Friday

OMU: Ant-Man -- Year Two

Although the feature in Marvel’s Tales to Astonish starring Henry Pym, known variously as Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Goliath, and Yellowjacket, was in a downward spiral in terms of quality, the stories become fascinatingly rich in subtext with the benefit of hindsight. There is a great deal of unintentional foreshadowing of major events to come in Pym’s life; i.e., his creation of the killer robot Ultron, one of the Avengers’ greatest enemies, and Ultron’s subsequent creation of the Vision, one of the Avengers’ most steadfast members. A close reading reveals numerous details of both characters’ origins that have not been uncovered before, to my knowledge. After the cancellation of their solo feature, Pym and his crime-fighting partner and girlfriend, the Wasp, would take up residence in The Avengers, thereby escaping the dreaded comic book character limbo they languished in for nearly eight months. Studying the checkered career of Hank Pym is always more rewarding than I think it’s going to be, and the next year of the character’s life is no exception.

Note: The following timeline depicts the Original Marvel Universe (anchored to November 1961 as the first appearance of the Fantastic Four and proceeding forward from there. See previous posts for a detailed explanation of my rationale.) Some information presented on the timeline is speculative and some is based on historical accounts. See the Notes section at the end for clarifications.


Continuing on with... The True History of Ant-Man!


January 1963 – In his penthouse laboratory complex in Lower Manhattan, Hank Pym receives a warning from his ant communications network that his Avengers teammate Thor is tearing up the streets in a fit of rage. Hank immediately becomes Giant-Man and summons his partner, Janet Van Dyne, a.k.a. the Wasp. Joined by Iron Man, they intervene with the rampaging thunder god, but he refuses to explain his destructive behavior. Giant-Man is insulted, but Iron Man reminds him of their pledge not to interfere in each other’s personal business. Later, when Janet is late for a dinner date, she claims to have been delayed while trying to apprehend a jewel thief. Knowing that the media is giving credit for the capture to the Invisible Girl, Hank teases Jan that she must have made her dinner plans with Mister Fantastic instead. However, when Jan explains that she had to resort to subterfuge due to her lack of any kind of offensive weaponry, Hank sets out to rectify the situation.

A few days later, Hank presents Jan with a new “wasp’s sting” device she can wear on her wrist. Suddenly, the ant communications network reports that Spider-Man is about to attack them. Giant-Man sends the Wasp out to reconnoiter the area, but when he catches up to her, he finds her battling Spider-Man. Incensed, Giant-Man attacks the web-slinger and they fight. Before long, a police riot squad appears on the scene, and Giant-Man promises them he will capture Spider-Man. However, the three heroes soon work out that they have been duped as part of an elaborate scheme by Egghead. Tipped off to the villain’s hideout by the ants, Giant-Man, Wasp, and Spider-Man team up to defeat Egghead and his gang. Jan takes an instant dislike to Spider-Man, leading the wall-crawler to leave in a huff, and so Giant-Man and the Wasp get all the credit for Egghead’s capture. Unfortunately, the villain soon escapes from custody.

Determined not to let his teammates down, Giant-Man works diligently at his duties as Avengers chairman. One of his first projects is converting an abandoned railway tunnel into a secret emergency headquarters for the team, in case Avengers Mansion should be compromised. Having been alerted to the tunnel’s existence by the ants, Hank considers its remote location in a forest to be ideal. He has more difficulty managing the team’s meetings, though, as their reticence to discuss their personal lives often leaves the Avengers with not much to talk about. Hank spends the rest of his time experimenting with his size-changing powers, soon learning to trigger his changes in stature at will, without the need for releasing gasses or swallowing capsules. For her part, the Wasp redesigns her costume for the first time, making a number of minor modifications.

Captain America recruits Giant-Man and the Wasp to investigate reports of a 30-foot-tall “Colossus” terrorizing a region of Africa, causing them to cancel their plans to go skiing at Lake Placid. Upon arrival, they find the Colossus apparently trapped on top of a tall, steep butte. However, during the ensuing battle, they discover that a structure near him is really his spacecraft. Using their size-changing powers, Giant-Man and the Wasp manage to spook the superstitious alien, and believing them to be sorcerers, he flees to his ship and blasts off for outer space. Assured that the earth is safe once more, the heroes return to New York. A day or so later, Hank is unhappy to learn that the Wasp battled their old foe the Magician all by herself, though she defeated him quite decisively. Seeking revenge, the Magician had played on her vanity to lure her to a department store by creating a phony line of women’s fashions inspired by her costume. Luckily, his scheme was undone when she got his cape caught in the escalator mechanism. Hank warns Jan to be more careful in the future.

Learning of the threat of a new super-villain called the Unicorn, Giant-Man tries to recruit Iron Man to deal with him. He calls Stark Industries and speaks to Tony Stark’s executive assistant, “Pepper” Potts, but when she asks Stark about Iron Man’s whereabouts, he gives a flippant reply about sending his armored bodyguard on a long vacation. Hank is irked that Iron Man would take a leave of absence without notifying the team, and so, despite the fact that Iron Man later battles the Unicorn on his own, Giant-Man calls an official hearing to demand that his ally explain himself. When Iron Man refuses to offer any defense beyond citing “personal problems,” the team decides to suspend him from active duty for a period of one week. Feeling he has demonstrated how seriously he takes his duties as Avengers chairman, Hank then plans a research trip to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. However, the trip is delayed when Thor is hypnotized by an Asgardian sorceress called the Enchantress and made to attack his teammates. Despite his suspension, Iron Man arrives on the scene and breaks the hypnotic spell. The four heroes are suddenly strafed by gunfire as Baron Zemo rockets past in one of his airships, and when Thor leads them to the Enchantress’ penthouse apartment, they find that she and her associate, the Executioner, have joined forces with Zemo. To prevent the villains’ escape, Thor envelops the airship in a space-time vortex that carries it into another dimension. Giant-Man and the Wasp find Captain America unconscious on the patio, and when they revive him, he is annoyed that Zemo has escaped justice once again.

After returning from Cape Cod, Giant-Man and the Wasp attend an Avengers training session, where the team discusses the Hulk, who reportedly disrupted the filming of a movie involving Spider-Man a couple of weeks ago. Afterwards, Hank studies the team’s records of the Hulk and decides to go to New Mexico and search for him, hoping to talk the green behemoth into rejoining the team. And so, the next morning, Giant-Man and the Wasp fly out to the Air Force’s Desert Base to confer with General “Thunderbolt” Ross. They soon meet an uncooperative physicist named Bruce Banner and the general’s high-strung daughter Betty. After a few hours, Giant-Man tracks the Hulk to a nearby town, where he is forced to fight his former teammate when the Hulk attacks him. Their battle is interrupted when the Air Force fires a low-yield nuclear missile at the evacuated town, hoping to kill the Hulk. Receiving a cybernetic warning from the Wasp, Giant-Man alerts the Hulk, who leaps up, intercepts the missile, and causes it to explode in the hills outside of town. The Hulk does not return, and Hank considers his mission to be a failure.

