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Through the first 3 issues of The Unstoppable Wasp, Nadia Pym hasn’t had to do too much actual heroing. She had a battle with a big robot, and another battle with a big rodent. OK, so she’s done a fair bit of heroing. But mostly, she’s used her wits and charm to get out of danger. She’s a total sweetheart, and could make friends with anyone. As we are about to find out though, that will only get you so far.
At the end of last issue, Nadia was trying to recruit Priya to her G.I.R.L. lab. Priya was more interested in being popular with her vapid friends than being smart. While she was out of her parents’ store, some local heavies barged in demanding their protection money. This is “Poundcakes”, an ex-wrestler with a good two feet on our hero Nadia, and probably twice as much muscle.
Nadia’s first instinct is to make nice. Nadia is a perfect cinnamon roll, so who could not instantly fall in love with her? Poundcakes certainly starts to. Nadia appeals to her better nature to diffuse the situation. It almost works, too. Unfortunately the excitable Jarvis, trying to be helpful, barges in and wrecks the whole scene.
The Wasp Can Sting
Nadia is such a likable and sweet character that it’s easy to forget she was trained in the Red Room. This is the same spy school that trained Black Widow. Needless to say, Nadia is a total bad-ass, and she’s not going to let her new friend’s family get shaken down. She suits up in her Wasp outfit, and you can tell it’s about to go down.
What follows is perhaps one of the best fight montages in recent memory. Nadia takes down the two attackers (oh yeah, Poundcakes has an equally burly partner) with surgical precision while her usual science fact boxes explain some of the finer points of Krav Maga. Nadia is definitely underestimated by her size and demeanor, but make no mistake about it, this Wasp can kick some serious butt.
Despite her prowess in hand-to-hand combat, Nadia feels bad about how the situation turned out. She laments resorting to violence when she could have made a new friend. At least she got Priya to agree to be a member of G.I.R.L., and she got some revenge on the two popular girls who stood by and did nothing to help.
After a good night’s sleep, it’s time to finally see about her citizenship. Nadia and Jarvis rush to Matt Murdock’s office (who’s name Nadia gets hilariously wrong) to discuss the difficulty she will face with becoming a citizen. She has to somehow prove she’s Hank Pym’s daughter, a thing that will be difficult with Hank being deceased.
Her only other option is requesting asylum, which would mean testifying about her time in the Red Room. Doing that would put a huge target on her back. Matt thinks he can protect her (or at least Daredevil could). On the way out of the office, Nadia hears someone in distress and rushes to the rescue.
It looks like we are going to see some more Wasp-style butt kicking. Instead it turns out to be a trap set by her former friend and partner Ying. She uses a device to paralyze Nadia, intending to take her back into custody. In a reversal from the beginning of the book, Jarvis is now the one who has to talk the villain down.
Jarvis appeals to Ying’s humanity. He reminds Ying how good Nadia is. Nadia has done nothing but fret about her friend, and would do anything to help her get free. He basically tells Ying everything that we already know about Nadia, that she is a perfect cinnamon roll and she doesn’t deserve to be taken back to Russia. As it turns out, it’s a lot more complicated than just running away from the Red Room.
Nadia is Seriously the Best
This book just seems to get better with each issue. This issue was once again filled with delightful Nadia moments, from her messing up Matt’s name, to taking her usual jabs at Jarvis. Just when we think we couldn’t love Nadia more, we are proven wrong yet again. This issue, we saw a very different side of Nadia, the one that can hold her own in a bare-knuckled brawl. Despite her skill in hand-to-hand combat, she doesn’t like to hurt anyone, and we feel her pain when it’s over. This is not who she is. Nadia would rather talk it out and help people, even the “bad” ones, than throw a single punch.
That said, the fight scene was awesome and I loved every page of it.
The art as well just seems to get better with each issue. The fight scene is well done, and plays like a cinematic montage. Elsa Charretier’s work with expressions and body language is top-notch, and all the characters are so expressive. I almost don’t need any words to get the story. Nadia’s face after the fight is over tells us all we need to know about how violence makes her feel. Charretier’s throwback pop-arty style fits this book to a T, and I can’t imagine Nadia being drawn by anyone else.
As much fun as the first three issues were, this one really cemented Nadia as a character, and made me look forward to more. Wasp isn’t just a silly lighthearted book. It is that, of course, but it offers so much more this month. Nadia is the hero we should all aspire to be. She stands as a stark contrast to some other Marvel characters we might mention.
I can’t wait for next month to see how Nadia helps her friend Ying. Maybe the agents of G.I.R.L. can come up with a solution together.
Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the two profiles of women in STEM in the back matter. This time, a physicist and an anthropologist are featured, and it’s worth reading. Ive said it before, and I’ll say it again, anyone who knows a woman or girl who loves science needs to get this book in their hands.
All Images Courtesy of Marvel Comics
The Unstoppable Wasp #4 Credits
Writer: Jeremy Whitley
Artist: Elsa Charretier
Colorist: Megan M. Wilson
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna