The Short Man’s Complex, Part IV

In my humble opinion, one of the best treatments of Hank Pym was in Kurt Busiek’s and George Perez’s late-‘90s run on AVENGERS, which correctly characterized Hank Pym (calling himself Goliath again by this time) as a deeply troubled man uncertain about his role as a superhero and the propriety of his recent reconciliation with his ex-wife, and also featured the mysterious return of Yellowjacket.


The Busiek/Perez run also featured the final confrontation between Pym and Ultron in their fantastic “Ultron Unlimited” story arc, and revealed a hidden secret about the creation of Ultron, which helps explain much of Pym’s irrational behavior over the years.


Hank Pym has had so many super-hero identities, he’s even loaned them out from time to time. The Ant-Man costume is currently in the hands of Scott Lang, a reformed ex-burglar who originally stole the uniform and equipment in an effort to retrieve his kidnapped daughter. Pym, realizing the circumstances, allowed Lang to keep the equipment, and Lang has operated as Ant-Man sporadically ever since, much moreso these days now that his Marvel Studios feature film is about to hit theatres.


The Goliath costume and powers were given to the Avenger Hawkeye for a time, when the purely human archer began to feel overshadowed by all the powerhouses in the team, and felt he needed to bring more to the table in order to pull his weight as an Avenger.


Hawkeye soon returned to his own costume, realizing his archery skills served a unique and necessary function. The Goliath identity also briefly saw use by Pym’s lab associate Dr. Bill Foster, who had a fairly short super-hero career as Black Goliath.


The Yellowjacket costume was also stolen, and used by petty criminal Rita DeMarr as a member of a later incarnation of the Masters of Evil.


The new female Yellowjacket later unwillingly served as an Avenger on several missions before she was murdered by the brainwashed Tony Stark in a story so bad I don’t even want to get into it.

So there you have it. Henry Pym. He may be second-best (Or third. Or fourth. Hell, maybe even fifth.), but he tries harder.

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