Who is The Wasp, the Avengers’ Queen Bee?

Wasp: [After defeating a villain] “I know it’s not a game, Hank, but I can do more than make money and take meetings. Together we can do more, and we can have fun doing it.

Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, “Enter the Whirlwind” (Season 1, Episode 13)

A mugger stalks a woman late at night. He wraps an arm around her throat and presses his gun to her spine. The mugger demands her cash and threatens to have fun with her. He stumbles forward when the woman abruptly disappears. He hears buzzing. Yellow flashes in the night. Sharp pain blooms in his eye.

The pain-crazed mugger blindly fires, trying to stop his attacker. The woman reappears and grows into a giant. The Wasp knocks the creep out and calls the cops to pick him up.

The Wasp is more than Ant-Man’s sidekick. She’s a founding member of The Avengers, led several iterations of the team, and once blasted  Godzilla’s brain. No, seriously. So who is The Wasp? How did she get her powers? Why did it take so long for one of The Avengers’ founders to get into the MCU? Let’s find out.

Apiary Avenger: The Wasp’s Backstory

Hulk: “I’m sick of being hunted and hounded! I’d rather be with you than against you. So whether you like it or not I’m joinin’ the… the… Hey! What are you callin’ yourselves?
Iron Man: “That’s right! We need a name.
The Wasp: “It should be something colorful and dramatic like… The Avengers, or…
Ant-Man: “Or nothing! That’s it! The Avengers!

– The Avengers #1

The Wasp debuted in Tales to Astonish #44 in 1963. She was created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Ernie Hart. Later artists constantly altered The Wasp’s costume, leading to her characterization as a fashionista.

Janet Van Dyne was a wealthy socialite and daughter of a famous scientist. One of her father’s experiments created a monster that killed him. Janet sought out Ant-Man to avenge her father. He did one better and performed an experiment that gave her wings and the power to fly. Janet took the name The Wasp, and the pair destroyed the monster.

Janet fell in love with Ant-Man and decided to become his partner to get close to him. Unfortunately, she reminded him too much of his late wife, causing him to push her away. Ant Man and The Wasp proved to be an effective team despite the romantic drama. The pair encountered Thor, Iron Man, and The Hulk during a mission and formed a team that Wasp named The Avengers.

Yellowjacket: The Wasp’s History

The Wasp: “I-I can’t let you do [gets backhanded] Ohh!”
Yellowjacket: “SHUT UP! I’ve got to do this! I’ve got to save the day right before their eyes! Don’t you see? It’s my only way to redeem myself! It’s the only way!

Avengers #213

The Wasp started out as a frequent damsel in distress for the Avengers to save, but grew to be one of their most influential members. She grew closer to Ant-Man, who was going crazy from the hectic superhero lifestyle. During a breakdown, The Wasp convinced an unstable Ant-Man to marry her.

This wasn’t a fairytale marriage. The Wasp did her best to help Ant-Man, but he soon suffered a much worse breakdown. He changed his identity to Yellowjacket and created a robot to attack the Avengers. When The Wasp tried stopping him, he infamously backhanded her. The Wasp divorced him, and then took a leave of absence to find herself.

The Avengers elected The Wasp as leader when she returned. She was a natural fit and has led the team off and on for decades. During the event Secret Invasion, The Wasp was turned into a weapon of mass destruction by the invading Skrulls. To save the world Thor opened a portal that seemingly killed her. It was later revealed that The Wasp had been trapped in another dimension called the Microverse.

Float like a Butterfly, Sting like a Wasp: The Wasp’s Powers and Personality

Scott Lang: “Hold on, you gave her wings?
Hank Pym: “And blasters.
Scott: “So I take it you didn’t have that tech available for me?
Hank: “No, I did.”

– Ant-Man and The Wasp

The experiment Janet underwent gave her the ability to alter her size at will. She grows wings that let her fly at high speeds when she shrinks. The Wasp can also shoot lasers she calls stingers to hurt her enemies. These stingers are lethal when used at her normal size.

The Wasp can also command insects, but rarely uses that power although it’s creepy when she does. Picture that scene in every horror movie where bugs swarm someone. You’re welcome, insectophobes :).

The Wasp can grow to gigantic size, gaining superhuman strength and durability in the process. She hates using this power because it was part of what drove Ant-Man to his mental breakdown and only uses it as a last resort.

The Wasp is flighty and fun loving, but has a cunning streak a mile wide. She is an expert strategist and notices things the other Avengers miss. She seems unimportant when compared to Norse gods and billionaire arms dealers, but underestimate The Wasp at your own peril.

The Actors who play The Wasp

The Wasp made her TV debut in The Marvel Super Heroes voiced by Peg Dixon. Linda Ballantyne took the role in The Avengers: United they Stand. House and Once Upon A Time star Jennifer Morrison played The Wasp in The Super Hero Squad Show. Finally, The Wasp was a main character in Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes with Colleen Villard voicing the role.

The Wasp made her film debut in Ultimate Avengers and was voiced by Gray DeLisle. There were plans to use The Wasp in 2012’s The Avengers if Scarlett Johansson didn’t want to return as Black Widow. Sadly, she did and the Wasp had to wait for 2016’s Ant-Man to enter the MCU.

The Wasp only had a flashback cameo in Ant-Man. She seemingly died by shrinking to the subatomic level to stop a nuke. When Ant-Man later entered the subatomic level, viewers got a glimpse of The Wasp, revealing that she is still alive. Golden Globe winner and three time Oscar nominee Michelle Pfeiffer is set to play Janet van Dyne in Ant Man and The Wasp. The film also stars Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne, Janet’s daughter and the new Wasp.

Didya get all that?

A bee themed Avenger. Don’t like it? Buzz off.

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