Janet van Dyne as Wasp.
Art by J. G. Jones.
|First appearance||Tales to Astonish #44 (June 1963)|
|Created by||Stan Lee (writer)
Jack Kirby (artist)
|Alter ego||Janet van Dyne|
|Notable aliases||Winsome Wasp|
The Wasp (Janet van Dyne) is a fictional superheroine appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the character first appeared in Tales to Astonish #44 (June 1963). She is usually depicted as having the ability to shrink to a height of several centimeters, fly by means of insectoid wings, and fire bioelectric energy blasts. She is a founding member of the Avengers as well as a long time leader of the team.
In May 2011, the Wasp placed 99th on IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time, and 26th in their list of "The Top 50 Avengers" in 2012. The character was also ranked 94th in Comics Buyer's Guide's "100 Sexiest Women in Comics" list. In 2013, she was ranked the fifth greatest Avenger of all time by Marvel.com.
The character makes a cameo appearance in the 2015 film Ant-Man.
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Fictional character biography
- 3 Powers and abilities
- 4 Other characters named Wasp
- 5 Other versions
- 6 In popular culture
- 7 In other media
- 8 Reception and legacy
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Janet van Dyne debuted in Tales to Astonish #44 (plotted by Stan Lee, scripted by H.E. Huntley, and drawn by Jack Kirby) as Henry "Hank" Pym's partner, becoming the Wasp to avenge the death of her father, scientist Vernon van Dyne. She co-starred in Tales to Astonish from issue #44 to issue #69.
She was a founding member of the Avengers, appearing in the first issue and giving the team its name. It is with the Avengers that Janet became most well-known. At first she was the weak link of the team, but later on became one of the smartest and craftiest of its members. Though she takes leaves of absence throughout the series, she is one of the longest active members and has acted as leader of the team for longer than any other member save for Captain America.
During her absences from the core Avengers book, Janet appeared in various other publications, including appearing as a main character in Marvel Feature issues #6-10. She has also made sporadic guest appearances in various other books, such as Captain America, Iron Man, and Fantastic Four.
Janet became the leader of the Avengers in Avengers vol. 1 #217, a position she held until Avengers vol. 1 #278 save for a brief period where she handed leadership off to the Vision. She then appeared in issue #32 of West Coast Avengers, becoming a full-time member in issue #42.
She made occasional appearances in Avengers vol. 3, returning as an active member of the team in issue #27 before resuming leadership duties. She and Captain America became co-leaders of the team starting in issue #38.
After the events of "Avengers Disassembled", Janet appeared in the limited series Beyond! before rejoining the Avengers in Mighty Avengers vol. 1 #1-11. She was presumed dead during the events of Secret Invasion in 2008. Wasp returned in the Avengers "End Times" storyline that ran from issue #31 (December 2012) to issue #34 (January 2013). She currently appears as a member of the Avengers Unity Squad in Uncanny Avengers.
In his 1970s run on The Avengers, artist George Pérez revamped the character's costume a number of times, having a significant impact on the character's development:
It became a joke. In the case of the Wasp, I noticed that she has so many costumes that eventually I said "Why not?" I think I was on the book long enough what was once just a little bit of idiosyncrasy about the character became fully part of the character's persona.
Fictional character biography
Janet van Dyne was born in Cresskill, New Jersey, the socialite daughter of wealthy scientist Vernon van Dyne. When her father is killed by an alien entity unleashed during one of his experiments, Janet turns to his associate Dr. Henry "Hank" Pym for aid and convinces him to help her. In order to avenge her father’s death, she undergoes a biochemical procedure that grants her the ability to grow wings upon shrinking under four feet tall and uses a supply of "Pym particles" by which to change her size. Together, she and Ant-Man defeat the alien and avenge her father. Janet decides to remain as Wasp and be Hank’s partner as she has fallen in love with him, though Hank initially rejects her feelings due to the similarities between her and his first wife that had been murdered.
During her time as Hank’s partner, she took part in numerous conflicts with villains who included the Porcupine, Egghead and Whirlwind (then known as the Human Top). Though initially without any offensive powers, Janet proves to be resourceful, using her ability to communicate with insects to fight, as well as using a pin to poke people as means of a weapon. Later, she uses a miniature air gun, the original wasp’s sting.
