Off My Mind: Is Hank Pym a Wife Beater or Did He Get a Bum Rap?

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#51 Posted by jezebel (12 posts) - - Show Bio

This is a complicated issue.  He was clearly mentally unstable, and he has worked hard to redeem himself from that mistake, but he DID hit her.  I think that it shouldn't be what defines his character, but that is should be something that he has to deal with.  Hank Pym is, in my opinion, a decent caring man when he is mentally stable.  Because of this he will always feel badly for what he did to Jan, and he will never forgive himself for it.  It should be a part of who he is as a character, not all of who he is.

#52 Posted by ImperiousRix (1069 posts) - - Show Bio

I like Hank.  Heck, I have a Yellowjacket action figure sitting on my shelf right now.  But the problem is that not only has he been abusive to Jan (another one of my favorite characters), but he's often proven to be more trouble than he's worth in a sense.  He's also created Ultron (as was mentioned) as well as being one of the primary engineers of Ragnarok.  He's a horribly flawed hero, and that's one of the reasons I like him, because he's always desperately trying to win everybody's approval as well as finally gain his own peace of mind. 
 
Do I think it should be forgotten that Hank beat Janet?  Not really.  In fact, I think other heroes who have struck their significant others should get similar flak.  Should it constantly be brought up so that it becomes one of his defining characteristics?  No.  Hank's got plenty of other baggage and flaws that Marvel doesn't need to keep leaning on this one.

#53 Posted by UnosInfinitos (149 posts) - - Show Bio

Pimps get a bad rap, they just tryin to keep they hoes inline less they be destroying themselves/ shot.
 
What?! I can laugh at fiction...

#54 Edited by Emperormeister734 (808 posts) - - Show Bio
@Mutant God: I can never see Reed hitting Sue, maybe a little argument where of course Reed loses and leave him saying sorry to his wife. I did see a fan fiction show of the Avengers where  Wasp had a broken  arm and a black eye, I mean I found it hard to believe Pym would do that to her and he did hit Wasp in the Ultimates, there I thought  universal differences.
#55 Posted by kapitein_zeppos (341 posts) - - Show Bio

He's a wife-beating scumbag, end of story.  Once the hand flies, you're a loser for life and it never ever stops no matter how many times you fake your apologies or claim you're sorry, I've been on the receiving end enough times to know.

#56 Posted by JonesDeini (3620 posts) - - Show Bio
@The Dark Huntress said:

It's a bit of both. It started out as him getting a bum rap and then became a defining thing for him (along with the schizophrenia).

That about sums it up. He really wasn't all that interesting before that. The other characters mentioned have many more defining character moments to choose so these less admirable ones get lost in the shuffle. But for Hank, well, what do we really remember about him besides the slap? Or building Ultron? I know the years after these (especially recently) have been dedicated to redeeming Hank, but without this slap, mental issues, and Ultron what else is there that's memorable about the guy?
#57 Posted by Iron_Lad (315 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't condone wife beating of any kind, but in Hank Pym's case you have to consider that it does give his character more substance as far as his personality, the fact that he's a flawed character. There are many examples. For instance, Tony Stark has always been associated with being an alcoholic.

#58 Posted by Eet Mor Puppee (103 posts) - - Show Bio
@kapitein_zeppos:  You got hit multiple times, so Hank is a scumbag? Read the actual issue. Better yet, read all of the issues leading up to it and then say that Hank Pym is a scumbag.
#59 Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt (12879 posts) - - Show Bio

Hank is a good man with a good heart and soul who was going through a horrible time wich is why like jan said him hitting her is forgivible but she still had to divorce him for both their sakes. even the sanest person can snap under circumstances like the one hank and pete went through and i can tell in my heart of hearts that neither of them would EVER touch the women they love like that again if they can help it. also i find that tigra scan a bit funny since she sure jumped his nut enough times. 
 
to put it simply while hank did a bad thing , payed his consequences and fights every damn day to make thing right. when many other heroes would have sunken into shame, Hank picked himself up. people may not like him but they should respect him
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#60 Posted by GBrutality (192 posts) - - Show Bio

i think the reason the others were let off the hook and not pym is because he sort of sucks and this gave his character a form of depth people could remember. spider-man has so much stuff about him already this was like a moment that completely went over peoples heads after it happened. 
 
i do have a question though, it's never been clear to me, in the brand new day storyline they say they weren't married now was that because of the way everyone thinks now because of what went down with the hocus pocus or does that mean all those years upon years of them acknowledging their marriage really was them just saying they were married when they really weren't? annoyingly confused to this day!