Back in New York, Giant-Man and the Wasp return to their usual crimefighting duties, such as apprehending a gang of criminals on the waterfront. Later, Hank receives a message from his ant communications network that Captain America and Iron Man are fighting each other in the city. When he and the Wasp go to intervene, they discover the master-of-disguises known as the Chameleon is responsible. Giant-Man apprehends the enemy agent and turns him over to the police. The sinister scheme revealed, Iron Man apologizes to Cap and introduces everyone to his associates from Stark Industries, Pepper Potts and “Happy” Hogan, who had blundered into the scene of the battle.

Early one evening, Giant-Man and the Wasp join the Avengers for a special conference-call with the top brass at the Pentagon, where they learn of the menace of Kang the Conqueror. Traveling to Virginia aboard a specially-chartered DC-8 from Idlewild Airport, the Avengers find Kang relaxing outside his massive time-ship. Thor notes the conqueror’s air of absolute confidence, and when Iron Man questions him, Kang announces that he has claimed their world for his dominions and easily repels the Avengers with his fantastic technology. Soon, an undersecretary from the Defense Department arrives on the scene and takes charge, prompting Kang to reveal that he is a time-traveler from the far future, who had been known in the distant past as Pharaoh Rama-Tut. After a chance encounter with Doctor Doom, Kang explains, he decided to assume a new identity and conquer the 20th century. Having heard enough, the Avengers charge again, but Kang captures and imprisons them within his ship using various energy beams. Many hours later, Giant-Man is freed when Thor smashes open his holding cell, saying they owe their freedom to Rick Jones and his Teen Brigade and that the Wasp escaped capture. The Avengers storm out of the ship, finding it is now morning, and attack Kang once again. Using a weapon the Wasp retrieved during the night, Giant-Man is able to overcome Kang’s defenses, driving the despot to flee to his ship and escape into the timestream. Confident that Kang has been beaten, at least for a while, the Avengers head for home.

At their next meeting, the Avengers discuss Spider-Man’s public act of cowardice during a fight with the Green Goblin at a New York supper club. The Wasp persists in her negative attitude toward Spider-Man, saying he’s creepy and deserves no sympathy, which Hank finds puzzling.

Soon after, Hank learns that his friend, former FBI agent Lee Kearns, has been arrested in East Berlin on espionage charges. After rudely driving away the members of the Giant-Man Fan Club who are hanging around his headquarters, Hank tells Janet that he must rescue Kearns on his own, without involving the Avengers. Further, he finally reveals the details of how his wife, Maria, was murdered by the KGB on their honeymoon in Budapest, and explains that he couldn’t face losing Jan the same way. Moved by his tale, she agrees to remain at home. Thus, Hank flies to Germany alone and crosses the Berlin Wall at ant-size, so he is too small to be detected. The local ant population leads him to the installation where Kearns is being held. Once there, Kearns reveals that the East Germans have developed a device to increase the intelligence of gorillas to near-human levels, and these enhanced gorillas are being trained as commandos. After breaking Kearns out of his cell, Hank becomes giant-size to battle the gorillas, and during the fight he determines that the device’s effects are only temporary. Giant-Man then wrecks the machine and carries Kearns back to the safety of West Berlin. Upon arrival in the United States, Hank is pleased to learn from Jan that his victory over the East Germans has been widely reported in the media.

Hank becomes concerned about Captain America’s state of mind when the strain of his obsession with bringing Baron Zemo to justice starts to take its toll on the star-spangled Avenger. The mood around the mansion is lightened when the team’s departure for an out-of-town charity benefit is delayed by the Wasp’s primping. Afterwards, Hank is eager to get back to his research, but Jan pesters him to take her out dancing.

A series of seeming earthquakes strike New York as whole city blocks vanish underground. The Avengers assemble to investigate one of the impossibly deep shafts, but find that the Fantastic Four are already on the case. The Avengers agree to give them twenty-four hours to stop the Mole Man’s scheme before intervening. Several hours later, after the city blocks have returned to their proper places, the FF report that the Mole Man’s underground kingdom has been destroyed by a chain-reaction of explosions.

Giant-Man and the Wasp respond to an Avengers emergency signal when reports come in that Baron Zemo, the Enchantress, and the Executioner are robbing a bank. The battle has barely begun, though, when a new super-hero calling himself Wonder Man intervenes, overwhelming the villains and forcing them to retreat. Curious, the Avengers question the stranger, who claims to want to join the team. They take Wonder Man to Avengers Mansion for further discussion, where he explains that he was empowered by Zemo, but escaped and now needs help to find a cure for the deadly side-effects of Zemo’s experiment. The Avengers are glad to offer their assistance. Giant-Man takes some cell and tissue samples to his downtown laboratory to see if he can find a treatment for Wonder Man’s condition, but the answer proves elusive.

After a few days of intensive research, Hank learns from Iron Man that both Wonder Man and the Wasp have been kidnapped by Baron Zemo and are being held in South America. Giant-Man and Captain America take a chartered jet down to Brazil for a rescue mission and find Iron Man already battling the villains. However, as soon as Thor arrives, Wonder Man betrays them, taking out Thor and Giant-Man in rapid succession. Hank revives moments later to find Wonder Man has switched sides again and is now defending the Avengers. Locating the Wasp, Giant-Man frees her and they rush to stop Cap and Thor from pursuing the villains into a booby-trapped tunnel. With the fighting ended, the Avengers find Wonder Man lying on the ground near death. He tells them he wanted to do one noble thing in his life before he died, and then succumbs to the toxins that Zemo used to empower him. Giant-Man is determined to do something to save him, and so when the Avengers bring Wonder Man’s body back to the United States, Hank takes it to his downtown lab. There, Iron Man assists him in conducting a thorough examination of the corpse and making a recording of Wonder Man’s brain patterns. A fingerprint match identifies Wonder Man as notorious embezzler Simon Williams, and arrangements are made for a proper burial.

Hank finishes work on a compact flying vehicle of his own design, which he dubs the “Converti-Car,” and takes it on a test flight to a local children’s hospital where he and the Wasp are giving a demonstration of their powers. The next day, Janet is excited to receive a letter from a television producer who wants to do a series based on their adventures. Hank is not interested, but Jan talks him into at least hearing the pitch. However, when they arrive at the “studio” building, it turns out to be a trap set by Egghead. Sealed into an air-tight chamber, Giant-Man and the Wasp are attacked by a 12-foot-tall android with the ability to control its own density. Though the android proves to be a surprisingly formidable opponent, Giant-Man is able to strike at Egghead through the android’s cybernetic control interface. Overcome with motion sickness, Egghead surrenders. Bereft of control, the android follows Giant-Man and the Wasp outside, but stumbles off a pier into the river. Later, Hank retrieves the android and takes it to his laboratory, determined to study the technology it used to alter its density.

