By Jeremy Whitley, Elsa Charretier, Megan Wilson, and Joe Caramagna.
We continue to see new female driven titles every week from Marvel and this week brought us Nadia Pym, this generation’s Wasp who is the daughter of Hank Pym and his first wife, Maria Trovaya Pym, a Hungarian geneticist. This allows her to have her own identity away from Janet Van Dyne while also paying homage to the former avenger. The Unstoppable Wasp #1 serves as an introduction to who Nadia Pym is while her superhero pedigree gives her some credibility. This issue really shows what kind of hero she will be. It is hard to not become enamored with Nadia after this issue with her compelling backstory and spunky demeanor.
This first issue stands out for the type of female driven title this is; she is a young, smart, bold, and friendly hero. Friendly may be an understatement. Written by Whitley, the book goes out of it’s way to show us what an inclusive, genial, and endearing human being Nadia is. From befriending a Pakistani-bakery owner to engaging every person in an immigration office waiting room, she is the epitome of a people-person and will surely be a hero for the people.
Her personality is only brightened through the creative team in their character design and use of color throughout the issue. Nadia’s Wasp outfit is reminiscent of early Avenger days Wasp with full black and red details, a cool helmet, and big bug-like wings that stand out in an action panel. Outside of the Wasp outfit, Nadia has a blunt bob haircut, which helps to differentiate her from the other longhaired female heroines and is also a nod to Janet Van Dyne and her pixie haircut.
The art in this issue has a very retro vibe with muted colors and action panels reminiscent of Silver Age comics. Colors from Wilson in this issue are very understated with pale hues encompassing each page that really allow the bright pink and reds to pop off the page. It was a little surprising to open the book after seeing the cover from Elsa Charretier and Nicolas Bannister that has electric colors and glowing details to not expect the same throughout the issue.
The Unstoppable Wasp #1 really is promoting one thing in this issue: that smart women can make a difference. Nadia is a naturally gifted academic in engineering, physics, and all things science, like her father. We get to see her fangirl out over some of her female science idols, one being Barbara Morse a.k.a. Mockingbird. This is an issue driven by a strong woman who studies science and is supported throughout the issue by other science educated woman. Clearly, this is a nice addition to our Marvel role models. We’ve grown accustomed to seeing men be the tinkerers and problem solvers so often that we can often overlook that a woman hero doing the same thing is so desperately needed.
If there is any fault to be found in this issue is that we are beat over the head a little too much about Nadia being a genius, and an understated and overlooked genius too. Mockingbird brings us the list of geniuses that exists in the Marvel universe, and how Nadia should be on it. The way Bobbi says that to Nadia, it almost appeared as if that would be the driving point of this series: to get Nadia on that list of geniuses. A more compelling setup to this series could have centered Nadia’s search for her father, continuing his failed experiments, or escaping the red room and continuing to avoid their advances. The challenge from Bobbi seemed a little insignificant, and we can only hope that there are exciting things in store for this series.
On any given Wednesday there are a good chunk of books that have strong women kicking butt and we can welcome The Unstoppable Wasp into the club. This title has a lot to offer with Nadia and her backstory of being Hank Pym’s daughter and escaping the red room. Nadia surely has won over fans after this first issue, her spunky upbeat demeanor is sure to help her stand out and win a spot in everyone’s pull list.