The Unstoppable Wasp #1
Writer: Jeremy Whitley
Artist: Elsa Charretier
Colourist: Megan Wilson
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: Elsa Charretier & Nicolas Bannister
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Anelise: In The Unstoppable Wasp #1 we are introduced to Ant Man’s daughter Nadia: a teenage scientist who has, until now, spent her life confined to a secret training facility called The Red Room. While this challenging childhood might have caused Nadia to rebel, instead she is infectiously optimistic — determined to be kind to all and have a positive influence on the world that she is just beginning to know. With the help of Mockingbird and Ms. Marvel, Nadia is out to prove that women can be super-scientists and superheroes, all while enjoying a donut or two.
Stephanie: I love Nadia’s genuine optimism and it seems to be, well, unstoppable! Even growing up in the cold, sterile halls of The Red Room didn’t crush her fun-loving spirit. In fact, she views her escape from the covert Soviet facility as a validation of herself. They already took away her childhood and Nadia isn’t about to let them keep her true self locked away now that she’s free. It reminds us that we all have the power to put our own experiences in perspective, even though sometimes we feel like we don’t have any control.
That being said, it will be interesting to see how writer Jeremy Whitley challenges that optimism in coming issues. I think that will be a necessary point of conflict for this series, especially in order to explore more about her character and what lies beneath that cheery exterior. I expect The Wasp’s refreshing perspective on life will often be tested by her encounters or may even be at odds with how other heroes deal with their own trauma. There are some really touching moments between Nadia and Mockingbird in this issue that highlight this plucky new hero’s ability to strengthen and inspire those around her. But her constant optimism could become a bit exasperating if we don’t get some kind of release. After all, things don’t always wrap up as nicely or as cleanly as they did in this first issue. But I think it was important to have her come out strong and unabashedly optimistic to really drive home what the series is about!
Anelise: There are few things in comics more entertaining than watching a superhero adjust to everyday life on earth, and The Unstoppable Wasp #1 definitely highlights how humorous this transition can be. This first issue manages to give us sufficient background information about Nadia and an introduction to her world without being dense. Likewise, there is a careful balance of action and story progression, and although at times the references to other geekdoms feels heavy-handed, the issue moves along at a smooth pace.
Stephanie: I also felt the references were hit and miss, though Nadia’s awkward attempts to put them in context was pretty humorous. I mean we all like to geek out while a giant robot terrorizes the city, but the sheer volume of references throughout this issue pulled me out of the story and tripped up the pacing in some places. Luckily artist Elsa Charretier keeps the flow moving with some really dynamic panel layouts and line work, especially during the fight with Monica. The full-page panels are amazing and overall the art has a retro, classy style that’s complimented by Megan Wilson’s vintage colours.
Anelise: And when I heard that The Unstoppable Wasp was going to bring some much needed attention to amazing women in STEM fields, I was even more excited (than I already was) about diving into Nadia’s world.
Stephanie: Absolutely! Nadia’s neat science facts that pop up throughout the issue engage the reader on a different level and are really brilliant! It fits so perfectly with the series and provides wonderful scientific colour that piques your urge to know more about how it all works. The Agents of G.I.R.L interviews that highlight women in STEM in the letter pages are a great way to get young readers inspired and excited about science. The resounding message is: “together we can change the world” and I love it!
Check it out! The Unstoppable Wasp #1 delivers a fun and scientific superhero story, all while drawing positive attention to women in STEM. In his first ongoing title for Marvel Comics, Jeremy Whitley’s The Unstoppable Wasp is already changing how young readers critically engage with comics and Nadia is the high-energy, confident nerd-girl this world needs to inspire the next generation of super-scientists!