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Top Five Hank Pym Identities

Hank Pym is known for having a number of superhero identities. Here are my picks for the top five!

Enjoy!

5. Yellowjacket

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Let’s put it this way – Hank adopted the Yellowjacket identity after accidentally exposing himself to a gas that gave him split personalities. It was only under this split personality that Hank was able to muster up the courage to ask Janet Van Dyne to marry him.

And that was a HIGHLIGHT of his Yellowjacket phase!

Since then, it was as Yellowjacket that he shot a villain in the back while Captain America was talking her down. This led to Hank being subject to the very first Avengers court martial.

It was as Yellowjacket that Hank, while plotting some idiotic ploy that would force the Avengers to keep him around, got frustrated and gave Jan a smack across the face, giving her a black eye.

And this is the identity he is currently using, presumably to “redeem” the name. Although he’s redeeming it by being one of the creepy pro-Registration heroes during Civil War (pro-Registration=evil and/or deluded – Hank is firmly in the first camp).

4. Goliath

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Goliath wasn’t that bad, actually. Hank was only Goliath for about 30 issues the first time around (between Giant Man and Yellowjacket) and when he returned to it during Kurt Busiek’s run, he again only laste about 20 issues under the name.

My problem with Goliath was that he wasn’t unique enough – Giant Man, but not REALLY giant!

Seemed kinda silly.

3. Ant-Man

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Here is what always irked me about Hank Pym as Ant Man. The dude invented a process that both allowed him to communicate with ants AND actually SHRINK – and all he does is feel stupid at how uncool that is!!

How cool is it to invent a way to actually SHRINK yourself?!?!

Ant-Man was the beginning of it all, so it deserves some credit, and it was as Ant Man that Hank co-founded the Avengers.

However, it was also as Ant Man that he went nuts that one time and attacked the Avengers.

And he DID act like a loser a lot as Ant-Man (heck, check out the cover blurb!).

2. Giant-Man

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I think Giant-Man is the only costumed identity Hank has used where he DIDN’T go nuts or end up in some freaky state during the period. That is, unless you count “crippling depression that forced him into insisting on making growth powers to make himself feel less useless” as a freaky state.

But for the most part, as Giant Man, Hank pretty much kicked ass.

1. Dr. Pym

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But it was as Dr. Pym that Hank was at his best.

NO crazy stuff!

NO crippling depression!

He was a useful Avenger withOUT having to be all nuts and stuff. And come on, being able to shrink and regrow stuff just by your touch? That’s awesome!

Being able to have a whole arsenal at your (literal) fingertips? That is super cool!

So of course, no one (except Dwayne McDuffie, bless his heart) ever wants to address this role ever again.

Well, those are my picks! Agree? Disagree? Let me know!

44 Comments

Marshall Maresca

August 30, 2006 at 4:31 am

As Dr. Pym, he was pure kick-ass. It is a shame they don’t seem to want to go back there.

How many other ones were there that didn’t make the list?

I’m going with Goliath, followed closely by Dr Pym. I liked the Goliath costume the best of all his outfits; the blue and yellow was very striking and his goggles were cool.

Didn’t he wear a red jumpsuit for a while as Dr Pym and get into a weird, loving father-son relationship with Ultron Mark-9? I swear I remember them hugging and Ultron insisting that his “dad” call him “Mark”…

My choices are almost the complete opposite, and they’re purely based on name and costume considerations. Because I’m superficial like that.

#5) Hank Pym: lab coat + weak Milgrom art = looks like a substitute Chemistry teacher (and who wears pants that exact color brown except EVERY scientist in a comic book [including Peter Parker])?

#4) Giant-Man: He keeps the Ant-Man motif to the costume, he’s got antannae, but he grows really tall. I don’t get it, and I don’t like it. Nobody likes giant bugs.

#3) Yellowjacket: Shoulder pads both simulataneously rule and suck. Plus, yellow is never a good choice.

