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The Most Terrible Things Marvel's Wasp Has Ever Done

As a founding member — and often leader — of the Avengers, the miniaturized superheroine known as The Wasp has become one of comic book's most celebrated female characters. First appearing in 1963, the tiny hero helped pave the way for many superpowered women in comics while maintaining her feminine personality in an extremely masculine profession. With her ability to shrink, and sometimes grow, to unimaginable sizes, Wasp has assisted her Marvel Comics counterparts in saving the world countless times.

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Evangeline Lilly's character Hope van Dyne has taken up the Wasp's title; however, Janet van Dyne, played by Michelle Pfeiffer in "Ant-Man and the Wasp," has been the undisputed queen of the superhero identity in the Marvel comic reality for decades. A mainstay in the universe, Janet has been the core heart-and-soul member of the Avengers for the majority of the franchise's publication history and is respected and loved by nearly all of her peers.

Unfortunately, even the most beloved characters will struggle to maintain a clean record in a world full of superpowered drama. And even though Janet has been on the losing end of some of the comic's most despicable acts, fans have seen that the Wasp has quite a sting of her own. Continue reading to discover the worst things Marvel's tiniest heroine has done throughout her giant-sized career.

She could have given the Avengers a better name

Originally conceptualized as a would-be sidekick to the insect-inspired Ant-Man, Janet quickly spread her wings in becoming a formidable hero in her own right. Gifted with her powers of shrinking thanks to Ant-Man's Pym Particles in "Tales to Astonish" #44, she was introduced as Hank Pym's new partner and potential love interest. Just a couple of months later, when a Loki-controlled Hulk was on a rampage, the pair joined Iron Man and Thor in answering the call to stop them in Marvel's inaugural 1963 "Avengers" issue. Upon defeating Loki, it is suggested that the five united superheroes join forces in their ongoing battle with evil. And when the Hulk, who is tired of playing the part of the monster, injects himself into the superhero team, he prompts them to come up with a name.

"It should be something colorful and dramatic like... the Avengers," said Wasp in the final panel of "Avengers" #1. Honestly, coming up with clever names for supergroups is a challenge, as made evident by DC's Super Buddies; however, it should be noted that at this moment Janet van Dyne could have given "Earth's mightiest heroes" any other more interesting title — especially since they had nothing to 'avenge.' Admittedly, Wasp was still spit-balling ideas before she was rudely interrupted by her future husband who cemented the team's name. Though, hilariously, this set a trend of Wasp bestowing hero's names that were not very deep or fully thought out, including Vision and Starfox.

She married a villain

As one of comic book's most prominent super couples, it was inevitable that Janet van Dyne and Hank Pym would get married. However, when it came to tying the knot, the superhero wedding was as complicated as they come. The couple's relationship had been stable and healthy for years before 1968's "Avengers" #59, when a new shrinking supe named Yellowjacket arrived at Avengers Mansion boasting about how he killed Hank Pym, who had been operating under the alias of Goliath. Besting the founding Avenger and leaving him entrapped in a spider web, Yellowjacket demands that he be granted membership to the exclusive super team. Of course, murder is not the ticket to landing a position on Earth's foremost heroic squad, and a battle ensues where Yellowjacket bests the Avengers and kidnaps the Wasp.

Despite being under the assumption that her abductor had slaughtered her boyfriend when the Avengers arrive to beat the snot out of the villain, van Dyne stops them and announces her engagement to Yellowjacket. The following issue features the wedding of heroic Wasp to Pym's murderer, much to the disappointment of her teammates. However, when the Circus of Crime crashes the event, Yellowjacket grows to giant form, revealing that he was Hank Pym all along, explaining how he had been suffering from "chemically induced schizophrenia." The explanation makes Wasp's actions even more confusing. Either van Dyne was unaware of the situation and was that eager to move on from her relationship with Pym, or she knowingly exploited his temporary illness. Both are shaky ways start to a marriage.

Reconciling with her abuser

As if faking his own death on the eve of their wedding was not enough of a red flag, Wasp's relationship with Hank Pym inevitably reached a heartbreaking end. In "Avengers" #213, Pym, again going by the Yellowjacket alias, faced trial for overly aggressive actions in previous issues. At the risk of being expelled from the Avengers, Pym concocts the underhanded scheme of proving himself indispensable by attacking the super team with a robot that only he can defeat. When Wasp discovers this unscrupulous plan and confronts her husband, he quickly turns on Janet, and in one of the most disgusting displays in "Avengers" history, he hits her. Bravely, Wasp reveals the domestic abuse during Hank's trial resulting in his dismissal from the team and the couple's divorce.

