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A Bittersweet End to Unstoppable Wasp

So here it is. The eighth and final issue of The Unstoppable Wasp is here. Grab a box of tissues, cause we have our cutting board out and a whole case of onions. They aren’t going to chop themselves.

What can I say about this series that hasn’t already been said? It’s been fun, silly, earnest, and heartfelt since the very first issue. You can tell that Jeremy Whitley and Elsa Charretier put their hearts and souls into this book (and let’s not forget the brilliant colors of Megan Wilson, as well as Veronica Fish, Ro Stein, and Ted Brandt on art for the last two issues). The book is something special, and I’m sure it will live on in trades for years to come.

Now, on to the final issue.

The Morning After

After a harrowing climax in issue seven, Nadia and Ying are safe in the home of Janet VanDyne. This issue, like the last one, features text boxes from Janet’s point of view as she lets us all in on her thoughts while events unfold. Last issue, we also learned about Janet’s battle with insomnia. One crazy day with Nadia, and she slept like a baby. All of them did. Now it’s time to wake up because Janet has a big day planned.

The first stop is at a superhuman holding facility. The wrestlers that Nadia battled back in issue 4 are incarcerated there. One of Nadia’s regrets was having to kick their butts. She was programmed as a weapon in the Red Room, and as much as she’s tried to distance herself from that, she’s had to use it on occasion. These two were just doing their jobs as hired goons, and the damage Nadia inflicted on them has haunted her ever since. Janet makes things right by offering them jobs as security for Pym labs. Nadia is surprised and delighted, but this is only the beginning.

Time to Ugly Cry

The next stop is Pym Labs. Since The Unstoppable Wasp #1, Nadia has had the complication of her citizenship hanging over her head. Despite Matt Murdock’s lawyering, she still needs to prove her relation to Hank Pym via DNA testing. With Hank deceased, this has proven to be difficult. At Pym Labs, however, Janet reveals the answer to Nadia’s citizenship woes.

It seems that Hank Pym, before testing his size-altering Pym Particles on himself, saved some blood in case of genetic damage. He recorded a video for posterity of himself having his blood taken by none other than Nadia’s mother and Hank’s soon-to-be wife Maria.

And holy sh$#%.

Nadia has never seen her mother before, and now here’s a video of Hank and Maria being ultra cute together. Nadia is wrecked. I am wrecked. Everyone is wrecked. Keep those tissues close because we’ve only just started chopping onions.

As it turns out, Hank’s blood samples are still in storage at the lab, so there goes Nadia’s citizenship problems. Check one more thing off the list. Now Janet’s plans really get moving.

Family Reunion

Loud honking from outside announces the arrival of a motorcade of limousines. One-by-one, all the members of Nadia’s G.I.R.L. lab exit their cars. They are all here at Janet’s behest. We saw some of Janet’s machinations in the last issue. Each of them have been offered official internships at Pym Labs with the promises of scholarships to boot. All of their parents have agreed to allow them to continue their work despite the kerfluffle with the Red Room and S.H.I.E.L.D..

Nadia was devastated last issue when one-by-one all of them called or texted to let her know that because of the danger Ying and Nadia brought with them, they were officially out of G.I.R.L. for their own safety. Janet has fixed all of that. Not only has she gotten them all to come back, but she has set them up with their own space at Pym Labs. An abandoned section of the building (which used to be used for Ultron’s A.I. development *shudder*) is the perfect size for the group. They even get their own living quarters. They also have their very own lab mentor in a former guest-star from an early issue of the series. I’ll just let you guess who that might be.

Night on the Town

Before they can start working, Janet has arranged for a kick-off party. They are all going to get new tailored outfits and go out dancing. They go en masse to Janet’s own boutique to get fitted up. While there, Nadia overhears some of the staff. It is well known that Hank was abusive in the past, and if Nadia is a reminder of that, why would she want her around?

After lunch and a trip back to Jersey, everyone is getting ready to go, but Nadia can’t be found. Janet finds her sitting in front of the screen watching the video of Hank and Maria.

