* Spoiler Warning: This article contains spoilers for this week's Secret Invasion: Requiem. *
In this week's Secret Invasion: Requiem, readers found out that Hank Pym will be taking on a new name: Wasp.
In a new eight-page story by Dan Slott and Khoi Pham that accompanied reprints of two classic Marvel stories – Tales To Astonish #44 and Avengers #213 – Secret Invasion: Requiem shows that not only did Hank Pym adopt the name Wasp, but he also attempted to replicate her powers for himself. In a story that had him interacting with Jocasta, Hank made the change as he reviewed his relationship with Janet, deciding to do something that is rare in comic books – becoming a male character who takes on the legacy of a deceased female character.
While it was only eight pages, the story has gotten a lot of reaction. Many readers have commented not only on the name change, but the developing relationship between Jocasta and Hank. And as Slott told Newsarama earlier this month: "One of the messed up things about Hank is that he's going to be spending a lot of time with Jocasta. Most people forget that Jocasta's robot brain is based on Janet Van Dyne's brain patterns. And... let me creep you out... could this lead to a new relationship? Think about it. Jocasta's a cyber-reflection of Jan, a version of Hank's dead ex-wife, a version he could never hurt physically or emotionally. There's something very disturbing about that."
Although Hank's story will be further explored in Avengers: The Initiative #20 and future issues of Mighty Avengers, this story established the hero's new name as he also changes his focus. We talked to Slott about the name change and what it all means to the future of Hank Pym in the Marvel Universe.
Newsarama: Dan, what can you tell us about Hank Pym's decision to name himself Wasp?
Dan Slott: For him, ever since he's entered the world of superheroes, he's tried to make a name for himself. And he's failed time and time again, no matter how many times he has reinvented his own identity. And he's always, in his own eyes, fallen short. But it's always, on some level, been for the sake of ego. "I'm Giant Man, I'm Goliath, I amYellow Jacket." For the first time, he has a legacy to live up to.
NRAMA: And it's her legacy.
DS: It's her legacy. It's not that he's going to carve out history for himself. It's that the bar has been raised for him, and he must strive to live up to the kind of hero that Jan was.
NRAMA: So are we going to see him be more heroic in Mighty Avengers as he tries to live up to her legacy? Or will it get twisted as he reacts emotionally to her death?
DS: He's going to try to become the A-list hero that the Marvel Universe needs him to be. From Hank's point of view, he was off-Earth for too long. Ever since he was captured by the Skrulls, look at everything that's happened since he's been gone. He looks at 'World War Hulk', he looks at 'House of M', he looks at 'Civil War' – especially with the death of Cap and his good friend Bill Foster – all these things happened while he wasn't on the watch.
So this is all about him saying, "I need to take control of things. I need to step up."
NRAMA: Who came up with the look for Hank's new costume?
DS: Khoi Pham. He did a really great job with that page where Jocasta was in Jan's closet with every Wasp costume hanging behind her. The art in this story was beautiful, but when people see the stuff he's turning in for Mighty Avengers, they're going to be blown away.
NRAMA: Getting back to this name – "Wasp" – it seems very strange to have a man wearing that mantle.
DS: Yes, but keep in mind that Wasp is an asexual term. It can be a male or female. And I know it seems unusual, but I just want to tell everyone that all the reactions you're seeing people having on the Internet – characters will address it in the book.
NRAMA: And his powers have changed to match the name now, right?
DS: He did the same experiment that happened to Wasp in Tales to Astonish. He replicates it on himself, so now he's grown the wings. But he also has some new tricks up his sleeve. We're expanding his repertoire. He's going to reach into all his bag of tricks from when he was in Scientific Adventure and West Coast Avengers, with the growing and shrinking. But we're playing with new facets of what he can do with Hank Pym technology and Hank Pym's level of science.
One of the things I like is that he has his version of the MacGyver Swiss Army Knife or the Dr. Who Sonic Screwdriver. He has this thing called the Toolbot, which is a tool handle that grows one of 16,000 different tools out of the head. And he keeps it shrunk down microscopically in his palm so he can pull it out whenever he needs it. And one of the 16,000 is a 1950s/1960s sci-fi zap gun, which channels his bioelectric blast. And he's got Dr. Horrible goggles. He's awesome.
NRAMA: Anything else you want to add about what we'll see from Hank Pym in future issues of Mighty Avengers?
DS: In Mighty Avengers, we're going to be really pushing Hank Pym to the forefront of the Marvel Universe, but he'll stay an interesting character with flaws and complexity. But we're really trying to make Hank Pym a character that steps up to the point where he's on the same level as Iron Man or Captain America and becomes an A-list guy.