The Avengers have become one of the most popular superhero teams in pop culture. Original members Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye premiered in the movie The Avengers in 2012 as the ultimate hero squad. However, one of the most respected members of the original Avengers team the Wasp, was left out of the limelight.
The Wasp, aka Janet van Dyne, has become an integral part of the Avengers in the comics. Known for her intelligence, quick thinking, and sound leadership, she has served as a loyal member of the organization. Though little is shown of her life on the big screen, she has a rich and interesting history in the comic book world.
In this article, we will look at the little-known facts and trivia about Janet van Dyne and her life as the Winsome Wasp. Here are 15 Things You Didn't Know About The Wasp.
15 Founding Member & Long-Time Leader of the Avengers
The original Avengers team were brought together in The Avengers issue #1 in 1963. The Wasp and Ant-Man worked as a duo in the comics and joined up with Thor, Hulk, and Iron Man when they all received a call for help. After the group captured Loki and sealed him away, the Wasp recommended that they form a team. She suggested the name the Avengers, and they all agreed on it.
Along with helping to form and name the Avengers, Janet van Dyne's role in the group grew with time. Though initially viewed as the weakest member of the group, her critical thinking, intuition, and intelligence made her a key element of the team. Though the members of The Avengers changed throughout the years, the Wasp remained one of the longest active members in the team's history.
She also served as a leader and eventually the chairperson of the Avengers. She held both titles the longest of any other heroes, second only to Captain America.
14 She Helped To Discover America... Captain America, That Is
Janet Van Dyne has left an indelible mark on the history of the Avengers. With her sharp intelligence and strong leadership, she commanded some of the world’s strongest heroes. Even in her early years as a weaker, novice hero, she helped recruit one of the greatest heroes to lead the Avengers: Captain America.
Reintroduced in The Avengers issue #4, Captain America was last seen fighting in World War II. He fell from a plane into the Atlantic Ocean and became frozen in a block of ice. Fast-forward to 1964, and we find the Avengers in a battle with Namor the Sub-Mariner. Swearing vengeance on the human race, he escaped the battle and attacked a tribe of Inuits in anger. He unknowingly threw the block of ice containing the First Avenger and cracked it. The ice began to melt as it passed the Avengers in their submarine. They managed to rescue and revive Captain America and invited him to join the Avengers.
13 The Wasp Never Used A Secret Identity
Superheroes usually led double lives in the comic books. For their own safety and the safety of their loved ones, they used secret identities to lead ordinary lives. There have been very few superheroes in the history of Marvel who were confident enough to live without secrecy. Those heroes included the Fantastic Four, The Punisher, Doctor Strange, and our own Janet Van Dyne.
Janet was introduced as a socialite, the daughter of the wealthy Dr. Vernon van Dyne. After her father was murdered by an alien being, she turned to Hank Pym to help her seek her revenge. He named her the Wasp and provided her with “Pym Particles” that granted her the ability to grow wings and shrink to the size of an insect.
Since then, Janet has maintained her public identity in all aspects of her life. Interestingly enough, the man she loved constantly went through self-doubt and frequent identity crises. He often changed superhero names and identities, losing his own sense of self in the process. Be more like Jan, Hank. Be more like Jan.
12 Janet Tricked Hank Pym Into Marriage
Hank Pym’s mental instability plagued him throughout his history with the Avengers and his rocky relationship with the Wasp. Ant-Man suffered from several mental breakdowns that resulted in the formation of new superhero identities. Janet stayed by his side for years, through all his mental issues. She pushed for them to get married but Hank was too insecure to commit. The Wasp, however, took advantage of Pym’s mental instability and tricked him into marriage during one of his breakdowns.
During a botched experiment, Pym accidentally inhaled some mind-altering chemicals that caused him to become schizophrenic. He created the identity of Yellowjacket while in this state and broke into the Avengers Mansion. He claimed to have killed Hank Pym and demanded to be inducted into the team. Yeah, he was quite crazy at this point. He then kidnapped the Wasp and escaped before the Avengers could catch him. The Wasp eventually discovered that Yellowjacket was Pym. As the team was about to restrain him, Janet announced that she planned to marry him.
The wedding took place with Pym still confused about his true identity. Once he finally regained control of his mind, Janet felt somewhat guilty about what she had done, but not that guilty since she reminded Pym that their marriage was definitely legal. That is an awful way to get him to put a ring on it.
11 She Was Turned Into A Human-Sized Wasp Creature
With the help of the “Pym Particles” that were injected into her body, the Wasp can shrink to the size of an insect and fly with bio-synthetic wings. Though her abilities also allow her to grow exponentially, she prefers to battle at the minuscule size. However, her transformational skills took a strange turn when Hank Pym turned her into a human-sized, wasp-like creature.
