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!
5. “Ultron Unlimited” Avengers Volume 3 #19-22
The concept of the storyline (written by Kurt Busiek and drawn by George Perez and Al Vey) is that Ultron IX has decided that he does not want to simply wipe out humans from Earth – he wants to repopulate the world with his own people: robots. He begins this attempt in horrific fashion as he enters the small European country of Slorenia and proceeds to slaughter the entire human population in three hours. He sends a message to the horrified public watching at home – do not come into this county or suffer the same fate.
Meanwhile, he has also kidnapped the Avengers that he considers “family” and intends to use their brainwaves to base his new world population of robots on, much like the way he earlier based his intended robot bride Jocasta on Wasp’s brainwaves, the android Vision on the brainwaves of Wonder Man and the robot Alkhema on the brainwaves of Mockingbird.
It is during this story that we learn for the first time something that probably should have been evident to readers earlier (it’s somewhat surprising it took decades until Busiek came up the concept), which is that Ultron’s mind was based on the brainwaves of his creator, Hank Pym, who happens to be among the Avengers kidnapped by Ultron.
The Avengers ultimately decide to invade Slorenia, resulting in many interesting battles within the country as the small band of heroes seem to be overmatched by Ultron’s apparently unending supply of robot drones (hence the “Unlimited” part of the story’s title). During the course of this war, the Avengers have to face off against all the earlier Ultrons, each of whom was enough to fight them to a standstill in previous years.
Ultron is quite confident that his minions are more than enough to defeat the Avengers. That same confidence leads to one of the coolest dramatic entrances ever (and winner of a Wizard Award that year for Best Moment) when the Avengers burst into Ultron’s lair, looking quite ragged, with Thor speaking for the entire team when he declares “Ultron, we would have words with thee!”
This turns the tide, and ultimately, Hank Pym is able to redeem himself and save the day.
4. “Lost in Space-Time” West Coast Avengers #17-24
Some people voted for #17 and #21 separately, but I figured we might as well combine them into one long arc. In any event, during this long storyline, while the majority of the team was traveling through time and space, Hank was dealing with his demons back at the West Coast Avengers’ compound. In #17, he contemplates suicide, but after an intervention by the heroine Firebird, Hank overcomes his issues and re-dedicates his life to doing good. This time, though, instead of as a costumed superhero, he adopts the identity of, well, himself. He uses his own genius to help fight the bad guys (using his Pym particles to shrink devices, vehicles and weapons). Steve Englehart wrote it and Al Milgrom and Joe Sinnott drew it.
3. “His Name is Yellowjacket” Avengers #59-60
Roy Thomas, John Buscema, George Klein and Mike Esposito introduced us to Hank’s newest superhero identity, Yellowjacket. They also introduced the concept of Hank Pym being a little mentally unstable, a concept that has been used frequently in the years since. Hank marries his longtime girlfriend, Janet Van Dyne, the Winsome Wasp, in this story.
2. “A Journey To the Center of the Android!” Avengers #93
In this early part of the Kree-Skrull War, Roy Thomas, Neal Adams and Tom Palmer gave Ant-Man one of his rare early badass moments when Ant-Man rescues a comatose Vision by entering the android’s body.
1. “The Trial of Yellowjacket” Avengers #227-230
Roger Stern finishes the fall of Hank Pym by giving us the rise of Hank Pym as the imprisoned Pym defends himself against the frame job by Egghead by going undercover with Egghead and taking down the villain and his new Masters of Evil. At the end of the story, Hank is asked back to the Avengers but he decides to retire from superheroing. Al Milgrom, Sal Buscema, Brett Breeding and Joe Sinnott did the art on this story.