After the initial confrontation with Loki that brought together the founding Avengers, it is Janet and Hank who propose forming a team of superheroes. Janet suggests the name for the team and becomes a founding member. Never lacking confidence or bravery and by nature an outgoing personality, Janet is always in the thick of battles with villains, who include Norse gods and aliens, despite being the most underpowered member of the team. Janet frequently comments on the attractiveness of her male colleagues, especially Thor, in order to provoke jealousy from Hank and get him to commit to a relationship. Early on in her Avengers career, she is seriously wounded by a stray bullet in battle against Count Nefaria, and nearly dies from a collapsed lung. She leaves the team several issues later. When she returns in Avengers vol. 1 #26, her shrinking powers have progressed to the point where she no longer needs Pym particle capsules to change her size.
Though Janet hopes on several occasions that her long-term boyfriend Hank will propose, their relationship does not move forward to that point until something more dramatic happens. The new vigilante Yellowjacket breaks into the Avengers mansion, demands to be admitted as a member of the team, claims to have killed Hank Pym, and then kidnaps Janet. Not believing that Yellowjacket was Hank's killer, she attempts to find where Yellowjacket is holding Hank, but instead determines that Yellowjacket is her boyfriend. Before revealing this, and during the period in which Yellowjacket still believes himself to have killed Hank, Janet marries Hank, though the wedding is disrupted by an attack from the Circus of Crime. During the fight, it is revealed that Yellowjacket is Pym.
After another departure from the team, Janet van Dyne returns briefly and becomes a member of the original Lady Liberators, before once more leaving the team. She becomes temporarily trapped at insect size, and battles Whirlwind, Para-Man and Dr. Nemesis. She also battles Equinox alongside Spider-Man and Yellowjacket; during this time her powers are augmented to allow her to harness her body's bio-electrical current and fire blasts of energy which she calls her "wasp's stings".
During one of her breaks from active Avengers duty, Janet approaches the team with concerns about her husband having suffered a breakdown and attacked former teammates. In attempting to find a way to help Hank, she is captured by a brainwashed Hank, and used by Ultron as a template to create Jocasta. She is rescued when Jocasta alerts the Avengers to her location, and Black Panther suggests that the A.I.'s ability to reach out to them was brought about because of Janet's personality breaking through.
Janet van Dyne discovers that her husband, now paranoid, overbearing and verbally abusive, has concocted a plan to make himself look good in front of the Avengers by staging an attack that can only be stopped by the instigator. When she attempts to dissuade him, Hank strikes her; she divorces him soon after and takes a very brief break from the team.
When Janet returns to the Avengers, she proposes that the team is in need of new leadership and nominates herself for the role of Chairperson. She is elected to the position by Thor, Iron Man and Captain America. Janet takes to the role naturally, proving to be an efficient and smart leader who is praised by Captain America for her leadership skills. She makes it a point to increase the number of women on the team and recruits She-Hulk and Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau) to the team.
At the same time as taking on leadership of the team, Janet begins to work in earnest at being a professional fashion designer. Part of her friendship with She-Hulk includes designing new clothing for her. She also renews her social life, engaging in a whirlwind romance with Tony Stark before learning that the billionaire is Iron Man. She breaks off the relationship, saying that she cannot date a colleague who is also a friend of her ex-husband. Later, she has a relationship with Paladin, though they are often apart due to both of their jobs.
Janet briefly hands leadership of the team off to the Vision, though she quickly resumes the role. The new team line-up proves difficult, and Janet clashes with Hercules taking issue with a woman leading. It is during this time that she meets the Space Phantom for the second time and defeats the villain. During the Secret War, Janet is captured by Magneto. However she turns the situation to her advantage by pretending to be seduced; she learns Magneto's plans and then defeats him before leaving to alert the Avengers.
During the Under Siege storyline, Janet leads the team during a time where they are attacked from all sides. She defeats Titania and the Absorbing Man, then leads a team against Baron Zemo’s forces to rescue Captain America, the Black Knight, and other team members who have been captured. Shortly after the resolution of this story, she steps down from leadership once more, nominating Monica Rambeau for the position. After leaving the team, she battles the threat of Red Ronin by herself. She later joins the West Coast Avengers. Initially, she still acts as though the team leader, to the chagrin of other West Coast Avengers who desire that role. During this time, she resumes a romantic relationship with Hank. Although she is elected as a regular member of the Avengers West, Janet chooses to become a reserve member.
Several years later, Janet van Dyne returns to the Avengers, first at reserve status, and later as a full member of the team. During the Destiny War, the Janet of the present becomes the leader of a team of Avengers assembled from different time periods, cited as being chosen due to her "inner strength and flexibility to give the team direction without exerting too much control". After the Destiny War, Janet returns to work with the Avengers once more, taking up leadership of the team and commanding the team through a number of conflicts, including Kang the Conqueror's invasion of Earth.
