Who the Clix? is a series of articles featuring information on comic book characters that have been made into figures for the popular tabletop game Heroclix. These articles are meant to help Heroclix players learn more about the characters behind their favorite pieces.
Today we look at that ionic best buddy of the bouncing Beast: Wonder Man
Appearances in Heroclix: Age of Ultron: SLOP, Chaos War, Avengers, Mutant Mayhem
First Appearance: Avengers #9
Team Affiliations: Avengers, The Mighty Avengers, Defenders, Force Works, S.H.I.E.L.D., Lethal Legion, Masters of Evil, West Coast Avengers, Revengers
Created By: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Don Heck
Simon Williams is the son of industrialist Sanford Williams, owner of Williams Innovations, and brother of Eric Williams (who goes on to become the villain Grim Reaper). Simon inherits the company after his father’s death but he is unable to compete with fellow arms developer, Tony Stark. His brother Eric advises Simon to embezzle funds but Simon is caught and put in jail, blaming Stark for putting him in such a desperate position. Eager to gain revenge, Simon accepts Baron Heinrich Zemo’s offer to be bailed out and transformed into an ion powered superhuman. After testing the limits of his powers, Simon is named Wonder Man and sent to meet and join the Avengers as a mole for Zemo’s Masters of Evil. Zemo warns Wonder Man that Simon now needs a serum to survive, a serum only Zemo can create, in order to ensure his loyalty. Even this plan fails, however, as Simon’s good heart wins out and he betrays the Masters of Evil to save the Avengers at the cost of his own life. Before Simon can completely die, however, Stark records Wonder Man’s brainwaves in hopes of somehow returning Simon to life in the future. It is during this time that Eric Williams, distraught over his brother’s catatonic state, assumes the persona of the Grim Reaper and attacks the Avengers. He succeeds in stealing Wonder Man’s body but cannot revive his brother.
Simon is returned to a half-life several times by Kang the Conqueror, Black Talon and even the Living Laser. After the Living Laser’s manipulation, Simon is restored to life and full vigor. He helps the Avengers defeat Attuma and Doctor Doom as well as battling a then evil Vision and Graviton. Simon also finally faces his super-villain brother, the Grim Reaper, who attacks the Vision and seeks to destroy the “artificial mockery” of his brother. It is during this battle that Simon learns that he has become a being of pure ionic energy.
Wonder Man goes on to join the Avengers full-time and becomes close friends with then Avenger, the Beast. Though Wonder Man fights valiantly, he suffers from claustrophobia and a fear of dying in battle again for several months until overcoming it when the Avengers battle Korvac. He then goes on to battle the Maggia, Madame Masque and the Dreadnought. Wonder Man then starts to dip his toes into acting and with the help of fellow Avenger Hercules, and becomes an actor and stuntman.
Wonder Man is a founding member of the West Coast Avengers, as he is living on the West Coast full time. However, it is at this point that the formerly confident hero has become an arrogant actor/superhero. He develops an intense rivalry with Iron Man but comes to terms after a particularly brutal battle with the Abomination. Simon eventually accepts the Vision as his brother, because the Vision’s mind was based on his own brainwaves. The Vision is eventually dismantled and rebuilt without these patterns and though the Scarlet Witch asks Simon to redonate them, Simon refuses out of jealousy.
Wonder Man battles Goliath, the Enchantress, Splice and Gamma-Burn while also meeting his would-be sidekick Spider. He also helps the Avengers in the Kree/Shi’ar War and has his powers altered when he and the Vision fail to prevent the Nega-Bomb from detonating. Simon then battles Angkor and journeys to Hades where he fights Mephisto, Blackheart, the Enchantress, and even his own brother the Grim Reaper. It is at this time that he is told he is immortal.
After the disbanding of the West Coast Avengers/Avengers West Coast, Simon becomes a founding member of the successor group – Force Works. Simon transitions to a pure ionic energy form in space and is seemingly disintegrated by the Kree. Months later, though, the Scarlet Witch “accidentally” resurrects Wonder Man in ionic form. For a while, he seems to appear only in times of trouble and Wanda fears that he is little more than a specter she is conjuring. Eventually, though, Wanda is able to restore Simon fully to life and he again rejoins the Avengers. During this time, he begins a relationship with Wanda as well as continuing his brotherly relationship with the returned Vision. However, during Kang the Conqueror’s greatest invasion of present day Earth, Simon breaks off his relationship with Wanda because of her lingering feelings for the Vision.
Wonder Man is strong armed into working for SHIELD during the superhero civil war and joins the sanctioned Mighty Avengers. It is during this time that he begins a relationship with fellow Avenger and leader of the Mighty Avengers, Ms. Marvel. He is eventually forced into retirement when Norman Osborn is gifted control of SHIELD’s successor agency, HAMMER. Wonder Man joins a new grouping of the Lethal Legion that opposes Osborn and HAMMER, hoping to stop them from hurting innocents.
Simon is seemingly left to rot in jail until Steve Rogers bails him out and offers him a spot on a new team of Avengers. Simon, however, refuses as he believes that the Avengers have caused more problems than they have solved. Simon attacks the Avengers and causes damage to their new base, claiming that the list of dead Avengers is proof positive that the idea itself is flawed. Iron Man and Thor try to reason with him, but Wonder Man mysteriously vanishes. Iron Man notes that Simon is “leaking” ionic energy and fears that this is causing some mental instability in his old teammate. Almost as proof of this, Simon forms a team of “Revengers,” seeking to stop the Avengers from causing new problems like their old ones such as the superhero civil war, Ultron, the decimation and House of M. Though Simon and the Revengers are defeated, the public has doubt in the Avengers and Wonder Man takes this as a success. Simon warns his old friend the Beast that the Avengers are flawed and though he is in a prison designed to contain his energy, he manages to disappear.
Wonder Man appears again and confronts Captain America, apologizing for his past actions. Determined to “earn his way back,” he manages to defeat the Red Hulk as well as help rescue the Wasp from the Microverse. It is then at Janet’s urging that Wonder Man joints the Avengers Unity Squad, though he is adamant that he is not going to fight and instead simply act as the PR arm of the team to help further the aim of the team to rehabilitate mutant’s image. He also rekindles his relationship with the Scarlet Witch during this time. The team faces the Celestial Executioner and against that threat Wonder Man chooses to let Rogue absorb his ionic energy form in order to defeat it. Though the plan works, Wonder Man seems to be trapped in Rogue. This restores her to a flying, nigh-invulnerable heroine unable to touch others without harming them.