#61 Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt (12879 posts) - - Show Bio
@Golden Cod said:
@labarith said:
Wait... isn't Tigra having relations with Pank Hym now?    In that pic, she's like "Jan, you're better than him.  Me?  I wants his (not)Skrull babies!"  And Pym goes for her... WTF?
 Blame that on Brian Michael Bendis and not the character.   It's quite possible he's never seen that panel before or if he has, enough time has passed that he decided that it's irrelevant (quiet retcon).

Hank and Greer have been screwing since the West Coast Avengers days, for once you cant blame it on Bendis 
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#62 Posted by Jotham (4564 posts) - - Show Bio

The reason Hank is the only one who's been called on this, despite all the other examples of heroes smacking various people around, is because the writers focused on it so heavily for a while afterwards. If they had moved on and ignored it, as in the other cases, people would have forgotten it in no time. As it was, Jan got a divorce, etc.

#63 Posted by Loki9876 (2995 posts) - - Show Bio
@ImperiousRix: hm didn't skrull hank made ragnarok
#64 Posted by ImperiousRix (1069 posts) - - Show Bio
@Loki9876:  
Oh yeah, you're right. 
Well then that makes Reed seem like an even bigger idiot for going along with building it.
#65 Posted by Bloodgraiv3 (3 posts) - - Show Bio

What's so great about this is that it makes sense. 
#66 Posted by Kairan1979 (16722 posts) - - Show Bio
@make_me_mad
 

Note that when Hank, Reed, and Tony decided to build a robot to 'incapacitate' their friends back in Civil War, they ended up murdering Goliath with a massively instable clone of Thor- so who knows what would have happened to them all, if Hank had been allowed to get away with this?  Would people still want to sweep his actions under the rug if Captain America had died fighting the thing he created?

That wasn't Pym. That was Skrull Pym.
#67 Posted by Eet Mor Puppee (103 posts) - - Show Bio

A few days ago I ordered a burger from Burger King. I forgot to tell them to not put mayonnaise on it.  
 
I must be a Habitual Mayonnaise Eater because one time I ate a burger with mayonnaise on it. Even though I hate mayonnaise and didn't even eat the whole burger. 
 
This topic is stupid.

#68 Posted by Make_Me_Mad (25 posts) - - Show Bio
@Kairan1979 said:
@make_me_mad
 

Note that when Hank, Reed, and Tony decided to build a robot to 'incapacitate' their friends back in Civil War, they ended up murdering Goliath with a massively instable clone of Thor- so who knows what would have happened to them all, if Hank had been allowed to get away with this?  Would people still want to sweep his actions under the rug if Captain America had died fighting the thing he created?

That wasn't Pym. That was Skrull Pym.
Ugh, you're right, I forgot about the Skrulls.  Alright, forget that part of it, then!

Still, in this instance where he was making this nigh-indestructable robot to attack the Avengers, he put a single weak point that only he would know about and be able to use to deactivate it.  He still screwed up and nearly got killed by the thing, along with the rest of the team, until Jan shut it down herself!  He almost got a collection of the greatest heroes in the world killed because of his bruised ego!  In my opinion, he should catch a lot more flak over that than hitting Janet, and they should never have let him be back on an Avengers team.  Let him join the Thunderbolts and work to redeem himself there, if he can.
#69 Posted by OracleX (294 posts) - - Show Bio

If Marvel wanted to get Hank away from the Hank-is-a-wife-beater rap why did they make him a jerk in the Ultimate universe? There, when Janet is in wasp form, Hank sends a swarm of ants to sting her and put her into shock. I was glad to read that Captain America gave him a good beating for that at least.

