The news that Marvel’s next series will focus on Wonder Man has Marvel fans very excited as the character has a large and dedicated fan base. Wonder Man, however, is one of the more overlooked Marvel heroes, especially among fans who don’t keep up with the comics.
If you want to dive into Wonder Man to prepare for the new show, here is everything you need to know about this Marvel legend.
When did Wonder Man first appear?
Created by the legendary Marvel Comics team of Stan Lee, Don Heck, and Jack Kirby, Wonder Man burst onto the scene in The Avengers #9 in 1964. After this debut, Wonder Man made sporadic appearances through the 1960s and 1970s before finally joining the Avengers team in The Avengers #160 in 1977.
Wonder Man would come back in a big way in 1984 when he was made the founder of the West Coast Avengers,where he was a continual presence in the series. The character would also get a self-titled graphic novel in 1986 and a solo run from 1991 to 1994.
Wonder Man once again became part of The Avengers in 1998 and remained in that series until 2004. After this, he joined The Mighty Avengers comic series, with his most recent starring role the “End Times” storyline, which ran from 2012 to 2013.
Who is Wonder Man?
In the comics, Wonder Man is Simon Williams, the son of the wealthy industrialist Sanford Williams, the head of Williams Innovations, a rival of Tony Stark’s Stark Tech. When Simon’s father dies he inherits the company, however Stark’s company quickly pulls ahead. Desperate for a way to save the company, Eric, Simon’s brother, convinces Simon yo embezzle funds from Williams Innovations, but Simon is caught.
While in prison, Simon grows bitter, blaming Stark for all of his problems. Simon gets out of jail when Amora the Enchantress uses her powers to convince the authorities to let Simon go. Amora explained that she had done this on the orders of Baron Zemo who wants Simon to join the Masters of Evil.
When Simon arrives at Zemo’s base, Zemo tests his ionic ray on Simon who is with ionic energy resulting in superhuman strength, speed, and stamina, as well as advanced senses and near invulnerability. Using the ionic energy present in his body, Simon can pull off other feats, including shapeshifting, energy blasts, energy manipulation, super-fast healing, flight, and even teleportation in some instances.
Zemo names Simon “Wonder Man” and orders him to kill the Avengers. To make sure he went through with it, Zemo informs Simon that he would die within a week if not given a regular dosage of an antidote that only Zemo possesses. At the last moment, Simon has a realization and betrays Zemo, falling into a death-like state. The Avengers take Simon’s body and give it a decent burial in honor of Simon’s noble sacrifice.
Simon stays in this state for many years until Grim Reaper (the supervillain identity of his brother, Eric) acquires the body and tries to use it as part of a plan to convince Black Talon and his voodoo cult to resurrect Simon. Things go wrong when Simon rises from the dead as a mindless zombie, which Eric commands to attack the Avengers. In the resulting fight, Simon is hit by the Living Laser whose powers are enough to break Simon free of both Black Talon’s magic and Zemo’s poison, allowing Simon to finally use all of his powers as a fully-conscious being.
It should also be noted that Vision’s programming is built on an image of Simon’s brainwaves. Because of this, the two share a strong bond and consider each other brothers. Based on the current MCU trajectory, this will likely play into the upcoming TV series.