#2) Ant-Man: Wicked cool helmet, stylized, iconic chest emblem, scalloped boots and gloves–a fashion classic.

#1) Goliath: Looks less like a stripper than Clint Barton’s version, and the “v” and “y” motif on the costume makes no sense other than this: ultra-coolness!

I will go with the Dr. Pym identity too. I’ve always
loved those gadgets he would get seemingly from nowhere
to strike down his enemies. Like a non-mystical version
of Alpha Flight’s Shaman.

And if you guys don’t like Al Milgrom art, check the John
Byrne Avengers West Coast run or the current Beyond
series (with wonderful Scott Kolins art) to see more
visual appealing versions of the character.

I’ve also liked the versatility of Yellowjacket, who
could pretty much do all the things the other versions do
at the same time. He is a friggin’ powerhouse! But,
somehow, he always acts weird when he is Yellowjacket.
He is always more stable as Dr. Pym (maybe because it’s
not an “identity”, but his own self? He does seem to be
much more confident when he is not wearing a costume…).

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

How many other ones were there that didn’t make the list?

Just these five, Scott, but he makes it seem like more by going back and forth with each one. The timeline goes:

1. Ant-Man
2. Giant-Man (two different costumes)
3. Goliath
4. Yellowjacket (he put on the Ant-Man costume for a few issues)
6. Dr. Pym
7. Giant-Man (two different costumes)
8. Goliath (two different costumes)
9. Yellowjacket

Interestingly enough, can you guess which identity Hank has made the most appearances under before changing to his next identity?

Didn’t he wear a red jumpsuit for a while as Dr Pym and get into a weird, loving father-son relationship with Ultron Mark-9? I swear I remember them hugging and Ultron insisting that his “dad” call him “Mark”…

Yeah, I’ll freely admit that the big red jumpsuit was unfortunate (although it made some sense, as he needed something with a lot of pockets).

However, the Ultron stuff was before he became “Dr. Pym.”

That was when he was “Hank Pym – depressed suicidal loser between identities”

moose n squirrel

August 30, 2006 at 6:30 am

Dr. Pym was awesome. As a tech wizard and mad scientist, Hank Pym is great; as a crazed, abusive superhero who grows and shrinks, not so much.

Growing powers have always been my favorite, so I loved Giant-Man. Goliath was cool, but a guy stuck at 10 feet causes a lot of problems. Dr. Pym was a neat concept, and McDuffie is reminding me how cool it can be in Beyond. I will admit, while I like the idea of Yellowjacket, bad stuff seems to happen with Pym when he’s in that ID.

I don’t think Pym is evil in CW, by the way. You can see in his dialogue in T-bolts that his heroic head is still in the right place.

I will admit I’m a Pym fan though, so maybe I’m making excuses!

Dr. Pym has an awesome appearance in Iron Man (around #288? or so), where he shrinks Jim Rhodes (in the War Machine armor) to action figure size, then enlarges pocket change to the size of manhole covers as he throws it at him. “It’s time for me to play big government–and throw money at the problem.” I love that line! Pym just rocks it that issue…but I still like the Yellowjacket outfit better, even if it brings out the nutjob in him.

moose n squirrel

August 30, 2006 at 7:38 am

Whose idea was the “Dr. Pym” revamp, by the way? Did Byrne do that, or was that someone else?

SanctumSanctorumComix

August 30, 2006 at 9:16 am

And here I was thinking you were going to go all superficial and choose Yellowjacket as # 1 (because most people do) since that is his best costume.

But you completely surprised me by choosing MY # 1 version as well.

DR. PYM

They had him looking a little like the Tom Baker version of Dr. Who (with the long coat and oversized scarf and everything) for awhile, which was nerdy-cool, but detracting from the originality of the new concept.

I thought the new “master of science” route was refreshing and innovative.
No more crushing doubt, no more self-recrimination.

Suddenly, this was a Hank Pym I could LIKE.

Then…it was over.