While on monitor duty at Avengers Mansion, Giant-Man informs Iron Man that the masked archer Hawkeye is holding Pepper Potts hostage at Stark Industries. Iron Man decides to handle the situation on his own. Meanwhile, the Wasp modifies her costume a second time, adding a mask to better conceal her identity. Later, back at his laboratory, Hank is knocked out by an accidental explosion. When he comes to, he finds that not only has an experiment using his enlarging gas on plant tissue gotten out of control, but someone has stolen his costume and size-changing capsules. He manages to contact the Wasp through their cybernetic communications system and learns that she is fighting the Ant-Man impostor in a jewelry store. Hank commands the ants to bring the impostor to his lab, where he forcibly returns the crook to normal size before giving him chemically-induced amnesia. Regaining his costume, Hank then becomes Giant-Man and destroys the gigantic plant wreaking havoc outside. While relaxing afterwards, Janet reads in the newspaper that Count Luchino Nefaria, reputed to be one of Europe’s wealthiest noblemen, is having his castle moved stone-by-stone from Italy to the New Jersey Palisades. The next evening, Hank takes Janet out to dinner to celebrate her 22nd birthday.

A few days later, Giant-Man presides over the Avengers’ latest meeting, during which Iron Man proposes that they give Rick Jones some kind of costume and make him an official member of the Avengers. Captain America is not ready to take on that responsibility, however, so the motion is put on hold. Soon after, Thor leads the Avengers to a mountainous region of Bavaria when his enchanted hammer detects the mystic emanations of some great evil. There, the team stumbles upon the X-Men, who are already on the case and tell the Avengers not to interfere. When the Avengers do not readily comply, the X-Men suddenly attack them. After a brief scuffle, Thor stops the fight, claiming to have been in telepathic communication with the young mutants’ mysterious leader, Professor X. Now convinced that the X-Men should be allowed to deal with the situation, the Avengers take their leave and return to New York.

February 1963 – Giant-Man and the Wasp assist the NYPD in unmasking the leader of a ruthless protection racket. The hooded gangster, known on the street as “the Wrecker,” turns out to be the owner of a hardware store in the afflicted neighborhood. Then, after Iron Man goes missing, the Avengers receive information from Spider-Man that their armored teammate has been kidnapped by the Masters of Evil and is being held at a remote temple in Mexico. Giant-Man and the Wasp are the first to arrive on the scene, and are surprised when Spider-Man appears and attacks them. As Thor joins the fray, Hank begins to suspect that their foe may be an impostor. Spider-Man manages to ensnare the three heroes in his webbing, then goes off to ambush Captain America. A little while later, though, Cap frees them and confirms that they had been fighting a highly sophisticated robot. Thanks to the timely intervention of the real Spider-Man, Cap reports, the robot has been destroyed. Speculating that the robot must have been a product of Kang’s future technologies, Giant-Man collects its remains and ships them to his Manhattan laboratory. Hank spends the next week or two immersed in the study of robotics. Janet finally gets fed up with being ignored and leaves on a solo trip to the Caribbean Islands. However, when her plane is hijacked by the undersea marauder Attuma, Giant-Man speeds down in his Converti-Car to rescue her. Attuma and his barbarian hordes are driven off, and the heroic couple has a chance to make up during a romantic weekend getaway.

Back in New York, Giant-Man reports to his Avengers teammates that his ant communications network has revealed a potential cataclysm brewing deep underground. However, they misinterpret his warning as a call for the team to “rescue the ants.” Iron Man and Captain America assume he is pulling a prank, but Thor is in one of his foul moods and starts a bitter argument. When his theory that the Mole Man might be stirring up trouble is dismissed out of hand, based on the Fantastic Four’s report last month, Giant-Man loses his temper and tells his teammates that he’ll handle this case on his own. Thor storms out angrily, and the others leave as well. Even the Wasp, embarrassed by his temper tantrum, refuses to help, so Hank goes off alone, making his way down through an ant hill all the way to Subterranea. There, he discovers that the Mole Man and his new accomplice, the Red Ghost, are indeed readying a fantastic doomsday weapon, but, after a brief battle, Giant-Man is defeated and taken prisoner. Many hours later, the Avengers come to his rescue, after the Wasp traces his cybernetic signals. Giant-Man rejoins his teammates as they sabotage the weapon and rout the villains’ sub-human legions. Though the Mole Man and the Red Ghost slip away, Thor destroys their citadel and all its weapons. Returning to Avengers Mansion, the team offers Giant-Man an official apology for doubting him earlier.

The Avengers lose 24 hours when they are hypnotized during a charity event hosted by Count Luchino Nefaria at his recently transplanted castle overlooking the Hudson River. When they leave the premises, the heroes are suddenly attacked by the U.S. Army and a squadron of Air Force fighter jets. Confused, the Avengers defend themselves and disable the military’s weapons as best they can without injuring any of the soldiers. Unwilling to fight American forces, Giant-Man calls for a full retreat. The Avengers soon reconvene in their secret emergency headquarters in the abandoned railway tunnel, learning from the radio that they are wanted for treason after trying to seize the reins of power from the government yesterday. Returning to the castle to investigate, the team discovers that Nefaria is actually the head of the international crime cartel the Maggia. Giant-Man, Wasp, Thor, and Iron Man are temporarily paralyzed by Nefaria’s defensive systems, but Rick Jones and the Teen Brigade free them in time to rescue Captain America from the castle’s dungeon. The villains are defeated and the Avengers’ names are cleared, but the Wasp receives a gunshot wound to the chest while fighting the Maggia thugs. Giant-Man frantically races her to the nearest hospital as his teammates follow close behind.

The Wasp is taken into emergency surgery, and Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America sit with the distraught Giant-Man in the waiting room. After about half an hour, they receive the grim news that she likely has about 48 hours to live due to the severe damage to her lungs. Hank teeters on the edge of despair as Thor races to Norway to fetch a surgeon named Svenson, who has pioneered a new lung-restoration procedure. However, when the thunder god returns, Svenson refuses to cooperate, causing Giant-Man to grab him in anger. Shockingly, the man turns out to be an alien in disguise, and as his mask is pulled off, he dies of asphyxiation right on the spot. The bewildered Avengers determine that they must track down the real Svenson to save the Wasp’s life. They split up to search the planet by various means, and Giant-Man returns to his downtown laboratory to interface with his ant communications network. For the next eight hours, he pushes the system to its limits and beyond, driving ants in every corner of the globe to search for extraterrestrial lifeforms. The artificial-intelligence computer he created to manage the data coming in from billions of ants struggles to adapt to the strain, but Hank is relentless. Ultimately, though, the ants come up with nothing, and Hank goes berserk until succumbing to exhaustion.

