Ant-Man is the codename of three characters in the Marvel Universe: Hank Pym, Scott Lang, and Eric O'Grady.
Dr. Henry "Hank" Pym
The original Ant-Man, Dr. Henry "Hank" Pym was created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby. Making his Silver Age debut in Tales to Astonish #27 (January, 1962), Hank Pym was an ordinary, but brilliant biochemist. Happily married to Maria Trovaya, a political refugee, Hank was devastated when she was murdered on a trip to Hungary. Her death led to Hank's first mental breakdown, one of his defining attributes in later years. After recovering, Hank threw himself into his work, leading to the creation of a rare group of subatomic particles. Pym then uses the particles to create two serums: one that shrinks objects and one that makes them larger. Testing the first serum on himself, Pym shrinks to insect size for the first time but is unable to reverse the procedure. Now trapped in a nearby anthill, Pym nearly drowns in honey before being rescued by a friendly ant. The new friends fend off an attack by other ants looking for an easy meal before Pym makes it back to his lab. Using the second serum to return to normal size, Pym recognizes the danger of his discovery and decides to destroy the serums before they can do more harm.
Realizing that he was destroying a breakthrough, Hank recreated his serums a few weeks later. Inspired by his experience in the anthill, Pym uses the shrinking serum to become the superhero Ant-Man in Tales to Astonish #35 (September, 1962). He would pick up a partner a few issues later in the form of Janet van Dyne, a young socialite who closely resembled his dead wife. With her father dead thanks to the arrival of the creature from Kosmos, Janet volunteers to undergo genetic alteration at the hands of Pym to become "The Wasp". Together, the heroes defeat the Kosmosian and become partners. Later, the duo would join Iron Man and Thor in battle against the Hulk until the heroes realize that they've been manipulated by Loki, the God of Mischief. Banding together, the heroes defeat Loki and officially become The Avengers.
The second Ant-Man, Scott Lang was created by David Michelinie and John Byrne. Lang first appeared in Avengers #181 (March, 1979). He assumed the Ant-Man identity Marvel Premiere #47 (April, 1979). An electronics expert on the brink of poverty, Scott Lang turned to crime to support his family. A poor criminal, Lang is arrested during a botched robbery and sent to prison. Studying electronics in his free time, Lang earns himself a job offer from Stark International after being paroled early for good behavior.
Resuming his work in the field of electronics, Lang's life appears to be on the upswing until his daughter, Cassie, is diagnosed with a congenital heart condition. The only person capable of curing her condition was Dr. Erica Sondheim, but she was being held prisoner at Cross Technological Enterprises (CTE). Desperate, Lang breaks into Hank Pym's home and steals some of Ant-Man's equipment so he can confront the villain Darren Cross, the owner of CTE. Engaging the villain as "Ant-Man", Lang successfully uses his new powers to defeat Cross and rescue Dr. Sondheim.
Prepared to return to prison for theft, Lang is shocked when Hank Pym allows him to keep the stolen Ant-Man equipment. Recognizing Lang's true nature, Pym's only condition was that Scott must use the Ant-Man persona to uphold the law. Relieved, Scott receives more good news from Dr. Sondheim: Cassie's heart condition was successfully cured.
The third Ant-Man, Eric O'Grady was created by Robert Kurkman and Phil Hester. He first appeared in The Irredeemable Ant-Man #1 (September, 2006). Introduced as a low-level S.H.I.E.L.D. agent assigned to the Helicarrier, Eric O'Grady was the kind of guy who'd lie, cheat, and steal his way through life. Fortune struck one day when O'Grady and his best friend, Chris McCarthy, are put on guard duty outside Dr. Hank Pym's lab after Wolverine's dead body is brought aboard. Brainwashed by HYDRA, Wolverine is revived and starts killing everyone in sight. Panicking, O'Grady knocks Dr. Pym unconscious when the alarms start blaring. Messing around with the prototype Ant-Man suit in Hank's lab, Chris becomes trapped at insect size, causing O'Grady to panic again as HYDRA launches a full-scale attack on the helicarrier. Lost in the Helicarrier, Chris returns to full size only to be shot in the head. Looking for a place to hide, O'Grady stumbles across Chris's dead body and steals the Ant-Man suit. The Helicarrier sustains heavy damage during the attack, eventually crash landing in Arkansas. Surviving the crash, O'Grady retains his job as S.H.I.E.L.D agent during the day while experimenting with the Ant-Man suit at night.