Here, Janet and Nadia have a heart-to-heart talk about Hank and how things used to be. Nadia is devastated. This man who she looked up to from afar is deeply flawed and she doesn’t know how to handle it. She feels unworthy, and doesn’t understand why Janet is doing any of this for her. It’s a painful and sweet scene, and it gave me all the feels. More onions anyone? We’re still not done, there’s plenty more to chop.

The gang goes out to dance, and dance they do. Shay dances with Ying, and it looks like there might be some sparks there, which is super cute. The group needed to cut loose after all they’ve been through and this was just the thing. Tomorrow they get back to work.

One Last Cry

You didn’t think you were done with that box of tissues yet, did you? Nadia and Matt Murdock sit in front of the judge with her citizenship papers while Janet sits impatiently outside hoping for the best. Nadia bursts through the door, and Janet fears the worst. Is there still a problem? Did the test fail? Nadia has a question for her.

With all that’s happened, and what Nadia has learned about Hank Pym, and all that Janet has done for her and for G.I.R.L., Nadia has a proposal. She’s never known her real family. G.I.R.L. is the family she’s chosen for herself. With Janet set up as G.I.R.L.’s de facto matron, Nadia wants to declare her last name not as Nadia Pym, but as Nadia VanDyne. It’s such a sweet moment and I have to stop cutting onions in here because this is getting ridiculous and I have enough for a zillion Coney dogs.

Finally, we jump forward a few months and the lab is firing on all cylinders. Janet sums up everything that’s happened (and is still happening) for her and Nadia. Everything seems to have worked out perfectly for them, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s a bittersweet end to the series, and while it will be a noticeable absence in my pull list next month, I feel like we will definitely be seeing more of Janet and Nadia in the future.

Hope

This series is all about hope. Besides the obvious name connections (Nadia is a Russian name for Hope, and Hope VanDyne is the name of the MCU Wasp as well as alternate universe relatives of Hank and Janet) it’s about real hope for a better future. The Unstoppable Wasp is about girl power and about equality, and those are both great messages. It’s also about positivity and just being a good person. Nadia’s fight isn’t about punching the bad guys. She could. She certainly has. In Nadia’s mind, violence is a last resort.

Ultimately, Nadia fights to build a better world using her intelligence and her unbridled optimism. Her goal is a world where all people are equal. This is a lofty goal to be sure, but with hope like Nadia’s, we believe she could do it. She wants a world where problems are solved not through fighting, but through honest and open communication. (Also some whizzy science contraption if possible). Despite the traumatic upbringing she’s been dealt, Nadia has persevered and become a genuinely good person, someone we should all strive to be like. She isn’t perfect by any means, but no-one really is.

We could all use hope like hers.

The Unstoppable Wasp is a gem of a comic, and anyone with a young girl interested in science should get it into their hands post haste. Throughout its run Wasp has, instead of fan letters in its back matter, posted interviews with real women with careers in STEM fields. These are real-life inspirations to go with the fictional ones, and every one of them is just as important. This final issue has an interview with none other than the series colorist Megan Wilson who’s secret identity is as an engineer in wind energy.

So if this is your first experience with The Unstoppable Wasp, what are you waiting for? Go back and read the whole thing. Buy the trades. Give them to your nerdy science friends. They’ll be glad you did.

Thanks to Jeremy Whitley for an amazing run, and for Elsa Charretier, Megan Wilson, Veronica Fish, Ro Stein and Ted Brandt for making it fun to read and gorgeous to look at. Also Joe Caramagna for getting all the letters in all those little boxes. Don’t forget the series editor Alanna Smith, one of Marvel’s #MakeMineMilkshake crew. We’ll be looking for more work from all of you here at the Fandomentals.

Fanfinites Rating: Perfect 10/10


The Unstoppable Wasp #8

Writer: Jeremy Whitley

Artists: Ro Stein & Ted Brandt

Colorist: Megan Wilson

Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Images Courtesy of Marvel Comics

 

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Ian is an amateur nerd and geek-of-all-trades. His main obsessions include Star Wars, superheroes, and movies nobody else seems to like. His children grow increasingly annoyed by his “Dad jokes”.

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