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Wonder Man

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Cover of Wonder Man #1 (Sep. 1991). Art by Jeff Johnson.
Character Name = Wonder Man
Real Name = Simon Williams
Publisher = Marvel Comics
Debut = Avengers #9 (Oct. 1964)
Creators = Stan Lee
Jack Kirby
Don Heck
Alliances = Williams Innovations
Avengers
Mighty Avengers
Defenders
Force Works
S.H.I.E.L.D.
Lethal Legion
Masters of Evil
Legion of the Unliving
West Coast Avengers
Aliases = Mr. Muscles
Powers = Ionic-energy empowered; Flight; Extended life span; Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, agility, reflexes, and durability

Wonder Man (Simon Williams) is a fictional character, a superhero (originally a supervillain) that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Stan Lee and artists Don Heck and Jack Kirby, he first appeared in Avengers #9 (Oct. 1964).

Contents

Publication history

Wonder Man first appears in Avengers #9 (Oct. 1964), and after supposedly dying was not seen again until Avengers #102 (Aug. 1972) where he made a brief "cameo" appearance - still in a comatose state. Wonder Man's body is later revived by the villain Kang in Avengers #131 - 132 (Jan - Feb. 1975), and then again by the Black Talon in Avengers #152 (Oct. 1976) and finally the Living Laser in Avengers Annual #6 (1976). After this last encounter, Wonder Man finally recovers his faculties and joins the Avengers in a full-time capacity in Avengers #160 (Jun. 1977).

Wonder Man is a member for many years, and for a time serves with the expansion group the West Coast Avengers, who first appear in a self-titled mini-series, which ran for four issues from September to December 1984. The team eventually disbands and Wonder Man joins a reformed version called Force Works, which debuted in an ongoing series in July, 1994. The unit, however, splinters quickly and Wonder Man eventually rejoins the main team in issue #4 (vol. 3), dated May 1998. Despite the collapse of the team in Avengers #503, (vol. 3, Dec. 2004), Wonder Man joins a new splinter group called the Mighty Avengers, who feature in an ongoing title that debuted in March 2007.

Wonder Man also appeared in an on-going series that ran for twenty-nine issues from September 1991 to February 1994 (also included are two Annuals). In 1986 he also appeared in a self-titled graphic novel, which was subsequently followed in 2000 by a limited series titled Avengers Two: Wonder Man and the Beast, which ran for three issues. In 2007 Wonder Man featured in a second mini-series, titled Wonder Man: My Fair Super Hero, which ran for five issues.

Fictional character biography

Simon Williams is the son of rich industrialist Sanford Williams, owner of Williams Innovations. Simon inherits the munitions factory after his father's death, but over time the company's profits fall due to its biggest competitor Tony Stark. On the advice of his brother Eric, Simon tries to embezzle funds from his company but is caught and incarcerated. Simon blames Stark for his failure and readily accepts the proposition of master villain Baron Heinrich Zemo, who requires a pawn to infiltrate the Avengers. The desperate Simon Williams agrees and, after being freed by the Enchantress paying his bail, is transformed into an ion-powered being with superhuman powers. Called Wonder Man by Zemo, he is then sent to meet and join the Avengers, with instructions to betray them at a critical moment so that Zemo's Masters of Evil can destroy the Avengers. Zemo ensures Wonder Man's loyalty by advising him that as a result of the treatment his body now requires periodic doses of a serum to survive — a serum that only Zemo can provide.

The plan fails when Wonder Man decides to save the Avengers and aid them against Zemo, apparently at the cost of his own life. Iron Man — Tony Stark's alter ego — records Wonder Man's brain patterns in the hope that one day he can be revived. Unbeknownst to the Avengers, Wonder Man's body has simply entered a catatonic state as it adjusts to the effects of the treatment. Eric Williams becomes distraught over the apparent death of his sibling and, blaming the Avengers, assumes the identity of the Grim Reaper in an effort to destroy them. The Grim Reaper steals Simon's body at one point, and attacks the Avengers three times before Wonder Man finally returns.

