In Defense of Henry Pym
or...Why you haters need to back off of the greatest
superhero villian that ever existed in the Marvel Universe.
"God, Devil...I don't care what you call yourself. Because of you, my students are fighting a war alone. All you are to me, is what I have to smash through to get to them." -Henry Pym (4)
A few weeks ago, while attending a party at a friend's house, I lay on the couch in a half-drunken hungover stupor whilst my children watched Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes on my friend's Netflix account. It wasn't my best moment of parenting, shut up. As I lay there, half watching the show and half hoping my horrendous headache would end, my friends began a tirade about Ant-Man.
On screen, as the Avengers were stuck fighting what was quite possibly the lamest group of supervillains ever, the Serpent Society, Hank inevitably 'pulled a Pym' and ASKED the villains to give up rather than fight. Using his 350 IQ, he deduced that the entire fight they were engaged in was both non-productive and pointless. He then dared to ask that they stop fighting and talk out their problems. This, of course, drew derision from his own team-mates and the entire situation blew completely out of proportion when Iron Man failed to keep his dick in his pants and shot a missle at the Cobra.
All around me erupted the inevitible fan-boy lameness brigade™. "This is why Ant-Man wasn't in the movie!" "Ant-man, you suck!" "Why don't you shut the fuck up, Bug-boy, and quit whining about everything?"
This was not the first time I had heard such vitriolic tripe. In fact, in my youth, I often echoed the same testosterone induced drivel. I mean, super-heroes are supposed to kick ass and take names. They aren't supposed to deign to talk to any villains. Especially not such easily defeated and impotent ones as the Serpent Society. Right?
I wanted to scream, "Nay!" and argue against this position. Fortunately for my friends and the future sanity of my offspring my head hurt too much to debate, and I let it slide. The vitriol abated, and the show and party rambled on. And yet, it still bothered me immensely and I couldn't understand why.
When my daughter asks me, "Daddy, who is your favorite superhero?" My reflexive response has always been, "Spiderman." While I own, and in deed have only read, a handful of Spiderman comic books, Spiderman was my first superhero. I grew up on that cartoon and familiar 60's jingle of a song. My first dozen comics were all Spiderman. I quickly moved on to other heroes and other titles in my teenage years, but Spiderman was where I cut my proverbial teeth, so that's where my loyalty inherently lies.
But now, thinking about all I know about every superhero of whom I can remember, I am beginning to come to a far different conclusion. My favorite superhero is Henry Pym and if your opinion differs, you're wrong.
I. He has the best origin story for his superpowers. To prove this, participate in the following exercise. Think of 10 superheroes. Now, eliminate all the heroes that have their powers exclusively by virtue of their birth. That means any 'alien' or 'mutant' or just plain weirdo is out. Being "born that way" is a lame origin and a cop-out by the creator. Next take everyone who's super power comes from a grant and throw them out too. If they made a deal with the devil or were the subject of someone else's experiment or project their powers were gifted and not earned. Finally, remove anyone who's powers originate due to accident or other uncontrollable external influence. Who are you left with? If you say anyone other than Henry Pym, you're probably thinking of a villain (or someone that was originally a villain and became a superhero after gaining their powers).
He's the only superhero (5), at least in the Marvel Universe, that I can find that got his powers on purpose and through solely his own ability. Sure, Iron Man built his own suit, the Incredible Hulk shot himself full of gamma rays, Hawkeye spent decades perfecting his archery, and Black Panther did a bunch of quests. But Tony Stark only built the suit after an accident (and/or kidnapping depending on the version) forced him to, Bruce Banner never intended the 'Hulk' to exist, Hawkeye was a villain before he was a hero, and T'Challa only got to go on those quests because he was heir to the throne of Wakanda (a right of birth). "I gave myself superpowers," is something, at least in the Marvel universe, that villains do, not heroes.
Henry Pym was originally a biochemist that invented a shrinking potion (after discovering a new fundamental particle and inventing an entire new branch of physics in the process). When he got attacked at an ant-hill on his first test run, he invented an entirely new branch of I don't know what to cal it
and built a machine to let him talk to ants. Later, when we was tired of short jokes, he re-invented physics again to make himself big as well as small (and hung like a frost giant). When he needed someone to help around the lab that wasn't completely incompetent, he invented an entirely new branch of Artificial Intelligence, wrapped it around his own brain patterns and built the worlds smartest android. More recently, when his wife died, he went ahead and "as tribute to her" gave himself all her superpowers too. He not only did the impossible to make himself a super, he did it MANY times.
II. He has the best sidekick origin, ever. Once upon a time, a long time ago, Henry Pym wanted sex. So he found a very hot and very rich girl, made her his 'lab assistant', and when that didn't work, he turned her into a superhero too. He up and created an entirely new branch of biotechnology and genetic engineering just to get laid. It kind of makes the flowers and chocolate you (or your boyfriend) usually use for those purposes complete wank, doesn't it? Henry Pym has 'given powers' to literally DOZENS of other superheros in the Marvel universe. Moreover, he's responsible for half the tech in Iron Man's suit and more than half of the special equipment that both SHIELD and the Avengers (several branches) use. He made a clone of Thor...Thor! He's pretty much the only white-boy allowed to play around in Wakanda with their tech and vibranium.
Ultimately, he's the guy every other Marvel scientist goes to when they need help. If you need something far beyond the reach of mortal science done right, you ask Hank Pym. Why? Because he's the sort of guy that does the impossible for something as silly and easy to find as pussy. Physics be damned, if he needs something done, he'll make a new branch of it just to fit in what he wants. Hell, after his wife eventually dies (spoilers), he ends up hooking up with a robot version of his wife built by the robot he invented. So even his inventions are smart enough to do the impossible for pussy.
III. He is the most successful villain in the Marvel universe. He's betrayed the Avengers at least a half a dozen times. He's built a robot that nearly took over the world. He's acted as an agent for the Masters of Evil, the Kree, and the Skrull. He has a schizophrenic malicious alter-ego (or four). He sided with the government during the Civil War. He beat his freaking wife, for god's sake. But who do they always give the keys to the Avenger Mansion to? Hank Pym. Why do they do this? Because there isn't any point in not giving them to him. Every superhero and villain in the Marvel universe knows, without any shadow of doubt, that if Hank Pym wants something, he's going to get it. "Don't bother fighting Hank," they think, "He'll just invent a way to beat you." He's so bad-ass that he's the only one that can invent a way for him to beat himself. He knows how everyone else's shit works. If he caught the right whim, he could give himself pretty much every super power in the Marvel universe. If you ask nicely enough, he can give them to you too. If you piss him off, he'll exploit every weakness you have and then deride you for being such a complete moron and waste of his time. He would, after all, rather be playing with bugs in his lab.
In conclusion, Henry Pym doesn't need to take any more of your shit. It's not his fault he is smarter and in every other way better than anyone you ever knew or thought of. He is Marvel comic's "Scientist Supreme." And, despite the fact that he would rather be playing with Ants any time some moron thinks it would be a good idea to break into a bank or start another world war, he is my favorite superhero, and he ought to be your's too. Grow up and recognize.
References I examined when writing this:
 I will relent if one of the people you thought of was Dr Strange. I completely forgot him as I wrote that paragraph. Dr Strange is also a bad-ass.
Note: I'm sure there are typos in the above. But after writing it, I don't feel like proof-reading. Feel free to correct my incorrect usage of "it's" which I'm sure is there.