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The Greatest Hank Pym Stories Ever Told!

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Every day in April we will reveal the greatest stories ever told starring a particular character or written/drawn by a particular creator (and throughout the month, you’ll get daily chances to vote for NEXT week’s lists). These lists are voted on by YOU, the reader!

Here is the list of characters/creators featured so far (along with the rules on how to vote).

Today’s list is the Greatest Hank Pym Stories Ever Told!


10. “The Day Ant-Man Failed!” Tales to Astonish #40

Stan Lee and Larry Lieber produced the story and Jack Kirby and Sol Brodsky did the artwork on this tale, where Ant-Man seemingly can’t stop a mysterious Hijacker. Of course, as it turns out, it is all part of Hank’s plan, including faking appendicitis!

9. “A Matter of Love…and Death!” Marvel Team-Up #59-60

A classic Chris Claremont and John Byrne Team-Up adventure (inks by Dave Hunt) with the villain Equinox trying to kill Spider-Man but instead seemingly kills Yellowjacket. Things turn out right in the end.

8. “The Court Martial of Yellowjacket” Avengers #212-213, 217

Jim Shooter, Alan Kupperberg, Bob Hall and Dan Green produced this memorable moment in Hank Pym’s life. Hank had recently decided to rejoin the Avengers when he felt that his wife, the Wasp, was growing tired of him. He figured becoming an Avenger again would excite her. Well, during one battle, Hank was so determined to impress her that he blasted a bad guy right when Captain America was busy trying to talk her down. The Avengers decide to court martial Hank. In #213, Hank basically snaps. He comes up with this asinine idea to create a killer robot that will attack the Avengers during the court martial and he’ll save the day and redeem himself in the eyes of his teammates. When his wife tries to stop him from this plan, he strikes her. By the end of the issue, he is no longer an Avenger and no longer married. Nearly every Hank Pym story from this point on referenced this event in Hank’s life.

7. Avengers Forever #1-12

Kurt Busiek, Roger Stern, Carlos Pacheco and Jesus Merino delivered this time-travel classic that paired the then “current” Hank Pym along with Hank Pym when he just became Yellowjacket on a team of Avengers plucked from the past, present and future, who have to take on Immortus and the Time Keepers, a powerful group that has been manipulating the Avengers for years. Both Hanks play key roles on the team and when everyone returns to their own time, Yellowjacket from the past manages to escape to the present to cause havoc later on in Busiek’s run.

6. “The Unspoken” Mighty Avengers #27-31

During this arc (written by Christos Gage and Dan Slott and drawn by Khoi Pham, Sean Chen, Allen Martinez and Mark Morales) the Avengers battle against an early leader of the Inhumans (the “Unspoken”) while Hank Pym discovers that he is the universe’s “Scientist Supreme.”

The top five is on the next page!

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i didn’t participate in the voting because I don’t have enough Hank Pym stories to pick from. However, I’m surprised that the “wife-beater” story ranked so low (the only one from the list I’ve read). It’s one of the greatest moments in Pym’s history, yet a very mediocre tale at best, so perhaps it shows that people sometimes do choose wisely (I’ll assume, since I haven’t read the rest of the stories on the list).

I’m so glad Stern came in at number one. He did the best job handling Hank’s mental problems I’ve seen (“It takes a strong man to shrink to ant size and not be terrified. I wasn’t that strong.”).
The West Coast Avengers plotline too–it’s a shame Hank’s non-costumed “Dr. Pym” ID didn’t stick.
#2 was awesome simply for Adams’ art. My mind plays perspective tricks in a lot of Atom/Ant-Man stories and doesn’t see them as small (we see them in close-up so most stuff around them just looks big)–but Adams really made me register how tiny Hank is.

I liked Avengers Forever. It was continuity porn but well-told. Pacheco’s art for the series was very good.

That said, the cover to issue 7 always makes me laugh. Yellowjacket is clearly jumping up and grbbing his ass after someone lit it on fire, like Yosemite Sam in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. “Mah biscuits’re burnin’! Mah biscuits’re burnin’!” In the background, Giant Man is stretching after just waking up, and the other heroes are striking a pose just because.

