Comic Book / The Wasp

The Wasp is a Marvel Comics superhero created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Making her debut in Tales to Astonish #44 (June, 1963), Janet van Dyne has been featured in more than four decades of Marvel comics history. One of the founding members of The Avengers, the Wasp famously gave the team its name after the the heroes take down the villain Loki. Aside from a few solo adventures in Tales to Astonish, Janet is the only original Avenger never to receive her own series.

When her father was killed by an alien attack, Janet turned to her colleague Hank Pym aka Ant-Man. Hank gave her access to the same size-changing Pym Particles that he used, plus genetic augmentation for insect wings that would allow her to fly once she shrank small enough. Over time the size-changing would become an innate power, plus she developed the ability to fire bio-electric "stings" from her hands.

The Wasp name was also briefly used by Hank himself during a time when Janet was considered dead, during which he would co-lead the limited series "Ant-Man & Wasp" with then-current Ant-Man Eric O'Grady. Tropes regarding him can be found over on the Ant-Man page.

A new Wasp has since appeared as part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel relaunch. Pym's first wife was a Russian political refugee, but she was murdered before he met Janet. However, unknown to Pym she had given birth to a daughter, Nadia, who was taken into the "Red Room" program that had produced the Black Widow. Showing herself to have inherited Pym's aptitude for science, Nadia escaped using Pym Particles acquired from the black market and sought out her father, only to find out he had supposedly died in battle. She then steals some of his unclaimed gear and is working to prove herself his successor.

Janet appears —briefly, via flashback— in Ant-Man, one of the many properties that form the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In that film's stinger, Hank gives his daughter, Hope van Dyne (played by Evangeline Lilly), a suit he designed with Janet prior to her death, suggesting Hope will assume her mother's old mantle and become the second Wasp. Sure enough, a sequel —titled Ant-Man & The Wasp— is set for release in 2018, making it the first MCU film with a female character in the title. note  Fitting, since The Wasp was also the first female Avenger in the comics.

  • Ant-Man and The Wasp (featuring Hank in the role of Wasp instead of Janet)
  • The Unstoppable Wasp (featuring Nadia Pym, also marks the first solo dedicated to Wasp)



  • Ant-Man: Janet appears in a flashback as the Wasp.
  • Ant-Man & The Wasp: Featuring Hope van Dyne as The Wasp.

Video Games

Western Animation

Tropes seen in these series include:

  • Action Fashionista: Probably has the largest wardrobe in comic book history. Justified, as she actually is The Fashionista. See portrayals of and information about each costume here.
  • Action Girl: At first Janet was the weak link of the team, but later on became one of the smartest and craftiest of its members.
  • Adult Fear: Her and Havok's child was wiped out of existence from the timeline, but they still remember her as clearly as they did before the timeline change.
  • Animal Theme Naming: As The Wasp.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Based on Wasps, obviously.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The Pym Particles.
  • Badass Adorable: Depending on the Writer, but Jan can kick ass and her quirky personality makes her adorable as she does so.
  • Baleful Polymorph: For a very brief period in the late 1990s, Jan was stuck in a mutated insect-woman form.
  • Battle Couple: With Hank Pym, and later with Havok.
  • The Beastmaster: Rarely used, Janet can produce small prehensile antennae from her forehead that allow her to communicate with and control insects.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: More than anything Janet really wanted to be the second Mrs. Pym. So much so that she married Hank during his first real nervous breakdown simply because it seemed to be the only way to get his ring on her finger after years of asking him to marry her to no avail. The marriage sadly didn't work out so well...
  • Bio-Augmentation: The origin of her wings and stingers; they were added to her by Hank Pym when she volunteered for his experimentation.
  • Brain Uploading: The Killer Robot Ultron tried to upload Janet's mind into Jocasta, his newly-built female companion. Though the Avengers intervene before the procedure is complete, Jocasta retains enough of Janet's brain engrams to turn against her creator.
  • Canon Immigrant: Nadia Pym is basically movie!Hope Pym ("Nadia" even means "hope" in Russian), only with her mother being Maria Trovaya rather than Jan.
  • Casual Kink: Uncanny Avengers establishes that Janet and Hank used to visit the Hellfire Club "to spice things up".
  • The Chick: His early role in the Avengers. She develop in The Heart
  • Clothing Damage: In the The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! episode "Gamma World", her costume is torn apart when she mutated to an actual Human Wasp, only pieces that cover her ladies part remain.
  • Cute Bruiser: Jan is so very, very, very much this, especially on Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
  • Death by Origin Story: The death of her father at the hands of the creature from Kosmos is what inspired Janet to contact Hank Pym, resulting in her transformation into the Wasp. Jan herself died during the early days of Hank Pym as Ant-Man in the Ant-Man film.
  • Death Is Cheap: The Mighty Thor gave Jan a Mercy Kill during Secret Invasion. Years later, after Avengers vs. X-Men, the Avengers learned that Jan did not really die, but got transported to the Microverse.
  • Decomposite Character: In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, rather than being one woman, the Wasp is a Legacy Character: Jan was the original Wasp in the 80's, and her daughter Hope carries on her legacy as the new Wasp in the present.
  • Depending on the Artist/Writer: A number of aspects of her character have varied depending on who's drawing and writing her:
    • Her competence, maturity, and intelligence varies depending on how much the writer likes her.
    • Her hair varies from being reasonably long, short and springy, to even boyishly cut.
    • Her abilities also vary; usually she has to shrink to fly and use her hand blasts, but some writers let her fly and blast at full size.
  • Domestic Abuse: To get serious for a second here, while she is one of the most famous examples of being a victim of domestic abuse in comics, she has done a fair share of her own, in many ways she's above Hank in this:
    • She willfully and blatantly used Hank's drug-addled and unstable mental state to force him into marriage with her. To give context, Hank at the moment of the marriage thought himself to be the villainous Yellowjacket, later it was mentioned several times that Hank was so out of it during the ceremony that he had no idea what he was saying. Janet had no excuse, as she was just being manipulative for the sake of keeping Hank by her side no matter what. She has a panel ranting at her team mates about her happniess and how Hank's previous behavior killed that after her announcement to marry Yellow Jacket, who none of the avengers knew was Hank and thought her new beau killed.
  • The Fashionista: Janet is a fashion designer in her free time.
  • Faux Action Girl: Depending on the Writer, some people just don't know how to write a competent Jan.
  • Flight: When she shrinks, and can use her wings. Sometimes even at normal sizes, depending on the writer.
  • Hand Blast: The Wasp can fire bio-electric energy blasts from her hands. At first Janet required special wristbands, but years of exposure to the Pym Particles allowed her to generate the blasts naturally.
  • Hello, Nurse!: The original pin-up girl of the Marvel Universe. One of her earliest appearances has her drooled over by the residents of a veterans' hospital.
  • Hidden Buxom: In The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!, where she seems normally endowed in her costume, but her bikini scene reveals she is very busty indeed.
  • The Host: Janet was the host of two TV shows in the Marvel Universe: "America's Next Superstar" & "America's Newest Superhero".
  • Improvised Clothes: On the occasion that her clothing has failed to change size with her, either because she forgot it hadn't been treated, or the chemical process that was supposed to cause the change had somehow been disrupted.
  • Instant Costume Change: Depending on the writer and artist, Jan's costumes and clothes can work like this, as there's no way she could simply hide the costumes under the outfits without someone noticing (i.e. a full bodysuit under a short sleeveless dress.)
  • Jerkass Ball: Held on to it with both hands when she was taking advantage of Hank's breakdown to force him to marry her.
  • Jumped at the Call: She was much more excited at the prospects of forming a team than the others, and was even the one who coined the name "The Avengers".
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: While she'd rather have a second to switch to a costume if possible, she will not hesitate to throw a hell of a right hook in her wedding dress or chuck a table in a short skirt if necessary.
  • Legacy Character:
    • Hank Pym as Wasp II. Also Petra Larkov as Red Wasp in the Ultimate Marvel continuity.
    • As mentioned above, Hope Van Dyne is the Wasp II in the movies.
    • While Janet is still active as the Wasp, another girl has also taken up the mantle of the Wasp in All-New, All-Different Marvel. This other girl is named Nadia Pym, the daughter of Hank and his first wife, Maria Trovaya. She's basically movie!Hope as a Canon Immigrant.
  • Made of Iron: The Wasp's density increases in her giant form, giving her greater durability.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: For Hank. Eventually becomes a deconstruction of the trope, considering how that relationship ends up.
  • Most Common Superpower: Under most artists.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Not nearly as much anymore, but her most common role in the original line-up; her role as a fashion designer was used to justify as many bikini, clothes changing and skimpy outfit scenes as possible. She also tends to change size in civilian clothes more than her husband, which leaves her naked since the clothes don't change with her.
    • In Earth's Mightiest Heroes episode in The Casket of Ancient Winters we see her in bikini, and in the episode Gamma World her uniform is shredded.
  • My Suit Is Also Super: Janet's various outfits can shrink and grow with her thanks to the Pym Particles.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: In The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!, Wasp is fully capable of kicking villains around; in fact, she can more than handle herself against most villains, unless said villain is a Big Bad or Person of Mass Destruction, such as Graviton, Loki, Enchantress, or Executioner. Unfortunately for Wasp, she's the weakest member on the team, but they're Earth's Mightiest Heroes after all. The weakest of the mightiest is still one of the mightiest.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: The Wasp retains her normal strength and weight in insect form.
  • Power Perversion Potential: More than just potential. Janet and Hank have used their powers to pleasure each other in creative ways.
  • Race Lift: The Wasp is Asian American in the Ultimate Marvel universe (except when she isn't).
  • Rich Bitch: Janet's personality for most of her early career. Hank Pym cited this as one of the reasons he was so hesitant to marry Janet in the first place.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: A number of Janet's costumes have holes in the back for her wings, which are too tiny to see when she's at normal height.
  • Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: Most versions of The Wasp have this; Janet Van Dyne usually has a tiny superhero outfit to wear when she turns into the Wasp. If she doesn't? Well, then she has to fight starkers.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: Janet became trapped at insect size for a time after leaving the Avengers.
  • She's Got Legs: When giant. Normal sized Janet is actually a pretty small girl. Her The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! counterpart also qualifies.
  • Sidekick Graduations Stick: Janet was generally treated as Ant-Man's young, flighty sidekick/partner at the beginning of her career. As a member of the Avengers, the Wasp gained considerable experience working alongside Iron Man and Captain America, eventually becoming Chairman and, later, leader of the Avengers.
  • Size Shifter: Janet initially required doses of Pym Particles in order to change size, requiring her to carry special pills or gas canisters. Later, Janet's body would start to generate Pym Particles on its own, allowing her to change size at will.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: Most notable with her The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!, Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers, Ultimate Marvel and Ultimate Avengers counterparts.
  • The Smurfette Principle: The only female member of the original Avengers.
  • Stalker with a Crush: David "Whirlwind" Cannon developed a romantic obsession with her way back in Marvel Feature #6, and recent events in Avengers Academy showed that her death didn't lessen it one iota.
  • The Story Teller: Many solo stories feature "the Wonderful Wasp" in Tales to Astonish showed her entertaining in various venues by performing as a raconteur. One of the stories had her using Hank to evaluate her story. She was really upset when she learned he wasn't listening.
  • Super Strength: Only available in giant form. A portion of the strength goes to supporting the Wasp's body, leading to diminishing returns if she grows too large. After a power upgrade in the Seventies, she has the same strength in tiny size that she does at regular height, leading some to mistakenly assume it's super.
  • The Tease: She always flirts with every member of the team, especially the male ones. In general though, she's more like their little sister most of the time.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Janet received a power-up in the early 1980s in a Marvel Team-Up plotline, due to Hank Pym refining her particular formula of Pym Particles, receiving more powerful "stings" and higher strength when she was shrunken down, and again in the early 2000s when she gained the ability to grow to giant size as well as shrink. She also spent much of the 1980s as the chairwoman of the Avengers, where she scored several impressive wins one right after the other.
  • Ultimate Universe: She has a counterpart in the Ultimate Marvel universe. This version of Janet is an Asian mutant who has the power to shrink down to insectile size and fly via wings — as well as a few other implied "drawbacks" that Pym references, like eating bugs and laying "egg-like constructs" once per month instead of going through her period. The Ultimate version of Pym actually retro-engineered his size-shifting technology from her biology, and she let him take the credit for it.
  • Unfinished Business: Hercules and Amadeus Cho encounter Janet's soul in Erebus, stubbornly trying to win resurrection on one of the slot machines. This created a Plot Hole when Bendis later established that Jan had never really died in the first place.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: The Wasp has hundreds of different costumes thanks to her career as a fashion designer. almost all the costumes she's made are listed here.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: Frequent, given that her clothes need to be specially prepared to change size with her.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction: The Skrulls turn Janet into one of these during Secret Invasion, prompting Thor having to Mercy Kill her to save the planet.
  • Wedding Smashers: Janet nearly died when the Ringmaster and the Circus of Crime attacked during her wedding to Hank Pym.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: When Nadia Pym appears in All New All Different Avengers' cross over with Civil War II she watches a news report about the event which causes her to start angrily asking why the hell heroes are fighting each other instead of talking things out.
  • Willfully Weak: Janet is fully aware of the power and durability that come with growing to giant size, but she prefers to fight at insect size. She'll only break out the big guns when the shit really hits the fan.
  • Winged Humanoid: Hank Pym implanted two tiny wings on Janet's back, giving her the power to fly when she shrinks to insect size.
  • Working with the Ex: Happened quite often given the "on again, off again " nature of her relationship with Hank Pym.