After she was severely injured in a fight with Iron Man, Hank tried to treat Janet’s injuries. As he was treating her, his machine created a cocoon around her body. When she awoke, Janet discovered she had mutated into a wasp-like creature. Feeling rejuvenated in her new state, she continued to fight as an Avenger. She faced off against Whirlwind, Dr. Nemesis, and Para-Man.
It was not until after the Onslaught comic event that she was restored to her normal form by Franklin Richards, son of Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman.
10 She Was A Fashion Designer And A TV Host
Since Janet lived a very public life, she was able to live an ordinary life successfully. During her time away from the Avengers, Janet chose not to rely on her family’s wealth and pursued a working life. In the course of her comic history, the Wasp has been a successful fashion designer and a TV host.
Taking a page from her relative Amelia Van Dyne, Janet decided to pursue fashion designing. She graduated from design school and maintained her career while leading the Avengers. The Wasp’s frequent costume changes were actually attributed to her stylish fashion sense. She also designed clothes for her colleagues including She-Hulk and Hank Pym. She was well-received and respected in the fashion design community.
Janet expanded on her fame by hosting a TV show called America's Next Star. Janet also ventured into the world of reality TV. During the Civil War arc, she and Hank supported the Superhuman Registration Act. To further support the act, she created a pro-registration show called America's Newest Superhero.
9 Janet Became Ultron's Boo
The Wasp eventually ended her tumultuous relationship with Hank Pym. After years of his breakdowns and an incident of physical abuse, she finally divorced him. Janet’s romantic escapades led her into the arms of other superheroes including Havoc, Paladin, Tony Stark, and Hawkeye. However, her most shocking relationship was with her own mechanical “son,” Ultron.
Hank Pym is responsible for the creation of the self-aware Ultron. Being the only one of his kind, he longed for a companion. Hey, can't a sentient robot get a little lovin’ too? Ultron created his own mate named Jocasta. He brainwashed his creator, Pym, into transferring Janet's mind into his metallic boo. She acquired Janet's emotions and personality but not her memories. However, Jocasta realized that in order for her to live, Janet had to die. Feeling guilty, Jocasta contacted the Avengers to help her stop Ultron and restored Janet back to her body.
8 She Was A Member Of Several Avengers Groups
Janet's commitment to the Avengers was reflected well beyond her assistance with founding the team. During her time as the chairperson of the Avengers, she had recruited many new members, including She-Hulk and Monica Rambeau. Along with making new connections as a leader, she earned the respect of many superheroes. In the course of her superhero career, Janet has joined several other Avengers affiliate groups.
Janet took many breaks from the Avengers for personal reasons. During those times, she still worked with affiliate groups when needed. She became team leader of the West Coast Avengers but eventually moved from being a regular member to a reserve member.
In 1970, the Wasp, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, and Madame Medusa were tricked by Enchantress (in disguise) into forming the first iteration of the Lady Liberators. Then, as part of the 50 State Initiative, Janet was recruited by Carol Danvers and Iron Man for the first Mighty Avengers team. She also joined the Avengers Unity Division to defeat Red Skull and had a brief stint as a member of the Defenders.
7 The Wasp Was Used As A Living Bomb
In the next tale of “Janet being in the wrong place at the wrong time", she is used yet again by another enemy. In this case, it occurred in the middle of a fight with the Skrulls during the Secret Invasion arc. The Avengers had to defeat the aliens before they could take over the Earth. Over time, the shape-shifting Skrulls had taken the place of many of the superheroes. Hank became one of those victims and was replaced with Skrull imposter Criti Noll.
During this time as Pym, he tricked Janet into drinking a serum containing new “particles” claiming they would help her. However, at the apex of their fight against the Skrulls, Criti (as Pym) activated these particles and turned the Wasp into a living bio-bomb. She rapidly grew and emitted a deadly purplish-black energy from her body. She fled the scene of the battle and headed toward the Skrulls to try to take out as many aliens as she could.
In order to save everyone, Thor decided to sacrifice the life of the Wasp. He used Mjolnir to warp her out of the area, and she disappeared. Janet Van Dyne was declared dead.
6 Janet Was Kidnapped For Zeus
Over the year, Marvel Comics has combined its world with other pop culture characters, historical figures, and mythological heroes. One such storyline involved Zeus, the God of Thunder and the most powerful God from Mount Olympia, seeking revenge on the Wasp.
The Avengers were involved in an ongoing battle with Zeus. He was angry over the fact that his son, Hercules, had been badly injured and was left in a delirious state. Seeking revenge, he had his daughter Artemis kidnap Janet and bring her to him. He personally blamed Janet for Hercules’s injuries as she was one of the leaders of the Avengers. In reality, Hercules made a rash decision and Janet attempted to stop him from getting hurt.
