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"I know, blast it! *grunts* But you don't know what it's like to die and come back. To be haunted by death... seeing any part of you alive makes you feel immortal. I can't have kids, you know -- I'm just an ionic energy... thing. When your mind was based on mine, you were the closest I'd ever get to a son. And when she fell in love with your mind... I could feel a little closer to her."—Wonder Man to The Vision, Wonder Man #8
Wonder Man is a Marvel Comics superhero created by Stan Lee, Don Heck, and Jack Kirby. Making his debut in Avengers #9 (October, 1964), Simon Williams is one of the Avengers' strongest, most outspoken members.
Originally the head of Williams Innovations, a munitions company competing with Stark Industries, Simon Williams was bright but inexperienced. Simon inherited the business after the death of his father, Sanford Williams. After his company's profits start to fall, Simon acts on bad advice from his brother, Eric, and is arrested for embezzlement. Eric's ties to the Maggia, an international crime syndicate, also place Simon and his company in a bad light.
Blaming Tony Stark for his company's troubles, Simon is about to be sent to prison when his bail is paid by Amora, the Enchantress. Temporarily free, Simon is faced with a proposition from Baron Zemo, the leader of the Masters of Evil: superhuman powers in exchange for destroying the The Avengers from within. Agreeing, Simon accompanies the Masters to South America, where he is granted superhuman strength and durability via Zemo's "ionic ray" treatment. Calling his creation "Wonder Man", Zemo has Simon test his strength against Amora's companion, Skurge the Executioner. Besting Skurge, Wonder Man is informed that the treatment that gave him superpowers also altered his metabolism. Without periodic doses of a special serum, Simon would die within a week. This was intended to ensure Simon's loyalty to Zemo, the only man who could provide the serum.
Arranging a staged battle between himself and the Masters of Evil, Wonder Man is successful in winning the Avengers over. After explaining his reliance on Zemo's serum, the Avengers attempt to cure him but are unsuccessful. Left with no choice but to remain loyal to Zemo, Wonder Man leads the Avengers into an ambush by the Masters of Evil. During the battle, Simon has a change of heart and helps the Avengers defeat the Masters instead, knowing full well that he was sacrificing his lifeline in the process. Proud of his choice, Simon succumbs to the treatment's deadly side effect and falls into a coma. Unable to find any life signs, the Avengers come to the conclusion that Simon passed away. Placing his body in suspended animation for the trip back to the United States, Iron Man creates a copy of Simon's brain patterns in the hope that one day they'll be able to revive him. The brain patterns were later used by the super-villain Ultron to create a personality matrix for The Vision, an synthezoid who would turn against his master and join the Avengers.
Mreanwhile, his brother Eric, blaming The Avengers for his death, became the super-villain called The Grim Reaper and allied himself with other villains to gain revenge. He even had a voodoo priest reanimate Simon's body to attack them. It turned out however, that he wasn't dead, merely in a coma while he changed into an "ionic" form. In this form he was even more powerful and didn't need the serum to survive, though his eyes now glowed red.
The revived Simon joined the Avengers as Wonder Man, and was a member for years, becoming best friends with The Beast (from The X-Men, at the time an Avenger) and later had a romantic relationship with Wanda the Scarlet Witch (who ironically had once been married to The Vision.)
Simon was revived again before Civil War. After being revived, he became increasingly disillusioned with the perpetual cycle of superhero-supervillain violence. After repeatedly asking the Avengers not to re-assemble, he put together a team of similar malcontents (including a new Goliath, angry over his uncle's death during Civil War) who attack Avengers Mansion and Stark Tower, demanding that the Avengers be disbanded. The Avengers lock him up without a trial, effectively proving Wonder Man's point: the Avengers are powerful without accountability.
- Wonder Man vol. 1. (1986). One-shot.
- Wonder Man vol. 2 (1991-1994)
- Tales of the Marvels: Wonder Years (1995)
- Avengers Two: Wonder Man and Beast (2000)
- Wonder Man vol. 3 (2007)
- Captain America and The Avengers: Non-playable, Wonder Man appears with a hovercraft to help Captain America and Hawkeye cross large gaps.
- Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2: Non-playable, Wonder Man is a boss for the Anti-Registration side.
Tropes seen in these series include:
- Always Someone Better: DC's Wonder Woman during JLA/Avengers. In an alternate reality where the Justice League and Avengers co-exist, Wonder Woman always beats Wonder Man in an annual arm wrestling contest with a smile on her face. Their fight in the Savage Land also goes Wonder Woman's way after she ties up Simon with her lasso.
- Back From the Dead
- Berserk Button: Wolverine learned the hard way that you don't taunt Simon about his unrequited feelings for the Scarlet Witch after being punched through a wall like a common Mook.
