A brilliant young scientist, Hank Pym worked in the U.S. Army and was eventually recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D. He eventually discovered a type of particle that could shorten the distance between an object's molecules, effectively reducing its size while maintaining its mass. Utilizing the newly-discovered particles, Pym developed a suit that could shrink a human being to the size of an ant, yet maintain his original strength and resilience.
Pym also developed the EMP Communication Device, a device that allowed him to telepathically communicate with ants. Through concentration, he could manipulate and control ants into doing what he wished. He found it difficult to control bullet ants but eventually learned to control them.
Mission in Berlin
Howard Stark informed Hank Pym that S.H.I.E.L.D. wanted to use his suit to stop a group of East German radicals from reverse-engineering HYDRA technology. Stark also informed Pym that S.H.I.E.L.D. would send an undercover agent to do the job but Pym refused unless he was the one to use the suit in the mission. They argued but Pym was supported by Agent Peggy Carter leaving Stark to storm off. Later on, Carter and Pym tested the suit, with Carter shooting at him, and Pym shrinking to insect size in the blink of an eye, avoiding the bullets.
Hank successfully infiltrated the radicals' East Berlin base, finding a "memory suppression" device which was being used by a group of HYDRA operatives on a prisoner. A HYDRA operative turned the machine off and the experimented man swore loyalty to HYDRA before regaining his memory. The HYDRA operative ordered the man's mind to be wiped again.
During that same year, Pym and his partner and wife, Janet van Dyne, also known as the Wasp, were called upon to intercept a Soviet missile that had been launched against the United States of America; however, they were unable to break through the missile to disable it. Pym attempted to shrink into subatomic size, but his suit had sustained heavy damage and could not. This prompted van Dyne to disable her own suit's safety measures and shrink into subatomic size in order to penetrate the missile's titanium shell. Though managing to disable the missile, she disappeared into the subatomic Quantum Realm doing so and was lost, seemingly forever. This loss greatly affected Hank and he stashed away the suit and gave up being Ant-Man, he kept it hidden it in a location that even he himself could not find a way into again.
A New Ant-Man
The Suit's Heist
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Pym first had Lang break into the hidden location of his own suit, though without telling Lang of what he was there to steal. Lang, thinking the vault held Pym's fortune, went to the suit's location and used water and nitrogen to bypass the hidden metal door that hid a secret room where Lang discovered the suit. Lang assumed it was an old biker suit but still took it. The next day Lang was examining the suit when he noticed a strange serum attached to it. Lang tried on the suit and accidentally activated the shrinking function when he was curiously pressing the buttons on the gloves. After he figured out how to grow back to regular size, in a state of shock and horror, he attempted to return the suit, but after being caught by the police, he was ordered by Hank to put it back on so he could escape.
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Hank Pym enlisted Scott Lang to aid him in stopping Darren Cross and went on to use the suit in their heist of Cross Technologies. Hank Pym and his daughter Hope van Dyne, trained Scott Lang to understand the capabilities and power of the Ant-Man suit. Teaching him how to shrink and grow in precise moments, throwing size-altering discs, fighting techniques, and controlling ants. Lang had to run and dive through a keyhole while shrinking and emerge big again which took him many attempts before being able to do it with ease. Hope also fought with Lang so he would be able to defend himself in situations where self-defense is needed. After being done with most of his training, Lang met the ants, his most useful allies on the battlefield and learned how to control each of the different species of ants.
Hank Pym upgraded the Ant-Man Suit for Scott Lang and it was used by him against a team led by Iron Man. During the ensuing fight, Scott tested one of the suit's new functions, growing incredibly large in the process and providing cover for Captain America and the Winter Soldier's escape before eventually getting subdued by Spider-Man, Iron Man and War Machine.
- Helmet: The helmet is made of thick metal and it protects the skull and brain of the user. Hank Pym has stated that without the suit's kind of helmet, the chemical balance of the brain would be affected when shrinking. Pym emphasized the importance of wearing the helmet whenever activating the suit. A button on the side of the helmet retracts the mandible and front facial portion of the helmet to reveal the user's face. As for the upgraded suit, pushing the button will make the faceplate fall off, meaning that the newer helmet is no longer retractable, only removable. The third suit once again featured a retractable helmet, this time being capable of retracting entirely, fully exposing the user's head. It also has a radio-like system to communicate at a distance with an operator. The helmet is also insulated against water and able to filter out air, allowing the user to breathe underwater for a limited time. The visors for every model are made of anti-glare materials and incorporate a formic acid shield.
- EMP Communication Device: In the region of the helmet where the user's ears are, an EMP Communication Device is held. It uses electromagnetic waves to stimulate the olfactory nerve center and pheromones of insect-sized organisms and requires concentration, as well as mental and emotional commitment and devotion to be used.
- Gloves: The gloves are outfitted with size-control buttons, the right one shrinks the user and the left one makes them grow larger, whether it be to their regular size or gigantic size. Using the touch screen on one of the bracers will recalibrate the suit's function to enlarge the size of the user to a gigantic scale instead of shrink.
