THIS WEEK: The other half of Marvel’s mighty mites takes center stage in the debut issue of Wasp.
Note: the review below contains spoilers. If you want a quick, spoiler-free buy/pass recommendation on the comic in question, check out the bottom of the article for our final verdict.
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Kasia Nie
Colorist: KJ Díaz
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover: Tom Reilly
Last year saw the release of the excellent Ant-Man miniseries from writer Al Ewing and artist Tom Reilly. The series, which marked the 60th anniversary of the character, told stories starring past, present, and future heroes, all of whom bore the mantle of Ant-Man, and served as a celebration of Ant-Man’s long history. It was only logical that Marvel would follow the series up this year with another one focused on his crimefighting partner, and this week’s Wasp #1 from Ewing, artist Kasia Nie, colorist KJ Díaz, and letterer Cory Petit kicks off the series in extremely entertaining fashion.
Going into this series it was tempting to assume that Wasp would be structured similarly to Ant-Man, with each issue taking place in a specific time period and focused on a different titular hero. After a few opening pages of flashback, though, Ewing cleverly swerves, bucking the previous structure in favor of centering the story on a present-day adventure involving both Wasps Janet Van Dyne and Nadia Van Dyne. It’s an entertaining way both to bring readers into the series and subvert possible expectations, and to introduce Janet Van Dyne’s origin and the larger mystery enemy of the series.
Beyond those opening pages, Wasp #1 is primarily about Janet and her relationships with those around, whether it’s old friends like Edwin Jarvis or, apparently, random pretzel vendors on the street who know her by name. Ewing smoothly navigates the current superhero status quo in New York City and Janet’s place within it, chalking it up to another annoyance in her already-busy life. There’s not a wasted word here as everything in this issue serves to illuminate Jan’s character, leaving readers with a better sense of her than they’ve maybe ever had before.
Artist Kasia Nie’s work here is phenomenal. From conversational scenes to the issue’s climactic action sequence, Nie’s art flows effortlessly, with interesting page compositions and dynamic movement. The opening flashback pages, and a pair of pages midway through the issue, are rendered in a simplified, retro style, thick black lines outlining the figures in a way that’s reminiscent of artists like Mike Allred. KJ Díaz’s colors enhance the linework beautifully, from the simpler, throwback palette of the flashback sequences to the more natural colors used throughout the rest of the issue.
Wasp #1 is a fantastic start to this four-issue anniversary series. Ewing’s intelligent and accessible storytelling blends well with the visuals from Nie and Díaz to make a reading experience that’s thoughtful and engaging, with a great hook of a cliffhanger that’s sure to bring even a skeptical reader back for more. This is good superhero comics.
Final Verdict: BUY.
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