Sick at heart, Giant-Man rejoins his teammates, who were equally unsuccessful. However, Captain America realizes the aliens must be hiding in a remote region of the earth where ants cannot live. Thus, they decide to begin their search at the North Pole. There, they finally locate the aliens, who have built an enormous city in a cavern of ice. The Avengers learn from Ogor, leader of the Kallusians, that they are a peace-loving race from a distant galaxy, driven to take refuge on Earth by an intergalactic war even though its atmosphere was poisonous to them. Dr. Svenson had stumbled upon them, Ogor reveals, and agreed to help them with their respiratory problems. Ogor refuses to turn over Svenson, prompting the Avengers to attack the aliens, but Svenson stops the fight, reminding Ogor that he stayed with them of his own free will, not as a prisoner. The matter is settled suddenly when an alarm indicates that the Kallusians’ enemies have discovered them. Realizing the Kallusians cannot waste time fighting the Avengers now, Ogor sends Svenson with them to New York via a teleportation device. The heroes rush the doctor to the hospital, and Svenson performs his experimental surgery on the Wasp. After several grueling hours, Svenson emerges from the ER and announces that the operation was a success.

With the Wasp convalescing, Giant-Man steps down as Avengers chairman, and Thor is elected to take over those duties. When Jan is finally released from the hospital, Hank devotes himself to caring for her until her strength returns.

March 1963 – Though still in a weakened condition, the Wasp insists on attending the engagement party for Reed Richards and Susan Storm at the Fantastic Four’s headquarters in the Baxter Building. Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, and Rick Jones are also in attendance, as are the X-Men and other friends of the happy couple. During the party, Giant-Man is excited to learn from Reed Richards about the “Dragon Man,” a monstrous android that the FF battled only a week before. Privately, Hank wishes he could have had the chance to study the artificial creature, but it was lost at the bottom of a lake. After socializing for a while, Giant-Man takes the Wasp home early so she can rest. The remainder of the month passes uneventfully as Janet recuperates.

April 1963 – Finding he’s having trouble communicating with the ants, Hank upgrades the cybernetic systems in his costume, though this necessitates using a bulky helmet again. Janet is feeling stronger, but is terribly bored, so he charges her with coming up with a new look for Giant-Man. She happily designs a new costume for him, but while he’s trying it on, one of his experiments goes haywire and he must fend off an attack by a gigantic spider. Later, Hank gets a crew cut so his new helmet will fit better. The Wasp attends the next meeting of the Avengers and is welcomed back by her teammates, but Rick Jones provides an unwelcome distraction when he trips, hits his head, and is knocked out for a few minutes. Hank is relieved that no one has brought up Iron Man’s idea of giving Rick full membership status.

Hank’s curiosity is piqued by news reports of a Chinese woman calling herself “Madam Macabre,” who reportedly has the ability to change the size of inanimate objects at will. She soon pays him a visit at his downtown laboratory and claims to be the protégé of the Mandarin, one of Iron Man’s enemies. When Giant-Man refuses to join her in taking over the world, she storms out, vowing to destroy him. Hank and Jan both dismiss Madam Macabre as a nutcase, but she proves to be dangerous later that evening when she kidnaps the Wasp after luring her to a new art exhibit at a gallery in Central Park. Coming to see why Jan has not returned, Giant-Man discovers his partner has been chloroformed and tied up while thieves are stealing the museum’s treasures. He tries to intervene, only to be trapped by Madam Macabre inside a rapidly shrinking plastic box. Luckily, he is rescued by the Wasp, who has gotten free and defeated Madam Macabre on her own. During their struggle, the Wasp discovered that the woman’s “shrinking powers” were technologically based and actually quite limited, and Giant-Man easily captures their fleeing foe by shooting up to his full 100-foot height. Madam Macabre is then turned over to the police in connection with the museum robbery.

May 1963 – Captain America succeeds Thor as Avengers chairman, and he soon leads the team into action when Rick Jones is kidnapped by the Masters of Evil. Iron Man requisitions an XL-750 rocket plane from Stark Industries so the Avengers can pursue Zemo’s airship. However, Thor and Iron Man soon leave the ship to confront the Black Knight and the Melter. When the plane is then caught in the grip of a strange force emanating from the ground, Giant-Man and the Wasp also leap out to investigate. Finding the Enchantress and the Executioner are responsible for the phenomenon, the couple pursues the Asgardian villains through the back alleys of the city. While Cap flies off in pursuit of Baron Zemo, the rest of the Avengers finally surround the four criminals on a busy Manhattan street. Afraid that many of the gawking bystanders might be harmed in an all-out battle, the heroes are reluctant to attack until Thor uses his enchanted hammer to transport them all to another dimension. Unfortunately, the Enchantress and the Executioner recognize what he’s trying to do and escape from the space-time vortex. Carried to an alien world, the Black Knight and the Melter remain defiant, but quickly learn their technology no longer functions and are easily captured. After turning the two hapless villains over to the police, the Avengers decide to call it a night.

The next morning, Giant-Man, Wasp, and Iron Man meet at Avengers Mansion to see if there is any word from Captain America. In Cap’s absence, Iron Man assumes the role of acting chairman. The Wasp reports that Thor had stopped in briefly, muttered something about a “Trial of the Gods” and rushed off again. She then changes the subject, announcing that she is ready to take a leave of absence from the Avengers. Giant-Man immediately supports her decision, glad for the opportunity to spend more time on his research without worrying about his duty to the team. To their surprise, Iron Man decides to take a leave of absence also. The meeting is interrupted then by the masked archer Hawkeye, who says he wants to join the Avengers. After Hawkeye explains how he fell under the sway of the sexy super-spy known as the Black Widow and now wants to redeem himself, the Avengers agree to give him a chance and he is officially inducted as the team’s second recruit.

Over the next few days, the Avengers start a recruitment drive, realizing they’ll need new members to keep the team viable. Though the Sub-Mariner turns down an offer of membership, which is made based on his service in the Invaders during World War II, the Avengers soon receive a letter from Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, two young mutants who until recently were in the service of the infamous terrorist Magneto. Like Hawkeye, they claim to have been victims of circumstance and are looking for a chance at redemption. Giant-Man and the Wasp agree that they seem like good candidates, and after a lengthy interview at the mansion, the super-powered siblings are accepted as the team’s next two recruits.

At that point, Captain America and Rick Jones finally return from their confrontation with Baron Zemo in the Amazon jungle. Cap reports that the Nazi war-criminal perished in the battle, but is then shocked to learn of his teammates’ decision to quit and leave him with three raw recruits. They try to assure Cap that it is only temporary, with Giant-Man claiming to owe the Wasp a real vacation, but she jokes that if she can convince her partner to marry her, they may retire permanently. Hank is surprised by her comment, so when Iron Man leads the new Avengers outside for a press conference, he and Jan remain in the conference room to talk about their decision to leave the team. He admits that for several months he’s been considering resigning and is relieved to learn that she now feels the same.

