Issue(s): Avengers #9
This issue starts with Cap having schizophrenic hallucinations about Baron Zemo.
We then catch up with Zemo, the Enchantress, and the Executioner, still stuck in the dimension Thor banished them to, and it's revealed that the Enchantress could have teleported them home at any time, but she had forgotten how impatient mortals can be.
They decide they need a new ally to go up against the Avengers, so they find disgraced inventor Simon Williams and turn him into a super-villain. Just like that. Zemo is an incredible genius. As he's imbuing Williams with ionic energy, the Enchantress goes "Don't forget the invincibility!", like it's a minor ingredient in a pie Zemo is making. Zemo responds "Zemo forgets nothing!".
Williams, given an awkward costume (designed by Heck?) and the "corny name" Wonder-Man...
...has the strength of Giant-Man, bare fists equal to Thor's hammer (and Williams will for years talk about how his fists have been compared favorably to the hammer of Thor, without mentioning that the person doing the comparing was the evil Nazi scientist that created him!), transistor-powered jets that enable him to fly like Iron Man, and the hand-to-hand fighting ability of Captain America.
His loyalty is ensured by the fact that the ionic energy that created him is also killing him, and he need a weekly antidote from Zemo to stay alive.
The Masters of Evil plant Wonder Man on the Avengers by staging a scene where he helps them foil a MOE-led bank robbery (and no one questions why two immortal Asgardians and a Nazi super-genius would stoop to robbing banks). Giving a partial truth about his origin, the Avengers learn about the fact that he's dying and set out to try and help him. Even the Teen Brigade does some research at the local library, although i'm not sure there's a lot of books on "Terminal Illness Caused By Ionic Nazi Super Science".
Note that Janet would rather go out to eat than have her boyfriend try to stop a man from dying.
More from the happy couple and their "friendly" bickering:
Then Wonder Man kidnaps the Wasp in order to lure the rest of the team back to Zemo's South American compound. The whole "pretending to join the team" part of the strategy doesn't make a lot of sense, or at least they don't get a lot of mileage out of it. If they wanted to fight the Avengers at their compound they could have just invited them there. I can think of better uses for a mole on the Avengers, and i'm not even a Nazi super-genius.
On the other hand, Zemo did have a giant magnet waiting to trap Iron Man, so that shows some planning.
Anyway, the Avengers lose due to Wonder Man's power, but then Simon has a change of heart and switches sides. The Masters of Evil flee, and Wonder Man dies. It will later be retconned that the Avengers somehow make an electronic recording of Wonder Man's brain waves before he dies, although I can't image what they intended to do with it.
The Avengers Classic reprint shows Wonder Man actually capturing the Wasp, something that happened off panel in the original.
It's not terribly necessary but it does depict the Wasp as a more competent individual than she was in the original books were at the time.
It shows also Williams being a little smitten with her.
Quality Rating: C-
Historical Significance Rating: 4 - first Wonder Man
Chronological Placement Considerations: Happy and Pepper are watching Iron Man distrustfully, wondering if he's responsible for Tony Stark's disappearance. The MCP places this during Tales of Suspense #59.
Continuity Insert? P - minor back-up story is continuity insert
My Reprint: Avengers Classic #9
Inbound References (31): show
Wonder Man was dropped due to a cease-and-desist letter from DC over the name similarity to Wonder Woman. Marvel brought him back in the 1970s when DC introduced Power Girl in 1976, hypocritically ignoring their established Power Man.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 1, 2011 12:26 AM
I actually like Heck's art a lot, but it seems to start declining when the issues hit the 20s. He's not the best action artist, but he's serviceable. He is probably the best draftsman of the early Marvel period though - and the only one who could draw attractive women.
Posted by: Chris | August 1, 2012 1:20 AM
so, Wonder Man is the Super Skrull of the Avengers
Posted by: min | August 6, 2012 9:22 AM
i'm starting to think the Wasp and Pym aren't actually dating. i think it's all in the Wasp's head.
Posted by: min | August 6, 2012 1:05 PM
I assumed Kirby designed Wonder Man's costume. I can't help thinking that if this was the case, he included all those wavy lines along the midriff knowing that he wouldn't have had to draw the interior pages. And if he did have to do the inside pages, then those lines would have mysteriously disappeared (compare and contrast the detail of Ant-Man's costume on the splash page of TTA #35 with the rest of the story - and every subsequent Ant-Man appearance).
Posted by: Mike Teague | December 13, 2013 8:50 PM
Flashbacks portray Wasp having her bio-electric stings at this time. She didn't have those in the actual comics until much later. Wasp without her stings is not a good character.
In a What If? story, Wonder Man would survive this issue and become a part of the second Avengers team. He would fall in love with Scarlet Witch and marry her. When Ultron created the Vision, he didn't have Simon's brain patterns and so put his own mind in the Vision. Ultron-Vision then attacked the Avengers and killed Wonder Man. Dr. Pym then saved Simon's brain patterns and reprogamed the defeated Vision with them. Wanda ended up married to the Vision anyway.