- Brain Uploading: Ultron used the comatose Simon's brain patterns to create a personality matrix for the synthezoid Vision. Coming to terms with the Vision, who was dismantled by the U.S. government after attempting to take control of the world's computer systems, Simon suddenly refuses to allow the Avengers to use his brain patterns after reassembling the synthezoid. Calling the procedure a violation, Simon refers to his "brother" as nothing but a copy.
- Brought To You By The Letter W
- Cain and Abel: As kids, Simon was always the favorite while his brother, Eric, was considered the "black sheep" of the family. This made Eric jealous and bitter, leading to his later career as the villainous Grim Reaper.
- Celebrity Is Overrated: Torn between becoming a full-time actor and his superhero duties, Simon comes to this conclusion after the Abomination attacks during his latest movie's public relations gathering. Instead of being concerned by the destruction, Simon's actor friends are shallow and materialistic, forcing Simon to reconsider his life.
- Claustrophobia: Simon became mildly claustrophobic after years in suspended animation.
- Clothing Damage
- Cool Shades: Originally worn to hide his red eyes, the shades become part of Simon's costume during his time in Hollywood.
- Cowardly Lion: Early in his career thanks to his fear of death.
- Curse Cut Short: During his fight with the assassin, Ladykiller, in Wonder Man: My Fair Super Hero #1:
Wonder Man: Ah-ah. None of that. This is Hollywood, and this fight's been rated PG.
- Embezzlement: Simon nearly went to prison for embezzling from his own company. Later, Simon would embezzle from his non-profit foundation, Second Chances.
- Energy Being
- Fingerless Gloves
- Flying Brick
- Heel Face Turn
- Heel Face Revolving Door: As of late.
- Horrible Hollywood: Simon becomes an arrogant movie star during his time in Hollywood. His actor friends aren't portrayed in the best light either.
- Immortality: Simon's immortality has always been an issue because it makes him feel less human.
- Jet Pack: Wonder Man used a jet belt to get around until he learned how to fly on his own.
- Megaton Punch
- The Mole: Wonder Man was created to destroy the Avengers from within.
- Monumental Damage: The remains of the Statue of Liberty appear in Wonder Man: My Fair Super Hero #3. The statue was relocated to Paris after relations between the United States and France break down.
- The Needless: Simon neither breathes or consumes food, though he'll order meals on occasion when in shared company.
- Nigh Invulnerable
- Not Wearing Tights: Though his original costume was a garish red-and-green affair, for much of Wonder Man's career he just fought crime in civilian clothes, or pants and a tank top with a big "W" symbol on it.
- Old Shame: Since Dark Reign, where he became a supporter of Norman Osborn's rule, he's been treating his time in the Avengers as this. He first tries to convince Steve not to reform the team and, when that fails, he decides to attack the team while Noh-Varr was building a time machine for them.
- Only Mostly Dead: Presumed dead after helping the Avengers defeat the Masters of Evil, Simon was actually in a deep coma while his body converted itself into ionic energy.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Type V. Eric Williams tried to revive Wonder Man using voodoo magic in New Orleans, but the Houngans' magic turned Simon into a mindless zombie.
- The Rival: Simon sees Iron Man as his rival from their time as competing business executives.
- Romantic Runner-Up: To the Vision, the synthezoid who possesses Simon's brain patterns. The relationship between Vision and Scarlet Witch might have been influenced by Simon's unrequited feelings for Wanda
- Robot Me: The Vision, who possesses a copy of Simon's brain patterns. Initially disturbed by the synthezoid, Simon eventually recognizes the Vision as a "brother".
- Second Place Is for Losers: Simon's father used to beat him if he got anything less than straight A's in school.
- Shout-Out: Wonder Man: My Fair Super Hero #3 directly references Planet of the Apes using the Statue of Liberty. In the same issue, Beast uses Frasier Crane's "I'm listening" catchphrase, which is a reference to Kelsey Grammar, who played Beast in X Men the Last Stand.
- Sizeshifter: Now latent, Simon used to have the ability to change size in battle.
- Smart People Play Chess: More brains than brawn growing up, Simon loved to play chess as a kid.
- Stunt Double: Taking advantage of his invulnerability, Simon worked as a stuntman when he couldn't find acting jobs.
- Super Reflexes
- Super Speed
- Super Strength: Often considered the second strongest Avenger after Thor, Wonder Man is one of the strongest Earth-based heroes in the Marvel Universe. Captain America once described Simon's strength as Sentry-level, while Simon himself compared his punches to blows from Mjolnir, Thor's enchanted hammer.
- Tragic Villain: Simon's actions against the Avengers post-Siege are pushing him in this direction.
- The Unfavorite: Eric Williams, Simon's older brother.
- West Coast Team: Simon is one of the founding members of the West Coast Avengers.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?
- The Worf Effect