The Unstoppable Wasp #1 is out Wednesday January 4th in shops all over the country, it’s a Marvel book so odds are you’ll find it wherever you look. And that is a truly good thing.
I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s when comics went from fun and age appropriate to dark, gritty, broody, and violent. I loved the comics I grew up on but when I had kids and wanted to introduce them to comics I certainly didn’t hand my son or daughter my 90’s Punisher or Batman books. I looked for titles that I wanted to have an influence on my children, because let’s face it we are what we ingest.
One of the first comics my daughter and I shared was Princeless, a charming story of a young princess who escapes her tower and decides to liberate all the princesses she can find. It had action, adventure, a heroine with a smart mouth. What it had more than anything else though? Was a hopeful positive tone, and through all the issues and all the spin-offs that has remained true.
Well Princeless creator and writer Jeremy Whitley just happens to be writing The Unstoppable Wasp for Marvel, and he’s brought that same positive outlook to this book as well. Now that’s not a new thing at today’s Marvel comics both G. Willow Wilson’s Ms Marvel and Amy Reeder & Brandon Montclare’s Moongirl and Devil Dinosaur also benefit from that vibe (and I’m sure there are others.) It’s a refreshing trend of young people, who are also super heroes, acting like young people.
The Unstoppable Wasp shares something else with her teen-book predecessors. She comes with baggage. Nadia “No Last Name” is a graduate/escapee of Russia’s The Red Room, a program where assassins are trained, housed, and indoctrinated. We know that all heroes come with built in drama, but Jeremy takes a slightly different direction. Nadia is an optimist. I don’t mean a glass half full type, I mean she’s a “Hey check it out! I have a glass! And there’s stuff in it!!!” type. I envy her outlook. And while that kind of rapid positivity can be a drag in some instances Jeremy keeps her intelligent, funny, and interesting. She isn’t vapid, or unthinking, hers is not an empty smile. In fact she’s a scientist, a genius, and a humanist, someone who seems to have depth of both character and intelligence.
If you grew up like I did you are surely very familiar with the angsty teen dynamic, well don’t look for it here. I don’t think we’ll be seeing a cover modeled after the famous “Professor Xavier is a JERK!” page and that’s okay. It’s wonderful to have a character who really is excited and happy, not only about being a super hero but just to be her.
Great job Mr Whitley.
Let’s not ignore the art. Artist Elsa Charretier and color artist Megan Wilson, have brought an energy to New York and Nadia that compliments her personality perfectly. It’s bright and colorful but not overly so, as a New Yorker I can tell you that though it isn’t photo realistic (thank goodness) it looks like the New York I know and love. The character models are great and the level of detail in every panel is precisely what you hope for.
Continuing the book’s positive vibe the issue ends with a letters column dedicated to interviews with women scientists and students. And it’s called Agents of G.I.R.L. (Genius in action Research Labs, read the book you’ll get the reference) and it’s just one more reason to pick this book up.
This is a promising new series, and I’m sure the consensus will be a positive one but find out for yourself, pick up issue #1 and share it with your kids, though it’s not an all-ages book I think the T+ rating has more to do with reading level than content, I saw no objectionable words or situations. And knowing Jeremy Whitley’s work I can’t see it becoming a book I couldn’t read with my 10 yr old.
THE UNSTOPPABLE WASP (2017) #1