It’s quite difficult to construct a compelling and interesting debut for a relatively new superhero legacy character. For someone like the Wasp, I would have said it was impossible because she’s simply not an A-list superhero. But what Jeremy Whitely and Elsa Charretier have done for this series is incredible. Like with Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur and Riri Willliams on Invincible Iron Man, Nadia Pym is a scientist/hero for a new generation of comic fans.
Many Black Widow fans should be familiar with the concept of the Red Room but Nadia’s story reveals (back in All-New All-Different Avengers) that it wasn't just a facility that trained assassins. Nadia was a part of the engineering program and now that she's free, she wants to have a normal superhero/scientist/teenage life. That shouldn’t be so hard, right?
Whitely, whose writing credits include the incredible Princeless series and the recent Kate Bishop story in A Year of Marvels, approaches this series with an unstoppable enthusiasm that really celebrates the heart of what makes modern superhero comics so great. This really is a spiritual successor to both Ms. Marvel and Squirrel Girl in that our main character is a superhero but that’s not the only factor that makes her story interesting. With Kamala, she’s a relatable 2nd generation immigrant teenager with superpowers. Doreen is an odd but lovable college student whose compassion creates the most inventive solutions to superhero problems. What makes these stories standout isn’t the “superhero” part of it but how that aspect enhances the relatability in each of these characters’ narratives. Nadia isn’t just a superhero but she’s also a teen who has grown up in a socially stunted environment and she's a super science nerd as well. It’s the combination of all these factors that makes Unstoppable Wasp #1 so compelling.
I particularly love the friendships that Nadia manages to form throughout this issue. Female empowerment is really important and seeing it at the forefront here is an inspiration. Nadia herself, is an inspiration and her infectious energy is what captivates everybody in the comic.
Charretier’s art imbues the series with a timeless charm that’s incredible to see unfold panel after panel. Softer colours and muted palettes enhance the nostalgic quality to the interior art. The major fight scene has as much personality to it as Nadia does, as it’s less of an all-out brawl and more of a fun ballerina dance. The timelessness reflects Nadia’s childlike enthusiasm and her optimistic approach to everything.
Unstoppable Wasp #1 made me excited about superhero comics again. Not because of nostalgia or love for familiar characters but because a brand new character managed to capture my attention with a genuine enthusiasm and love for learning about life, people, and science.