Janet van Dyne once more takes up leadership of the Avengers and continues to make sure there is a strong female presence on the team. Under her leadership, the number of women on the team outnumbers the number of men for the first time in Avengers history. Though her relationship with Hank Pym remains strong for some time, she turns down his proposal of remarrying, saying she wouldn't marry him again. During the Lionheart of Avalon storyline, Janet is shown fighting the Wrecking Crew while at giant size, a power she had rarely, if ever, used prior. She is shown to be powerful enough at this size to take down a jet. She has a brief fling with fellow team member Hawkeye.
While discussing her fling with Hawkeye, with the Scarlet Witch, a slightly tipsy Wasp confesses to a pregnancy scare and inadvertently mentions Wanda Maximoff's own children, whose unnatural existence Agatha Harkness has erased from the Witch's memory. Wasp's slip of the tongue, combined with Scarlet Witch's increasingly unstable and growing powers, cause Wanda to suffer a mental breakdown which leads to the events of Avengers Disassembled. Janet is knocked into a coma by a rampaging She-Hulk during an attack on Avengers Mansion by the Scarlet Witch. Hank Pym watches over her in the hospital, and when she recovers, they reconcile. The two retire from the Avengers in order to pursue a new life together in Oxford.
Janet van Dyne is pulled into space and placed in a situation where she is expected to fight to the death with other heroes and villains. Instead of following the wishes of the Stranger—who they thought to be the Beyonder—Janet falls into the leadership position for the group, giving tactical orders in battle and calling upon her years of experience with the Avengers to handle the threats thrown at them. After tension between her and her ex-husband, Janet explains to Medusa why she can't reconcile with Hank Pym, despite an attempt to do so while in London. Upon learning that the Space Phantom has taken on the form of Spider-Man, Janet leads the group and keeps one of the team from being trapped in limbo when the Space Phantom attempts to take the person's form.
During the superhuman Civil War, Janet van Dyne is pro-registration and suggests that they push forward the fifty-state initiative to get things under control after the Thor-Clone kills Bill Foster, an event which upsets her greatly.[volume & issue needed] She also becomes the host of a pro-registration reality TV show called America's Newest Superhero.
Janet van Dyne is selected as a member of the Mighty Avengers by Carol Danvers and Tony Stark as part of the Fifty State Initiative. During its attempt to destroy humanity, she correctly determines that Ultron has taken over Iron Man's body. When alien symbiotes attack New York, Janet uses a refined growth formula given to her by Hank Pym—who is actually a Skrull impostor—which allows her to shift to giant-size without side effects. During the beginning of the fight, she is briefly turned into a symbiote monster before a cure is created by Stark.
Janet van Dyne is among the Mighty Avengers who are fighting heroes from the Skrull ship. She is later seen with the rest of the Avengers heading to New York to confront the Skrulls. While fighting the Skrulls, the true purpose of the serum that the Skrull Hank Pym has given her is revealed. After Queen Veranke is thought to be dead, the Skrull imposter presses a button that makes Janet increase in size rapidly, as well as cause her to emitting lethal amounts of black-purple energy. Janet realizes that the "new" particles Pym has given her are turning her into a bio-bomb, and she tries to flee the battlefield and take as many Skrulls with her as possible when she explodes. To save both the city and heroes, Thor uses the enchanted hammer Mjolnir to create a spatial warp to seemingly disperses Janet into nothingness. Thor is devastated by the act and vows to avenge her.
Upon accepting Janet's death, Hank Pym takes up his ex-wife's role as the Wasp.
Following the Avengers vs. X-Men storyline, it is revealed that Janet van Dyne has not died after all, but has been shunted into a Microverse by Thor's spatial warp in the same spot that she appears to have died in Secret Invasion. Using her Avengers communication card she is able to send a signal with help from a local being called Cru-Sani. Giant-Man, Captain America, Thor and Iron Man go into the Microverse to rescue her and find her alive and fighting against an evil despot, Lord Gouzar, who has conquered the Microverse. After defeating Lord Gouzar and liberating the Microverse from his tyranny, Janet and her fellow Avengers return to their normal universe.
