This month’s Unstoppable Wasp is the final issue for artist Elsa Charretier, who set the stage for this book through the first six issues. Her throwback pop-arty linework did a lot to endear this new solo series, and Nadia Pym as a character. Her style perfectly matched the fun, humor, and optimism of the comics, and it’s difficult to imagine what Wasp will be like without her. She still has a few covers coming out, so she won’t be completely absent, but she will be missed.
With that out of the way, let’s dig into Unstoppable Wasp #6. When we left Nadia last issue, she was confronting “mother” the leader of the science wing of the Red Room, and her old boss. Mother has sent Nadia’s friend and fellow Red Room scientist Ying to collect Nadia and bring her back by force if necessary. Nadia has to choose between returning to mother, or watching Ying’s head blown off by an implanted explosive (That old chestnut). Nadia being Nadia, she won’t abandon her friend. She suits up and confronts mother to buy time while the G.I.R.L.s find a solution to Ying’s bomb problem.
The comic starts off 15 minutes before the end of last issue. Nadia says her goodbyes just in case she doesn’t come back. Matt Murdock (or MODOK as Nadia calls him) doesn’t seem so sure it’s goodbye. After she takes off, we get to see the G.I.R.L. lab kick into gear to save Ying. While Nadia soars to find Mother, the agents of G.I.R.L. start brainstorming ideas. They think of a brilliant (and kind of gross) solution. Luckily, they are in Hank Pym’s house, because they need bits of Vision’s organic-synthetic technoflesh to pull it off (or out as the case may be).
It’s awesome seeing the G.I.R.L.s work together, as each plays to their specific strength. They hit a snag or two, but each does their part, and before Nadia’s rendezvous with Mother, they are well on their way to saving Ying with their hilariously disgusting solution.
The final panel of issue 5 introduced us to mother, and what an awful creature she is. Charretier’s rendering of this cobbled-together cyborg is grotesque and terrifying. (I audibly gasped when I saw her last month). She bears closer resemblance to a zombie than a person at this point, and her twisted and evil plans match her appearance. She plans to capitalize on the work Nadia’s been doing by kidnapping all of G.I.R.L. and making them her new “Science Class”.
While Nadia keeps Mother monologuing, the G.I.R.L.s test out their new invention on Jarvis, who volunteers himself in case it fails and kills Ying. Jarvis, you are too good. Mother begins her countdown to blow Ying’s brains out (literally) while the G.I.R.L.s work their magic. They get the bomb out just in time, and fling it away as it explodes. This has the unfortunate side-effect of goading Mother’s agents to attack the house. Bullets rain down on the Pym house while the G.I.R.L.s duck and cover.
Nadia uses her EMP which disables Mother (and her suit) and hitches a ride home. She arrives just in time, and uses that Red Room training to bust a few heads. There are too many of them for her to handle alone, and they get the drop on her, but thanks to an assist from Daredevil, they are able to take care of the threat. Wait, how did Daredevil get here? And where is Matt Modok? (I’ll never get tired of that joke)
While Daredevil mops up, Nadia checks on her team. Hugs are shared all around, especially from Ying. Nadia’s journal entries reflect on an amazing three days of meeting new friends, and saving old ones. All is not well however, and we’ll have to wait until next issue to see what happens next with Nadia, Ying, and the rest of G.I.R.L.
Superb Art — Great Book
It bears mentioning again that Elsa Charretier’s art helped define this series, and we can tell she gave this issue her all. She may be moving on to new things (and we’ll be looking for those, because we’re huge fans of hers now) but you can tell she put her heart and soul into this book. Each member of G.I.R.L. has their own look, and the detail put into the lab scenes are impressive. She’s proven that she can do grotesque and frightening just as well as fun and cute, and her action scenes are exciting and easy to follow. Mother is a terrifying villain, and we’re sure to be seeing more of her. Likewise the contraption they build to save Ying is as gross as it is brilliant. Megan Wilson’s color work is top-notch here as well, and perfectly compliments Charretier’s linework.
The first five issues of Unstoppable Wasp moved a little slowly at times as new characters were introduced, and Nadia established herself. We learned to love Nadia’s cuteness and optimism, but this wasn’t just about twee girls being twee. We got to see what Nadia is capable of if pushed to her limit despite being the perfect cinnamon roll that she is. We got to see the brilliance of the other girls and women she’s surrounded herself with. This final issue of her first arc is the culmination of all the work that’s been put in, and it moves at breakneck speed. Whitley and Charretier reward our patience with a fantastic 6th issue, and a fine send-off to a great artist.
We’ve grown to love Nadia in a few short months, and this is just the beginning. Next month, Nadia will be back, and will meet up with Janet Van Dyne. Artist Veronica Fish joins the G.I.R.L. team on art for #7. She’s done fill-in work on other Marvel series like Howard the Duck and Fandomentals fave Spider-Woman, so we’re in good hands. Join us next month for a look at the new art, and the start of Nadia’s next big adventure.
If you want more Nadia, and can’t wait for the next Unstoppable Wasp, check out this week’s Avengers #8 co-written by Jeremy Whitley, and featuring–who else–Nadia Pym. Also, go back and read last month’s Avengers #7 from the same team. (Nadia makes friends with Victor VonDoom, how could you not?)
Fandomentals Rating: 10/10 Petri Dishes
The Unstoppable Wasp #6
Writer: Jeremy Whitley
Artist: Elsa Charretier
Color Artist: Megan M. Wilson
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Images courtesy of Marvel Comics