#70 Posted by yogiposeur (3 posts) - - Show Bio
@Eet Mor Puppee said:
A few days ago I ordered a burger from Burger King. I forgot to tell them to not put mayonnaise on it.   I must be a Habitual Mayonnaise Eater because one time I ate a burger with mayonnaise on it. Even though I hate mayonnaise and didn't even eat the whole burger.  This topic is stupid.
I think perhaps I view the term "wife beater" differently in that, in my view, it does not connote ongoing spousal abuse. Whatever the reasons for Hank's actions, he beat his wife. She, and we, can forgive him if we choose. He can acknowledge that it was a vile thing to do and dedicate his life to making amends through heroic actions of all kinds, from superheroics to community service for battered women. And, the fact that he beat his partner will never vanish. Even one incident of relationship violence changes both the survivor and the assailant forever, and leaves each with their own burdens to carry. For Hank, that includes not complaining that he is and always will be well-remembered for hitting Janet. Why do we - especially we men - feel the need to minimize it when he does not?
#71 Posted by karrob (4279 posts) - - Show Bio
@Sasuke said:

I think he really got a bum rap. As you showed characters have had outburst at the friends anf family for years, but Hank's is the only one that ever gets mentioned.

#72 Posted by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

I think it was a deserved bum rap, but he's handled it--and the writers have handled it--better than with other characters. Sure, a lot of other characters have done similar or the same stuff and been left off the hook, but is that a good thing?  
 
I think it has become an important aspect of his character, and it complicates him a bit. He's not entirely stable. He's done some crappy stuff. Can he have done this and still be considered sympathetic and a good person? A hero even? That's the core question of his character and I think it's a good one. The ambiguity is what's important. 
 
At least Pym feels actual remorse for what he's done. At least he continues to pay a personal price for it. Compare that to some known wife/girlfriend-beating celebrities.

#73 Posted by Illuminarch (244 posts) - - Show Bio

Slapping Wasp once (whether by accident or not) hardly counts as "beating." Cripes people, these super-broads run around all day getting the crap beaten and blasted out of them, but nobody tries to lay a big guilt trip on the villains for hitting them. The way some people play this angle, you'd think that they believe 9 out of 10 members of the Masters of Evil are morally superior to Hank Pym. 
 
If Pym is to be continually demonized for anything, it should be the creation of Ultron. This is PC, feminist madness.

#74 Posted by maxicere (936 posts) - - Show Bio

Yellow Jacket rocks!!!!!!! I need him back!!

#75 Posted by Agent9149 (2894 posts) - - Show Bio

has scott ever hit emma

#76 Posted by darkwolverineUSMC (315 posts) - - Show Bio

I think it's a load of phooey. Hank Pym is a legend amongst the Marvel universe, and this just happens to be one of those fallen from grace moments. After the secret invasion realizing that his wife was truly gone, his sorrow knew no bounds. He truly loved his wife, and his team mates, and in my book, will always be one of earth's mightiest heroes.
#77 Posted by Decept-O (7275 posts) - - Show Bio

While this is only fiction and I am bringing up a social issue, just have to reiterate, spousal abuse is never acceptable. Off my soapbox, but I have never liked how Hank Pym has been portrayed, including hitting Janet, and also his mental status, it just got on my nerves. I know the writers were trying to bring in some dynamics to the Avengers and stir things up but it just always bothered me. Reed Richards, yes, he's the proverbial "cold" emotionless stick in the mud, and while that was a What If? issue, people don't always remember that. Yet it makes one wonder IF Reed Richards would react that way. Again, the relationship between Reed and Sue has always been a bit of a sore spot for me as well, never been happy with it but that's just me. Sheesh, I must have missed the one with Pete hitting Mary Jane--a pregnant Mary Jane? Yowza, that one is far more deplorable but you're right, why is it not mentioned? Probably because it had to do with the clone story line which most readers tend to ignore ( except G-Man!). Some positive couples, though, seem to be Hourman and Jesse Chambers, but let's hope Hourman doesn't get a drunk on while powered up and decide to lay the smack down, that wouldn't be good.

@Iron_Lad: Not being argumentative by any means, this is one thing I hate that Marvel and writers tried to do at the time, make things a bit too dramatic. Yes these things happen in real life, but sometimes I just want my super heroes to be....super heroes.