It was “Slorenia” Ultron destroyed, not Slovenia. Slorenia was made up for an Iron Man story, while Slovenia is a real place. http://marvel.wikia.com/Slorenia

(Though it wouldn’t surprise me if you had typed Slorenia and gotten Autocorrected.)

Thanks, Matthew, I fixed it (and I’ll accept that No Prize explanation for the typo ;)).

Marcelo Soares

April 24, 2013 at 8:35 am

Isn’t Scott Lang that Ant-Man in the Kree-Skrull War?

Kinda surprised nothing from Avengers Academy made the final list.

Isn’t Scott Lang that Ant-Man in the Kree-Skrull War?

Nope. He wouldn’t be created for another eight years or so.

Dwayne McDuffie’s brilliant Beyond! limited series wuz robbed! Henry Pym (as Dr. Pym) positively SHINES on that one!

Pity I’m probably one of the five guys who actually read it…

I didn’t fit it on my list, but I’m happy that Hijacker story made it. I read a reprint of it years ago and loved its sheer ridiculousness.

Faking appendicitis has got to be one of the most savvy strategies ever!

@Pedro: I’ve read it too, and quite liked the book. Thanks for the reminder.

Glad to see WCA Pym get some love. That was my favorite Pym. WCA was underrated I think, probably because Al Milgrom’s art was less than stellar.

Some confusion about Hank showing up as Ant-Man during the Kree-Skrull War is understandable, because it had been a long time since he’d been Ant-Man, and in fact that was during his Yellowjacket period.

But he’d already quit the Avengers by then, and when they put out an emergency call for the founding members to show up for some tough decision-making, Hank figured, “Well, I guess that means Ant-Man!” Or at least that’s how he explained it at the time. (I dunno if Jan was invited, but she didn’t show up. I’m pretty sure Hulk wasn’t invited.)

Not surprised it didn’t make it, ’cause his mental state was less than heroic, but I also voted for Avengers #161 where Ant-Man takes down Iron Man, Wonder Man, Black Panther, Beast…fun stuff! Great Shooter/Perez issue.

Beyond! was a really fun mini-series, and had pretty great characterization of Hank Pym in it. I might need to dig out the back issues and re-read that one.

That one annoyed me a little, dhole. It was okay in itself, but it was part of a whole string of stories where one person would rather unconvincingly take out the team (Tyrak the Atlantean being the least believable invincible adversary). Shooter’s stories hinted that this was a sign of some underlying problem in the team, but nothing came of it.
And despite Hank ending up apparently a permanent villain, he’s back a few issues later, apparently cured off-camera. I’m guessing someone in editorial told Shooter to abandon and forsake it fast.

Yellowjacket didn’t come forward in time at the end of Avengers Forever. What you’re thinking of is when Hank was split into two different personalities, Goliath & Yellowjacket, as a side effect of Kulan Gath’s magic.

Andy E. Nystrom

April 24, 2013 at 10:33 pm

“And despite Hank ending up apparently a permanent villain, he’s back a few issues later, apparently cured off-camera. I’m guessing someone in editorial told Shooter to abandon and forsake it fast.”

Doubtful given he was Editor-in-Chief at the time. Also, at l;east part of his wrong doing (the slap) was a miscommunication with the artist, as noted in his blog. Some of the other things he did were serious screw-ups but not true villainy. Pure speculation on my part, but I think he wanted to explore Hank’s mental instability a bit further (already pretty obviously there in the first Yellowjacket story and arguably even in the Man in the Ant Hill story) but not necessarily turn him into a villain.

I also loved Avengers 161 and it made me a big Hank Pym fan. A few years later I asked Shooter at a convention why he had turned on the character in the Court Martial story after making him look so strong during his earlier run in #161. Shooter replied that it was because he liked Hank that he had written the Court Martial story – basically you don’t feature characters you don’t like. Be that as it may, I was very happy with Stern redeeming him just a little later.

For some reason I didn’t feel like focussing particularly on Hank’s problems (too much) and focussed on more upbeat issues.
I did pick 3 significant issues from Tales to Astonish (debut, first ant-man and first wasp) and the Tales to astonish special.
And the Avengers issue where he assumed the Goliath identity and pushed himself to his limits to save Jan
and the issue he and Jan were trapped in an ant-hill and he got his ant-communication working again.
And the issue of Avengers academy spotlighting him

WCA #7 is still my favorite Hank Pym story.

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