Oh well… in less than 5 years it’ll be back, because that will have been some new creators’ “first & therefore best version” of the character.

I can only hope I’m still along for the ride by then.

;-)

~P~

Imitation Cheese Spread Prime

August 30, 2006 at 9:18 am

1. Ant-Man
2. GiAnt-Man
3. GiAnt-Man
4. Ant-Man
5. Ant-Man

Sorry but I think Larry Lieber’s Ant-Man stories (based on a mumble by Stan) really rocke. I really like those small-time, really lame superhero stories.

Giant-Man was a fun addition as long as it still had ants.

I’ve never been on board with the “Hank Pym is such a dick that he’d slap Jan” thing. It was like fucking up Hal Jordan before they fucked up Hal Jordan.

The Marvel Essential Ant-Man really is, um, essential.

Thank Steve Englehart for Dr. Pym. I thought it was brilliant and extremely appropriate for the character.

My list would be:

#5) Giant-Man- never made an impression on me.

#4) Goliath- The original whiny Hank Pym. Sure he had problems, but at the time the character seemed to be defined by his size limitations.

#3) Ant-Man- Cool accessories, like the various catapults and gadgets lying around the lab.

#2) Doctor Pym- A logical progression for the character into a role that seemed comfortable for him. I still wonder why they moved him from the West Coast Avengers as Pym to the East Coast group as Giant-Man with no explanation given. Bob Harras just wanted a giant on the team I suspect.

#1) Yellowjacket- I have always loved this costume since I first saw it on the cover of AVENGERS #150 so long ago. I thought the Claremont/Byrne addition of the disruptors into the wings was a great idea. Up until the time Shooter pulled him back into the AVENGERS specifically to destroy the character, he was one of the most respected scientists in the Marvel universe.

Hank Pym is one of my top 3 favorite Avengers and always has been. I think it’s a shame that so many fans (and creators apparently) were introduced to the character after his fall, and only think of him as a repressed wife-beater.

I just hope that after Millar kills him next year his eventual revival is by someone with enough respect for the character to return him to glory. Somehow, I fully expect for him to come back as an eeeevil mastermind tormenting the Wasp.

Greg

I honestly think they should just retcon out the whole “hitting Jan” thing. No matter how many times they try to show him as redeemed, some smartass has to drop a line like “Hey, Hank, shouldn’t you be at home beating your wife?”

Also, he really needs another costume. He just looks too threatening as Yellowjacket.

Wow. I thought I was the only one who liked Dr. Pym. Besides that the powers have great potential, it was such a great side effect of all of his experiments. I don’t know if it was mentioned above, but Dr. Pym is back in Beyond. I hope it sticks. It was always my favorite persona.

what’s with the anti-pro-reg stance? not cool.

Hank either wore two different costumes—predominantly in color scheme—during his first run as Goliath, or there was a coloring error on the cover of Avengers King–Size Special #2, if not elsewhere. The one I knew—from the first Avs special—was a medium blue with banana yellow trunks, boots and trim, but the second was a deeper shade of blue with red trim etc., if memory serves. Something like that, and certainly not the blue/yellow from #1.

I am a big Avengers fan (I actually have the entire run), and my list is the EXACT opposite of yours.

1. Yellowjacket. Sure he wasn’t much of a hero, but he made for interesting stories, and really, that’s what counts.

2. Goliath. The growth powers with a better name and limits.

3. Ant-man. The original.

4. Giant-man. Eh. He was really still Ant-man. He was just using his powers differently. I guess you can argue the same thing about Goliath, but he had a different ‘feel’ during the Goliath issues. He wasn’t just a big Ant-man.

5. Dr. Pym. Just awful. Powers that were just a way for writers to be lazy. They should have called him Deus ex Machina and been done with it. The suicide thing was badly done. The Dr. Who outfit. Cargo Pocket Man. Wretched from start to finish.

what’s with the anti-pro-reg stance? not cool.

