Unstoppable Wasp #4 // Review
All Nadia van Dyne has to do is fix everything. And everyone. Yes: she needs to fix everything and everyone and invent something. But she can do it. Really. It’s going to be kind of an all-nighter, but it’s not like it’s anything that she hasn’t already trained for in the Red Room. Only she’s not in the Red Room anymore and . . . well . . . things could get ugly in the fourth installment of The Unstoppable Wasp. Jeremy Whitley writes a story drawn by the Japanese illustration team Illustrator Unit Gurihiru.
Problems have been building up for Nadia as she and the team at Genius In action Research Labs (G.I.R.L.) are forced to deal with the aftermath of an attack by the sinister agents of A.I.M. Nadia’s maternal figure Janet...the original Wasp is concerned about her mental health, but will she be able to save her before she crashes into depression after a manic episode of productive energy?
In this fourth issue, Whitely continues to bring together an engaging ensemble of characters around the edges of the two main characters: young Wasp Nadia and her ersatz mother Janet--the original Wasp. The two characters have personalities reflecting and mirroring each other from opposite generations. While there’s plenty of compelling interaction with Janet, the real appeal of this issue lies in Whitley’s rendering of the mind of a young genius who might be able to get some rest once she’s had a chance to get through a list of objectives. Those objectives cleverly rest on a chalkboard that is visible along with the rest of the panels as over the course of the central action of the issue. The chalkboard is a clever narrative device that serves as a graphic depiction of the inner complexities of a fascinating character. Nadia’s recklessly selfless ambition to solve problems is vividly given its place as its own kind of superpower.
Gurihiru Studios brings the visuals to the page with clean lines and simple colors that feel like a very clean, dynamically emotional anime glide. There’s no emotional exaggeration in the he flow of very muted action. The first few issues in the series had a lot of physical action. Here Gurihiru shows the ingeniously dynamic drama of a girl driven to solve problems and the maternal figure who is desperately trying to hold things together. The emotions are as visibly in body language as they are in facial expressions. every end of the page seems to be emotionally expressive without seeming too garishly animated. It’s a nice balance.
Whitley and Gurihiru have found a really nice balance in the opening four issues of the series. With plenty of action lining the first three issues, this fourth one kicks the narrative into an interesting alternative gear that inventively explores the intellectual life of a character in a way that takes full advantage of the comics medium. The original Nadia van Dyne series was cancelled after only 8 issues. With any luck this isn’t the halfway point of THIS series. Whitley and Gurihiru have found a style that works for the character. It’ll be interesting to see her develop in the issues to come.