After the press conference, Giant-Man, Wasp, Iron Man, Captain America, and Rick Jones conclude their final meeting. They are concerned by Thor’s absence, but decide that he must be occupied with personal matters and would surely contact them if he needed help. When their business is concluded, they go out to inform Jarvis of their decision and introduce him to Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch. The butler is a bit taken aback by the sudden change of roster, but accepts the situation with his characteristic professionalism. Finally, Giant-Man and the Wasp say their farewells and slip out the back door to avoid the reporters, returning to their own penthouse headquarters downtown.

A week or so later, Giant-Man is hit by a strange green ray, fired from a station wagon, that makes him feel weak and dizzy. Though the driver escapes, Hank discovers the car is filled with fantastic alien technology. He later learns that several scientists have recently reported being struck by a green energy beam that somehow stripped them of their scientific knowledge. He reasons that his giant stature reduced the ray’s effectiveness. However, a further attack by the green ray while he is insect-sized leaves Hank unable to shrink any smaller than his normal six-foot height. As Giant-Man, he tracks the station wagon using his cybernetic helmet to detect its distinctive electronic impulses. While searching the city streets, he is struck by the green ray again and weakened further, but sees that it is now being fired from a nearby rooftop. After capturing the hypnotized driver of the station wagon, Giant-Man climbs up to the roof and confronts the strangely garbed man wielding the ray gun. The villain proves to have appropriated his ability to shrink to ant-size, confirming Hank’s hypothesis about the nature of the energy beam. Nevertheless, Giant-Man captures his foe, only to be suddenly overcome by a bright green light from above that renders him unconscious. When Giant-Man finally wakes up, the Wasp has arrived and is tending to his injuries. Hank surmises that his mysterious enemy was an alien, taken back into space aboard a flying saucer. Befuddled by the bizarre incident, he takes the discarded ray gun back to his lab for study, but is unable to fathom its technology.

In the days that follow, Hank realizes that the physical strain of frequently changing size has taken its toll on his body and now poses a serious health risk. He determines that he must attain one target size gradually, choosing 35 feet as a safe median, and remain so for about 15 minutes at a time. Furthermore, he remains unable to shrink below his normal six-foot height. After remodeling his laboratory headquarters to better suit his 35-foot form, Hank is forced to deal with his new limitations when the Human Top attacks and kidnaps the Wasp. In the time it takes Giant-Man to safely reach his full size, the villain has gotten such a head start that he is able to make a clean getaway. Luckily, Hank is able to track his partner’s cybernetic signals, but they are reunited only to fall into a trap set by the Human Top to freeze them to death. Some quick thinking allows Giant-Man and the Wasp to escape and capture their foe, but as the police arrive to take the Human Top into custody, Hank makes up his mind to retire his super-hero identity and return to full-time laboratory research. Reluctantly, Jan agrees to follow suit.

June 1963 – Janet convinces Hank to don his costume one last time so they can attend the wedding of Reed Richards and Susan Storm as Giant-Man and the Wasp. They arrive at the Fantastic Four’s Baxter Building headquarters and meet up with the rest of the Avengers. They are also introduced to Doctor Strange, a purported master of sorcery. Suddenly, a veritable army of super-villains attack, and the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, the X-Men, Daredevil, and agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. meet them in what quickly becomes a brawl in the street. Among the villains are Attuma and his barbarian hordes, the Black Knight, the Enchantress, the Executioner, the Human Top, Kang the Conqueror, the Melter, and the Porcupine. However, Hank is reluctant to change size, so he and Jan remain at the Baxter Building with Doctor Strange and the Scarlet Witch to protect Sue Storm and her blind bridesmaid Alicia Masters, as well as the ordinary people in attendance. Finally, Mister Fantastic produces a strange device that creates a time vortex that sends all the villains into the past. The ceremony proceeds without further incident. The guests enjoy a lavish wedding reception that evening in the Baxter Building’s grand ballroom, though Hank is embarrassed by his failure to join in the fighting.

Hoping to get Jan to accept that their super-hero days are over, Hank gives up his penthouse headquarters in Lower Manhattan and buys a more modest research facility out in Cresskill, New Jersey. His ant communications network is dismantled, and its various components are put into storage. Before getting his new lab up and running, though, Hank accepts an offer to spend the summer working on a government research project in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The lead scientist, a Dr. Barnes, explains that they will be drilling into the earth’s crust in hopes of learning more about the origins of life, and they need a biochemist of Pym’s caliber on hand. Thinking it will be like an ocean cruise, Jan agrees to go with him, though she soon becomes disenchanted with the facilities aboard the floating research platform. While at sea, Hank lets his crew cut grow out again.

August 1963 – Hank is excited to learn that the android Dragon Man has resurfaced again and has been captured by the Fantastic Four. Further inquiries reveal that the government has relocated the creature to a desert island, where it can be studied in safety. Though still working in the middle of the ocean, Hank begins a campaign to gain custody of the creature for his own research.

September 1963 – One day, the research project’s undersea drill is destroyed by the Sub-Mariner, who storms into the control center and orders them to leave the area at once. Hank is annoyed by Namor’s imperious attitude and argues with him, but a trigger-happy guard lets off a round that strikes an oxygen tank and starts a raging fire. As Hank and the guards try to douse the flames, the Sub-Mariner suddenly seems to go into a trance, dives into the ocean, and swims due west. The fire is brought under control, but not before it has damaged their communications equipment. Realizing Namor is heading straight towards the United States, Hank wishes he could warn the authorities of his approach. Janet volunteers to become the Wasp again and fly to the mainland to alert the Avengers. Hank isn’t happy about the idea, but Jan admits that she’s found their retirement to be extremely dull. Dressed only in her swimsuit, she sets off on her long flight. Many hours pass, and Hank busies himself with repairing the radio equipment. Finally, he receives a transmission from Jan from Avengers Mansion. She reports that while en route to New York, she was captured by Attuma and taken to his flagship, though the barbarians didn’t recognize her from their previous encounter. She managed to contact the Avengers using Attuma’s equipment, then easily escaped while insect-sized. By the time she reached the team’s headquarters, no one was there, so she assumed they’d gone off to intercept Attuma. Hank is relieved that she’s all right, and she assures him she’ll be back with him as soon as she can. However, a fierce storm blows up suddenly, with 100-foot waves threatening to sink the research vessel. After a few hours, the ocean quiets again, and Hank begins to worry when Jan does not return. Finally, he radios the Avengers to report her disappearance and request assistance. After Hank reveals to the team that he is Giant-Man, Captain America agrees to send Hawkeye to pick him up and bring him back to the mansion.

