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Superhero Origins: The Wasp

VO: Dan
Janet Van Dyne was first introduced as the daughter of a world-renowned scientist. Traveling with him to visit Dr. Henry “Hank” Pym, they sought to enlist his help with an experiment. After his refusal, the project generated an explosion that killed her father and transported an alien criminal to Earth, Making amends, Hank decided to reveal his secret identity and make her his crime fighting partner.

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Superhero Origins: The Wasp

This miniaturized hero was the first female Avenger! Welcome to and today we will explore the comic book origin of Janet Van Dyne, otherwise known as The Wasp.

As with most comic book characters, there are often re-imaginations and different versions to a character’s past. We have chosen to primarily follow the storyline, which unfolded in 1962’s “Tales to Astonish” issue #44 which was then expanded upon in 1963’s The Avengers #1.

Janet Van Dyne was first introduced while she was accompanying her world-renowned scientist father to visit Dr. Henry “Hank” Pym’s home, in order to enlist his help. Little did she suspect that Dr. Pym was really Ant Man, a superhero with the ability to shrink down to insect proportions, and control insects in order to fight crime.

Upon their meeting, Janet and Hank felt an instant attraction to each other. While she admired his handsome good looks, he couldn’t shake the fact that the Janet bared a resembled to his deceased wife Maria.

Getting down to business, Janet’s father explained that they had come in search of help in crafting a gamma ray beam to detect signals from other planets. Hank explain that his research was based in molecular cell transition, and as such he didn’t see how he could be of any assistance.

Despite this setback, Janet’s father continued his research alone, and soon managed to complete his work and opened a portal to another world. Discovering a planet called Kosmos, he accidentally transported a creature to his lab. With the alien introducing itself as the most dangerous criminal of it’s home planet, it quickly revealed it’s intentions to enslave all of humanity.

Janet returned soon after to discover that the alien had smashed the machine and killed her father.

Panicking, she called Hank Pym, as he was a fellow scientist that her father had trusted. In response, Hank shrunk down and catapulted himself to the scene to investigate what had happened.

Once there, Janet met with Ant Man and helped him examine the scene. With Ant Man coming to the conclusion that the crime was the work of an alien force, Janet pledged to have her revenge.

After Ant Man discovering a trace residue that scared his ants, he returning to his lab and summoned Janet. Deciding to reveal his secret identity to her, he recruited her as his sidekick, as he had already harbored a hope to find a partner to share his secrets with while fighting crime.

With Janet recruited, she was given the power to shrink and grow, and was genetically modified to grow wings and antennae whenever miniaturized. She was also provided a costume with wrist weapons that fire blasts called “stings”, and was given the identity of the Wasp.

As Janet’s transformation procedure was completed, the building containing her father’s lab crumbled and the alien creature emerged as a giant. Being summoned to the site by Hank’s network of Ant scouts, Janet and Hank shifted size and raced off to battle the being from another dimension. Along the way, Janet professed her growing love for the hero, which he rejected due to her young age and fear of losing another lover.

Arriving on the scene, they discovered that they, like the army, were unable to stop that alien’s rampage. Unable to mount a proper offensive, they returned to Hank’s lab to create shotgun shells with a neutralizer that could destroy the acid-based being.

With the ants carrying the gun back to the scene, they fired the weapon from a rooftop and made the creature dissolve.

Celebrating their victory, Ant Man called the FBI to let them know that he recruited a partner, while The Wasp committed herself to one day gaining Hank’s affection.

Regularly using her powers as The Wasp, she continued to work closely with Ant Man to tackle evil. Before too long, they did indeed become lovers and two of the first five founding members of the Avengers, working alongside Iron man, Thor and the Hulk in order to stop Loki.

Over the years, The Wasp and her partner have regularly appeared in various comics and media, while she has occasionally used the growth serum to assume the alternate identity of Giant Girl.

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