ar_feiniel: (pietro)
[personal profile] ar_feiniel posting in [community profile] scans_daily
In 1963 someone at Marvel decided that Ant-Man needed more soap opera in his life. Tales to Astonish 44 not only introduced Janet Van Dyne as his partner, it also established an angsty backstory for Hank: the death of a former wife.

At first I was only going to post the flashbacks of Maria's death, but as I was reviewing the issue, it seemed relevant to include bits with Jan. The way Hank and Jan form a partnership driven out of their respective losses (Hank's wife, Jan's father) gives more insight into the impact of Maria's death on Hank. It's also a rather good story.

So, jumping right into the story: 

I'm a little disturbed by Hank talking to the memory of his dead wife.

Something I personally found interesting here is the fact that after Maria died Hank briefly went a little, well, crazy. And I have to wonder if there's a part of him that's never been quite right again since.

I know the Hank Pym Has a Mental Illness concept has become a bit of a third rail due to the infamous Slapping Incident, but that incident aside, I've personally always been fascinated by (and rather liked) the idea that Hank Pym struggles with mental illness. It makes him interesting and real. And in the context of this backstory, it makes a lot of sense.

But moving on. Hank decides that he needs a partner to carry on his work in case he dies. Conveniently he is visited by fellow scientist Vernon Van Dyne and his daughter Janet.

Van Dyne wants to collaborate with Pym, but Hank turns him down. Later, Van Dyne is killed by an alien (just accept it and move on, people), and Janet calls Hank for help (since he's a fellow scientist and all). Hank considered her a shallow society girl earlier, but she proves herself otherwise: 

Well, I think you know how things go from there. Hank later asks Janet to be his partner and she agrees. Later, when they are off to fight the alien monster that killed Mr. Van Dyne, Janet confesses to Hank that she's falling in love with him.

But despite Hank's attempts to distance himself from Janet, in the end they become close friends: 


Date: 2012-01-14 02:21 am (UTC)
salinea: (Default)
From: [personal profile] salinea

Date: 2012-01-14 02:22 am (UTC)
chocochuy: Following the steps of the Gentleman Ghost, Kobato becomes into a more Elegant Lady (Kobato the Lucky Lady)
From: [personal profile] chocochuy
Wow, Maria Trovaya was a beautiful lady (especially on the panel where Hank starts remembering). Her death may seem quite silly but those were the 60s and situations like that one were also displayed on the well written saga of Bucky as the Winter Soldier (Not without mentioning real life).

A good job with this blast from the past.

Date: 2012-01-14 03:04 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] jlbarnett
I thought there was supposed to be a strong resemblance between Maria and Janet

Date: 2012-01-14 03:38 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] kd_the_movie
This is why I like the fact that Marvel has a "Continuity exists as we see fit" policy.

Cuz while it kind of sucks that the fact that Hank was a widower prior to Janet is oft still exists. If someone wants to pull a story from that, they have the opportunity to do so.

Date: 2012-01-14 04:08 am (UTC)
starwolf_oakley: (Default)
From: [personal profile] starwolf_oakley
Maria Trovaya had some importance in WEST COAST AVENGERS #33-36, IIRC.

In fact, I *think* that story revealed Maria was alive but comatose, and thus Hank's marriage to Janet was never legal. So, Hank Pym isn't a wife-beater since, at the time he hit her, Janet wasn't technically his wife? Well, that clears everything up!

Date: 2012-01-14 04:37 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] nightauditguy
You know, none of that would have happened if they hadn't kept mentioning that she was Maria Trovaya.

Date: 2012-01-14 04:54 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] donnblake
Right? If you're going to escape from an oppressive regime and then later reinvent yourself and return to that oppressive regime for vacation, maybe don't discuss your past identity at length on the street, repeatedly saying your name.

Date: 2012-01-14 05:17 am (UTC)
razsolo: (Default)
From: [personal profile] razsolo
From memory, that turned out to be just a scam to get Hank to help AIM create SODAM? Or something..? Memory is fuzzy, but I recall it being followed up in some Solo Avengers issues where she mutated into a MODOK-type creature and I think it was revealed they just made her look like Maria to get Hank to use his expertise to help her. And then she ended up being MODAM. A lady MODOK.

I wonder if she's still around?

Date: 2012-01-14 09:46 am (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Perhaps more in personality and outlook than in appearance?

Date: 2012-01-14 10:13 am (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
I'm a little disturbed by Hank talking to the memory of his dead wife.

It sounds like a sort of greeting that married couples have for each other, like pet names. And him recalling that that was how she greeted him seems entirely in keeping with a husband who lost a wife who loved him.

And I have to wonder if there's a part of him that's never been quite right again since.

Or that there's an emotional instability inherent in him, which stressful events tends to trigger.

Have to agree with others though that going back to Hungary after escaping is an INSANELY bad idea, but to go back and discuss her past life out loud makes her unfortunate death something akin to a convoluted suicide.

Date: 2012-01-14 12:07 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] silicondream
The only way I can interpret all this is that Hank fell victim to some elaborate Eastern Bloc sex con scheme, and right when they were congratulating themselves for lifting the credit cards, the kidney and the sperm sample, he reappeared astride a six-foot ant shouting MARIA!!! TROVAYA!!!

don't call my name don't call my name, maria

Date: 2012-01-14 12:09 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] silicondream
She obviously faked her death, is what I mean to explain. And mustachey YOU MUST BE BRAVE! man is the father of at least four of her children.

Date: 2012-01-14 05:51 pm (UTC)
cypherfdp: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cypherfdp

Date: 2012-01-14 06:02 pm (UTC)
biod: Cute Galactus (Default)
From: [personal profile] biod
Convoluted suicide by proxy! For when divorce just won't cut it!

Date: 2012-01-14 11:54 pm (UTC)
greenmask: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greenmask
Oh, neat! I only learnt of this previous wife/dead father combo recently. What eventful lives.

Date: 2012-01-16 09:23 am (UTC)
eyz: (Default)
From: [personal profile] eyz
I re-read a bunch of ol' Antman comics, thanks to Tim Seeley's Antman & Wasp TPB!
I love 'em!!


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