Back in New York, Hank is greeted warmly by his former teammates, but they grow suspicious when he is reluctant to prove he is who he says he is by changing size. Suddenly, the team receives a radio message from a man calling himself “The Collector,” who tells them to come to a certain set of coordinates if they ever want to see the Wasp alive again. Captain America insists Hank prove he is really Giant-Man before he’ll allow him to accompany them on the rescue mission. Hank hesitates, explaining the new limitations on his powers resulting from the strain on his body of so much size-changing in the past year. Seeing the team is not prepared to take his word for it, Hank accepts a new blue-and-yellow costume from the Scarlet Witch and enlarges himself to 25 feet tall. The others are finally convinced, and when Cap describes him as “a real goliath,” Hank decides to adopt Goliath as his new code-name, saying he now thinks “Giant-Man” was kind of corny. During the 15 minutes he must wait before becoming normal-sized again, the Avengers prepare one of their jet-powered airships for take-off. Finally, they are underway, heading for the Collector’s coordinates in the Adirondack Mountains.

Upon reaching the site, the Avengers discover a hidden castle, but as soon as they enter, they are gassed into unconsciousness. When Goliath revives, he finds himself shackled alongside his teammates, with the odd-looking Collector ranting at them. Not recognizing Hank in his new costume, the Collector demands to know where Giant-Man is. Fueled by anger over the Wasp’s kidnapping, Goliath shoots up to 25 feet, breaking free of his shackles, and lunges at the Collector. The villain evades his clumsy attack, so Goliath frees his teammates and they pursue their foe into the dungeons, where they encounter his henchman, the Beetle. After a lengthy battle, Goliath manages to grab the Collector and demands he produce the Wasp. Grinning, the Collector draws from his pocket a tiny vial in which she is trapped and threatens to crush her between his fingers unless the Avengers surrender. However, Quicksilver grabs it away from him at super-speed. Realizing he’s lost, the Collector activates a device that allows him and his stooge to vanish into thin air. Freed from the vial, the Wasp returns to normal size. When Hank tells her that he’s revealed his true identity to the other Avengers, she tells them her name is Janet Van Dyne. The happy moment is suddenly shattered when Hank collapses into a coma while trying to shrink back to his normal height.

Goliath revives several hours later, finding himself in Avengers Mansion. Jan, still in her swimsuit, is at his bedside, along with a Doctor Carlson. The doctor grimly informs Hank that he must remain at his current height of ten feet tall, for if he attempts to change size again, the strain could kill him. Hank takes the news hard and sinks into a profound depression. After having a temper tantrum, he storms out of the mansion to wander the back alleys of the city, fearing he’ll be a “freak” for the rest of his life. Many hours later, an Avengers emergency alert brings him back to their headquarters, where the Wasp, now wearing her old costume, reports that their teammates have disappeared. A homing signal takes them to a darkened mansion on the southern shores of Long Island, where they battle three of the team’s recent enemies, the Black Widow, the Swordsman, and Power Man. The Wasp frees the other Avengers, but the villains manage to escape. Nevertheless, Captain America officially welcomes Goliath and the Wasp back to active duty.

The Avengers create some makeshift living quarters for Goliath, and though Jan is clearly delighted to be back on the team, Hank becomes increasingly reclusive. He barely pays attention when a military liaison briefs them about the new XPT1 atomic submarine.

October 1963 – After Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch have taken a leave of absence to return to their native country in Europe, Hank finds he can no longer bear to see the sadness in Janet’s eyes or to be an object of her pity. He knows that unless he can find a cure for his condition, they can never have a normal relationship. He decides to seek out one of his old college professors, Dr. Franz Anton, whose new line of research might help him. Without a word to the others, Goliath jets down to Anton’s laboratory in Peru, only to find that his former mentor has disappeared. An attack by a squad of men in strange armor leads Goliath to the lost civilization of El Dorado within the Andes Mountains, where he becomes embroiled in a power struggle between the deposed Prince Rey and a high priest called the Keeper of the Flame. Captain America, Hawkeye, and the Wasp soon come to his rescue and together they neutralize the city’s power source, the highly unstable Sacred Flame of Life, and rescue Dr. Anton. On the way back to his mentor’s lab, Goliath explains his problem, and is crushed when Dr. Anton says the only person who might be able to cure him is a former student named Henry Pym. On the flight back to New York, Hank broods in silence.

When they reach Avengers Mansion, Captain America proves he is sick and tired of Hank’s defeatist attitude. Hank’s refusal to take over as Avengers chairman leads Cap to start a fight, mocking and goading him until Hank loses his temper. As soon as Hank defiantly determines to prove himself, though, Cap stops the fight. Goliath is grateful to Cap for helping break him out of his funk of self-pity and decides to finally get his new laboratory set up and start working on a cure for himself. In the days that follow, Hank stocks his lab in Cresskill, New Jersey, and begins his research. However, he quickly realizes that, despite her good intentions, Jan is just not qualified to act as a real lab assistant. Hank starts looking for a trustworthy colleague to help him, but doesn’t have much luck at first. He is intrigued, though, by reports of the Fantastic Four’s encounter with the original Human Torch, which sparks a renewed interest in androids. As a result, Hank steps up his campaign to gain possession of the Dragon Man for research purposes.

November 1963 – Following Tony Stark’s recommendation, Goliath hires biochemist Bill Foster as his lab assistant, and is immediately impressed by Foster’s talents. Realizing that keeping secrets from Foster would be a hindrance to their project, Goliath reveals that he is Hank Pym. In the days that follow, the two scientists develop a genuine friendship, and so Hank is infuriated when Foster is savagely beaten by the racist hate-group known as the Sons of the Serpent for being a black man in a white neighborhood. Goliath convinces the Avengers that they should go after the Sons of the Serpent, and the team holds a press conference the next day to denounce the group after it is implicated in an assassination attempt on a high-ranking military officer from North Vietnam, one General Chen. However, shortly afterward, the Sons of the Serpent kidnap Captain America and threaten to kill him unless the Avengers publicly endorse their xenophobic ideology. Taking charge, Goliath plays along at first, a strategy that nearly destroys his friendship with Foster, until the Avengers can locate their foes’ hidden headquarters. Goliath agrees to Hawkeye’s suggestion that they recruit the now-reformed Black Widow for the mission to rescue Cap, though Hank does not fully trust the former Soviet spy. With her help, the Avengers storm the terrorist organization’s airborne command center, defeat the Sons of the Serpent, and free Captain America. When they unmask the group’s leader, the Supreme Serpent is revealed to be General Chen himself. Landing the ship in Central Park, the Avengers expose Chen’s plot to score a propaganda victory against the United States by stirring up bigotry and intolerance, and the Sons of the Serpent are discredited as a “fifth column” attack by the Communists. After making their statement to the press and handing Chen over to the police, the Avengers walk back to their Fifth Avenue mansion.

