The Avengers feature some of the most well-known superheroes in the world, but not every member started out as a hero. Some characters needed to earn their place and started out with dark intentions, which was the case with Wonder Man. Simon Williams started out as a rival to Tony Stark and a villain in the employment of Baron Zemo. Williams went on to become a full-fledged Avenger and one of the team’s most powerful members. The Comic Vault is looking into the character’s history to see how he evolved and what makes him a powerhouse.
Wonder Man was created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Don Heck and made his debut in 1964’s The Avengers #9. The son of a rich industrialist, Simon inherited a munitions factory after his father died. The company’s profits fell because of Stark Industries and Simon was encouraged by his brother to embezzle funds. This led to him being locked up, only for Simon to be freed by Baron Zemo to be used in a plot against the Avengers. Zemo wanted him to infiltrate the team and he transformed Williams into an ion-powered being. Zemo made sure Wonder Man stayed loyal by reminding him that his body needed a serum in order to survive.
Wonder Man joined and betrayed the Avengers to Zemo’s Masters of Evil. However, Simon had a change of heart and decided to save the Avengers at the cost of his own life. Simon’s brother, Eric, swore revenge on the Avengers and became the villain known as the Grim Reaper. Wonder Man remained in suspended animation for years and his brain waves were used to create the Vision. Eventually, Wonder Man returned to life and beame a true Avenger, fighting Grim Reaper while trying to accept the idea of the Vision as his ‘brother.’
Wonder Man went on to help form the West Coast Avengers. It was around this time he became very arrogant and reignited his rivalry with Iron Man. His relationship with the Vision became strained after he developed feelings for Scarlet Witch. It’s suggested that his brain waves were why the Vision fell in love with the Scarlet Witch to begin with and it led to a complicated love triangle.
Most recently, Wonder Man allowed himself to be absorbed by Rogue in order to help her defeat a Celestial. Their combined powers helped her win, but his consciousness remained within Rogue and she lost control of her touching abilities. Eventually, Wonder Man freed himself from Rogue’s mind and regained his own body.
As a being of pure energy, Wonder Man is one of the strongest superheroes in the Marvel Universe. His strength is comparable to Thor and the Hulk. His durability, reflexes and stamina are similarly enhanced. He’s also immortal because of the ionic matter in his body, meaning he can always find a way to reform. Wonder Man doesn’t need air, food or water to survive and as a side-effect of his powers, his eyes glow red. Usually, he wears sunglasses to conceal them.
Wonder Man is a great example of a character who showed a lot of growth. Although he started out as a villain, he evolved into one of the most important Avengers.