Wonder Man remains in suspended animation for years, and it is during this period that Ultron, the evil robot creation of Henry Pym, steals the brain patterns recorded by the Avengers for use as a template for the synthezoid Vision). It is later revealed that Vision is built from the original Human Torch, an android created by Professor Phineas Horton. This, however, only happened in mainstream continuity and other origins were possible courtesy of the Forever Crystal of Immortus.

During this vulnerable time, Wonder Man is used as a pawn on three occasions. Wonder Man is briefly revived by Kang the Conqueror to battle the Avengers as part of his Legion of the Unliving, and later "resurrected" as a zombie by Black Talon and the Grim Reaper to attack the Avengers once more. On the final occasion, the Living Laser hypnotizes a now-awake but still very weak Wonder Man, in an unsuccessful attack on the Avengers. After this encounter, Wonder Man was restored to true life and chooses to remain with the Avengers, aiding them against Attuma and Doctor Doom. He also fought the Vision, and helped the Avengers battle Graviton. He soon after defeats the Grim Reaper, who was intent on destroying the Vision as he was "artificial" and a "mockery" of his brother; Wonder Man at this point is revealed to have become a being of ionic energy.

Avengers member

Wonder Man eventually joins the Avengers in a full-time capacity and becomes close friends with his teammate, the Beast. For several months after his resurrection, Wonder Man suffers from slight claustrophobia and a fear of dying in battle, as he did once before. Wonder Man finally overcomes his fear of death during the final battle with Korvac. Wonder Man invaded his former plant which had been taken over by the Maggia, and fought Madame Masque and the Dreadnought. Developing an interest in acting, Wonder Man stars in minor roles before moving to Hollywood, where fellow Avenger Hercules uses his contacts to establish Wonder Man's career. Wonder Man also works for a time as a stuntman, an ideal vocation since he is invulnerable to virtually all conventional weapons.

West Coast Avengers

Wonder Man helps form the West Coast Avengers, and his new-found confidence begins to become arrogance. He develops a serious rivalry with Iron Man, but sees the error of his ways after a brutal battle with the Abomination. He also foils Doctor Doom's plot to control the world. Wonder Man eventually accepts the Vision as his "brother," but there is a setback when the Vision is dismantled and rebuilt as an emotionless machine by a global conglomerate. The Scarlet Witch — the Vision's wife — asks Wonder Man to provide his brainwaves once again in order to rebuild the foundational personality matrix of the original Vision, but Wonder Man refuses, having feelings for her himself. The Wasp further deduces that the Vision's original relationship to the Scarlet Witch may even have been predicated by Wonder Man's initial donation for the original personality matrix; at this, Wonder Man confirms that several of his hesitations about making the attempt arise from these doubts and the subconscious desire he's felt toward the Scarlet Witch since her separation from her husband. He is then ensorcelled by the Enchantress, and battles the Avengers.

Wonder Man battles old foes Goliath and the Enchantress, before meeting his would-be sidekick "Spider" and battling Gamma-Burn, resulting in wrecking his jet-pack. Wonder Man then battles the assassin Splice for the first time. Wonder Man takes part in the Kree/Shi'ar War, and had his powers altered when he and the Vision failed to prevent the Shi'ar Nega-Bomb from detonating. He battled Angkor, and then journeyed to Hades where he battled Mephisto, Blackheart, the Enchantress, and the Grim Reaper; he then learned that he was immortal. When Avengers West Coast (renamed) disbands after a dispute, Wonder Man becomes a founding member of its successor group — Force Works. Soon after this, an accident in space changes Wonder Man into a being of pure ionic energy, and during a related mission against the alien Kree, Wonder Man is disintegrated in an explosion. Many months later, the Scarlet Witch accidentally resurrects Wonder Man in ionic form; while in this form he appears when she is in need. Several months later, the Scarlet Witch is able to fully revive Wonder Man and he now exists in an independent, more human form. It is also discovered later that the Grim Reaper - dead at the time - is also revived. Wonder Man becomes romantically involved with the Scarlet Witch, but ends their affair during the Kang Dynasty saga, due to her residual feelings for the Vision.