#78 Posted by Meteorite (3351 posts) - - Show Bio

This is something I hate about people's interpretations of Hank Pym. He hit her once, whilst under a lot of pressure, and has regretted it ever since, yet people still go on about it as if he enjoyed it or something. Give the guy a break!

#79 Posted by movieartman (1098 posts) - - Show Bio

OMG am i the only one who loves the irony that as he's wooping it up about redemption he is bitchslaping his wife i mean seriously
#80 Posted by Maki_P (275 posts) - - Show Bio

Well the scene does seem rather violent, on the other hand so does the ones with Reed. I think the fans must've have exaggerated.
Personally I think that if a person (since it can be a woman too) hits their partner once, in a moment of emotional stress does not represent Spouse Abuse.

#81 Posted by Maki_P (275 posts) - - Show Bio
@agent9149 said:
has scott ever hit emma
I don't know but he did abandon his wife and son to go after an Old Flame (no pun intended), later cheated on said Old Flame and when the Old Flame died he made out with another woman on his wife's grave. I don't want to diminish the issue of domestic violence, but I feel Scott is worse husband than Hank; at least Hank feels remorse.
#82 Posted by Doctor!!!!! (2055 posts) - - Show Bio

OH YEAHHHH!!! I remember, Yellow Jacket was a punk version of Hank, not cool Pym...
#83 Posted by DKing_CiCADA (340 posts) - - Show Bio

Even if it was meant to be a push away thing its still not right. but he has defiantly made up for it  

#84 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6885 posts) - - Show Bio

We all make mistakes. Someone is only a wife beater if they consistently harm their spouse.  Im not sure if I know of any instance in the superhero community where a male partner would then be abusive, so for Hank Pym's, Reed Richards', and Peter Parker's cases, no, I would not label them wife beaters.

#85 Posted by Scarbearer (726 posts) - - Show Bio

I think the reason Hank has never lived this down is not because people constantly take the scene out of context.  I think most people know that this was the only time it happened, and they know that Hank felt sorry about what happened.  But it was also a a great big explanation point on the ledger of Hank Pym's character at a time when it was circling the drain.
 
I mean his plan to get back into the Avenger's 'good graces' was a very bad one and one that would've spiraled horribly out of control I'm sure.  That he hit Jan, whether it was a moment of loosing his cool, or whether he was oringally intended to have 'accidentally' pushed her away very roughly.  It was the defining moment that portrayed just how off the rails he was.  And sadly though he never did anything that terrible again, being that unbalanced would continue to be a hallmark of his character.
 
Maybe he did get a bit of a bad-rap, but sometimes, things are like that and they are what make characters interesting.  He's been dry for years, but the specter of Tony Stark's alcoholism still hangs over him today, and it's part of what makes him fun to read about it.  I think the same goes for Pym.

#86 Posted by Darkmount1 (1274 posts) - - Show Bio

I read that thing by Jim Shooter. Just think what could have been had that mistake been corrected, and we got the panel as Shooter intended....
#87 Posted by PowerHerc (82755 posts) - - Show Bio

He's a wife beater. He's not a chronic abuser, but he did hit Jan and it wasn't in self-defense. The writers intended for this to be a wife-beating story, but I wonder; did they think it would impact the character Henry Pym this accutely and/or for this long a period of time. It's a stigma he can't shake, no matter that he's actually a fictional character, it hangs on him like a very foul odor.

#88 Posted by DeawonCDelaney (62 posts) - - Show Bio

I look at it like this Iron Man was a drunk and Wolverine practically stalked and lusted after Jean Grey for years, and they have turned out fine, when its all said and done they dropped the ball with Hank Pym. Its like they want to make him a great character but they constantly drop the ball with him always making him the low man on the totem pole and while others go on to prominence they let him create Ultron. I mean seriously this guy is one of the founding members of the avengers but he known as a women beater, and Jan flirts with Tony Stark in the  Avengers beginning and sleeps with Hawkeye (as I might add her unprotected sex with Clint and her spilling the beans to scarlet witch is one of the key reasons she went nuts).

