Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Friday, September 15, 2006

It's Craazy.

Okay as it turns out, I'm still on my faint Avengers kick. It shouldn't last too much longer, I'd reckon. I'm just a kid with a new toy right about now.

Anyway, I managed (thanks to Flidget) to get ahold of Avengers 59 and 60, because honestly the whole story of the wedding sounded so crack-worthy that I simply had to see for myself.

I was not disappointed.

I thought, deep down, that there had to be an exaggeration somewhere. Janet Van Dyne couldn't have actually married her boyfriend while he's quite clearly out of his head, could she?

Well, as many of you know, and I was to find out. Yes, yes she did.

Now according to some explanation site, it's explained that she went along with the whole Yellowjacket marriage thing out of concern for Hank. She was afraid that he'd backslide further into insanity.

Well I'm staring at the issues this moment, and that's utter hogwash! In fact, Janet has, in total, exactly one moment of concern about what she's doing:

Yes. It would be a shame to marry your batshit crazy boyfriend while he's clearly not in his right mind unless you're absolutely sure.

It's not like he had gone on with a five page monologue/flashback about how he, as Yellowjacket, killed Hank Pym, culminating in leaving him to be murdered ignobly by a house-spider:

Oh. Wait...

Anyway, that one moment of trepidation aside, Janet spent most of the issues looking like this:

See that triumphant look? She's not doing this to protect his mental state. She's doing this because it's a way to trap him into marriage!

Here she's explaining to her understandably bewildered colleague...notice how gleeful she is! And her utter dismissal of poor Hawkeye's concern. (I'm giving Hank's dismissal a pass here because three seconds ago he was still calling himself Yellowjacket.)

One thing that amazed me about the comic was that at no point does Jan actually attempt to fill any of the other Avengers in. She just maneuvers them into following, witnessing her marrying a guy who is claiming to have killed Hank Pym.

I don't know why she just doesn't pull them aside and go "Yeah, I know it's a bit crazy, but he's really Hank."

Wait, I know why. Because they're heroes and might thus express concern that a man who thinks he's his own murderer might currently not be quite capable of consent.

Still, if it were me, I'd have just told them it was a bizarre roleplaying scenario and to play along.

So Jan gets her wedding. Fortunately Hank seems okay with this. But then again, three seconds ago he thought he was his own murderer, so I'm not taking anything about his sanity for granted at the moment.

And I'm glad I don't live in the Marvel Universe. Where apparently, if you enter into a marriage while in the grip of a provable psychotic delusion, without even using your real name, on account of you can't remember it, it's legally binding.

Oh and Jan, not that I think what happens subsequently is your fault, but for future reference, if your next husband-to-be ends up delivering a five page long monologue/flashback detailing elaborately how he's brought himself to an ignoble Spider-induced end, that might be a sign that he's got a bit too much repressed self-hatred to be good marriage material.

I'm just saying, sometimes there ARE warning signs...

I've got to give Hank/Yellowjacket credit for one thing though. He's been in this identity for approximately five hours or so at the most, by the time he kidnaps Janet Van Dyne, but he already has a hideout:

Hey, the man might be batshit crazy but you can't fault his style. That's one swanky bachelor pad. :-)

(All scans taken from Avengers v1 #59 and #60).

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  • At September 15, 2006 10:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    You hit on one of the great unsung themes of Silver Age Marvel, namely the jaw-droppingly disfunctional relationship of Janet and Hank Pym. Mix in the Oedipal themes of Ultron and the Vision, and you've got yourself some industrial-strength "issues" these characters are dealing with. Sure, on the surface Janet and Hank always seemed to be the standard Happy Couple, but not too far under the surface was some pretty weird stuff. As a whole, Janet never seemed to question Hank's constant shifting of superhero identities, though I suppose her own dizzying array of Wasp costumes also tied into a similar mania.

    Funny you should mention Janet and Hank's wedding today, since I just posted a blog entry on various comic book wedding covers, including the cover to Avengers #60 (I also cover the Vision-Scarlet Witch wedding).

    Here's the link in in case you want to check it out:

  • At September 15, 2006 10:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I love Roy Thomas. I love him. He's my favorite crazy person.

  • At September 15, 2006 10:35 AM, Blogger Amy Reads said…

    Hi Kali,
    You said, And I'm glad I don't live in the Marvel Universe. Where apparently, if you enter into a marriage while in the grip of a provable psychotic delusion, without even using your real name, on account of you can't remember it, it's legally binding.

    Arg, and to think I spent all of that time during that strange and fuzzy period in which Mr. Reads called himself The Contender planning and replanning the wedding, and all I had to do was "fall in love"?


    I mean, no, I understand completely. Marvel Universe=strange "bad" delusional marriages.


    Thanks for the enjoyable and hilarious reviews of these. It's like MST3K for comic books!

  • At September 15, 2006 12:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Janet Is MESED UP,

    But not all hero weddings are bad heck the special issue covering the wedding and surroundin events (both Bacholer & Bachlorette parties were hilarious:))of Lois & Clark was...SUPER!