Following a brief hiatus, Janet returns to the team as a member of the Avengers Unity Squad. In addition to serving on the roster, she privately funds the team in order to avoid the problems that would come with government sponsorship. During the events of Inhumanity, Janet returns to the Microverse to rescue a family who has been pulled there through a newly awakened Inhuman's powers. There she confronts Gouzar once more, before returning to normal space. In the Avengers Unity Squad's fight with the Horsemen of Death, the Wasp defeats both the resurrected Banshee and Sentry, utilizing both her ability to grow to giant size as well as her ability to control insect life. After the team is defeated and the Earth destroyed, Wasp is the last surviving human and begins a romance with Havok (Alex Summers) with whom she has a daughter named Katie. Years later on Planet X, she is captured when she and Havok destroy a tachyon dam preventing time travel to their era.[volume & issue needed] They are able to undo the destruction of Earth by forming an alliance with Kang and projecting their minds back into their past selves (physical time-travel still being impossible) but Kang takes their daughter to a place outside of time to 'protect' her from the changes in history, Kang subsequently attempts to use Katie as a hostage to force Havok to stop attacking him when he tries to take the Celestial power for himself, departing with Katie as his prisoner. Although Alex is left disfigured after the battle, he and Janet remain together. They are contacted by Immortus informing them that Immortus can return their daughter to them if they take action at the right time and place to conceive her, but he also warns them about the imminent threat posed by the Red Skull.
After the Red Skull's actions cause all heroes and villains present at his defeat to undergo a 'moral inversion', Alex attempts to argue for Janet's life as the X-Men prepare to detonate a gene bomb that will destroy all non-mutants in the blast radius, but accepts the decision nevertheless. After Carnage sacrifices himself to contain the blast, Alex attempts to take credit for it, but Janet sees through the deception. Although the inversion is undone, the two separate for good when Alex is one of three characters (the other two being Iron Man and Sabretooth) to remain in their new state.
As part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel, Wasp confronts Wolverine (X-23) and her clones called The Sisters when they try to steal an Ant-Man suit. Upon Wolverine clearing things up, Wasp agrees to shrink down and destroys the nanites in Zelda's body. While Wasp and Wolverine made their way through Zelda's body, Captain Mooney of Alchemax Genetics shows up and shoots Zelda causing Wasp and Wolverine to exit the body. The two of them knock out Captain Mooney.
Wasp later caught up with the Uncanny Avengers and confronted the Hank Pym/Ultron after helping to fend off the monsters in the subway. When Wasp asked the Hank Pym/Ultron about the recent events, she figured out that Ultron is in control of Hank Pym when Ultron guessed wrong. The rest of the Uncanny Avengers were informed of this causing Cable to pressure Hank Pym enough for Ultron to go on the attack and reveal his true self.
Powers and abilities
Making use of the cellular implantation of sub-atomic Pym particles, the Wasp possesses the power to alter her physical size, causing her body's mass to be shunted to or gained from an alternate dimension known as Kosmos. She is able to shrink to a minimum of several centimeters or grow to a maximum of several hundred feet. Smaller or larger sizes are possible but the exertion puts a strain on her body. Initially, these abilities stem from use of a Pym particle gas released from special capsules, and later biochemical augmentation by Henry Pym. Over time, however, her body absorbs enough particles to cause cellular mutation due to repeated exposure to Pym particles, allowing her to alter her size at will.
At miniature size, her strength level increases as her body's mass is compacted. At giant size, her strength and endurance increase geometrically with her height, reaching superhuman levels. Despite the advantages of giant size, Janet usually prefers to remain the diminutive Wasp, calling on her growth power only in times of extreme emergency.
At miniature size, the Wasp grows a pair of translucent insect wings from her back, a result of genetic modifications provided by Hank Pym. These grant her the power of flight, at speeds up to 40 mph (64 km/h).
The Wasp is able to harness and augment her body's natural bio-electric energy, releasing it from her hands in powerful electrical force bursts, which she calls her "stinger blasts", "stingers", or "wasp's stings". Originally, she requires special wrist devices to produce these, but again, Pym particle absorption allows her to create the ability unaided.
The Wasp's genetic modifications also grant her the ability to sprout small prehensile antennae from her temples which allowed her to telepathically communicate with and control insects. However, this is an ability she rarely uses.
