Best Shots Advance Review: THE UNSTOPPABLE WASP #1 - 'An Engaging, Lighthearted Reintroduction to NADIA PYM' 8/10

Marvel Comics October 2018 solicitations
Credit: Marvel Comics
Credit: Marvel Comics

The Unstoppable Wasp #1
Written by Jeremy Whitley
Art by Gurihiru
Lettering by VC’s Joe Caramagna
Review by C.K. Stewart
Published by Marvel Comics
'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10

The G.I.R.L.s are back in town! Nadia Pym returns in this week’s debut of The Unstoppable Wasp #1, which is a continuation of the 2017 series of the same name. Jeremy Whitley returns as the writer with the Gurihiru team joining the book on art and colors, and together they deliver an engaging, light-hearted reintroduction to Nadia and her colleagues at the Genius In action Research Labs as they juggle their own research projects, some solo crime fighting, and a few surprise business ventures headed up by Janet van Dyne herself.

Despite the success of Ms. Marvel and Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Marvel Comics’ young reader offerings have been somewhat sparse, even as DC continues to invest heavily in their DC Superhero Girls franchise. The Unstoppable Wasp does its best to fill the gap, and does so admirably — Whitley’s writing is young and fresh, and with a skill honed by his years with Princeless and Raven, he delivers a team of young girl geniuses who each have their own distinctive voice and personality. It’s clear that Whitley and Gurihiru are having a blast with this book, from Nadia’s buoyant dialogue to the distinctive fashions of Nadia’s friends and colleagues at G.I.R.L, Priya, Taina, Shay, and Yang.

Whitley’s script is generally young reader-friendly, though occasionally very heavy on expository dialogue or informative science facts, which letterer Joe Caramagna lays out in a way that will be fairly intuitive to follow for young readers newer to a Marvel or DC-style comic book layout. Gurihiru and Caramagna are an excellent artistic team as well, with some innovative panel layouts from Gurihiru that are elevated by Caramagna’s lettering to often comedic effect (a driving lesson with Jarvis that takes a turn for the Fast and the Furious is a particularly great example of this in the opening pages of the book).

The Unstoppable Wasp #1 is a celebration of young women from all walks of life, and of what it can mean to a young woman to have someone look at them and their work and say I believe in this, and I believe in you. Whitley and Gurihiru introduce a diverse cast balancing superheroics and personal relationships, familial or otherwise, in a way that will resonate with any reader but is approachable for all readers, die-hard comics fans or not. Gurihiru’s strong lines and vibrant colors create a distinctly young-feeling book with characters who have an instant casual cosplay appeal (though it would be nice to see some slightly different faces or body shapes, as refreshing as their individual personal styles are). It’s also nice to see the return of the Agents of G.I.R.L. backmatter, spotlighting young innovators who have space to discuss their own work and offer recommendations and guidance to other young creators searching for their own path.

At the end of the day there’s no reason not to have a book like The Unstoppable Wasp on the shelf - the dominance of Raina Telgemeier in the book market proves there’s an audience for series like these. Whitley’s return to Nadia is fun and engaging and Gurihiru and Caramagna create a world that feels vibrant and real. Though this is a continuation of the previous series, Whitley crafts the script in a way that will let new readers jump in here without getting spoiled on too many major plot points of the previous two volumes. If you’re a Squirrel Girl or Ms. Marvel fan, this series will be right up your alley, and for anyone with a Telgemeier fan in their life who wants to introduce them to other comic series, this is a perfect place to start.

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