As we’ve stated elsewhere, we have come to accept that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is significantly different from the comicbook Marvel Universe that we grew up reading, we have to say that this depiction of Marvel’s smallest hero is thematically right on target. In this film we get not only the original Ant-Man (Michael Douglas), but his Crook-with-a-Pure-Heart, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), as well as an all-too-brief cameo of the Wasp — Pym’s former wife Janet van Dyne (Hayley Lovitt). We also get to see another Pym incarnation, Yellowjacket (Corey Stoll) as well as Hope Pym (Evangeline Lilly —Pym’s daughter). Still — as stated — the history of Ant-Man here in the Marvel Cinematic universe is significantly different than in the comics.
As any self-respecting Marvel Zombi…er, historian knows, in the comics, Ant-Man is not only one of the earliest of the Marvel superheroes (first appearing in Tales to Astonish #27, January, 1962), but was actually (along his wife, Janet van Dyne A.K.A. the Wasp) was one of the founding members of the Avengers (Janet was the one who actually came up with the team’s name). Further — in the comic — it was Dr. Pym, not Tony Stark, that created the robotic menace of Ultron. Still, the history of Pym is far more twisted than perhaps any other hero both inside and outside of Marvel comics.
As stated, Pym began as a scientist (in one of Marvel’s “horror” titles), Janet van Dyne was a flighty socialite who came to Pym to help her track down her father’s murderer. Pym (who was attracted to Janet), revealed his secret identity as Ant-Man and gave her similar powers allowing her to shrink to insect-sized proportions and to grow translucent insect wings, thus becoming the Wasp. Eventually Pym discovered hoe to get his particles to get him to grow past his original height and he became Giant-Man, then for reasons that have been lost in the mist, he modified his name to become Goliath. Unfortunately, his psyche began to slip a cog, and he snapped, became Yellowjacket, and married Wasp (this was right around the time that he created Ultron).
Shortly after he became Yellowjacket, Clint Barton (Hawkeye) was having his own crises (hey he was a guy who shot arrows and ran with a super soldier, a god, a metal man, an android, and other supra-powered individuals) so he pinched a batch of Pym particles and took over the role of Goliath. After a time, Clint goes back to being Hawkeye, Janet and Hank divorce, Pym moves to the West Coast to join that branch of the Avengers as Dr. Pym (super scientist). Needless to say, that incarnation doesn’t quite stick, and Pym eventually returns to the East Coast Avengers, as Giant-Man, before donning the Yellowjacket costume once again.
Somewhere in there Dr. Pym’s one-time assistant (Bill Forester) was exposed to the Pym Particles and became first Giant-Man, then Black Goliath. Eventually a criminal (Erik Josten), who was briefly known as Power Man (before Luke Cage took over the name) became the third Goliath. Bill Forester died during Civil war, and eventually his nephew, Tom Forester, cracked the secret of the Pym Particles and became the second Black Goliath (or, fourth Goliath, your call). At some point Rita DeMara, who was previously a small-time criminal with some minor convictions, stole the original Yellowjacket Suit, modified it for her own use, and used it for a number of criminal enterprises, eventually dying. Meanwhile Pym himself was apparently kidnapped by Skrulls and replaced by Criti Noll, a shape-shifting Skrull, who took over the role of both Pym and Yellowjacket.
While all of this was happening, Scott Lang stole the original Ant-Man costume and after a brief criminal outing, redeemed himself and Pym allowed him to keep the costume. Lang went on to use the costume for good, teaming with a number of heroes (most notably Iron Man), before finally being admitted into the ranks of the Avengers, unfortunately, he died in battle alongside the Avengers. His daughter Cassie subsequently took up the mantle of her father becoming Stature (with the ability to grow large) alongside other youthful Avenger “legacies” forming a Young Avengers team. Unfortunately Scott came back to life (don’t ask) only to witness the death of his daughter (who also eventually came back to life — yeah, pretty much no one stays dead in comics any more).
When the great Skrull deception was discovered, all the heroes of the earth (and quite a number of villains) banded together to beat back the Skrulls, during that epic battle, Janet van Dyne was killed, and in his grief, Pym took over the role of the Wasp. A third individual, Chris McCarthy, a low-level S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent donned the Ant man suit and briefly used it before dying in battle. His partner Eric O’Grady, then took over the suit, to use it for nefarious means. Another S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent, Mitch Carson, was apparently slated to become the new Ant-Man hunted O’Grady down with a different version of the suit and fought him for it, only O’Grady bested him and hung on to the suit, eventually not only teaming with Pym as the Wasp, but fighting alongside the Avengers before dying as a hero in a fight.
Currently, Janet is back from the dead (apparently she didn’t die, but shrank down into the microverse, only to eventually return), and Pym is presumed dead. As for Hope van Dyne, she is Hank and Janet’s daughter from a different universe, who never actually existed in the main Marvel Universe. While Darren Cross actually did exist in the main Marvel U. and was apparently something of a nasty corporate-type, who got what he deserved from one of the Ant Men.
So, to wrap up:
- Hank Pym has been Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket, Dr. Pym, and The Wasp
- Janet van Dyne has been The Wasp
- Clint Barton has been both Hawkeye and Goliath
- Bill Forester has been Giant-Man and Black Goliath
- Tom Forester (Bill’s nephew) is currently Black Goliath
- Erik Josten was also both Power Man and Goliath
- Yellow Jacket was also played by Rita DeMara and Criti Noll
- Ant-Man was also played by Scott Lang, Chris McCarthy, and Eric O’Grady
- Cassie Lang (Scott’s daughter) became Stature
- Hope van Dyne (Hank and Janet’s daughter from another reality) was also the Wasp
- Darren Cross was Yellowjacket (but only in the Ant-Man movie)
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing comicbooks for some 30 years. During that time, his reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web.