Civil War & Mighty Avengers

Wonder Man is blackmailed into working for S.H.I.E.L.D. during the Superhuman Registration Act Civil War. Due to charges of misappropriation of funds in his non-profit organization, Wonder Man is pressured to work for the pro-registration side in the ensuing Civil War drama. In addition to capturing renegade vigilantes and criminals, Wonder Man is instrumental in creating televised messages to educate the public and yet-unregistered superhumans about the specifics of the Registration Act. Wonder Man became a member of the Mighty Avengers.

Wonder Man began a romantic relationship with fellow Mighty Avenger Ms. Marvel warning her, however, not to use her position as leader of the Avengers to keep him out of potentially dangerous situations just because of their relationship.

Dark Reign

Following the events of the Secret Invasion, Norman Osborn created a new team of Avengers, effectively retiring Wonder Man during the Dark Reign storyline. Wonder Man later appears on television, lamenting his tenure as an Avenger, claiming it was all a waste of time, and that using violence to uphold justice has caused nothing but heartache and death. He ends his speech by sadly admitting that having Osborn in charge is exactly what the country deserves. After this, Wonder Man is imprisoned as a member of the new Lethal Legion. This group opposes the tyrannical efforts of Norman Osborn; Wonder Man joins to try and keep them from hurting innocents.

Wonder Man has been seen alongside his old West Coast Avengers teammates, Ronin, Mockingbird, Tigra and War Machine in battle with a new version of Ultimo.

Heroic Age

During the Heroic Age storyline, Simon is approached by Steve Rogers to join the new team of Avengers. Simon refuses stating that the Avengers have caused more problems than they have solved and implies as Rogers leaves that he will make sure his old allies realize the mistake they are making. Simon also mentioned as having been in jail until Steve bailed him out. After learning that Rogers had disregarded his advice, Wonder Man attacks the new team causing some damage to their base before inexplicably disappearing. Thor and Iron Man later contact him to try and reason with him, but Simon refuses to listen to their arguments, stating that the dead heroes that have resulted from the Avengers working together should be a clear sign that the concept is doomed, departing as Thor and Iron Man try to argue that all heroes are aware of the risks when they begin. Significantly, Iron Man notes that Simon is 'leaking' ionic energy, suggesting that his current mental condition may relate to his powers rather than being simply a matter of choice.

Powers and abilities

Simon Williams gained his superhuman powers due to chemical and radiation treatments with "ionic" energy by Baron Zemo, giving him superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability, agility, and reflexes. While Zemo's initial aim is to use ionic energy treatments to make Wonder Man at least as strong as "the equal of any Avenger", his treatments surpass his expectations and endowed Wonder Man with strength comparable to that of Thor. In Avengers - Children's Crusade #3, Captain America describes Wonder Man as having "Sentry-level" strength. Zemo's treatments also grant Wonder Man virtual invulnerability, immortality, and instantaneous reflexes. Zemo also outfits Wonder Man with a rocket pack in his belt to achieve flight.

During the beginning years, Wonder Man sometimes wore an ionic jet flight-pack which allowed him to fly.

Following his resurrection and metamorphosis, Wonder Man's physiology evolves to the point he acquires the power of true flight, independent of technology. Due to Wonder Man's self-regenerating ionic energy, he has the ability to exist indefinitely without air, food, or water, and he no longer ages. Wonder Man's eyes also glow a bright red courtesy of the ionic energy stored in his body. While with concentration, Wonder Man can make his eyes appear normal, he usually wears sunglasses to conceal the effect.

