Simon Williams was found guilty of embezzlement and facing a prison sentence when Amora the Enchantress paid his bail and ensorcelled the authorities. Baron Heinrich Zemo had read of Williams case and, intrigued by the newspapers’ assertion that he blamed Anthony Stark for his downfall, dispatched the Enchantress to recruit Williams for the Masters of Evil. (Zemo believed Stark to be the employer of his enemy Iron Man; in fact, Stark was himself secretly Iron Man.). Disoriented by the upheavals in his life, Simon Williams agreed to accompany the Enchantress to Zemo’s South American base.
Williams agreed to become a test subject for Zemo’s “ionic ray” treatment, a process that would endow him with superhuman strength and durability. After undergoing the arduous chemical and radiation treatments, Williams emerged with the attributes he was promised. Zemo then gave him a costume, dubbed him Wonder Man, and outlined his plan to use him to defeat his foes the Avengers.