- Marvel Ultimate Alliance: An unplayable Science Hero, Hank Pym appears between missions to offer advice. One objective for the Omega Base mission is to find Pym's Ant-Man helmet.
- Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2: Pym appears in his Yellowjacket persona as a boss for the Anti-Registration side.
- Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Pym is a non-playable character, appearing as part of one of Hawkeye's hyper combos.
Tropes common to all versions of Ant-Man:
- Animal Theme Naming: Ant-Man, obviously. Hank Pym also used the code names Yellowjacket and Wasp.
- Animal-Themed Superbeing
- Applied Phlebotinum: The Pym Particles.
- Clothes Make the Superman
- Hand Blast: Each Ant-Man has blasters built into his gloves allowing him to fire bio-electric energy blasts from his hands.
- Legacy Character: Scott Lang and Eric O'Grady are legacy characters to Hank Pym; Stature (Scott's daughter, Cassie) is this to Scott and Hank; and Hank's own Wasp identity made him a legacy character to his own former sidekick.
- Made of Iron: Growing to giant size increases Ant-Man's density, giving him greater durability.
- My Suit Is Also Super: Each Ant-Man suit was exposed to Pym Particles, allowing it to change size with the hero that uses it.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: The Ant-Men retain their normal density and strength at insect size.
- Power Perversion Potential
- Sizeshifter: Hank Pym initially required doses of Pym Particles in order to change size, requiring him to carry special pills or gas canisters. Later, Hank's body would start to generate Pym Particles on its own, allowing him to change size at will.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: Each Ant-Man has a cybernetic helmet that allows him to communicate with insects.
- Super Strength: Only available in giant form. A portion of the strength goes to supporting Ant-Man's body, leading to diminishing returns if he grows too large.
Ant-Man I (Henry "Hank" Pym)
- Ascended Extra: Hank's first appearance in Tales to Astonish #27 was a seven page story where as a scientist, he just tests his shrinking experiments on himself and runs afoul of some ants. "The Man in the Ant Hill" was intended as a one-off story, but positive response led to bringing him back almost a year later as a superhero.
- Battle Couple: Ant-Man and Wasp.
- Catapult to Glory: Only capable of shrinking early in his career, Hank used a catapult to launch himself around town.
- Create Your Own Villain: Hank Pym built the Killer Robot Ultron, which became one of the Avengers most dangerous enemies.
- Domestic Abuse: Hank struck Janet during one of his mental breakdowns, leading to the end of their marriage. It's worth noting that he only struck her one time - which is still one too many - but it's become basically the leitmotif of his entire character.
- Flight: Hank uses artifical wings to fly as part of his Yellowjacket and Wasp personas.
- Hero Syndrome: As Yellowjacket, Pym unleashed a giant robot called Salvation I that only he could stop in an attempt to appear heroic in front of his fellow Avengers.
- Horse of a Different Color: Pym took to riding Korr, his flying ant companion, after Janet's flying power made the catapult superfluous.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl
- I Have Many Names: Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket, and Wasp.
- May-December Romance
- Never Live It Down: He provides the picture for the page, bitch-slapping his wife Janet/The Wasp. Sometimes he has trouble living this down in-universe as well.
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: While starting out as "merely" a brilliant biochemist, Hank's story arc eventually led to him becoming an innovator in numerous fields, including particle and quantum physics ("Pym Particles"), electronics/robotics/programming (Ultron) and of course, entomology. Loki at one point even posed as Eternity and convinced Hank he was Earth's "Scientist Supreme" because his prowess with wide-spread scientific disciplines allow him abilities akin to magic.
- Personality Powers
- Replacement Love Interest: Janet van Dyne was a dead ringer for Hank's dead wife, Maria.
- Robotic Spouse: Hank's relationship with Jocasta, the robot bearing some of the memories of his ex-wife.
- Science Hero: Pym takes up this role at times, usually if he needs a break from the strain that comes with constant size shifting.
- Shapeshifter Mode Lock: The instability of the Pym Particles trapped Hank at various sizes over the years.
- Tangled Family Tree
- Ten-Minute Retirement: Pym has retired several times over the years, sometimes taking Janet with him, but it never stuck.
