Thursday, November 01, 2018

Reader's Diary #1944- Jeremy Whitley (writer), various artists: The Unstoppable Wasp Vol. 2 Agents of G.I.R.L.

After reading the first volume of The Unstoppable Wasp last year, I was still on the fence about the series and the Nadia version of the character. This time around however, I feel like Jeremy Whitley has settled into his groove and this run is much stronger.

Whereas last time a large majority of the plot revolved around Nadia trying to recruit characters into her new G.I.R.L. team of super-scientists, meaning that cameo characters too often stole the show (Ms. Marvel, Dinosaur Girl, etc), this time around her team is essentially in place from the get go. There's a little background info on the characters but ultimately it's Nadia's story. There are still a few cameos from Janet Van Dyne, the original Wasp, and from Bobbi Morse, a.k.a. Mockingbird, but it's Nadia's relationship with these characters that was important. (Though it was a very important highlight that Janet's domestic abuse at the hands of Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man, was discussed.)

And, while Nadia's character is finally being developed, there's some actual adventure plot as well with the G.I.R.L. team trying to separate an explosive device that has been fused to their friend's spine. How do they accomplish this? Science, of course! It's a hugely important message for people to see highly capable young women in science when we all know how under-represented and under-appreciated they have been in such fields. Adding to the progressive messaging in this book is the diverse characters, including those from different cultures, abilities, and orientation. None of this seems didactic, just as a fact of life.

Art-wise, it's best in the earlier comics with Elsa Charretier helming, as she has a real creative flair and some unique paneling approaches. Especially great is a two-page spread of a room in the Pym House that has been divided up into panels resembling the rays of a sun. The room is shown in a single background image, while repeats of the G.I.R.L. members are shown throughout, establishing how much work they are doing and how well they're making use of the space. The artists who finish off the later comics are good in the sense that the transition wasn't jarring, though I missed anything exciting like the aforementioned Pym House scene.

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