#89 Posted by Multiverse (276 posts) - - Show Bio
@DeawonCDelaney said:
I look at it like this Iron Man was a drunk and Wolverine practically stalked and lusted after Jean Grey for years, and they have turned out fine, when its all said and done they dropped the ball with Hank Pym. Its like they want to make him a great character but they constantly drop the ball with him always making him the low man on the totem pole and while others go on to prominence they let him create Ultron. I mean seriously this guy is one of the founding members of the avengers but he known as a women beater, and Jan flirts with Tony Stark in the  Avengers beginning and sleeps with Hawkeye (as I might add her unprotected sex with Clint and her spilling the beans to scarlet witch is one of the key reasons she went nuts).
When you think about it quite a number of heroes in both the Marvel and DC universes are not really the best of people. With regards to Hank Pym, I think it is important not to minimize Hank's hitting his wife while keeping that event in the context of other things he has done and in context with US society. On a more general note I think it is important to, occasionally, take a critical/analytical look at what happens in comic books.
#90 Posted by Chris2KLee (173 posts) - - Show Bio

Spousal abuse of any type should not be brushed off lightly. "It was an accident" or "I was angry at something else" are not particularly good ways to write off what is a serious issue. While one time might not be a pattern, it could be a sign of some deep issues (of which Hank Pym admittedly has many). A lot of people suffering from PTSD from high stress jobs are prone to violent behavior at home. I imagine it's no different for some super heroes. I would love to see that handled maturely, and having a character admit to and confront that openly is a nice way to highlight a growing issue. We shouldn't hide rage issues away, or try to sweep them under the carpet. It's not the 1950's anymore.

#91 Posted by labarith (670 posts) - - Show Bio

Interesting idea Chris, but I don't know how you "handle it" outside of creating a new, married, super person and have them secretly beat their wife!   I honestly don't think there's any coming back from that.
 
Dark Avengers:  Sentry did some stuff like this (kept her hostage, more or less), but as with all more powerful super heroes, it doesn't make much sense to see him physically beating his wife... 
 
What kind of super hero do you think you'd set up to beat his wife?  An Ironman analogy?  A Mr. Fantastic?

#92 Posted by etragedy (1069 posts) - - Show Bio

What - you never read the Ultimates?
 
Hit her - pfft...
He tried to KILL her with a can of Raid!

#93 Edited by Maki_P (275 posts) - - Show Bio
@etragedy: Eh.... Ultimates is not the same as 616. Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver had romantic affair in that universe *shudder* (apparently because Wanda reminded Pietro of his mother *extra shudder*). I don't think you can judge a character for the actions of their Alternate Universe double.
But I admit the whole thing was disturbing, not only did he attacked her with Raid, he also sent ants after her when she was small
#94 Posted by Joe Venom (1275 posts) - - Show Bio

sigh.....all these problems could have been avoided if they would have just "shut up" and and made their man a sandwich. smh

#95 Edited by kfhrfdu_89_76k (3722 posts) - - Show Bio

The reason that he`s rememberd as a wifebeater is actually guite realistic. People always cling to those little bad things you do  without really thinking that much, so that they can make fun of you, or because they`re angry at you. I know that it has happened to everyone of you also.   
 
As to why only Hank is been accused so much of beating and not the others, he was the first one. Also, I`m sorry if this upsets many of you, less popular than Mr.Fantastic or Spidey for example.  
 
@Darkmount1
said:

I read that thing by Jim Shooter. Just think what could have been had that mistake been corrected, and we got the panel as Shooter intended....  

I`m smelling a what if-story...
#96 Posted by Casshern (142 posts) - - Show Bio

Hank was trying to get revenge on his Team, but tricking them into fighting a robot only he could beat...WOW someone like fast forward into the future and saw The Incredibles. 
 
But thats why Hank I think is looked down on. He was willing to hurt his team in order to get back with his team. 

#97 Posted by Squares (5275 posts) - - Show Bio

He hit his wife, therefore he is a 'wife-beater'. Seems like a really straightforward answer, here.

#98 Posted by Timandm (3374 posts) - - Show Bio
@PowerHerc said:

He's a wife beater. He's not a chronic abuser, but he did hit Jan and it wasn't in self-defense. The writers intended for this to be a wife-beating story, but I wonder; did they think it would impact the character Henry Pym this accutely and/or for this long a period of time. It's a stigma he can't shake, no matter that he's actually a fictional character, it hangs on him like a very foul odor.