Don’t look at me! Blame Millar!

Chemistry-Professor Hank is my favorite version, too. He was a good visual; All the Avengers flying into battle and this, like, dude all running after them in a lab coat tryin’ to catch up.

moose n squirrel

August 30, 2006 at 6:13 pm

what’s with the anti-pro-reg stance? not cool.

I think I’ve said this somewhere before, but regardless of the theoretical pros and cons of government regulation of superheroes in some theoretical world where superheroes exist, in the published Marvel Universe isn’t registration just a fantastically stupid idea?

This is the Marvel Universe, after all, where everyone from the commander of SHIELD to the president of the United States has been taken over by killer robots, snake cultists or shape-shifting aliens at one point or another. If the Marvel Pentagon isn’t being infiltrated by humanoid Sentinels today, the Marvel President will be replaced by a Skrull tomorrow. I’d sooner trust the chain-smoking guy from the X-Files with a superhero army than these people.

Totally with you on digging the Dr. Pym identity the best, and really glad to see it making a comeback in Beyond.

However, I give Yellowjacket higher marks, if only because it is without a doubt his coolest costume. It’s got a lot of baggage, unfortunately, which is why I can’t really buy into him going back to it (unless he’s gone crazy or evil, and really, we’ve all seen enough of that, right?), but it’s definitely his coolest look.

What he needs is the Dr. Pym powers, combined with growing/shrinking on his own, and a cool new costume. Kolins did an interesting design for Beyond, but it’s still not quite what I was hoping for.

moose n squirrel

August 30, 2006 at 7:11 pm

I’ve never liked the Yellowjacket costume – or any of Hank Pym’s costumes, for that matter. Ant-Man’s has a certain novelty to it because of the weird helmet, but for the most part they have a blandness to them that only makes the Dr. Pym persona that much cooler. Here’s all these guys in tights, and here’s a guy in a lab coat, pulling tiny shrunken laser guns and Quinjets out of his pockets. It’s pretty awesome.

I have to agree that Dr. Pym is the best version of Hank out there, and yeah, it’s probably because my first exposure to him had him putting Vision back together in Byrne’s WCA. Yellowjacket comes up a close second, but let’s face it: the costume looked better on Rita Demara than it ever did on Hank.

It always bugged me that everybody in the fan community still picks on Tony Stark for being a drunk, but Hank gets off scott-free for slapping his wife around.

Actually, the idea of the entirety of the MU governmental system being taken over could make for a fun “What If–?” book. We get humanoid Sentinels, Skrulls, snake cultists… but we get them all at once. But since it was all done in secret, none of them knows about the others. Each has their own agenda to destroy the heroes, but it keeps getting cut off by the others’ plans.

“We, the good members of Congress, request that the Avengers investigate this mysterious nuclear signal.”

“Veto on that! I’m the president, and I say they need to find out what’s happening on this strange island that just appeared off the coast.”

“Uh, sorry, sir. this is Nick Fury, and I need the Avengers in space, NOW!”

How cool would it be to have a high-adventure science team of Dr. Pym, Dr. Banner, and Dr. Richards?

Very cool.

Dr. Doom could be the mastermind manipulating them to do his bidding, and Dr. Strange could make a guest appearance for a trip into the mix of occultism and science. I want it now. Duncan Fegredo and Mike Mignola.

>
> the costume looked better on Rita Demara than it ever
> did on Hank.
>

Most super-hero costumes do look better in women, to be
fair. At least that’s what I think!

And the “dr.” team idea Apodaca had is quite cool! Get
Dan Slott on it ASAP!

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

The Dr. team is a good idea.

But mentioning it on a Hank Pym thread is the single best way for no one who could do anything about it to say, “Hey! Lemme think about this…”

Sad.

Yo,

Hank doesn’t get a pass from the guys actually writing the books, though. It seems like everyone who has written the character since Busiek has retconned Hank to be more and more vile. I think the Hank hitting Jan stuff was way, way out of character from Day 1, myself.