Van Dyne displays several non-superhuman abilities that garner her special fame and attention, foremost of which is her fashion sense; in nearly all of her early appearances, she sports a new costume, presumably designed and manufactured on her own as she is a gifted fashion designer. She is also a skilled amateur screenwriter. The Wasp is trained in unarmed combat by Captain America and in combat utilizing her special powers by Henry Pym. In addition, the Wasp is one of the most intuitive, if not deductive, members of the Avengers, and is an experienced leader and strategist. She effectively determines that a chemical accident has created a schizophrenic break in Henry and that the relationship between the Scarlet Witch and the Vision is the result of the infused personality of Wonder Man,[volume & issue needed] and guesses Iron Man's identity of Tony Stark.[volume & issue needed]
Other characters named Wasp
After the apparent death of Janet Van Dyne, her ex husband Hank Pym became the second Wasp and joined the Mighty Avengers as their leader.[volume & issue needed] After founding the Avengers Academy,[volume & issue needed] Pym returned to wear his Giant-Man suit,[volume & issue needed] and helped the Avengers to rescue Janet from the Microverse.[volume & issue needed]
It was revealed that Hank Pym had a daughter named Nadia through Maria Trovaya who was abducted and supposedly killed by foreign agents. This caused Nadia to be raised in the Red Room until the day she obtained a Pym Particle sample that enabled her to escape. Upon heading to where her father lived, Nadia learned about what happened to Hank and used some parts of her father's costume and some materials laying around where she created a new version of the Wasp suit. Upon becoming the third Wasp, Nadia plans to obtain the admiration of her father's allies. After earning the trusts of the Avengers after stabilizing Vision, Edwin Jarvis took Nadia on a road trip to meet her extended family.
In the alternate future of the "MC2" universe, Henry Pym and Janet Pym are parents of two children (Hope Pym and Henry Pym, Jr.). Giant-Man later perishes on the last mission of the original Avengers, and the Wasp dies of a broken heart. Their parents' deaths motivate Hope to be the Red Queen to form the Revengers while Henry Jr. turns into the Big Man and joins a government reform team.[volume & issue needed]
The Marvel Adventures: The Avengers series (set in its own continuity) features Janet van Dyne as Giant-Girl, showcasing her ability to grow rather than shrink, which she uses in combat. She is younger than her main universe counterpart and she cracks jokes along with her teammate Spider-Man. Issue 13 of the series reveals her origin as a wealthy socialite given access to size-changing Pym particles by scientist Henry Pym (here an employee of Janet's father rather than a superhero). Her maximum size is unknown, but she grows tall enough to catch a school. Instead of having her powers naturally, Janet requires a suit powered by Pym particles to change her size. Like her Earth-616 counterpart, Janet seems to change her costume regularly. The first costume is purple and black with a mask adorned with antennae that looks remarkably similar to the Giant-Man costume worn by Hank Pym in the mainstream universe. This costume allows her to grow while having the added effect of letting her control insects (though she never uses this power). This costume is later destroyed, and Janet wears a second costume that does not include a mask, as her secret identity had been revealed. Finally, Janet gains a third suit that allows her to both grow and shrink, with the suit changing in appearance depending on her size. While using this suit to shrink, she calls herself Wasp and has powers similar to her mainstream counterpart, such as flight, proportionally superhuman strength, and the ability to project bio-electrical stings. A recent preview of Marvel Adventures: the Avengers #19 has shown her wearing a costume which is primarily blue but has gold-yellow accents. Whether this costume increases her maximum size is yet to be seen. She also mentions that she has at least two brothers, although they have never been seen or given any names (see Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #3).
The Marvel Zombies series features an alternate Wasp as one of the main characters. She is now a zombie, another victim of the virus that has infected nearly all her world's superhumans. After Earth's human population is almost entirely devoured, Wasp is one of the zombies who finally kills (and consumes) Magneto.[volume & issue needed]
Around this time, Wasp is part of a sub-team that makes its way to the Marvel Apes universe. A collection of heroes manages to reverse the dimensional tear and send them back, but not before Wasp secretly infects the local version of Iron Man, Iron Mandrill.
The Wasp then discovers that Hank Pym has kept a secret food supply—a sedated and maimed Black Panther, held prisoner in Hank's lab. She confronts Hank, but he decapitates her by increasing in size and biting her head off in the struggle that follows. When the Black Panther later escapes the lab, he also takes the Wasp's head—still alive, but helpless. He eventually reaches safety, encountering Magneto's surviving Acolytes. The Acolytes announce that they will study the Wasp, seeking a cure for the virus.
An epilogue, five years later, shows the Wasp exploring the deserted Earth alongside the Acolytes. Her severed head is now sealed within a liquid-filled helmet, controlling a robotic body.[volume & issue needed]
Forty years later in "Marvel Zombies 2", her head is fixed on a more advanced machine with her head exposed to the air. She also develops romantic feelings toward one of the Acolyte survivors, a scientist named Reynolds. As she indicates, forty years with the Acolytes is far longer than the time she has spent with Hank. At one point, the two share a kiss.