Just as Zeus is about to punish her, the Avengers are discovered plotting against Zeus with other members of Mount Olympus and he left to confront him. Whew, that was a close one, Janet.
5 The Wasp Became A Villain
Janet van Dyne has proudly fought with the Avengers for years. Committed to the protection of Earth and its inhabitants, she has fought some of the fiercest villains in the world including some of her former allies and friends. But due to an unfortunate accident, she became the one thing she despised: a villain.
During the World War Hate event, several Avengers were inadvertently affected by one of Scarlet Witch's spells. The effect was that their moral compass was inverted and they became evil. Called the Axis of Evil Avengers, some of the members included Luke Cage, Captain America, Scarlet Witch, and the Wasp. The Evil Avengers searched for Red Skull, the culprit behind their change, but he had disappeared. They grew suspicious that their former allies had taken him, so they attempted to capture every current and former member of the Avengers.
They were eventually freed from the spell with the help of Doctor Doom, Magneto, and Doctor Voodoo.
4 She Was Once The Female Doctor Spectrum
As if becoming Ultron’s boo and a villain was not enough, the Wasp suffered even more identity switches. For her next trick, she managed to become the villain Doctor Spectrum.
Spectrum gained his powers from the alien gem called the Power Prism. After a fight with the Yellowjacket, he lost this gem to the disguised Hank Pym. He decided that this evil alien gem would be the perfect and (completely safe) gift for his then-wife Janet. Surprise, surprise… not so safe after all.
The prism took control of her mind, and she became the female version of Doctor Spectrum. She infiltrated the Avengers using the human form of Janet Van Dyne as a disguise. After the truth of her identity was revealed, she was attacked by several Avengers including Captain America, Beast, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel.
The Vision, however, broke the Power Prism’s hold on Janet by using ultraviolet rays from Pym’s cabana sun lamps. Yay! Sun lamps to the rescue.
3 Hank Pym Decides To Become The Next Wasp
Hank Pym was devastated by the death of his ex-wife, Janet Van Dyne. His method of memorializing her legacy tied back to one of his worst flaws: his lost sense of self. In an attempt to honor her life, Hank Pym took on the persona of the Wasp.
Suspected by his fellow heroes as having suffered another breakdown, Pym donned a Wasp-inspired uniform and insisted on being called the Wasp from then on. You have to admit, that’s a little creepy.
As the new Wasp, Hank created a new version of the Mighty Avengers. He was joined by Jocasta, the Vision, Stature, Hercules, Amadeus Cho, and US Agent. During his “rebirth” of sorts, Pym also created the Infinite Avengers Mansion as their new base. He successfully served as their team leader for some time. It was not until the creation of the Avengers Academy that Pym shed his Wasp identity and returned to being Giant-Man.
2 Her Step-Daughter Has A Lot In Common With Black Widow
For decades, Janet van Dyne was the only person to fight as the Wasp. After her death, Pym became the next hero to take on Janet's persona. Nadia Pym, the daughter of Hank and his first wife Maria Trovaya, was only the second woman to take the title of the Wasp.
Nadia was allegedly killed by foreign agents after she was kidnapped while on her honeymoon. Instead, she was taken to Russia and raised in the Red Room, a place that was integral in Black Widow’s upbringing. She was raised as an agent and, like her father, had an affinity for science. In her studies, she came across one of her father's “Pym Particles” and used it to escape to the United States. She learned of her father's death and decided to continue in his footsteps as a superhero.
Nadia created her own Wasp costume using parts of her father's uniform. She eventually became a member of the Avengers, the organization her father helped to create.
1 Black Widow Replaced The Wasp In The Avengers Movie
As one of the founding members of the Avengers, it was only natural to assume that the Wasp would be in the 2012 The Avengers movie. In an interview with Josh Whedon in 2012, he admitted that an earlier draft of the script included Janet Van Dyne.
Speaking about the character’s inclusion, Whedon said, “There was a little bit of time where we thought we might not actually get Scarlett [Johansson], who plays the Black Widow in the movie. There was a very Wasp-y draft that I wrote. But it was way too Wasp-y. I was like, ‘She’s adorable! I’m just going to watch her!'” Since he could not make the character work or find a way to introduce her into the Marvel Cinematic Universe properly, he chose Black Widow as the female lead instead. Sadly, neither the Wasp nor fellow Avengers founder Ant-Man made the cut. The two heroes have since been featured in the 2015 film Ant-Man and will return in the upcoming 2018 film Ant-Man and the Wasp.
What's your favorite bit of trivia about the Wasp? Let us know in the comments!