Ant-Man’s helmet is famous for its ability to communicate with ants, but it is so powerful that it can communicate with any insect on Earth and beyond.
Communication is something all Marvel Comics heroes rely on, but perhaps no hero relies on it more than Ant Man. Wearing a suit and helmet that allows him to communicate with ants, Ant-Man operates with a level of inter-species collaboration that makes him unique on Marvel’s roster. And while Ant-Man is best known for his reliance on ants, they aren’t his only group of insect allies. Sometimes, Ant-Man has teamed up with bees to destroy their enemies.
Both the Henry Pym and Scott Lang iterations of Ant-Man have used bees and other insects in battle. The way they communicate with insects is through electrical signals emitted by the “antennas” of their hooves, which then travel to the antennas of ants and bees. This replicates the process that ants and bees go through when communicating with each other in nature.
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This ability that is built into the Ant-Man suit’s technology makes it more versatile on the field than you might expect. After all, Earth’s insect population greatly outnumbers the human population, giving Ant-Man a significantly larger pool of potential allies than his colleagues. It is by harnessing the power of insects that Ant-Man accomplishes amazing feats that few heroes could accomplish.
Scott Lang’s Ant-Man most recently collaborated with Bees on Ant Man # 1 and # 2 by Zeb Wells (inks by Dylan Burnett, colors by Michael Spicer, and lettering by Cory Petit of VC). Called to investigate the disappearance of bees on behalf of the Florida Beekeepers Association, Scott initially lamented his reputation as the superhero who “speaks[s] to the insects “, before realizing that he can direct the bees to form a protective suit around him. The result was something horrible for the hero, but nonetheless effective.
Also, in Avengers # 71 of 1969, Henry Pym as Yellowjacket mobilized bee swarm effects to his advantage. In a story written by Roy Thomas, with pencils from Sal Buscema, inks from Sam Grainger, and letters from Sam Rosen, Yellowjacket fought alongside Vision and Black Panther in Paris. Confronting Namor the Submarine, Pym conjured a swarm of bees that overwhelmed him so much that they pricked his skin. This is no small feat considering that Namor is half Atlantean.
Lastly, Ant-Man’s ability to communicate with insects extends far beyond the limits of Earth. On one occasion, in Stories to amaze # 41, Henry Pym was abducted by aliens led by Kulla, a self-described “warlord,” and transported to another dimension (plot by Stan Lee, script by Larry Lieber, art by Don Heck, and lyrics by Art Simek). Thrown into a dungeon, Pym hatched a plan to free himself and other kidnapped scientists such as Ant-Man, and mobilized the alien insects in the cell after changing the frequency of his helmet to communicate with them.
Between bees and ants, Ant-Man demonstrates a mass-minded dependence on insects. His helmet allows him full control of an organized collective of insects, and he suffers far fewer mishaps than other heroes for it. This aspect of Ant-Man Identity has always shown that heroism occurs on a variety of scales, and that allies can be found in the most unlikely places.
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