The Unstoppable Wasp #7 // Review
The life of a hero in the Marvel Universe can be absolutely awful. The constant repetition of power and responsibility and being hated by people they’re trying to protect can be absolutely atrocious. One blurry action sequence bleeds into the next in a never-ending parade of costumed antagonists. Every now and then things are a little different from the usual parade of crises. Every now and again, things are fine. For Nadia Van Dyne, “fine” comes in the form of a birthday party attended by some very distinguished guests in The Unstoppable Wasp #7. Jeremy Whitley manages a really clever and warmly funny script brought to the page by artist Alti Firmansyah. It’s one of those relatively rare issues which manages to be deeply, deeply satisfying even though nothing significant actually happens.
The story opens at Pym Labs in New Jersey. Nadia is trying to decide which Bohr model earrings she wants to wear for her party when Janet Van Dyne Scott Lang show-up. Ant-Man and the original Wasp are only the first of many to show up for her party. Having survived some rather nasty situations in the recent past, Nadia is overjoyed to see so many people show up for her party including the Tony Stark, Bucky Barnes and the children of various heroes with a rather bewildering parentage that has emerged from various heroes of the Silver Age.
Whitley’s work here is genuinely funny. The rich familial structure of a group of people who have been going on weird adventures for decades proves to be a rich source of casual humor as Nadia hugs her way through so many conversations with so many truly interesting people. The idea of a superhero party was always a fun one, but it’s rarely been executed very well in the pages of an actual comic book. Whitely does such a good job with it here that it seems strange that this sort of thing isn’t tried just a bit more often. That Whitley manages to explore so many interesting casual party relationships without losing track of the central energy of the title character is quite an accomplishment as well.
Firmansyah has come to the party with a sense of fun that borrows pleasant, little tinges of manga-inspired ebullience. Nadia is genuinely having a good time at the party and Firmansyah is having a good time rendering it for her. The strange awkwardness of the gathering is given its place as various bits of atmosphere cling around in the background. From beginning to end, Firmansyah maintains a light atmosphere, even when the eventual fight breaks out towards the end of the issue.
The fact that the physical action is used as something of a punchline to a joke is just one more charming, little detail in a really nice party that Whitley and company have thrown for their title character. As the series continues, there’s a real dedication to this character that feels all the more solidified in an issue like this which fearlessly sidesteps the traditional format of a superhero comic book in favor of having a little carefree fun.