How a little man became a big hero
It all started with Hank Pym
Hank was created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Larry Leiber and first appeared in Marvel’s Tales to Astonish, issue 27, in 1962.
Hank holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry and nanotechnology. He’s an expert in quantum physics, robotics, cybernetics, and artificial intelligence.
Early in his career, he theorized that with a unique collection of subatomic particles, he could create a serum that would alter someone’s or something’s size. His scientific colleagues thought he was absolutely ridiculous for his theories. This motivated Hank to persist and work harder to perfect his creation and prove them wrong.
One day he finally found success when he used the liquid elixir to shrink his laboratory chair to doll size.
Pym Particles not only reduce the size of a human or object but also enhance the user’s resiliency and density. The serum allows for greater energy transfer regardless of the subject’s size. This means that if Ant-Man hits an enemy when he is ant-size, the punch feels the same as if he were full-size.
Once Hank perfected the serum, he tested it on himself and instantly reduced it to the size of an ant. Hank started to freak out and run around the room. Shortly after that, he realized he had left the antidote on the window ledge, now far out of reach…
So much for being a genius…
His small voice could not be heard by his colleagues…but the ants nearby heard him. They quickly approached him and began attacking. Hank attempts to run and hide inside an ant hill but gets stuck in a pit of viscous honey. Lucky for Hank, a friendly and rescues him from the hole, and he escapes, riding on the back of his new friend. They scaled the lab wall and reached the antidote waiting for him on the window sill.
Once he returned to his normal size, he poured his creations down the drain claiming that the serum was far too dangerous, especially if it got into the wrong hands.
But Hank didn’t appear as Ant-Man until Tales to Astonish issue 35
During issue 35, Hank decided to recreate his serum and began obsessively studying ants. As he got to know them, he realized that if he could figure out the wavelengths that ants use to communicate with each other through their antenna, then he could tune in and learn more about them. Once Hank cracked their code, he created a cybernetic helmet that used the same wavelengths so he could connect with the ants once he reduced in size. He also built a suit to match the helmet to protect himself from ant bites or stings.
Later in the comic, it was revealed that the Communists heard about what Pym had created and wanted the serum for themselves. This imminent danger caused Hank to use his Ant-Man suit for the first time.
Ant-Man used his helmet to communicate with the ants and gained thousands of supporters who attacked the enemies with hundreds of stings. In the end, Hank and the ants saw victory against the commies.
Ant-Man was a founder of The Avengers
In Tales to Astonish issue 35, Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Ant-Man, and The Wasp banded together to defeat Loki. After a successful mission, just as they are about to go their separate ways, Hank says, “Wait! Before we separate, The Wasp and I have something to say. Each of us has a different power! If we combined forces, we could be almost unbeatable”. Hank then proposes the idea of creating The Avengers.
Everyone enthusiastically agrees to bind together and create the most tremendous force on the planet.
Eventually, a human body can eventually create Pym Particles
Although Pym Particles are released in a gaseous form for the subject to inhale, over time, the subject’s body will begin to produce the particles involuntarily. Allowing them to simply at will size-change with their own mind! Hank Pym, Janet Van Dyne, and Cassie Lang produce their own particles because of this phenomenon.
Unfortunately, shrinking and enlarging frequently can create a lot of stress and strain on the subject’s body. Hank Pym is known for having many mental breakdowns because of this.
In the history of Marvel, there have been 4 different Ant-Mans
The first, Hank Pym, the creator of it all.
The second Ant-Man is Scott Lang, who first appeared in The Avengers Issue 181 and Marvel Premiere issue #47 in 1979.
But Scott Lang only became Ant-Man because he stole Hank Pym’s suit. He used his advanced knowledge of technology to break into Hank’s high-security vault in hopes of finding a way to save his daughter Cassie’s life.
Shortly after that, Scott took on the role full-time while moving past his long history of crime. He became an affiliate of the Fantastic Four and a member of the Avengers. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Paul Rudd plays Ant-Man.
The third Ant-Man (sort of)
Chris McCarthy was co-created by Phil Hester and Robert Kirkman and first appeared in The Irredeemable Ant-Man Issue 1.
He worked in the reconnaissance department at the S.H.I.E.L.D helicarrier. While guarding Hank Pym’s lab, he secretly stole an Ant-Man suit for himself. He wasn’t quite superhero material and died shortly after that by a laser beam straight to the head.
The forth Ant-Man
Erik O-Grady stole the Ant-Man suit from his dead friend Chris McCarthy to pursue his desires. He only wanted to use his superhero badassery to seduce women and torment people. Definitely not superhero material, if you ask me.
He would save women from danger, convince them to take him out to dinner as a thank you, walk them home, shrink down, and watch them in the shower. He even watched Ms. Marvel in the shower and hid in another woman’s cleavage.
Erik O’Grady joined the Avengers and the Thunderbolts, where he died heroically. He was quickly reborn as a robot and was named the Black Ant.
No matter the name, each Ant-Man had the same powers because of the suit.
Ant-Man in the MCU
Ant-Man first appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in his own movie in 2015. The story of Scott Lang as Ant-Man was brought to life in the final installment of phase 2. Viewers watched Scott steal Hank Pym’s suit, which inherently made him the next generation of Ant-Man.
One year later, Ant-Man appeared in Captain America: Civil War. An internal war broke out in the Avengers because half of them followed the United Nations’ rules. In contrast, the others wanted to do what was right. While battling each other, Ant-Man used his suit to become gargantuan to aid his friends in tipping the scales enough to get away and seek justice.
The sequel to Ant-Man’s first film Ant-Man and The Wasp was released in 2018. After supporting the Avengers in Civil War, Ant-Man was captured and sentenced to two years of house arrest. Hope and Hank were upset that Scott used the Ant-Man suit to aid Captain America without telling them, and now because of it, they have been on the run ever since. Meanwhile, a new enemy sought Hank Pym’s technology to save her life. Scott is put in a sticky situation to help them escape from authorities and fight off the new enemy.
Ant-Man appeared again in Avengers: End Game in 2019. Scott returned from the quantum realm only to discover a blip had happened, cutting the population in half. Scott partnered with the Avengers and used the van portal to go back in time and get the infinity stones before Thanos did, preventing the blip from happening.
Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania is the third Ant-Man film that was just released this year. It’s the 31st Marvel Cinematic Universe film and marks the first installment of phase 5. The movie opens with Scott Lang enjoying his fame after working with the Avengers to save the world from Thanos. He wrote a memoir and won’t stop attending book readings and signings. His daughter Cassie passionately shares her frustration and accuses him of not trying to do any good for the world. Meanwhile, she has been working with Hank behind his back on a device communicating with the quantum realm. While showing off their new creation, the quantum tool sucks Hank, Scott, Janet, Hope, and Cassie down into the realm, where they eventually meet and fight Kang the Conqueror.
So where is the legacy of Ant-man heading?
As phase 5 has just begun in the MCU, we can only think about Kang the Conqueror. This new villain is the gravest threat the Avengers and other superheroes have faced since Thanos. Marvel announced a new Avengers movie called Avengers: Kang Dynasty, which will premiere in 2025. We suspect Ant-Man and The Wasp’s intel on Kang can help guide the Avengers and the cosmos to victory against Kang.