A long period without feeding seems to have cured her completely of the hunger. Now Black Panther's adviser and friend, she is forced to infect him when an Acolyte assassin attempts to kill him. This incident is orchestrated by Malcolm Cortez, the son of Fabian Cortez, wanting to take leadership from Black Panther. When the hunger resurfaces, she nearly eats Panther's wife before being stopped by him. Instead, they eat the assassin and they state they will go into isolation in order to control their hunger. This is a success. Multiple powered zombies soon threaten the colony. Wasp fights alongside Panther, Hawkeye (who had also been decapitated and inhabits Janet's own former cybernetic body), Forge, and a reformed Luke Cage and Spider-Man to save the people of New Wakanda from Firelord, Giant-Man, Wolverine, Gladiator, Hulk, Jean Grey and Iron Man seeking to finish off humanity and retain the inter-dimensional portal so they can enter a new universe. Eventually the zombies discover, as Janet has, that the hunger fades with time, and they stop their rampage only to have their numbers halved by the Hulk. Janet, along with the other remaining zombies (the new Colonel America, Spider-Man, Cage, Giant-Man, Wolverine and Black Panther), end up teleported to another universe by Malcolm Cortez.
The Wasp ends in the dimension of 'Earth Z'. She leads an alien invasion of the zombie-infected Earth in an effort to quash the flesh-eating threat. She fails at this and is destroyed.
Janet van Dyne is shown as a member of the Avengers and aids them during the battle with Starro. She also gives Iron Man the idea to create a dimensional alarm and rallies other Avengers to defend the artifacts. After the final battle in the Savage Land against the Justice League, Janet ends up as an Avenger in the new merged world that the villain Krona created and is unaware of the changes. In this world she and Hank are good friends with Elongated Man and his wife Sue Dibny. When the two teams decide to team up against Krona, the Wasp fights alongside the Avengers until the battle is over.
During the period when she is presumed dead, a cyborg version of the Wasp appears in the Core, an underground city populated by robots. During a battle between the Descendants (the residents of the Core) and the Secret Avengers, Hawkeye encounters the cyborg Wasp. He muses that the cyborg must have been the reanimated corpse of Janet, and finds himself unable to harm her. This Wasp is later revealed to be from an alternate future where most of Earth's superheroes had been killed and rebuilt using Deathlok technology. After the death of her timeline's version of Hank Pym, the Deathlok Wasp attempts to kidnap and assimilate his Earth-616 counterpart.
Janet Van Dyne is a Stark International employee who wears a suit which grants her plasma wings. Janet has a rivalry with Iron Girl. Wasp helps defend the energy well from Hydra and Namor.[volume & issue needed] During Rings of Fate she is presumably killed by the Hand.[volume & issue needed]
The Ultimate Marvel incarnation of Wasp is Janet Pym, a 26-year-old mutant and a member of the Ultimates. She holds two Ph.D.s (one known to be in molecular biology) and is portrayed as being of Asian descent. She is moderately fluent in German.
Her mutant status remains hidden from the public but is known by Henry "Hank" Pym and S.H.I.E.L.D.. She can generate a glittering wasp-like sting which she discharges through her hands. Her bio-electric blast, when applied from within the ear to the brain, reverts the Hulk to Bruce Banner during the New York massacre. Side-effects of her insectoid genetics include the occasional consumption of bugs, forming her own larval nests, and laying egg-like constructs. During her college years, she shares a room with Betty Ross and starts seeing Henry. Henry is abusive to her early in their relationship and during college is known to have hit her at least twice, putting her head through a door on one occasion and splitting the roof of her mouth on another. Betty can also recall instances where Janet is missing chunks of hair. Janet also suffers from severe bulimia prior to joining the Ultimates.
Hank's attempts at change through medication and enlistment in the Ultimates does not improve his behavior. As a result of Hank's humiliating loss against Hulk and simmering jealousy of Janet's friendship with Captain America (Steve Rogers), Hank and Janet fight viciously until Janet resorts to stinging and Hank commands an army of ants against her. Janet is found in a state of anaphylactic shock, caused by receiving multiple ant stings she has received while at wasp-size. Captain America, upon learning of Hank's violence, tracks down and beats Hank unconscious for Janet. Captain America's visits Janet after the fight left her exasperated and angry, stemming from embarrassment of her personal life now being public. After stopping the Chitauri invasion, Captain America and Wasp reconcile as friends and slowly start dating, despite Hank's attempts at making amends. On one of their secret meetings, Janet later confesses to Hank, now classified as a security risk by S.H.I.E.L.D., that the generation gap between Captain America and herself, along with the elderly status of Steve's friends, put a large strain on their relationship. She walks out on Rogers and meets up with Hank in a bar.
