The Unstoppable Wasp was without a doubt one of the best YA superhero comics by the Big Two, and it all started in 2017. Since then it has had its main story collected as well as its follow up across volume 1 and volume 2. This week, Marvel has released a new, slightly smaller in width and height omnibus of those two volumes so younger readers can enjoy the book even more with their smaller hands. Collecting The Unstoppable Wasp #1-10, this collection continues to develop Nadia’s character and the agents of G.I.R.L. very well.
This collection houses two story arcs, but one ongoing story worth following. Starting with “Fix Everything”, the story that has the agents of G.I.R.L. kick off a convention and Nadia leading the charge despite having issues sleeping. The underlying reason for her sleep issues ends up being a major reveal and one that ties her to her father who happens to be the original Hank Pym. This adds a mature look at mental illness through this fun and fancy-free character and writer Jeremy Whitely makes her discovery of this condition something younger readers can learn from. There’s also a good message here about taking care of yourself and how therapy–and spending time on ourselves–is an important aspect of being healthy.
That’s where the joy comes in for this series, which continues to explain science via captions and always speaking to readers rather than down to them. From bipolar disorder to the physics of a fast-moving car, Whitely keeps the science understandable and relatable to the story and its readers. No doubt about it, adults will learn something from this book, too.
The first chunk of the story is drawn by Gurihiru, the Japanese team of Chifuyu Sasaki and Naoko Kawano. The manga-inspired style adds to the bubbly and fun nature of the adventures of these characters. It’s also quite good at capturing kinetic energy in action scenes.
The second half of the book is titled “G.I.R.L. vs. A.I.M.” As with the previous volume, Janet Van Dyne serves as a mentor to Nadia, though she never takes over or plays too big a role. A common theme throughout this book is how a perfectly good plan to relax or go to dinner always seems to be thwarted by the bad guys.
The main focus of this volume revolves around the convention G.I.R.L. is attempting to pull off, and it carries over the idea of the agents of G.I.R.L. being geniuses who are very good at coming up with inventions — there are a few that are quite clever — and showing the world what they and girls can do. At its core, this series has always been about valuing good ideas, either in the story itself made up by characters, or what is on the page thanks to Whitely. The ingenuity of new villains, clever ideas coming from Nadia and her friends, or plot twists are all there to raise up these strong female characters. For that, this book is a treasure, especially since it lifts up science as a force of good.
The first two issues of this story arc are drawn by Alti Firmansyah and colored by Espen Grundetjern, and the rest of the volume is drawn by Gurihiru, as in the previous book. The style has a thicker, almost cel-shaded line, but maintains the cartoony nature of Gurihiru. The energy isn’t quite as amped up, but much of the book is about characters interacting and speaking with each other and doesn’t affect the overall experience.
The Unstoppable Wasp: A.I.M. Escape! is an excellent collection that literally anyone can enjoy, but the younger set could truly grow and learn from. Now in this slightly smaller-sized edition readers can experience superhero stories with a science twist that also takes an adult look at mental illness.
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