- Wedding Smashers: The Ringmaster and the Circus of Crime attack during Hank's wedding to Janet, prompting a return of Pym's Giant Man persona.
- What The Hell, Hero: Pym has gotten this more than a few times, but probably the biggest came when Pym led the Mighty Avengers. It turned out a member of their team, the Scarlet Witch, had in fact been Loki in disguise as part of one of his trademark evil schemes. Pym's response was to ask the God of Evil to join the Avengers for real. Every person in the room, including Loki himself, reacted this way, and his Avengers team actually broke up for a time on the grounds that Pym was either too crazy or too stupid to lead them.
- Working with the Ex: Hank and Janet continued to work together as Avengers even when she started dating other men. It was awkward for both.
- Wrathful Wasps: Yellowjacket is the superhero identity Hank Pym assumed during the mental breakdown that led to his brief outing as a supervillain: after being court-martialed for excessive force, Hank would create a robot that would endanger the Avengers while he would stop it and make himself look like a hero in an insane, desperate bid to avoid punishment. However, this stunt is greatly overshadowed by him striking his wife in a fit of mania, and despite Jim Shooter intending it to be the result wild, careless gesturing, the artist decided to frame it as him intentionally, viciously slapping her to the ground which has saddled him with the reputation of being an unstable wife-beater that he's never been able to entirely shake.
Ant-Man II (Scott Lang)
- Costume Copycat: Scott stole the Ant-Man suit from Hank Pym's house, using it to break into CTE to confront Darren Cross as "Ant-Man".
- Ill Girl: Cassie Lang. At least when she was a child.
- Part-Time Hero: Scott only donned the Ant-Man costume for brief periods early in his career, preferring to raise his daughter and, later, run his own electronics store.
- Romantic Runner-Up: Lang dated Jessica Jones for months but she ended up with Luke Cage.
- Sympathetic Criminal: Scott turned to burglary as a last resort after his daughter is diagnosed with a congenital heart condition.
- Unexplained Recovery: Lang was killed in an explosion at the start of the Avengers Disassembled storyline. Scarlet Witch later brought him back.
Ant-Man III (Eric O'Grady)
- Achilles' Heel: Eric's Achilles tendons become vulnerable when he's in giant form.
- The Adjectival Superhero: The Irredeemable Ant-Man.
- The Atoner: The reason why he's in the Secret Avengers now. That, and Steve Rogers decided to give him a second chance.
- Clear My Name: Subverted O'Grady did indeed steal the Ant-Man suit and evade SHIELD while on the run. But in order to get back in their good graces after he was found by SHIELD he passes most of the blame for the serious stuff onto Mitch Carson(who was revealed to actually a serial killer and about to brutally kill him anyway when SHIELD caught up to where Carson was holding him) and sold out Black Fox at the end of his series as well.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Although by Secret Avengers he is doing this less often.
- Comedic Sociopathy
- Damage Control: Eric while on the run briefly joined a incarnation of the organization under the name Slaying Mantis
- Dirty Coward: O'Grady has a tendency to shrink and hide in the face of danger.
- Eccentric Mentor: Black Fox was this for O'Grady early on, aiding in crimes as well as playing video games on their down time. The relationship went south however after Black Fox stole his Wii.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Taskmaster from his days in with the Avengers Initiative.
- How Do I Shot Web?: Eric went through a trial and error stage after he stole the Ant-Man suit, burning Mitch Carson's face with his rocket boots and nearly killing an attempted rapist because he underestimated his own strength at insect size.
- Jet Pack: The G.I. Ant-Man suit flies using a set of rocket boots. They can also be used as a weapon in the right circumstances.
- Marshmallow Hell: O'Grady sneaked into the cockpit of Air Force One hidden in Black Widow II's cleavage.
- The Peeping Tom: A complete pervert, Eric used the Ant-Man's shrinking powers to spy on Ms. Marvel while she was in the shower.
- Powered Armor: O'Grady's stolen Ant-Man suit. Later, Hank Pym would add the power to grow to the suit, renaming it the G.I. Ant-Man suit.
- Redheaded Hero
- Reformed Criminal
- Spider Limbs: The G.I. Ant-Man suit has two retractable limbs used for balance and wall crawling.
- Sticky Fingers
- Tagalong Kid: His role in the Secret Avengers seems to be this, though he tries hard to prove himself.
Ant-Man: I got a codename, you know?