By Marc Strom
Welcome to another installment of Secret Invasion Illumination, True Believer! Over the next few months, we'll be taking a look at various key players from the mega event spinning through SECRET INVASION itself as well as MIGHTY AVENGERS, NEW AVENGERS and more of Marvel's top titles, examining what role they'll play as the story unfolds.
With the recent revelation in the pages of SECRET INVASION that a Skrull has been impersonating Hank Pym, aka founding Avenger and current Initiative big wig Yellowjacket, questions swirl around how such a prominent figure in the Marvel Universe could have been replaced. But soon fans will discover exactly how it happened in MIGHTY AVENGERS #15, by Brian Michael Bendis and Khoi Pham, on sale June 25.
Before that, though, catch up on the long and windy road of Pym's life and hear what SECRET INVASION editor Tom Brevoort has to say about what fans can expect for the shape-changing hero's future…if he even has one.
A Hero of Many Sizes
Dr. Henry "Hank" Pym, world renowned for his discovery of the Pym Particles, has never had it easy. When foreign agents attacked his lab in an effort to steal his scientific discoveries, Pym first utilized the Particles to shrink down to a tiny size, becoming Ant-Man.
Shortly after this, Pym first met his future wife Janet Van Dyne and revealed his identity to the dashing young woman after the murder of her father, convincing her to aid him in his fight against crime as the wistful Wasp.
Later, after becoming a charter member of the Avengers alongside the Wasp, the super scientist adapted his size-changing formula so that he could grow to mammoth proportions, becoming Giant Man. But all his experimentation on his own body soon took its toll.
After inhaling spilled fumes in his lab, Pym lost much of his memory—and sanity—and became the more abrasive Yellowjacket. Kidnapping Janet and forcing her to marry him, the couples' fellow Avengers eventually caught up to them and forced a confrontation with Pym. After he regained his mind, however, he and Janet decided to remain married, and for a time lived in blissful happiness.
However, as Pym's mental health continued to deteriorate, he placed his teammates in danger and even physically struck his wife. The Wasp filed for divorce and Pym got the boot from the Avengers.
In the years following, Pym earned redemption, eventually reclaiming his relationship with Janet as well as his good standing among the Avengers…but could all of this have been the work of a Skrull? Does the true Hank Pym remain unredeemed? Or could the alien agent have replaced Pym before his slip in sanity and most heinous actions?
A Skrull of Many Faces
The last page reveal in SECRET INVASION #1, when "Hank Pym" shot Mr. Fantastic and reverted to his Skrull form, raised more than a few fans' eyebrows. While MIGHTY AVENGERS #15 might shed some light on when the switch occurred, don't expect series editor Tom Brevoort to offer up much before that:
"[Hank's been a Skrull] longer than you'd think, but not as long as some people think," the editor teases.
But while readers know about Hank's secret life, Brevoort reminds us that his true identity remains a secret to the Marvel Universe at large.
"At this point, nobody really knows that he's a Skrull," he explains, "Which makes his activities all the more interesting to watch."
With a long and storied history with the Avengers and a number of personal ties to other characters, one might have expected the Skrulls to stay away from Pym. However, Brevoort points out that the Skrulls didn't take as many risks in replacing him as it might appear.
"Hank's been pretty much on his own for a number of years now," he offers. "So while he's connected to just about everybody in the Marvel Universe phone book in one way or another—which is what makes him useful as a Skrull plant—he hasn't been so close with any of them recently that people are likely to tumble to his true identity that easily."
Fans looking for more on Skrull-Pym's devious shenanigans won't have to wait long, though.
"We'll see some of them in AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE tie-in issues," Brevoort promises. "And he'll be a presence in the main SECRET INVASION book as well, particularly [in issue] #5."
And as for MIGHTY AVENGERS beyond the Pym spotlight? You ain't seen nothin' yet, as Brevoort leaves us with a few more tantalizing tidbits on what to expect in the near future:
"Coming up: Elektra! Marvel Boy! The Secret Warriors! And more!"
MIGHTY AVENGERS #15 ships on June 25, but you can check out more on the past of Hank Pym with Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.