- Gauntlets: The upgraded suit contained a touch screen monitor on the forearms, that showed Pym Particle levels in the suit, his vital signs and allowed him to control how much of the particle he wanted to use. He could also use it to switch between the red and blue variants of the particles. He used this during Clash of the Avengers to switch to the blue variant and become "Giant Man".
- Belt: The belt contains the regulator that controls the shrinking function. Manipulating this regulator is dangerous as it may shrink the user to a subatomic level and make it lose control of the suit. The belt also contains compartments for Pym Particles Disks. The regulator is somewhat compatible with Pym's enlarging disks technology, and in combination with them, it makes a user able to grow out of subatomic level and escape the Quantum Realm.
- Lining: The suit's lining is a lightweight and stretchable fabric. The fabric isn't very dense as the taser darts shot by Jim Paxton were able to penetrate it and shock Scott Lang. It doesn't protect against extreme temperatures either since Lang stated he felt cold while flying on an ant. Despite this, later versions of the suit were shown to be insulated against water, keeping the wearer fully dry inside of it should they be underwater.
- Size Manipulation: The suit's user is able to reduce his scale and mass, thereby shrinking himself to approximately the size of an ant; by reducing the empty space between atoms until the reduction effect is reversed. The user strength and durability are enhanced during shrinking. It does so by enhancing the users' momentum and density and compressing force. During the Avengers Civil War, the suit also demonstrated the capability of growing the user to giant sizes as well. The "Giant-Man" function visibly puts a large amount of strain on the user quickly, as therefore it needs to be manually activated via a touch-screen on the braces and can't be used for long time periods. The use of Pym Particles is hazardous for humans, as it may cause chemical imbalances in the brain, therefore Hank Pym designed the suit so the user can safely shrink down. However, the suit doesn't completely protect the wearer from the consequences of using Pym Particles, as Pym mentioned that using the shrinking function for so long damaged his body over the years despite the suit's safety measures.
- Superhuman Strength: The process of size alteration generates great amounts of physical force and momentum, which is scaled beyond that of normal humans. Thus, it allows the user to perform feats of superhuman strength and exert extreme physical force, comparable to that of a bullet, as well as accelerated momentum in their regular size immediately after changing their size back to normal. A user could accumulate physical force generated while they are in small scale and by sizing up while exposed to these forces- such as those found when an object is falling from a significant height- it utilizes the increased density and momentum to enhance their strength immediately after changing back their size. One feat of this is shown when a user falls from a great height while in shrunken form and after returning to normal size during the fall, the user exerts the physical force and momentum obtained from falling, which in normal scale, translates into a feat of inhuman strength. When the wearer is small, energy is compressed, so a punch could have the force of a 200 lb. man behind a fist 1/100 inch wide. The user can exert force in their shrunken state that allows them to leap vast distances and great heights with ease. All physical action the user can perform exert an enhanced amount of kinetic energy that they can use.
- Superhuman Durability: The user's durability is amplified almost to a state of near invulnerability while in a shrunken scale and is enough for them to fall from a great height and crash onto a surface, leaving a bullet-hole-like crater in the surface while the user is only stunned by the impact. When the wearer has increased his size into a giant-sized man, he naturally becomes far tougher and more durable than normal. This is due to Scott's increased density and muscle mass, and it was enough to withstand missiles from War Machine. However, this enormous amount of durability comes at the cost of his speed and balance, making his movements somewhat clumsy as a result.
- Insect Communication: The suit's user can communicate with ants, allowing him a rudimentary form of control over the insects. The suit possesses an EMP Communication Device inside the helmet that generates an electromagnetic wave that mimics the pheromones of ants. This allows the user to project their will into ants, influencing their actions and behavior. The user can manipulate entire colonies to work together, such as: forming themselves into bridges or walkways, allowing themselves be used as mounts, or attacking a target- usually in swarms- as a distraction for the user. Even when not communicating with them, a pair of pheromone anklets built-in the suit keep the ants docile around the wearer.
- Wrist-Mounted Blow Torch: During a mission in 1987, while on top of a missile headed for America, Hank Pym had a blowtorch-like tool on his right wrist. He was trying to use it to get inside the missile and disable it, however, it was unable to cut through the thick, reinforced titanium of the missile's outer shell. This led to Janet van Dyne having to tragically sacrifice herself, in order to get inside and disable it.
- Wrist-Mounted Grappling Anchor: The suit fires a grappling line that can anchor and tether the user to the surface they fired at, with the line then being attached to the waist. Hank used this to stay attached to the missile, while he attempted to penetrate through its outer layer.
- Darren Cross calls the Ant-Man Suit "Propaganda. Tales to astonish!" This is a reference to the name of the comic book Hank Pym first appeared in, Tales to Astonish.
- The original Ant-Man helmet, spheric and with extended antennae, is seen at Hank Pym's laboratory in Camp Lehigh during the 1970s.