    (dodgeing rotten vegies;))

  • At September 15, 2006 12:24 PM, Blogger SallyP said…

    Boy, Jan does seem to be channeling Silver-Age Lois Lane here, doesn't she? But hey, marrying a totally crazy person is ok, so long as she gets to wear a purty dress and make Crystal jealous! Frankly, I think she's marrying him for his money, that IS a pretty cool hideout!

  • At September 15, 2006 12:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Janet Van Dyne is a weird lady, which is why I love her so.

  • At September 15, 2006 2:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    And tnhose issues are why Ultimate Jan and Hank work for me, stomach turning as that early issue of Ultimates was. That was pitched as loving devotion?

  • At September 15, 2006 4:27 PM, Blogger Ragnell said…

    I'd jsut like to point at that Sue's dress is absolutely gorgeous and classy, and I want one.

  • At September 15, 2006 6:22 PM, Blogger Richard said…

    Okay, it's messed up, and I never said otherwise...but I still want to repeat my earlier point: Hank was under the influence of accidental exposure to bad chemicals at the time, and even at his most whacked-out-due-to-chemical-additives, Yellowjacket never slapped Jan around. The worst he does to Jan is grab her and kiss her once against her wishes. (Something I recognized was over the line even when I was seven years old, so the point was not lost on the target audience of that era.) So I still have to object to this story being used as textual evidence of Pym having a history of mental disorder, or worse still, of Jan being a battered woman.

  • At September 15, 2006 6:51 PM, Blogger lostinube said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At September 15, 2006 8:20 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    mark: I'm reading issues now. They're honestly hilariously dysfunctional. Dear god.

    anthony: Hee.

    amy: Heheh. Funny how that works.

    green: It was!

    sally: Nah, Janet's an heiress. That's one of the reasons Hank had shied from marriage before. He didn't feel worthy or something.

    dan: She is indeed.

    d.: I don't know, I think Ultimates oversimplifies the dysfunction. In this version I can see why they're on-again, off-again so long. It's oddly compelling.

    ragnell: It's very...Sue.

    rab: I agree and disagree myself. Joking aside I don't see this as indicative of abuse necessarily. But even in this, the Yellowjacket identity was portrayed as being born out of Hank's self-hate. Yellowjacket was because of chemicals but he was distinctly everything Hank wasn't.

    The five page death scenario shows that the man thought way too long and hard about how to off himself.

    So yeah, not an abuser in this portrayal but to me, honestly, he'd definitely benefit from therapy. :-)

    (To give Hank credit, the yellowjacket persona was even shocked by the action and apologized )

  • At September 15, 2006 8:20 PM, Blogger Your Obedient Serpent said…

    I hate to say "I told you so", but... in this case, I really DID.

    Sally: actually, Jan's always been the one with money in that relationship. Yellowjacket's groovy bachelor pad was probably bankrolled by her credit cards.

    Rab: Hank's physical abuse happens much, much later; I only know about it second-hand, since I wasn't reading the Avengers at the time. I brought up the wedding the other day not as an instance of Hank abusing Janet, but vice-versa.

    Even at this early juncture, however, Hank had started manifesting self-image problems. After all, Yellowjacket wasn't his second costumed identity, but his fourth. A few writers have tried to tie all of that together as "bad chemicals" or "the stress of continual size-changing", but not too many have had Hank take the obvious step of going cold-turkey.

    A case could be made that Hank Pym is destructively addicted to Pym Particles -- and that Janet Van Dyne is (to use the pop-psych talk-show vocabulary) a codependent enabler.

  • At September 15, 2006 9:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Um ... so Hank thinks he killed "himself," and marries a woman who seems excited (in the issue) to be with a batshit pyscho? Somehow it hurts my head more than when I tried to figure out the continuity of Dr. Fate or Hawkman...


  • At September 15, 2006 9:32 PM, Blogger Richard said…

    And for the record, I agree with both Kali and YOS. :-)

  • At September 16, 2006 12:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I love Hank Pym.

  • At September 16, 2006 8:13 PM, Blogger SallyP said…

    Oops. I forgot that she was an heiress. One who wanted to avenge her dead father, so she let ol' Hank experiment on her! He gave her wings and her cute little wasp sting, thus effectively making her more powerful than himself. And thus setting himself up for a whole lot of angst in the future. Oh Hank, Hank...will you never learn?

  • At September 16, 2006 11:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    God I love Jan and Hank's crazy romance. Keep in mind, this is the same girl who saw her father murdered by an alien, went to the guy who she thought was a total dud distraught and helpless and then thought it would be a great idea if he TIED HER TO A LAB TABLE AND DID AN EXPERIMENT ON HER FOR SUPER POWERS. Like right then. Not the day after, not after some introspective searching, bo. NOW. POWERS.

    Ah, Marvel Romance.

  • At July 31, 2011 7:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This isn't a dysfunctional marriage or a whacky universe. It's Bad Writing. Let's be honest about this. Roy Thomas and Stan Lee and all the others made some great stories back then, but once you look closely you can see how bad some of these were. Take for example Capt America being revived after decades of suspended animation, and IMMEDIATELY taking on Giant-Man, Iron Man, AND Thor, and beating them to a stand still. Yes, there are a ton of ridiculous and improbable, and impossible things going on with this marriage. You'd think the House of Mighty Marvel would have fixed this by now. But then, these are the same people that have killed off just about every character they have, only to bring them back to life.


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