The definitive issue-by-issue comic book collecting guide and reading order for Marvel’s Unstoppable Wasp – Nadia van Dyne AKA Nadia Pym – in omnibus, hardcover, trade paperback, and digital comics. Part of Crushing Krisis’s Crushing Comics. Last updated January 2023 with titles scheduled for release through April 2023.
The Unstoppable Wasp seemed like the wrong character at the wrong time for Marvel, but she turned into one of their best and most nuanced new heroes – and one of their best all-ages 616 characters of all time.
Nadia van Dyne (AKA Nadia Pym) made her first appearance with the Avengers on the brink of Marvel’s Civil War II. It was a disorganized time in the Marvel Universe that was about to become even more divisive – both for characters and fans. That’s because Marvel was focusing hard on a new generation of “Legacy” heroes like Sam Wilson as Captain America, Jane Foster as Thor, Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel, and many, many more.
Nadia was an odd addition to this list. First, because Wasp isn’t nearly as popular as the iconic original heroes of those other legacy characters. Second, because the original Wasp – Janet van Dyne – was active at that moment on another Avengers team in another title. Third, because Hank Pym had recently merged with Ultron in that other Avengers title, so Nadia wasn’t even interacting with him.
And, most-importantly, because Nadia was not the Wasp we had just met in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Ant-Man.
That was Hope van Dyne, who existed in several alternate universe, but never in 616. Nadia was not a re-named young version of the MCU’s Hope. Janet wasn’t her biological mother, and she was like half-Wasp half-Black-Widow due to her training in Russia’s Red Room.
At first it felt like there was no point to Nadia’s existence. She stuck with the adult Avengers after Civil War II rather than join the teen Champions, but the choice didn’t seem to make sense.
Then, Jeremy Whitley came along to launch Unstoppable Wasp. Whitley had years of experience writing YA comics, including the delightful Princeless for Action Lab, and was paired with expressive artist Elsa Charretier.
Together, they found a place for Nadia. She simply wasn’t at her best as a brainy young Avenger. Instead, she was leader and a connector meant to bring together the young women geniuses of the Marvel Universe into her G.I.R.L. labs – Geniuses In action Research Labs. The result was a delightful comic that not only invited a slew of new young women, but also interviewed real life lady scientists in every issue! Plus, it highlighted the narrative power of Mockingbird and Janet van Dyne, oft relegated to being supporting characters or love interests instead of mentors.
Nadia’s first series was short-lived, but as she got pulled into the dour Secret Empire and The Champions on the other side of it her fandom snowballed as readers discovered her via trade paperback collections. As it turns out, kids who love comics about scientists aren’t major Wednesday Warriors. As a result, Whitley returned with Gurihiru, a pair of artists revered by fans for their clean-lined animated style on books like Avatar: The Last Airbender, Power Pack, and The Unbelievable Gwenpool
Whitley and Gurihiru delivered another smashing series. Not only was every issue enjoyable, but it tackled tricky topics like mental illness and disability – all without losing the pure joy of Nadia’s character.
In the wake of her two series, Nadia is occasionally a member of The Champions, sometimes a sidekick to Scott Lang or Janet van Dyne, and often a scientist-on-call for Kamala Khan. Wherever she turns up, expect mad science, optimism, and G.I.R.L. Power!
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