Posted by: Steven Printz | January 19, 2014 7:41 PM
In the Avengers Classic panels here Wonder Man mentions the "Pym capsules"...so in AC, was it retconned that the Avengers knew that Giant-Man was Hank Pym, or at least that Pym had some connection with Giant-Man and the Wasp? In Avengers #28 Cap seemed surprised--he thinks no one would ever have "guessed" that Giant-Man/Goliath was Hank Pym (who apparently was a person known to the public).
Posted by: Shar | January 19, 2014 11:02 PM
Possibly less a deliberate retcon than a mistake like the Wasp stings that Steven points out. Although i guess Zemo could have figured it out and told Wonder Man. I have to admit that i didn't really track when/if Pym gave up the secret ID, although you'd think it'd be pretty hard to keep under wraps after he busted out of his house in TTA #49 in front of the neighbors, and his fan club was showing up at his place in TTA #60 (which was published the same month as Avengers #9) .
Posted by: fnord12 | January 21, 2014 9:33 AM
Good point about the TTA issues--thanks. I guess unlike IM/Tony, or Thor/Don Blake, Hank and Jan didn't go to extraordinary lengths to keep their private identities secret back then. Cap never picked up on it,though, since he seemed very surprised in #28! :)
Posted by: Shar | January 21, 2014 7:05 PM
I totally agree with your description of Don Heck's style. I never liked his art because it was scratchy and had no movement. Lifeless detail. The blah period of the Avengers.
Posted by: Mike | July 6, 2014 3:08 AM
Juan Doe??? That has to be a pseudonym.
Posted by: Robert | September 21, 2014 11:17 PM
Considering he's Tony Stark's rival and nearly killed them after getting super-powers, why the heck would anyone even take his brainwave patterns? My only guess: Pym was having one of his "episodes" and decides to get Simon's information in case he needs it for...stuff. Then Ultron happened and it just ended up being used by Pym's evil killer robot for Vision because Simon was evil mostly until the turnaround for the tragic ending and Ultron probably figured "well, he'd make a good herald". Its really the only explanation I can think of.
Posted by: Ataru320 | September 25, 2014 4:44 PM
I can't decide if Heck is really the problem. Certainly those first two scans have a lot of problems, but that may have been from whatever the source was (I know fnord grabs a lot of the scans).
The backup is a bit bizarre. First of all, it looks like it's just stills from an animated show. Secondly, there are the continuity problems that Steven Printz and Shar. Third, Wasp complains about being called "doll"? Did she not hear Cap's complaints in TOS#59 that the trouble with girls is they all act like females? Hell, all the Marvel heroes are like that at this point (to be fair, so is a lot of society).
Posted by: Erik Beck | December 26, 2014 6:49 PM
Scans for Avengers are from the official GIT PDFs that were available several years ago, and they were direct scans of the originals. But the problems with those scans are at a minimum exacerbated by the poor coloring quality (outside the lines!), and i also find that the "bolt face" Iron Man design makes his features look thin and indistinct, so it's definitely not all due to Heck's pencils.
Posted by: fnord12 | December 27, 2014 1:24 AM
The backup stories are terrible in every aspect.
Posted by: Leves | April 18, 2015 8:06 AM
Considering Immortus' involvement in the history of the Vision, I wouldn't be surprised if he supplied the brainwave recording equipment so that both Wonder Man's brainwaves and the brainwaves of that guy's son from Avengers Spotlight 40 would be recorded and later added to the Vision so that Immortus' plans continue the way he would like them to.
Posted by: D09 | October 14, 2016 7:29 PM
In the sequence where the Avengers are trying to come up with a cure, I wonder if Heck intended the figures in the first panel to be Don Blake and Jane Foster,complete with the nurse's cap she always seemed to have on (desoite the coloring done later)... with Hank and Jan working together in the third panel.
Posted by: Shar | October 15, 2016 3:01 PM
Wonderman was not dropped because of a threatened lawsuit. The story was written with him dying so since he was not intended to be on ongoing character what would be the point. According to trademark law, a similar name is not infringement so Power Girl and Power Man have nothing to do with it. He was brought back because Englehart thought it would be a good story and editor Roy Thomas agreed.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 30, 2016 4:31 PM
Anyone else notice that Thor's hammer didn't change into the walking stick after he changed into Blake? I am so entirely sick of Thor and Ironman's "secret" identities. They seem difficult to write around and so pointless.
Posted by: Zansmo | November 5, 2016 7:54 PM
Reading this story is a mess, especially late in the story, because a bunch of the action takes place off panel. There's at least one word balloon pointing to someone outside the panel, characters describing things they see that you don't get to see, and of course the Wasp's kidnapping which we don't see and don't know happened until they tell you. I blame the Marvel Method, where Heck was working with a plot with no script and had no idea how to tell the story, leaving Lee to have to exposit so much that we didn't see. Heck was a good enough artist on his own when given a script but at least here can't seem to tell an action story.
Posted by: Michael Grabowski | April 20, 2017 9:08 PM
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