Days later, Goliath and the Wasp join Captain America and Hawkeye at Avengers Mansion to examine a robotic shape-changer called the Adaptoid, which Cap has defeated and captured. However, Hank is in the middle of a critical experiment at his lab in New Jersey, so he can only give the Adaptoid a cursory inspection. He promises to return for a more thorough investigation, but is disappointed to learn later that the Adaptoid revived, overcame Cap, and escaped into the night. However, this brief encounter with the Adaptoid leads Hank to theorize about a type of artificial humanoid which he terms a “synthezoid,” being a synthesis of android and robot. He tries to discuss his ideas with the other Avengers, but they don’t understand what he’s talking about.

Goliath and the Wasp attend a special executive meeting of the Avengers to discuss whether to make an offer of membership to Spider-Man. They are happy to see Thor and Iron Man at the meeting, along with Captain America and Hawkeye, though neither is willing to place himself back on the active roster yet. After a contentious debate, and a positive character reference from Daredevil, the others agree to Goliath’s suggestion that they give Spider-Man a test to see if he is really Avengers material. They split up to search the city, and later Thor reports that he found Spider-Man and made the offer. At the appointed time the next day, Spider-Man appears at the mansion. The Avengers greet him warmly, though Hank is annoyed that Jan insists on being unfriendly to the wall-crawler. After Hawkeye goads the impatient Spidey into a fight, which quickly turns into an all-out brawl, Iron Man suggests that they send the web-slinger to track down the Hulk, who’s been spotted in the city recently, and bring him to Avengers Mansion. Spider-Man sets off, brimming with confidence, but a few hours later, he returns empty-handed, claiming he was unable to even locate the Hulk. When he quickly swings away with no further explanation, Goliath suspects there must be more to the story than that, and even the Wasp admits to feeling disappointed.

A few days later, Goliath and the Wasp are shocked and saddened by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas. Hank finds himself wishing his ant communications network wasn’t in mothballs, as the insects might have valuable information related to the crime.

December 1963 – Goliath finally agrees to take over from Captain America as Avengers chairman, since Cap has had to serve for seven months. His first order of business is a request from the NYPD for assistance in investigating a bank robbery committed by a man with some kind of disintegrator ray. While at the bank, Janet is recognized by a childhood friend, Lucy Barton. Unable to find any clues, the Avengers return to their headquarters, deciding they must wait for the crook to strike again. After working out with Cap and Hawkeye, Goliath heads back to his lab in Cresskill, where he finds Bill Foster is waiting. Foster apologizes for losing faith in his friend during the Sons of the Serpent affair, and Hank is glad to have him back. Catching up on the project, they agree that their latest avenue of research is extremely promising, and they are ready to set up a test. Jan leaves for an appointment at the hairdresser, but the scientists’ work is soon interrupted by a costumed criminal calling himself “The Living Laser,” whose wrist-mounted laser beams seem capable of cutting through anything. Nevertheless, Goliath soon defeats his foe and ties him up. When Cap and Hawkeye arrive, they conclude that the Living Laser is the most likely suspect in the bank robbery. Goliath asks his teammates to take the Living Laser to the police so he can get back to his research. The project has reached a critical stage, so even when the Living Laser later escapes and goes on a rampage in the city, Hank leaves Captain America, Hawkeye, and the Wasp to search for their foe while he and Foster test their possible cure.

The initial test is successful, but Goliath is then called away by an emergency alert signal from the Wasp. He tracks it to the basement of an apartment building in New York City, where Captain America and Hawkeye have been caught in a laser-beam trap. After he frees them, Goliath is furious to learn that the Living Laser kidnapped the Wasp while his teammates were helpless. Back at the mansion, they can detect no trace of Jan’s homing signal, and Hank is not reassured by Cap and Hawkeye’s observations that the Living Laser seemed to have something of a crush on Jan. Unable to just wait around for leads, Hank goes back to his laboratory in Cresskill and administers the cure he and Foster have developed. Though the initial signs are positive, Hank realizes the only way to know for sure if it worked is to try shrinking. Worried that he might die, Hank decides to wait until they’ve rescued Jan.

Returning to Avengers Mansion in the morning, Goliath learns that during the night, the Living Laser staged a coup in the tiny Central American country of Costa Verde. The three Avengers immediately jet there to rescue the Wasp, but upon arrival their airship is shot down by the villain’s powerful laser cannon. Their first attempt to storm the centuries-old fortress that is the seat of government fails and they are forced to retreat. After regrouping, they make a second attempt. Although the trio manages to get inside the fortress, Cap and Hawkeye are overcome by the numerous rebel troops and captured. Goliath makes it to the throne room, where he finds the Wasp trapped behind laser beams. Before he can free her, the Living Laser shoots him in the back with a stun blast. Hank revives sometime later, finding himself bound in heavy chains and locked in a dungeon. Realizing he has no other choice, he takes a life-or-death gamble and shrinks down to ant size. He succeeds with no ill effects, easily escapes from the cell, and returns to the throne room to free Jan. She is amazed to see him insect-sized once again, but warns him that the villain is about to use his laser-cannon to blast the tower in which Cap and Hawkeye are still imprisoned. They race to the laser-cannon and Hank slips inside to sabotage it while Jan attacks their foe with her stingers. The Living Laser tries to fire his weapon, but it overloads and blows up, knocking him unconscious. Hank then finally returns to his normal six-foot height and he and Jan celebrate.

While bringing the Living Laser back to the United States, Jan explains that their foe is a man named Arthur Parks, an ex-boyfriend of Lucy Barton’s, who suffers from delusions of grandeur. Back in New York, after turning Parks over to the police, Hank and Jan learn that Lucy has exposed their secret identities after gossiping with her society friends. Though inconvenienced by the ensuing media frenzy, the couple realizes that, since neither of them has any close living relatives, it doesn’t really matter. Hank returns to his Cresskill facility and asks Bill Foster to stay on as his lab partner, as he has several ideas for new avenues of research. Foster happily accepts, and, towards the end of the month, Hank invites his new friend to the Avengers’ second annual Christmas charity benefit. At the party, Hank Pym speaks excitedly about his plans to do some experiments with androids, robots, and his old artificial intelligence program.


Notes:

January 1963 – Giant-Man and the Wasp have a brief cameo in Journey Into Mystery #101 before their solo adventures continue in Tales to Astonish #57 and following. It is noted that the Wasp back-up story in that issue occurs a few days before the main feature. The Wasp’s instant dislike of Spider-Man was chalked up to the natural enmity between wasps and spiders. The Avengers’ secret emergency headquarters is first seen in Avengers #13, but it seems likely that it was set up sometime before those events. A routine team meeting is shown at the beginning of Journey Into Mystery #105. Giant-Man, Wasp, and Thor appear briefly in Tales of Suspense #56 when they try unsuccessfully to call Iron Man at work. Hank & Jan’s team adventures then resume in Avengers #7 and following.