But, I LOVE your idea on competing villainous plots plots that intersect and interfere with each other without anyone in the book understanding what’s going wrong. That is genius!

Quoting yo:
“It always bugged me that everybody in the fan community still picks on Tony Stark for being a drunk, but Hank gets off scott-free for slapping his wife around.”

Really? I seem to experience a different fan community than you do.
While there are alot jokes about Tony Stark’s love of booze, they seem to be in the same manner that Johnny Carson used to mock Ed MacMahon. Of course, that doesn’t make alcoholism right, it jusr seems to be a more friendly (for lack of a better word) form of mockery.

But fans and writers clutch on Avengers 212-213 like Charlton Heston on semi-automatic. Even though he is a fictional character, Hank gets a ton of vitriol all based on an absolute horrible storyline. Its amazing the same guy who came up with the “Death of Ferro Lad” and What If # 3 could turn around and write that turd.

But instead of acknowledging that the story was a mistake (like Bruce Wayne’s older brother) and burying it, Marvel digs it back up again and again. I think it’s a shame.

By the way, yo, I hope I haven’t come across as insulting to you or your opinion, I just have seen things differently.

My inner five-year-old (my age when those Tales to Astonishes first came out) stands up and yells GIANT-MAN! He’s the BEST! Heck, one of the first comics I ever remember owning (or actually having had bought for me) was TTA 55.

I loved those old stories, especially the final two-issue cliffhanger (TTA #’s 67 and 68) where the Human Top kidnaps the Wasp and GM moves heaven and earth to save her. (Boy, I’m having a Pussey! moment here)

And both grown-up me and the five-year-old me have always deplored the “Hank Pym as wifebeating nutjob” approach that lazy writers have seen fit to saddle him with.

pro-Registration=evil and/or deluded
You’d think so, but I hear that fandom is agreeing with Iron Asshat.

“Dr Pym’ is great. It reminds me of the [b]X-Men[/b] cartoon where they’d all get exciting codenmes in the opening credits, except for Jean, who gets to be called “Jean Grey”, and no amount of funky sfx can make that look exciting on screen.

They had him looking a little like the Tom Baker version of Dr. Who (with the long coat and oversized scarf and everything) for awhile
I’d love to see an image of that. Issue number?

Although there are many things in comics that I wish were never mentioned again, Hank slapping Jan is foremost among them. It’s a shame that the character’s legacy is “wife-beater.” Hey, remember when Spider-Man full-on punched a very pregnant Mary Jane across a room and into a wall during the Clone Saga? No one ever talks about it because it’s a character destroying bit that doesn’t advance the story or even fit the character. The same goes for Hank, and it should have been forgotten in his case too.

5. Dr.Pym – Was this even an identity or Pym just being himself? The powers he had were lame. The writers REALLY screwed up one of my fave characters – as if the whole court martial nonsense asn’t bad enough. C’mon, we wanna see him shrinking & flying around in a cool-ass costume & shooting baddies(YJ) or growing giant-size & kicking ass!

4. Ant-Man – This was a toss-up between this one & Giant-Man. Liked the helmet & the fact that he was a founding member of the Avengers under this guise. Can’t wait for th emovie in ’08!

3. Giant-Man – For some reason I like the idea of a guy needing to beef up his powers to hang w/the big dogs (Thor, Iron Man, etc.) & becoming a giant. Great visual element to any super team, btw.

2. Goliath – Cooler version of Giant-Man if nothing else because of the snazzy colorful costumes he wore. Loved the goggles!

1. Yellowjacket – By far, Hank’s coolest costume, persona, etc. Just because they screwed him up in the 80’s shouldn’t take away from his place as one of Marvel’s best & coolest characters. Don’t like it when they show YJ turning into a giant for whatever reason – it doesn’t fit that persona. Was thrilled to see YJ back in action again! Can’t wait to see what the future holds for him. Don’t screw this up (again), Marvel!

