Unstoppable Wasp #5 Review
Writer: Jeremy Whitley
Cover Artist: Stacey Lee
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Graphic Designer: Carlos Lao
Previously in Unstoppable Wasp…
After Nadia’s friend were all attacked by A.I.M. at their lab, they recovered at the hospital, while Nadia herself experiences a manic episode, returning to G.I.R.L labs, and spends the entire evening without any sleep, desperate to “fix” all of her friends. Realizing she can get more done within her own, shrunken-down lab within her necklace, as time will pass much more slowly there, she retreats into it. When Priya, Taina, Alexis, Shay and Ying return looking for Nadia, she briefly returns from her miniature-lab, only to attack Shay when Shay tries to convince Nadia that she’s not well. This, in turn, leads to Ying attacking Nadia.
The comic opens immediately where the previous issue left off, with Nadia on the floor, wincing from the punch delivered by Ying. Nadia doesn’t understand why Ying hit her, Ying stating that Nadia threw her girlfriend, Nadia trying to justify this stating that Shay was trying to stop her from working. Nadia refuses to let anyone stop her “important work”. When Alexis tries to reason with Nadia, Nadia shuts her down. Taina then interceeds, angry at Nadia for not being at the lab to protect her friends from A.I.M, and then demands an explanation about what Nadia’s written on the blackboard, about “fixing everyone”. Seeing this as Nadia viewing them all as broken, this gets Taina even more steamed, especially after learning that Nadia contacted doctors regarding Tana’s condition. Tania demands Nadia leave, to go back to her lab, that no one wants Nadia around.
Shay finally speaks up again, stating that this is about Nadia’s mental well-being and that they need to keep her there until Janet and Bobbi get there, but Nadia refuses, attempting to retreat into the lab once again, but Shay blocks the necklace with her hand as Nadia attempts to shrink and fly into it. As Shay grabs the necklace, Ying moves in front of her to shield her from Nadia. Nadia attempts to grab the necklace away from Shay, but Ying grabs Nadia instead, spinning around and kicking her across the room. Priya desperately tries to convince Nadia they’re only trying to help her, but Nadia still refuses to listen,
Nadia charges at Ying, knocking her down, as Alexis grabs her. But Nadia shrinks out of the hold and kicks Alexis down. Priya again tries to plead with Nadia to stop, as Nadia swings around and nearly punches Priya through her head.
The situation continues to escalate, as Ying grabs Nadia and tries to knock Nadia out with a sleeper hold, but Nadia once again escapes. Nadia pummels Ying before Shay finally cries out that it’s enough, surrendering the necklace to Nadia. Nadia sees all of her friends on the floor, around her, looking at her with terror in her eyes. She doesn’t understand, she’s not the villain here. She swears that what she’s working on will make it up to them, as she shrinks back down into her lab.
Priya demands they go after Nadia, but the others disagree. Tania’s too upset at Nadia and needs to get Alexis medical attention, while Shay and Ying decide to get some air. Undeterred, Priya’s committed to helping Nadia, and after a brief phone call from Janet, Priya finds Janet’s original Wasp costume sealed in a display case nearby. Making her mind up, Priya puts on the suit and shrinks down to go after Nadia…
The cover is yet again, a very effective one, the looming image of Hank’s old Ant-Man helmet behind Nadia, a foreboding symbol of Hank’s own history with bipolar, threatening to swallow Nadia whole. Stacey Lee captures the mood generated by the climax of the previous issue very effectively, building on the sense of impending dread!
Opinions on story and art
Yet again, we have another brilliantly-constructed entry, as issue #5 delivers an even more emotionally gut-wrenching, well-told character-revelation while building off the reveal of the last issue. Jeremy Whitley, Gurihiru, Joe Caramagna and Stacey Lee deliver another must-read comic, as the darkest sides of bipolar are displayed. This is not an easy comic to read, but I cannot stress my recommendation for EVERYONE to read this comic strongly enough.
The writing from Jeremy Whitley is one again finely-crafted, as we see a completely foreign side of Nadia, angry, humourless, and aloof at why her friends are fighting her. But of equal importance is the reveal of Priya’s dealings with depression. I didn’t go into details during my recap, as said sequence is, I feel, vital to read completely unspoiled. The reveal of this hitherto unknown part of her backstory (save for a momentary bit of foreshadowing all the way back in the previous volume’s #3 issue) is very carefully handled and delivers one of the biggest emotional blows I’ve felt reading a comic in a while.
The artwork is likewise flawless in my eyes, handling both the horror and desperation of the opening fight between Nadia and her friends and the vital heart-to-heart between Nadia and Priya in the latter’s miniature lab, with all the necessary energy, never once feeling rushed. This series, and this issue, in particular, is a master-class in how to tell a compelling story visually.
Jeremy Whitley, Gurihiru, Joe Caramagna and Stacey Lee continue to weave one of the most beautiful and moving superhero narratives I’ve ever read while shedding light on how bipolar experiences can and do unfold. More importantly, they handle this subject matter with grace and respect, not doing so to shock, but to help educate. This comic is yet another I must most strongly recommend EVERYONE, regardless of who they are, or their pre-existing interest in Nadia, read.