Between the Avengers’ training session and the encounter with the Hulk depicted in Tales to Astonish #59, Giant-Man and the Wasp have an irrelevant cameo in Journey Into Mystery #108. While Giant-Man is dealing with the Hulk, he remains unaware that his arch-enemy, the Human Top, is influencing events behind the scenes. Hank & Jan apprehend a gang of criminals on the waterfront during their brief appearance in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1. They catch the Chameleon and stop Captain America and Iron Man from beating the stuffing out of each other in Tales of Suspense #58. Spider-Man’s public disgrace is discussed by his fellow superheroes in Amazing Spider-Man #18.

Apparently, the Giant-Man Fan Club got fed up with their idol’s abuse, because after he sends them packing in Tales to Astonish #60, they never return. I would assume they disbanded shortly after.

During the events of Avengers #9, Giant-Man and the Wasp also appear briefly in Tales of Suspense #59 and Fantastic Four #31. The Avengers are seen returning Wonder Man’s body to the United States in the flashback in West Coast Avengers #2, and the recording of Simon Williams’ brain patterns occurs in a flashback in Avengers #58.

The Converti-Car, introduced in Tales to Astonish #61 is an early prototype for Pym’s “Rover” vehicle seen much later during his stint with the West Coast Avengers. I speculate that Hank retrieved Egghead’s android on the assumption that its density-altering technology was later incorporated into the Vision.

Next, Hank & Jan contact Iron Man in Tales of Suspense #60. The Wasp reads about Count Nefaria’s castle being moved across the ocean at the beginning of Avengers #13, a scene which clearly occurs some weeks before the main story. The Wasp’s birthday is established in Avengers #42. After the meeting in Avengers #10, the team battles the minions of Immortus, ruler of Limbo, and the Masters of Evil, but in the end, the Enchantress weaves a spell that eliminates those events from the timeline. Thus, it “never happened.” Finally, after a very busy month, Giant-Man and the Wasp join the Avengers for a crossover appearance in Uncanny X-Men #9.

February 1963 – I speculate that the wreckage of Kang’s futuristic robot from Avengers #11 inspired Pym when later constructing the robotic body of Ultron-1. As evidence, he is seen working on a large robotic ant at the beginning of Tales to Astonish #64. Furthermore, I see the origins of Ultron’s instant animosity towards Pym in Avengers #14. When the distraught Pym pushes his ant communications network to its limits and beyond while searching for Dr. Svenson’s alien captors, this kick-starts the evolution of its artificial intelligence computer into the mind of Ultron. It is likely the world’s ants resisted or objected in some way to being forced to do Pym’s bidding, and there is textual evidence to suggest that Pym subsequently had difficulty communicating with the ants on a large scale, as if they had rejected him. The computer would have absorbed this negativity towards Pym, which manifested as hatred when Ultron was activated. This also explains Ultron’s fixation on Janet Van Dyne, since it was the desire to have and keep her that motivated Pym during this cybernetic interface, which the computer would have absorbed as well. Finally, Ultron’s homicidal disregard for human life can be traced to Pym’s insistence that the ants disregard all humans in their search for the aliens, or, significantly, the “non-humans,” as Pym puts it. After Pym dismantles his cybernetic communications network in June and puts the artificial-intelligence computer into storage, it continues to evolve, though it becomes twisted from the lack of new input, just as prolonged sensory deprivation adversely affects the human mind. Thus, the menace of Ultron is really and truly Henry Pym’s fault.

March 1963 – The Avengers attend Reed and Sue’s engagement party in Fantastic Four #36. The FF encountered Dragon Man in the previous issue, and Hank would finally get his chance to study the creature in Avengers #41.

April 1963 – Rick Jones demonstrates his clumsiness in an odd little back-up story in Captain America #221.

May 1963 – Giant-Man and the Wasp take their first leave of absence from the team in Avengers #16. Their final meeting wraps up in Journey Into Mystery #116, and they introduce the new members to Jarvis in a flashback in Avengers #280.

Tales to Astonish #69 brings the lackluster “Giant-Man & the Wasp” feature to an end. It would be replaced in the next issue by a series starring the Sub-Mariner. Hank & Jan would appear mainly in Avengers from this point forward. It would seem that over-exposure to Pym particles can be detrimental to one’s health, but since they never seemed to adversely affect the Wasp, who only used them to shrink, I suspect that it was using them to make himself a giant that caused Pym to become ill. Ironically, if he had remained Ant-Man, Pym might have had a much better time of it. Note that Pym’s physical health seemed to improve after he adopted his Yellowjacket identity, though he still struggled with depression.

June 1963 – Giant-Man and the Wasp remain behind the scenes during the wedding story in Fantastic Four Annual #3, but they confirm their presence at the event in Avengers #141.

September 1963 – We catch up with Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne in the Sub-Mariner story in Tales to Astonish #77. Interestingly, this issue makes no mention of their former superhero identities. The following issue crosses over with Avengers #26 and sets up their return to the team. The fierce storm and high waves are a result of Attuma’s tide-manipulating device, which Cap’s Kooky Quartet destroys after the Wasp escapes. Pym adopts the new identity of Goliath, along with a new costume (his fourth), in Avengers #28. The Wasp soon acquires a new costume for herself as well, a slightly modified version of her earlier one. The Avengers are briefed about the new atomic submarine in a flashback in Tales of Suspense #91.

October 1963 – The lost city of El Dorado, seen in Avengers #30–31, was built long ago by the Deviants and eventually taken over by descendants of the Incas. Both Prince Rey and the Keeper of the Flame would return to bedevil several superheroes some time later as members of They Who Wield Power. Around this time, the Wasp decides to stop wearing her helmet, since it messes up her hairstyle, thus making her much easier to recognize. It is clear she is no longer particularly interested in protecting her secret identity. The Fantastic Four’s encounter with the android Human Torch is depicted in Fantastic Four Annual #4.

November 1963 – Bill Foster would later use Pym’s growth serum himself, first as Black Goliath and then, at Ben Grimm’s suggestion, as the second Giant-Man. Goliath and the Wasp have a quick look at the Adaptoid in the Captain America story in Tales of Suspense #84. “Synthezoid,” of course, is a term coined later by Roy Thomas to describe the Vision. The Avengers put Spider-Man through his paces in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #3. The Kennedy assassination occurs behind the scenes, of course, and this satisfies my initial research question as far as Hank & Jan are concerned.

December 1963 – It becomes clear soon after this that the secret identities of both Goliath and the Wasp have become public knowledge, and Lucy Barton is the most likely culprit. She immediately recognizes Jan while she’s in costume with the Avengers, and they have a conversation about Arthur Parks in the bank. Jan visits her again at the conclusion of the mission to explain that Parks has become a super-villain. Once Lucy blabbed to her friends about Jan being the Wasp, the story would have been all over the newspapers, with Hank’s identity exposed in the process. This brings us up to Avengers #35. Pym’s creation of Ultron is only a few weeks away.






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