The Unstoppable Wasp #2 proves that the first issue wasn’t a fluke, and Nadia remains as endearing as ever. With so many superhero comics trying so hard to be serious and realistic these days books like Unstoppable Wasp is a breath of fresh air.
Unstoppable Wasp #2
Cover Price: $3.99*
Story Pages: 20
Release Date: February 1st, 2017
Last month the new Wasp, Nadia Pym, set off to make her mark on the Marvel Universe. Her decision in this regard was to start rounding up the smartest women she could find and make sure that the world knew that women could be on the “Smartest People of the Marvel Universe” list, which formerly lacked any. Of course, the new hero Moon Girl had already established herself as the foremost mind in the Marvel Universe today, which just makes it a bit easier on Nadia. This issue sees Nadia setting off on her grand quest by tracking down her first candidate for her new team of women scientists, which triggers some interesting adventures.
It would be easy to dismiss Unstoppable Wasp as a book pushing a particular ideology without much substance to it, but that is simply not the case here. Although the story is driven by Nadia’s recruitment drive it is the characters and their quirks that make this book something special. Nadia herself is an energetic ball of pure joy who somehow manages to cause me to grin on almost every page she is on. The opening to the book, in particular, is an amazingly funny sequence where she first learns about landline telephones, as well as hearing her father’s voice on his antiquated answering machine. For all her smarts and inventive tendencies, she is coming into this world without many preconceptions and it results in some truly entertaining scenes. It is virtually impossible to not fall in love with her as a character.
As entertaining as Nadia is, though, it would not be much of a book if it was just her interacting with her nearby environment. It is at its best when her joy infects other characters, and thus we come to Taina and Alexis Miranda. The former is a robotics expert while the latter is her athletic sister. Both of these characters have their individual strengths, and their bond as sisters is apparent. Although we don’t get too much of their backstory yet it is clear that thought has been put into them, and I expect we’ll be seeing a lot of them in this series. I’m going to not bother talking about their interactions in Hank Pym’s labs since you really should just read the book and enjoy them as they come.
For many comics these days the introductions of Taina and Alexis probably would have been enough, but thankfully the trend of picking up the pace with stories continues here. The action shifts over to the inevitable meeting of Moon Girl and Wasp. Luna — Moon Girl — is weary of Wasp’s arrival, and if you’ve read her book at all it should be apparent why. If you haven’t read her book, but you find Unstoppable Wasp enjoyable (or Unbeatable Squirrel Girl or Patsy Walker aka Hellcat) then you really owe it yourself to give it a try. Their meeting turns into a fight against a giant rat, which leads into the cliffhanger ending for the month.
The artwork comes once again from Elsa Charretier with Megan Wilson on colors, and it is a good looking book all-around. Last month I noted that a lot of panels seemed to be lacking backgrounds, but this month has much less of that. There are a few panels here and there that still have that issue, with most of them being towards the end, but the majority of the panels have highly detailed (cluttered, even) backgrounds filling in atmosphere. With my one major complaint resolved for the time being, I really have nothing much to say except that this is a good looking book. The energy of the characters is matched by the energy of the art, and that is saying something. I do have to admit I am a bit curious how Alexis managed to make a ninety degree turn on roller blades while having the wheels still face forwards, though. I’ll assume that was an engineering marvel that Taina figured out.
The Unstoppable Wasp #2 does what I would have considered virtually impossible last month. It maintains the momentum established by Unstoppable Wasp #1 while still building on it and introducing us to yet more interesting characters. So far I have yet to find an aspect of this book that I cannot say I did not enjoy, and I honestly could just read about Nadia interacting with Jarvis for a full issue.
As I noted last month there will be people who take issue with the comic’s highly visible feminist slant, but that is their own problem. This is the brand of feminism that encourages all people to be judged on their own merits and not by their gender. Women can be awesome at street hockey, and also at engineering. It is not to be confused with the brand of feminism that is built on tearing men down simply because they are men. Nadia wants women to get an equal shot at being on the “Smartest People in the Marvel Universe” list, not just kick all the men off it. It is an important distinction which is lost in our current culture of all-or-nothing grandstanding.
You should not read Unstoppable Wasp #2 simply because of its feminist message, just as you should not bypass it for the same reason. Read it because of its awesome characters, fantastic artwork, and clever humor. The message is important, yes, but without a well-written story and interesting characters it is a waste of time. Fortunately, Unstoppable Wasp #2 mixes all the components into one of the best comics currently coming out of Marvel, and I cannot wait for more.