The Wasp #3
Janet Van Dyne became the Wasp to avenge her father's death. Nadia Pym became the Wasp to avenge her blood mother and grandfather. Separately, they're two heroes of the same mantle. Together, they're a mother and adopted daughter duo that no one can stop... right?
After coming to blows with the Kosmos Creature that killed Janet's father, both have evaporated into a false reality where they exist alone among a sea of distant, yet familiar memories. As their life force is slowly drained will the two survive this purgatory or after all these years will the Wasps finally perish at the hands of their oldest enemy?
WASP #3, much like the previous two issues in this anniversary mini-series, is dangerously mundane in its creative choices. It’s a safe, cozy celebration of Janet Van Dyne and Nadia Pym that swaps the bombastic nature of anniversary stories for a plot that is very personal to the characters and their history. This simplicity has worked chiefly, but issue #3 shines the brightest.
It’s a dream-space plot; our titular Wasps are now living alternate lives in a false reality created by the creature Kosmos. Both Wasps are on their own, fighting through the darkest parts of their lives in a brand new way, offering the reader a deeper understanding of these two women as they stand now in the present. So much of Janet’s history has been culturally rooted directly in her dated characterization from the 60s or the edgy spousal abuse storyline in the Ultimate Universe. It’s been hard for her to be seen as her character in the mind of the masses, but Wasp #3 explores who she is on her own in a very poignant way. Nadia is in a similar boat, her reality tracking her growth into a Black Widow from a new perspective. Outside of the false facts, the plot moves forward with a character’s identity reveal tied very close to Nadia’s dark spiral into becoming a Widow.
The book, as most Ewing books do, is at its best when building off the stories of the past and spinning something new out of it, whether that be an entirely new story or instances of solid emotional growth for the characters. While the previous two issues have struggled somewhat in keeping an engaging narrative amidst the history lessons on W.H.I.S.P.E.R. and more deep Wasp history, issue #3 is firing on its most important cylinders. Ewing moves the plot towards the end while simultaneously exploring the main character’s psyche in this issue without ever feeling like something other than an emotional superhero narrative. While I don’t find anything new and exciting with the plot of this series, the game recognizes the game. Al Ewing is writing the familiar with excellence.
Kasia Nie’s art is just as consistent and straightforward as it’s been since the beginning. Their work with Kosmos is admittedly off-putting in the best way possible. Every character looks distinct with an artistic style that is well-constructed and clear in what it says in terms of visual storytelling. KJ Diaz lays down colors that bring the dreamy aspect of Wasps’ false realities to life.
All in all, WASP #3 offers an interesting insight into what a modern day Wasp should be viewed as, tying up some loose story lines just before the final chapter begins. It's a perfectly safe series for Wasp fans, and if you aren't onboard yet you definitely should be now.
The Wasp #3: Life Could Be A Dream
- Writing - 8.5/108.5/10
- Storyline - 8/108/10
- Art - 8.5/108.5/10
- Color - 8.5/108.5/10
- Cover Art - 8/108/10