The Unstoppable Wasp #1
Art: Elsa Charretier
Covers: Nicolas Bannister, Elizabeth Torque, Nelson Blake II, Guru eFX, Skottie Young, John Tyler Christopher, Andy Park
Colors: Megan Wilson
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Nadia Pym created by Mark Waid and Alan Davis.
Henry Pym has left the Marvel Universe a problematic legacy of homicidal robots, multiple identities, and generally terrible behavior. So it falls to his newly revealed, long-lost daughter Nadia to make superhero science fun again. The latest legacy character being utilized to add some much needed diversity to the Marvel lineup, her own title The Unstoppable Wasp is being written by Princeless creator Jeremy Whitley. The result is probably the most forthright statement yet from Marvel about the necessity for women to enter and lead the S.T.E.M. fields.
Nadia is a very different person from Henry or his socialite spouse Janet, the original bearer of the Wasp identity. She’s inherited her dad’s gift for science, but was hidden from him and raised by the same evil organization which moulded Natasha Romanova into the super spy Black Widow. Nadia escaped to America after successfully replicating Henry's shrinking technology and took up the mantle of the Wasp. Rather than growing into the typical brooding adolescent Marvel superhero, she embraces her newfound freedom with all the optimism of youth. Ready to discover the experiences she missed out on when she was still chained to her lab. Nadia is irrepressible. And her first important step: deciding what balushahi to pick out from the dessert counter.
The comic’s set piece is a downtown battle against a giant robot with the help of Kamala Khan and Bobbi Morse/Mockingbird, an antagonist drawn by Elsa Charretier like the clunky automatons superheroes are usually running into. But the fight is portrayed as a fun diversion in which Nadia gets to showcase her talents by hacking the robot and making it dance ballet. Nadia has a running inner monologue where she analyzes the robot’s joints for weaknesses which can be a little ungainly. But Whitley and Charretier are definitely having a ball with Nadia as she decides to science the s@*& out of this thing.
However, the heart of the story is revealed afterward in a conversation between Bobbi and Nadia. It’s a rare reminder that before Bobbi became a superhero, she actually started out as "Dr. Barbara Morse," a scientist. Bobbi mentions the S.H.I.E.L.D. list of the world’s smartest people, which has been dominated by men for decades until only very recently when Moon Girl shot right to the top.”There’s no way that’s right.” she intones about the paucity of females, and Nadia concurs. The meta commentary is further reinforced in a closing section profiling two real world scientists. Women scientists have always been here, they’ve just been ignored for so long. It’s now Nadia’s mission to point them out.