laboratory work full-time. During this time, his research was monitored by Ultron, who later kidnapped Pym and other of its so-called 'family.' Ultron revealed that Pym had used his own brain patterns as a template for Ultron's intelligence, and Ultron intended to do the same with all members of its 'family' when building a new robot army with Pym's latest research. Ultron was confronted by the Avengers, who freed Pym and allowed him to deliver the blow that defeated Ultron.
Powers & Abilities
Dr. Hank Pym is a scientific genius of the highest order with expertise in both the fields of robotics/cybernetics and biochemistry. During his career, he has created the robot Ultron, often repaired Vision, and invented much of the Avengers' equipment. The robot Rover, another of his creations, served as a jet, possessing rudimentary artificial intelligence and offensive capabilities.
His greatest scientific achievement, "Pym particles", led to several costumed identities. Pym particles enable mass to be shunted or gained from an alternate dimension. By imbibing special capsules of Pym particles, Pym was able to shrink to half-inch size and adventure as the Ant-Man and, later, to grow to 30-foot size and adventure as Giant-Man and Goliath. He later switched from using capsules to a Pym particle-filled gas, but eventually his body had absorbed enough particles to shrink and grow at will. As Yellowjacket, Pym used his shrinking ability along with a bio-energy gun (used incorporated into blasting gauntlets.) In his insect guises, Pym also used a communication device in his helmet that allowed him to communicate and control insect life (mostly ants.) At one point, Pym found himself able to use the Pym particle field about his body to shrink and grow objects in contact with him, and he carried various high and low tech equipment in his jumpsuit. Currently, he can only shrink and grow objects that have been specially-treated with Pym particles beforehand. As Hank's abilities have fluctuated between growth and size reduction, he has remained an intellectual at heart.
As Ant-Man Pym wore a 'cybernetic helmet' which permitted him to achieve rudimentary telepathic communication with ants and other higher insects and to control their minds. As Yellowjacket Pym carried miniaturized versions of the helmet's devices in his cowl, enabling him to perform the same feats.