It doesn't seem fair to label someone a wife beater if they hit their wife in a moment of insanity....  Wasn't he losing it before that even happened?
It's definitely bad that he did it, no doubt... But I really think it was due to his mental instability at the time...  That doesn't make him a wife beater... An asshole, sure, but not a wife beater...
 
Jean Grey (Summers) has trashed Cyclops a time or two when she went crazy, but she's not labeled a husband beater...  Of course, that might be because most of us enjoyed seeing Scott get trashed, and society labels any man who complains about being hit by his wife as a P$&#*...
Susan Richards trashed Reed, on purpose and left him unconscious before she strapped her kidnapped brother to a machine with Galactus and used him as a battery, but no one labeled her a husband beater... (I admit, I like seeing Reed get trashed since Marvel Civil War)  Note, this was Sue from the future but it was Sue nonetheless...
 
And you're right, it DOES hang about him like a foul odor... I think because most people have not read the story and don't realize he was losing his mind at the time...
#99 Posted by Timandm (3374 posts) - - Show Bio
@Joe Venom: LOLOLOL!!! Freaking love it! 
#100 Edited by Frobin (96 posts) - - Show Bio

Good article.   
In all these "off my mind" articles you always think about story lines and continuity of a character from a real life point of view, but I would say you have to consider that there are some elements of superhero comic books that are symbolic acts and wouldn't never happen so in real life. Beating someone is such a thing ... almost every conflict in superhero comics is shown by using violence (there are even a majority of conflicts that are settled by violence). This is 1. just a simple dramatic or dramaturgical element in a image driven medium like comic books to show action AND 2. a say historic relict of the old days of superhero comic books when comics were merely made for and by (grown-up) boys - remember the old comic books: heroes are always skirmish and start fighting over totally ridiculous things like boys in kindergarten or at the school yard - just of an epic scale. That's still a core of superhero comics: action shown by using physical violence. But it's a dramaturgical element, needed more or less. 
 
So even the cases above can (or should) be seen under this setting ... even beating a wife means mostly: something very dramatic is happening ... attention, the hero is in some big emotional stress or trouble. Doing it this way - in my opinion - is also a bit of a lack of creative artwork (mabye even writing?) and very old-fashioned. Nowadays artists/writers would find other ways to portray this emotional stress ... mostly by adding more text or using other scenes/pictures. 
 
When it comes to Hank Pym: I guess, his bum rap doesn't just come from this one scene shown above ... his bad reputation just comes because of a decade of constant and continious characterisation of Hank Pym as an unstable, weak and questionable character ... in the 80s and 90s he has been portrayed as broken character, as failed genius, as mad genius, as genius without the needed social skills ... and so on ... so if you think about the bum rap of Hank Pym, you can't just reduce it of his reputation as wife beater. It's just a little bit more than that.  

As recently as the last few years Hank Pym's character got slightly rewritten or repositioned ... as the genius he is, a misunderstood, underestimated and going beyond his formerly limited social potential because of the death of Janet Pym. 
 
By the way: To blame someone ;) ... sometimes it's really the writer. Or some writer with new ideas but not really into the character ... doing something really amazing from the the story's point of view ... but writing totally out-of-character. For example, like Dwayne McDuffie did wih Reed Richards while Civil War ... I think of the issue were Reed reveals that he invented Psychohistory and therefore he knows the future and he has to support the registration act and do all those mad things (like cloning Thor, building N-zone prisons, ...) ... Psychohistory is an amazing element for a scifi story, but not for Reed Richards, who did time traveling many times and totally knows that there is no fixed future - even if he can't find a equation for a future he prefers - there's the multiverse of the Exiles ... so Psychohistory just doesn't fit the Marvel universe and most of all: it's totally out-of-character for Reed Richards to act like a mad scientist. McDuffy totally damaged the 616 Reed for me ...  
 
Just one example of how bad writing and out-of-character portraying can damage the reputation of a character. But as said above: In case of Hank Pym it has been a decade of continous characterisation as unstable person.

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