If you thought I was done with guide releases to celebrate the kickoff of Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 5 with Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania, you thought wrong! I couldn’t miss the chance to release a guide for one of Marvel’s original leading ladies with my Wasp Guide to Janet Van Dyne.
This Wasp Guide includes a complete reading order of every Janet van Dyne appearance, from her debut in June 1963 to the launch of her first solo series last month. That’s a lot of Janet van Dyne comics, so I’ve also summarized every one of her team appearances and provided a cheat sheet of her greatest hits if you only want to read issues where she is in the thick of the action.
As with many of Marvel’s Silver Age women on super-teams, Janet is often a bystander, romantic interest, or damsel in distress in her early stories with only occasional starring roles (like her series of solo back-up stories in Tales to Astonish). The big difference is that in 1981 Janet broke free of her romantic plot and became the leader of The Avengers in Avengers (1963) #217!
Even though several other Marvel women had scored their own long-running solo titles by that point, Janet being the chairman of the Avengers made her Marvel’s female character with the most authority across their entire line of books – it would be another five years before Storm formally took on leading the X-Men. As a result, Janet has a period where she is at the center of Avengers stories (and decisions) that makes for a satisfying read.
While Janet was a major part of the end of Secret Invasion as well as the resolution of Brian Bendis’s run on Avengers, she doesn’t have many iconic stories in the past decade until the introduction of her adopted step-daughter Nadia van Dyne, The Unstoppable Wasp. If you read no other modern Janet stories, please read her narration in Unstoppable Wasp (2017) #7-8. Author Jeremy Whitley did a magnificent job of creating a signature voice for a character who had rarely ever gotten the chance to tell her own story in her 60-year history.
This Wasp Guide exists thanks to the ongoing support of the astonishing Patrons of Crushing Krisis. They’ve had early access to the guide for the past three weeks. Now, the guide is open to the public and updated through the present day.