by Joe Iconic, Reporter
EVIL SCIENTISTS! MAN-EATING GIANT RATS! A BIG RED T-REX? Nadia’s quest to create a super-science lab full of girl geniuses is hitting a lot of bumps in the road. And now The Red Room is after her and they’ll stop at nothing to get her back. Nothing is too low! The title says she’s unstoppable, but can even Nadia recruit a science lab when she is caught between an evil science organization and a super villain? Guest-starring: Moon Girl, Devil Dinosaur and with a special appearance by the original Wasp – Janet Van Dyne!
The Unstoppable Wasp #3 is for STEM girls and their fans! Jeremy Whitley inspires young ladies to be heroes to the big leagues of Marvel Comics. Unstoppable Wasp proves that there are still new and relevant comic book stories to be told.
So for those who have not been following The Unstoppable Wasp, Nadia is a young super scientist, just like her father, Hank Pym. She escaped from the Red Room, the top secret Russian program that brainwashed and trained young women to become highly effective assassins. The Red Room produced Natasha Romanov (aka the Black Widow), and was also featured in Marvel’s Agent Carter television series.
Nadia’s purpose is not just to be a great scientist like her father, but also to gather other young female scientists to form a lab called Genius in Action Research Labs, or G.I.R.L. The Unstoppable Wasp so far has Nadia recruiting candidates, all while the Red Room throws occasional giant monsters at her (because of that’s what Pym Particles do.) For good measure, Jarvis of the Avengers Mansion is her chaperone, her guide, and the book’s comic relief.
The parallels between The Unstoppable Wasp and Princeless are wonderful. I have long been a fan of Jeremy Whitley’s Princeless. I have great memories of watching my daughter explain what she loved about the series to the author and his wife (and anyone else who listen) at HeroesCon in Charlotte. If you are unfamiliar with Princeless, this series by Action Lab Comics inverts the trope of a princess who needed rescuing brilliantly. Adrienne escapes the traditional fate of a Princess in a tower, waiting for her knight, and becomes her own hero. She then goes to rescue her other sisters. Any father wanting to introduce his daughter into comic books, or who wants to share a story with a strong female protagonist should go and find this series as soon as possible, and share it.
Both Princeless and The Unstoppable Wasp have a similar story structure as well as a strong female protagonist. Adrienne’s quest was to rescue her sisters. Each of the sisters represented a moral tale of sorts. For example, there was the sister who blindly fell in love with a vampire in Princeless: Be Yourself #1. Don’t fall in love with the wrong guy!
The Unstoppable Wasp #3 has Nadia talking to Lunella Lafayette of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur that also stars a girl scientist, reinforcing that this series is not a fluke, but a concerted effort to reach the audience that needs to hear this message: science is not a boys club! Girls are welcome and needed in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM). Nadia also meets Lashayla Smith, who is motivated further into scientific inquiry by her desire to fix the problem of her parents spending time apart due to job demands. Priya, the next recruit, is bowing to social pressure to conform to be part of the cool crowd. Young ladies, please don’t “dumb down” to fit in. We need you now more than ever.
The pace of The Unstoppable Wasp #3 feels like the energy of Squirrel Girl. The story is like Nadia: optimistic, unflappable, and carefree enough to follow the flow of her stream of consciousness decision-making. She puts off the important but mundane meetings with her immigration lawyer (who of course is Daredevil), preferring to pursue her passions in the moment. Whitley’s characterization of Nadia feel very on-point, age appropriate, and makes Nadia immediately lovable, but it is clear that her attitude will soon land her into more trouble. Nadia’s frenemy Ying warns Nadia that she is being watched by her former keepers from the Red Room, and Nadia does not seem to be the least bit concerned.
The true puzzle is Nadia’s upbeat personality and free spirit. The Red Room would brainwash individuality out of her, right? The Red Room is an assassin school, but was incubating its own scientist think tank as well. It is conceivable that her keepers would be more open to the independent personalities to develop scientist ability to find creative solutions. After all, wasn’t Einstein eccentric? Maybe Nadia’s current take on the world is a mixture of the strength of her own personality and perhaps a reaction against the incredibly structured, controlling atmosphere that the Red Room must have attempted to be.
My theory is that Nadia has to have a heroic nature, not only for her own sake, but to clear the name of her father. Hank Pym had a tortured life as an Avenger. Whether known as Ant Man, Giant Man, Yellowjacket, or simply Hank Pym, Adventuring Scientist, Doctor Pym’s fortunes would make Peter Parker seem lucky. His tumultuous marriage with Janet Van Dyne, the original Wasp, was legendary in Avenger lore. It is worthwhile at this point to mention, Jim Shooter, former Editor in Chief at Marvel and the guy who wrote The Avengers at the time, has gone on record saying that Hank striking Janet Van Dyne was supposed to be an accident, not the domestic violence depicted by the artist on panel. Still, the image ruined Hank Pym for most fans. Domestic violence is inexcusable; the misogynist opposite of female empowerment.
Nadia represents a new chance for Hank Pym to leave a positive legacy, which is truly every father’s wish.
For music to listen to while reading The Unstoppable Wasp #3, I have to go with Lindsey Sterling. One empowered talented inspirational women fits the theme of this series both tonally and spiritually.
So read The Unstoppable Wasp #3! It’s good on its own merit, entirely enjoyable with its youthful energy, on point with its message of encouraging more young women to go into STEM, and enhances the legacy of a dark corner of the Marvel’s past.
ComicsOnline gives The Unstoppable Wasp #3 5 out of 5 Science Facts!