"And there came a day, a day unlike any other, when Earth's mightiest heroes and heroines found themselves united against a common threat. On that day, the Avengers were born-to fight the foes no single super hero could withstand!"
As the Heroic Age dawns on the Marvel Universe and we prepare for a new chapter in the ongoing saga of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, each Friday Marvel.com will present a different column focusing on the one and only Avengers. From line-ups to costumes to villains to classic stories and beyond, we've got you covered on the history of Marvel's most prolific team of heroes!
So let the call go out: Avengers Assemble!
By TJ Dietsch
Super heroes have a reputation for changing their costumes and identities pretty often, but few can compare in that category to Hank Pym, founding member of the Avengers and a man who can claim at least four different codenames to his credit.
It's no wonder that Pym and former wife Janet Van Dyne got along so well—when they did—because the pair both loved switching up their looks. While originally appearing in TALES TO ASTONISH stories in the 60’s, Hank soon became a fixture of the Avengers as a founding member and resident tortured genius. While he has switched names from Ant-Man to Giant-Man and Goliath to Yellowjacket among others, Hank's looks usually revolve around the growing and/or shrinking abilities he gained from exposure to his patented Pym Particles. It's a good thing he mastered that technology though, because his closet would be gigantic otherwise. Let's shrink down and tour his looks over the years.
The Scientist Look
When Hank first appeared in 1962's TALES TO ASTONISH #27, he was just a regular scientist experimenting with the Pym Particles that caused him to shrink down to insect size. This first adventure might not have been a fashion milestone, but mixing it up with some angry ants did directly influence his first super hero costume.
After those ants gave him grief in his first appearance, Pym built a helmet complete with antennae that allowed him to communicate with insects. That, along with the mastery of his shrinking abilities, led to Hank's first super hero identity, Ant-Man, in TALES TO ASTONISH #35. The red bodysuit with blue trunks, gloves and boots became one that Pym would return to many times over in one form or another throughout his career. Hank wore this costume when he helped found the Avengers in 1963.
By AVENGERS #2, Hank had switched to a brand new identity with new growing powers, but a similar costume. The switch to Giant-Man first took place in TALES TO ASTONISH #49 and lasted throughout most of Hank's first run with the Avengers. This costume kept the color scheme from the Ant-Man look, but replaced the helmet with an antenna-sporting face mask.
AVENGERS #15 revealed a new look for Pym's Giant-Man costume. The jumpsuit remained the iconic red, but now he sported what looked like a purple triangular smock that matched his boots and gloves. A nice white utility belt rounded out the ensemble. But the look only lasted a few issues because, after fighting the Masters of Evil in issues #15 and #16, Hank and Janet took a leave of absence from the team.
Not one to stay away from the team for too long, Hank rejoined the Avengers in issue #28, this time as the yellow and blue-clad Goliath. Besides a change in duds, Pym also limited his growth to just 25 feet tall after learning larger size fluctuations could be hazardous to his health.
After inventing a robot named Ultron that would go on to become one of the Avengers' greatest foes, Pym lost his mind for a bit and became the brash, swashbuckling hero Yellowjacket ,who claimed to have done away with Goliath in AVENGERS #59. This new look consisted mostly of a yellow bodysuit with black embellishments—including wings that allowed him to fly—and a hornet emblem on his chest.
While on break from The Avengers, Pym got a seven issue starring role in MARVEL FEATURE #4-10 and a new costume. This one took some cues from adventure heroes and provided Hank with a red tunic, white pants, yellow embellishments, a lasso and sword for his pint-sized adventures.
Hank Pym joined a new team around issue #21 of WEST COAST AVENGERS. At first he resigned himself to the lab, but the allure of the battlefield eventually drew him back. While going simply by his name, our hero donned a full body red jumpsuit to fight the baddies in.
After laying low for a while, Pym returned to the world of costumed super-heroics with a brand new version of the Giant-Man costume, first over in WEST COAST AVENGERS and then in the regular AVENGERS book. This costume had a very 90’s edge to it with an open-top mask, lots of shoulder pouches and red cargo pants with a big black “Y” over the chest. He wore this costume when he went up against Onslaught and seemingly perished.
Some team shuffling in AVENGERS #27 resulted in a reconciled Hank and Jan returning to the ranks of the group. This time, Pym went by the name Goliath in a costume that looked kind of like the one Hawkeye wore when he used that identity. The color scheme was purple with silver belts and boots and short sleeves for the warmer months. Hank moved from this costume to his classic Yellowjacket look for a while after this. He popped up in the blue and yellow Goliath look again before returning to Yellowjacket, which is the costume he wore during “Avengers Disassembled “and that the Skrull posing as him wore throughout Civil War.
It was eventually revealed that a Skrull replaced Hank after he and Jan left the Avengers post-“Disassembled,” so it wasn't really him during Civil War or anywhere else up until the end of Secret Invasion, including his appearances in AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE. After the events of Secret Invasion, which included the death of Janet Van Dyne, Hank took on her codename and lead the Mighty Avengers for a time. His new look retained Pym's sometimes signature color of red while also incorporating wasp-like elements including buggy goggles and wings. The suit also included a kind of tuxedo and tails look in the back to add an air of class. When the Mighty Avengers team dissipated, Pym created the Avengers Academy, to help train younger heroes how to handle themselves.
Hank went back to his classic Giant-Man costume in AVENGERS ACADEMY #7 in an effort to move on from Janet's death and the idea of bringing her back to life. He continues on with this identity, but be on the look out—it's never too long before Hank Pym gets the itch to try out a new costume.Want to share your thoughts and opinions about Marvel.com? Sign up here to see if you qualify to participate in research on our site!