Saturday

OMU: Ant-Man -- Year Six

Henry Pym, known variously as Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Goliath, and Yellowjacket, spends the next twelve months of his life happily conducting biochemical research in the private laboratory facilities within his Long Island home. His wife and former crimefighting partner, the Wasp, however, is growing restless, longing to return to their life of adventure. The couple remains behind the scenes in comic book character limbo throughout, except for a single guest-appearance in Giant-Size Defenders. Even so, as founding members of the Avengers, they maintain an interest in the activities of the superhero community.

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 with… The True History of Ant-Man!


January–April 1967 – Hank Pym and his wife, Janet Pym, enjoy their brand-new house in Southampton on Long Island, where he continues to study the dormant microbe in his bloodstream left behind by the A.I.M. virus he was once exposed to. He is careful not to reactivate the microbe by overusing his size-changing abilities, lest it leave him trapped at ant-size again. This does not overly concern him, as he is happy to have retired from his role as a superhero. Hank continues to collaborate occasionally with Bill Foster, who rents his own lab facilities from Jan elsewhere in the city. For her part, Jan devotes her time to the local social scene and various philanthropic pursuits.

May 1967 – Hank and Jan are relieved when the subversive organization Black Spectre is finally brought down by Daredevil and the Black Widow. The group had spent months carrying out offensive pranks and outrageous sabotage, such as inciting a race riot at the Statue of Liberty, installing a swastika atop the Washington Monument, draping Philadelphia’s Independence Hall in black shrouds, carving Adolf Hitler’s face into Mount Rushmore, and disrupting the country’s telecommunications infrastructure. With help from S.H.I.E.L.D., the government is able to repair all the damage.

June 1967 – Hank and Jan are dispirited to learn that Steve Rogers has decided to quit being Captain America, leaving his costume and shield in a storage vault beneath Avengers Mansion. However, they are happy to hear that Quicksilver has gotten married to Crystal, a member of the Inhumans’ royal family, in that race’s hidden refuge on the other side of the world. They hope married life will smooth some of Quicksilver’s rough edges.

July 1967 – A couple weeks later, Hank and Jan are surprised to learn that the Scarlet Witch and the Vision have also gotten married, in a double-wedding with Mantis and the Swordsman, who subsequently left Earth. Jan thinks this rash of weddings is all very romantic, though she is annoyed that she didn’t get to attend either ceremony. The Pyms are then baffled by a midsummer snowstorm in New York City. Reports of bizarre weather phenomena come in from around the globe, but the cause remains a mystery. Soon after, they are further alarmed when everyone in Manhattan is rendered unconscious for two days. Efforts to investigate the situation are hampered when it is found that anyone who goes to the island likewise passes out. After everyone revives, reports of strange occurrences start coming in from around the world, but then the Fantastic Four announce that it was all part of an alien invasion plot that they have foiled.

August 1967 – When Manhattan is rocked by a series of unnatural earthquakes, Hank and Jan are relieved to learn that the Avengers, Fantastic Four, and Daredevil have joined in the rescue efforts. Soon after, a character calling himself Maa-Gorr, the Man-God, hijacks all television and radio broadcasts to demand that he be worshiped as the one, true god. Despite his threat to seize control of the world’s energy resources, the lunatic is quickly dealt with by S.H.I.E.L.D.

December 1967 – For about 18 hours, Hank and Jan find themselves trapped within force-field bubbles. Try as they might, they are unable to escape. Finally, the force fields vanish as mysteriously as they appeared. They then learn that while they were trapped, Loki led an invasion force of Asgardian warriors against Washington, D.C., only to be repelled by Thor and the U.S. Army.

When his friend Trixie Starr is severely injured in a car-bomb explosion, Hank decides to come out of retirement and seek vengeance against Egghead, her uncle, whom he assumes to be responsible. Rather than act as Ant-Man, however, he suits up as Yellowjacket instead, feeling that identity to be more appropriately intimidating. Refusing to allow Jan to accompany him, Yellowjacket visits Trixie in the hospital and then hunts down Egghead, finding his arch-enemy living as a homeless bum in the Bowery. A shadow of his former self, Egghead admits to the bombing, claiming he wanted to maim Trixie and thereby end her career as a fashion model. Yellowjacket punches him out and turns him over to the police.

Returning to the hospital, Yellowjacket learns that Trixie’s left arm has been amputated. He then discovers that her boyfriend, the wealthy businessman Kyle Richmond, who was also wounded by the explosion, is secretly the reformed supervillain Nighthawk. Richmond had assumed he was the target of the bombing and has sent his teammates in a superhero group called the Defenders— the Hulk, Doctor Strange, and the Valkyrie—after his former associates in the Squadron Sinister. Remembering when the Squadron Sinister fought the Avengers a few years ago, Yellowjacket agrees to lend the Defenders a hand. During the ensuing battle, Yellowjacket acquits himself admirably, singlehandedly defeating the villainous Whizzer. The Defenders defeat Hyperion and Doctor Spectrum, foiling their plan to kidnap Richmond. The heroes celebrate their victory, though Yellowjacket knows the Wasp will be furious at having missed such an epic superhero donnybrook.

Hank and Jan are happy to learn that Steve Rogers has decided to become Captain America again, having retrieved his gear from the Avengers. The Pyms then celebrate a festive Christmas at their home in Southampton.


Notes:

May 1967 – Hank and Janet Pym remain behind the scenes as Black Spectre wreaks havoc in Daredevil #109–112.

June 1967 – Disillusioned after the Secret Empire affair, Steve Rogers quits in Captain America #176. The wedding of Quicksilver and Crystal occurs soon after in Fantastic Four #150.

July 1967 – The Scarlet Witch marries the Vision and Mantis marries the Swordsman (or rather his corpse reanimated by an alien) in Giant-Size Avengers #4. The bizarre weather phenomena result from Dormammu taking Gaea prisoner in Doctor Strange v.2 #8–9. The people of Manhattan are then rendered insensate for two days by alien invaders in Giant-Size Fantastic Four #3.

August 1967 – Earthquakes strike Manhattan in Marvel Team-Up #28, courtesy of a pair of disgruntled scientists being manipulated by They Who Wield Power. Maa-Gor publicly issues his demands in Ka-Zar, Lord of the Hidden Jungle #4.

December 1967 – Various superheroes are seen trapped within Loki’s magical spheres in Thor #233. Hank and Jan make their only appearance for the year in Giant-Size Defenders #4. Steve Rogers takes up the mantle of Captain America again in Captain America #183.



Jump Back: Ant-Man – Year Five

Next Issue: Captain America – Year Six


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