Every Sunday morning we showcase a classic comic cover, complete with compelling commentary, for your cordial contemplation. It’s the Classic Comic Cover Corner!
Avengers #213 – November 1981
The recent news about Lance Armstrong coming clean about his dirty dealings with performance enhancing drugs made me think of another yellow-jacketed character who was once disgraced and suffered a fall from super-heroic grace – Henry Pym – AKA Ant-Man, AKA Giant-Man, AKA Goliath and AKA Yellowjacket.
Henry (Hank) Pym was one of the founding members of the Avengers back in 1963; he’s even the hero who came up with the idea of forming a team (in Avengers #1.) As far as I know, his “performance-enhancing” Pym Particles, which allow him to grow or shrink in size, have never been deemed an illegal substance; but the hero has still found other ways in which to shame himself and his team.
In Avengers #213, Pym is put on trial by the super-team for his unethical behavior while battling Linnea the Elfqueen (in Avengers #212.) The team suspends Yellowjacket and then court-martials him for his actions. The desperate Pym then builds a robot to attack the Avengers during the legal proceedings and fiendishly plans to save the day by defeating his own evil creation – frantically trying to prove his worth.
Yellowjacket’s devious plans go awry and Pym’s wife, the Wasp, ends up defeating the robot instead, further humiliating the disgraced hero. But wait – it gets worse! The Wasp reveals that she has been physically beaten by her husband, showing the team a black-eye she’s been hiding. Hank is subsequently kicked off the team for his dishonorable behavior.
It’s interesting to note that two of the biggest disgraces in sports and comics are both known for their yellow uniforms; a color that is historically synonymous with cowardice. Pym eventually regains some of his former heroic stature within the Marvel Universe – we’ll see if time in the real world is as good to Lance Armstrong.
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