During their invasion of America, the Liberators fails to take Wasp into account, discounting her as being no threat due to her abilities being those to make herself "smaller and weaker". Janet is able to make her way to the cells in the Triskelion where Captain America is being held under suspicion of the murder of Hawkeye's entire family. Though she is discovered and apparently subdued, she has already liberated her boyfriend. Though Captain America easily beats the Schizoid Man, he stops fighting when several super soldiers threaten to tear Wasp apart; she then surprises them all by using her stinging powers at her normal size for the first time, killing or incapacitating all the super soldiers at once. At some point, Hank gives Janet a dose of the Giant-Man serum, which allows her to grow to gigantic proportions. At a larger size, Janet helps turn the tide in favor of American forces and crushes the Insect Queen with one stomp of her foot. It is unknown whether she can grow at will or whether this is a one-off experience.
During The Ultimates 3 miniseries, Janet becomes co-leader of the team, along with Captain America, and now sports a crimson-and-gold outfit and a mask. She begins to reconcile with her estranged husband, and later works with the Ultimates and Wolverine to stop the plans of Ultron. She and Hawkeye frequently clash thanks to her teammate's almost suicidal nature. Having gone missing during the flood in Ultimatum Wave, Hank Pym and Hawkeye search for her, only for Hawkeye to discover her body being eaten by the Blob. Hank tells Hawkeye and Iron Man (Tony Stark) to take Wasp's body to activate "the Jocasta project".
There are several references to Wasp following her death. She is seen dining in Valhalla with other deceased superheroes when Thor gives a eulogy for Spider-Man (Peter Parker). A series of "WASPS" robots, designed by her late husband, also appear, and are eventually acquired by Mr. Morez (Modi). She is succeeded by the Red Wasp, who has powers which are similar too, yet more aggressive than those of the original Wasp.
In popular culture
- In the Millennium Trilogy, it's revealed that Lisbeth Salander's nickname Wasp is inspired by the superheroine. In The Girl in the Spider's Web it's revealed the reason too.
In other media
- Wasp appeared in The Marvel Super Heroes, voiced by Peg Dixon.
- Wasp made a cameo appearance in the Fantastic Four episode "To Battle the Living Planet".
- Wasp appeared in The Avengers: United They Stand, voiced by Linda Ballantyne.
- Wasp is featured in The Super Hero Squad Show, voiced by Jennifer Morrison.
- Janet van Dyne / Wasp appears as one of the main characters in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, voiced by Colleen O'Shaughnessey.
- Wasp appears in the Toei anime series Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers, voiced by Kaori Mizuhashi.
- Wasp appears in the animated direct-to-video movies Ultimate Avengers and Ultimate Avengers 2, voiced by Grey DeLisle.
- Janet van Dyne's son Henry Pym, Jr. appears in the film Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow. Wasp was killed by Ultron prior to the film.
- Wasp was originally going to be in the 2012 film The Avengers.
- Hayley Lovitt makes a cameo appearance as Janet van Dyne in a flashback sequence in the 2015 film Ant-Man. In an attempt to stop a missile Van Dyne shrinks down to a sub-atomic size. In a mid-credits scene, Hope van Dyne is given a prototype of her mother's upgraded Wasp costume.
- Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige stated that there are plans for Wasp to appear in Ant-Man sequels and other future films.
- Wasp appears as an non-player character in Captain America and the Avengers.
- Wasp is a playable hero in Marvel Super Hero Squad Online.
- Wasp is a playable character in Marvel: Avengers Alliance.
- Wasp is a playable character in Lego Marvel Super Heroes, voiced by Tara Strong.
- Wasp is a non playable character in Disney Infinity 2.0 Edition, voiced again by Colleen O'Shaughnessey.
- Wasp is a team-up character in Marvel Heroes.
- The Janet van Dyne version of Wasp appears as a playable character in Lego Marvel's Avengers voiced by Ashley Benson.
- Wasp is a playable character in Marvel: Future Fight.
- A teenage version of Wasp appears as a playable character in Marvel Avengers Academy, voiced by Alexandra Daddario.
Reception and legacy
In 2013, Marvel.com ranked Wasp as the fifth greatest Avenger of all time, saying that "she not only became chairperson of the Avengers, but perhaps the most potent and resourceful leader Earth’s Mightiest Heroes had ever seen." 