I loved the Dr. Pym persona. There are growing and shrinking heroes everywhere (Growing Boy, Shrinking Violet) but how many heroes shrink or grow other things? Just the one that I can think of.

I never understood why his powers were changed around when he moved from WCA to Avengers. I felt that it had been a big step back, both in the evolution of his powers and abilities, and in persona.

I mean, here was someone who could shrink the bars on his cell if captured, and re-grow them for use later. Here was someone who could take the mundane and turn it into a weapon by enlarging it, or could take a weapon and make it useless by shrinking it. And, they took that ability and changed it to simply growing big and strong.

I didn’t know he was in Beyond. I’ll have to pick that up.

Theno

I have always liked the crazy costume-changin’ freak that Hank and Janet have going on but I am glad to see Hank back in the Yellowjacket costume as this is by far my favorite incarnation of the Pymster. My 2nd favorite would be Giant-Man, then Ant-Man, then Goliath, and finally Hank Pym as Hank Pym… never liked heroes in street clothes and yes, I am directing that square at you Rick Jones and Snapper Carr.

I digged the Dr. Pym, Yellowjacket, Ant-Man, and Giant-Man designs. Didn’t really care for Goliath. Oh, btw, you can call me blasphemous but I really liked the armored costume they had in the Avengers: United They Stand animated series. I mean they had Hank with an awesome helmet and a mini-jet to transport himself around to boot!

Is it just me or do the Avengers seem to ignore the whole “if anyone can show just cause why these two should not be wed” part of the ceremony?

They’ve let Mantis and Ms. Marvel go off to be alien brood mares.

They let Hank and Janet get married despite Hank’s obvious diminished capacity.

I liked the Giant-Man identity and outfit that Pym had during Onslaught. It looked awesome, and Hank was actually in “hero” mode.

I’d ahve to say I liked Dr. Pym and would point out that one slap does not make someone a wife beater.

Considerinng how often Jan had to be called down for being arrogant, I’d say she has flaws and her constanly flriting with other men and kissing them while married to Hank makes me wonder what her issue was. it’s like a man is a manwhore if they look at another woman but a woman can kiss every man she comes across adn it’s fine.

Of course, I never do like the mainliners and Hank has always been a favorite of mine

TOTALLY AGREE on Dr. Pym and the stupid, stupid, stupid ‘beater’ stigma.. It’s frustrating and annoying.

He was a super character as Yellowjacket. Most fans FORGET about the cool days of YJ long before Shooter got his hands on him, like back in the late 60s/early 70s. There were LOADS of issues where Pym as YJ wasn’t ‘unhinged’ or unstable…

He was a smart superhero (check out the early Defenders issues with his appearances). Sure his first appearance was marked with the chemical reaction/split personality schtick, but after that he was a normal, regular scientist-hero since, as he was as Goliath.

My favorite personas of Hank are..:

1) Yellowjacket (loved the Sal Buscema/single-visor look in Defenders 23 the best..)
2) Goliath (blue/yellow)
3) Goliath (red/blue)
4) Antman
5) Giant-man

Hated him as ‘Dr Pym’ in WCA, terrible art, terrible storylines (affair with Tigra..??, ugh..), no imagination. It made him dull and insipid. SO HAPPY to see him in uniform again. Glad to see him back in action in the Avengers cartoon.

You basically said that Ant-Man was lame. He did say he didn’t like being small and that it made him the weakest founding Avenger (which I actually believe is the Wasp), but I have a proposition for you. I suggest you read Avengers Issue #161. He took down almost all the Avengers, and keep in mind, he was brain-washed into not knowing anything about them. Not their powers, weaknesses, nothing.

David Spofforth

July 5, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Um, the Wasp had exactly the same powers as Ant-Man PLUS she could fly. So how does that make her the weakest?

And yes, Hank was superb when he single-handedly took on the Avengers as Ant-Man, but he was eventually taken down by the Wasp.

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