Monday, May 20, 2024

Wasp Meets Wasp in Unstoppable Wasp

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Last we saw Nadia Pym, she had triumphed over her biggest foe, the cybernetic head of the Red Room’s science class, Mother. She avoided capture, and saved a fellow student, Ying, from having her head blown off Suicide Squad style. That ended with something of a cliffhanger, as Ying passed out, blood still seeping from where the explosive was removed. Now we have to rewind a bit to catch up with the Wasp. No, not Nadia Pym The Wasp…Janet Van Dyne The Wasp.

Keeping Up With Janet

Janet Van Dyne lives a charmed life. She is not only the CEO of Pym Labs, but also an Avenger, a jet setter, and extremely well connected and wealthy. She rubs elbows with Models (Millie Collins and Chili Storm to be specific), she kicks butt alongside Avengers like Black Widow, and despite a bit of insomnia, seems to have it all figured out.

She’s trying her best to get some sleep when the phone rings in the middle of the night. Who could it be but Matt Murdock. It seems there was a bit of a kerfuffle at the old Pym house where Nadia has been crashing. By the time Janet arrives on scene, S.H.I.E.L.D. is already cleaning up, and a certain Red Room science class graduate is being put in an ambulance. Ying is still unconscious and Nadia is beside herself.

What a mess.

Janet does her best to calm Nadia down, but she is admittedly not the most motherly of people despite what Clint Barton might tell you. Nadia doesn’t trust that the EMT’s aren’t Red Room operatives, and follows the ambulance to the hospital. There isn’t much anyone can do to stop her, including Janet who gets punched in the nose for her trouble.

Into a Wasp Nest

By the time Janet gets to the hospital, Nadia has one doctor in a sleeper hold, and a few others afraid for their safety. Janet does her best to calm the situation. She’s had to deal with the volatile Hank Pym, and Nadia hasn’t fallen too far from that tree. She gets Nadia to release her captive, and reassures her that the doctors are legit. She tries to calm her with junk food, though unsuccessfully.

The frantic Nadia starts getting texts from all her G.I.R.L. lab-mates. Their parents, concerned over the terrorist attack on the Pym house, are pulling their daughters out of the lab. Poor Nadia. Her whole world is unraveling. Janet listens to it all and kicks into Avenger mode. Janet’s secret superpower is that she can get sh$% done.

Janet gets on her phone and starts making calls. Pretty soon she has G.I.R.L. labs an actual lab space set up, and scholarships for the girls to boot. Things are looking up when two unlikely foes show up out of nowhere. It seems Mother went the trouble of hiring some C-list supervillain goons to wrangle Nadia and Ying.

Who even are these jerks?

Janet is a veteran Avenger, so she tries to take them out herself. Unfortunately she underestimates them and they get the drop on her. After a quick word with Nadia, (who is awful at subterfuge) they spring a trap that almost gets them out of trouble. In the end, Ying is the one who comes to their rescue. She was never in terrible danger, as it turns out, and the sounds of the fracas woke her up. She finishes off the bad guys. But what will become of her and Nadia? Find out in next month’s (final?) Unstoppable Wasp!

Momma Wasp

What a great issue. The story is told entirely from Janet Van Dyne’s perspective. We get some quick insight into what makes her tick, and then she gets thrown into Nadia’s crazy world of international spies and girl geniuses. Janet has pretty much seen it all, and she recognizes her mistakes even as she is making them. She understands very well what Nadia is going through, and even though she admits to having no maternal instinct, does a pretty great job of getting Nadia hooked up with everything she will need to succeed.

Who is chopping onions in here?

This is what Janet Van Dyne does. She works behind the scenes and makes magic happen. Nadia may be a genius, but she isn’t connected and doesn’t have the resources or experience for a successful start to her own lab. The way Janet sees someone in need and immediately takes over and gets things done is wonderful and heart-wrenching. I was choked up reading it.

As serious and real as it was, this issue was not devoid of Whitley’s signature charm and humor. The way Janet dryly deals with supervillains is a real treat, even though she falters a bit, and her description of mundane life as an Avenger is just too good (apparently Carol glows in the dark). Of course, Nadia, as always, is adorable and sweet as ever, and my heart broke for her as her lab fell apart. She never lost her charm though, and the way she mispronounces Matt Murdock’s name never gets old.

Finally, the art in this issue was amazing. Elsa Charretier did so much to set the tone for this series through its first six issues, and I was concerned about who they chose to follow her. They could not have chosen better than Veronica Fish. Fish does not have the same Kirbyesque throwback quality that Charretier does, but she does have a style that fits Wasp like a glove. Keeping Megan Wilson and Joe Caramagna on colors and letters respectively helped to keep this issue’s look and feel in line with the first six. Elsa Charretier will be missed, but this book is in good hands.

Where Do We Go From Here?

With issue number eight around the corner in August, and no solicit for a ninth issue in September from Marvel, it’s likely that this is The Unstoppable Wasp’s penultimate issue. It was a wonderful issue that set things up for Nadia in a way that makes next month’s issue a likely place for a finale. I hope that’s not the case, as this book is one of my favorites from a Marvel that is under the microscope when it comes to having diverse characters. The Legacy initiative coming this fall is supposed to be a return to Marvel’s staple characters. Does that mean new characters that we’ve grown to love over the last few years will disappear? We’re not sure.

Whatever the case may be, Unstoppable Wasp has delivered the goods month after month. Even if the eighth issue is her last, we’ll be looking for Nadia in other books. Likewise, keep an eye out for Jeremy Whitley’s work. His creator-owned series Princeless is available in collected edition, and if you liked Wasp, then you should check that out as well.

Join us next month for Unstoppable Wasp’s (maybe?) final issue. It’s sure to be a good one.

Fanfinites Rating: 9/10 Important Phone Calls

The Unstoppable Wasp #7

Writer: Jeremy Whitley

Artist: Veronica Fish

Color Artist: Megan Wilson

Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Images Courtesy of Marvel Comics

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