- "Wasp is number 99". IGN. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
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- Nolen-Weathington, Eric; George Perez. Modern Masters Volume 2: George Perez. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-893905-25-2.
- Tales to Astonish #44
- Tales to Astonish #57
- The Avengers #1
- Avengers #13-14
- Avengers #16
- The Avengers #57, 59-60
- The Avengers #59
- The Avengers #60
- The Avengers #183
- Marvel Feature Vol. 1 #6-10
- Marvel Team-Up #59-60
- The Avengers #161
- The Avengers #162
- The Avengers #212-214
- Avengers #217
- Avengers #224
- Avengers #243
- Solo Avengers #15
- West Coast Avengers #32
- West Coast Avengers #42
- Avengers West Coast #69
- Avengers Forever #11
- Avengers (1998) #50
- The Avengers vol. 3 #71
- Avengers vol. 3 #77
- Avengers (1998) #82
- Avengers #503
- Avengers Finale #1
- Eternals #1
- Mighty Avengers #1
- Mighty Avengers #2
- The Mighty Avengers #8
- Secret Invasion #8
- Mighty Avengers #21 (February 2009)
- Avengers Vol. 4 #32–34
- Uncanny Avengers #5
- Avengers Assemble #20
- Uncanny Avengers #15
- Uncanny Avengers #20
- Uncanny Avengers #22
- Uncanny Avengers #23
- Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #4
- Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #7
- Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #8
- Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #9
- All-New Wolverine #5
- Uncanny Avengers Vol. 3 #10
- The Avengers #59-60
- All-New, All-Different Avengers #9
- Marvel Chimps: The Evolution Starts Here #4 (2009)
- Marvel Zombies 2 #3 (March 2008)
- Marvel Zombies 2 #5 (May 2008)
- Marvel Zombies Return #3 (2009)
- Avengers/JLA #4 (May 2004)
- Secret Avengers #22
- Secret Avengers #24
- Secret Avengers #34
- Ultimates 10 (July 2003), Marvel Comics
- Ultimates 6 (July 2003), Marvel Comics
- The Ultimates #5
- Ultimates 4 (June 2002), Marvel Comics
-  Archived August 21, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- Ultimates 5 (July 2002), Marvel Comics
- Ultimates 11 (July 2006), Marvel Comics
- Ultimates 3 2 (January 2008), Marvel Comics
- The Ultimates #7-9
- Ultimates 2 #6
- Ultimates 2 #9
- Ultimates 2 #12
- Ultimates 3 #1-5
- Ultimates 2 #4
- Ultimatum #2
- Ultimatum #3
- Ultimate Comics: Ultimate Fallout #2
- Ultimate Comics: Ultimates #15-16
- Ultimate Avengers #2
- "Comics Continuum". Comics Continuum. 2009-07-28. Retrieved 2010-12-28.
- Busch, Jenna (2010-02-08). "AVENGERS Animated Assembling w/ Phil Lamarr". Newsarama. Retrieved 2010-02-08.
- Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers Anime Made by Toei
- McMillan, Graeme (August 26, 2013). "The Wasp's Almost 'Avengers' Appearance, Revealed (Video)". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Empire (December 12, 2014). Empire Magazine #141: Evangeline Lilly, Benedict Wong - December 12, 2014. SoundCloud. Event occurs at 1:06:50. Archived from the original on December 18, 2014. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
- Goldberg, Matt (June 22, 2015). "Kevin Feige Reveals ANT-MAN Will Have another Beloved Marvel Superhero". Collider. Retrieved June 22, 2015.
- Keyes, Rob (June 22, 2015). "How Does Wasp Factor Into 'Ant-Man' Movie?". Screen Rant.
- Goldberg, Matt (June 22, 2015). "ANT-MAN Set Visit: Evangeline Lilly Talks Ambiguity, Script Changes, and More". Collider.
- Mendelsen, Scott (July 20, 2015). "Why 'Ant-Man 2' Should Star The Wasp". Forbes.
- Davis, Erik (July 7, 2015). "Interview: Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige on 'Ant-Man,' 'Doctor Strange' and More". Fandango.com. Archived from the original on July 17, 2015. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
- Watkins, Gwynne (July 17, 2015). "'Ant-Man' Director On That Surprise Avengers Cameo and the Future of Wasp (Exclusive)". Yahoo.
- Goldberg, Matt (April 10, 2016). "'Captain America: Civil War' Screenwriters Reveal a Superhero Who Almost Made the Cut". Collider.