Before his "death" at the hands of the Kree, Wonder Man discovered new abilities of his ionic body, such as changing his size (enabling him to grow taller than his adversary Goliath) and emitting energy from his eyes. Since his resurrection, Wonder Man has not used these powers. However, when the Scarlet Witch resurrected him during Kurt Busiek's tenure as head writer, Wonder Man was often seen as being able to transform into a state of pure living ionic energy at will and back again.

Wonder Man has begun to 'leak' ionic energy, allowing Iron Man to track him by following the energy, the other heroes speculating that his condition is responsible for his currently short temper.

Wonder Man is an exceptional hand-to-hand combatant, having received Avengers training in unarmed combat by Captain America. He is also a trained electrical engineer with an advanced degree in electrical engineering, and is a capable industrialist, experienced stuntman, and a talented actor.

Other versions

Guardians of the Galaxy

In an alternate future, Wonder Man - now with snow white hair and using the alias "Hollywood" - reluctantly aids the Guardians of the Galaxy. He eventually joins the team, and later the "breakaway" team, the Galactic Guardians. In #18 of the 2008 Guardians of the Galaxy series, he's shown as part of the Guardians in a potential 3009 AD.

House of M

In the House of M reality, Wonder Man is a famous actor who is rumored to be having an affair with Carol Danvers.

MC2

In the MC2 Universe, Wonder Man is never revived after initially dying to save the Avengers, with robotic copies being utilized instead.

Wonder Man series

Wonder Man starred in his own series set in a possible distant future. The first story arc had him goaded into rehabilitating a newly appeared super-villain, Ladykiller.

In other media

Television

  • Wonder Man appears in The Avengers: United They Stand animated series, voiced by Hamish McEwan. Early in this series, he is wounded by Vision and spends the better part of the season in a coma. Scarlet Witch is eventually able to revive him.
  • Wonder Man first appears in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes episode "Everything is Wonderful", voiced by Phil LaMarr. In this incarnation, he appears as a human made out of blue energy and can shoot ionic energy blasts from his hands. When his company goes out of business thanks to Stark Industries, Simon Williams turns to his brother Grim Reaper for help. He hooks him up with MODOK and A.I.M. who plan to use Simon in an experiment that would help him in getting revenge on Tony Stark. The experiment is a success and it turns Simon into an ionic being called Wonder Man. He ends up fighting Iron Man while Ant-Man tries to reason with him. When Wonder Man starts to destabilize, Iron Man tries to get him to the reactor only for Wonder Man to fully destabilize. Later that night, Wonder Man is reassembled by Enchantress' magic as she approached him with Executioner and Baron Heinrich Zemo with an offer to help them destroy the Avengers. In the episode "Gamma World" Pt. 2, Wonder Man was with Baron Heinrich Zemo, Enchantress, Executioner, and Crimson Dynamo when they find Abomination in the desert. In the episode "Masters of Evil," Wonder Man helps the other members of the Masters of Evil take down the Avengers one by one. When it came to Ant-Man's return freeing the captive Avengers, the Masters of Evil ended up fighting the Avengers. During his fight with Ant-Man (who tries to reason with Wonder Man again), Wonder Man mentions that the Masters of Evil are his means of being restored to human form. Wonder Man manages to get away with the rest of the Masters of Evil.
  • Wonder Man will appear in The Super Hero Squad Show voiced by Charles Chun.

Video games

  • Wonder Man appears as a supporting character in the 1991 video game Captain America and the Avengers.
  • Wonder Man appears in "Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2" voiced by Dave B. Mitchell. He appears as a boss for those who fight for the Anti-Registration side and is first encountered at a chemical plant owned by Stark Industries. At the nanite situation at the Negative Zone, he is rescued by the group. When the nanites invade Stark Tower, he becomes infected by the control nanites and fights the heroes alongside Spider-Woman outside a Repeater Tower in Reykjavík, Iceland.

References

External links