The comic book story was a surprising indictment of marital abuse in the early '80s. The original writer of the moment, Jim Shooter, has since admitted that the strike was intended to be an accident and that it was the illustrations that made the abuse appear more intentional. Regardless, the moment was an irreversible character-changing event that rightfully had Pym labeled as a domestic abuser. Subsequently, while Wasp and Ant-Man have never remarried, they have come close while maintaining an off-again-on-again relationship throughout the decades. And while Ant-Man has spent many years since attempting to make good on his mistake, Marvel should have done better by Janet and domestic abuse survivors by cutting those ties for good.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

She cheated on Captain America

Janet van Dyne and Hank Pym's relationship seems to lack stability no matter which universe they find themselves in. The Ultimate Universe, or Ultimate Marvel, was launched in 2000 as a way to revamp and modernize Marvel Comics for a new audience. The spin-off branding is famous for introducing the Miles Morales version of Spider-Man, and at the conclusion of 2015's "Secret Wars," the Ultimate Universe was amalgamated with the mainline Earth-616. Still, when the off-shoot label was first introduced, it offered Marvel's House of Ideas a chance to retcon and reimagine the company's greatest stories — including Wasp and Ant-Man's tumultuous relationship.

Unfortunately, in the Ultimate Universe, the couple's partnership was even more destructive than the mainstream timeline. In the retelling, Janet van Dyne was secretly a mutant and her abusive husband, scientist Hank Pym, took credit for developing her size-changing powers while using her DNA to create his own abilities. In their most heated argument, in "Ultimates" #6, Ant-Man sprayed an insect-sized van Dyne with poison and commanded a troop of ants to attack her. Upon hearing about the incident, the always-righteous Captain America gave Hank the beating of a lifetime. In the aftermath, Wasp and Steve Rogers struck up a romantic relationship. Unfortunately, Janet soon grew bored of the man who was frozen in time and secretly rekindled things with Pym.

The Red Queen

Canonically, in the mainstream Marvel Universe, there is no character called Hope van Dyne as is depicted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Instead, Evangeline Lilly's on-screen heroine seems to be derived from an amalgamation of two comic characters with similar backgrounds. There is the primary Earth-616, Nadia van Dyne, who is the daughter of Hank Pym and later adopted by Janet van Dyne upon the passing of her biological mother, and Hank's first wife, Maria Pym. Similarly, the Russian translation of the name Nadia means "hope." And following Nadia's introduction during "Civil War II" in 2016, she has become a formidable insect-sized hero on squads like the Champions and Avengers.

Reversely, a character named Hope Pym, who is a direct descendant of Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne, does exist in the alternate timeline of Earth-982, better designated as Marvel Comics 2 (MC2). However, despite her heroic inheritance, this version of Hope is undeniably a villain who goes by the title of Red Queen. In this alternate future, Hope is one of many characters to take up the mantle and powers of their parents. Unfortunately, the daughter of the second Ant-Man, Cassandra Lang, was the one to fill the spot of a size-changing hero on the all-new Avengers squad known as A-Next. Jealous and enraged, the Red Queen forms a villainous group known as the Revengers and attempts to assassinate Cassandra and the rest of the heroes.

She enraged Scarlet Witch

If audiences learned anything from watching "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," it was that the last superhero that you want to upset is the overpowered Wanda Maximoff, also known as the Scarlet Witch. Well, as it turns out, it may have been a seemingly innocent comment from Janet van Dyne that tipped Scarlet Witch over the edge resulting in one of the most devastating events in comic history.

Wanda and Janet have long been allies and friends, and it was Wasp who originally helped the mutant witch land a spot on the Avengers squad. The pair long played well off each other with van Dyne being a much more outgoing colorful character as opposed to Maximoff's more silenced and darker personality. Unfortunately, an off-handed remark about having kids as superheroes in "Avengers" #503, reignited Scarlet Witch's anger about losing her twin children. As a result, Wanda masterminded the fall of Earth's Mightiest Heroes in "Avengers: Disassembled," which left Janet van Dyne in the hospital and killed three of their teammates. As a direct follow-up to the events, Scarlet Witch blinked almost every mutant out of existence in the fan-favorite "House of M" storyline.

She hosted a reality TV show

When the superheroes of Marvel Comics were divided into two camps during the events of "Civil War," Janet van Dyne chose the side of Iron Man's pro-registration. Depending on which side you were on during the 2006 mega-event, wanting vigilantes to register themselves in a government database may be enough of a condemnation on Wasp. However, the mini superheroine may have taken things too far when she decided to host a reality television series with blatant messaging of pro-registration.

Janet van Dyne has always used her status as an Avenger as a means of becoming famous. As a celebrity, she has marketed her own perfume and has become a reputable fashion designer. However, when super-powered beings were fighting each other on the streets during "Civil War," van Dyne was on television hosting a short-lived series called "America's Next Superhero." Honestly, perpetuating the never-ending cycle of low-budget, overly dramatic, reality-based content as a manner of romanticizing the concept of superhero registration is arguably the worst thing she has ever done. It is such an underhanded distraction from the terrorizing events of the world that an identical tactic was attempted by Vought Industries in the third season of the subversive television show "The Boys."

She became a giant bomb

The MCU is preparing to adapt another major event from Marvel Comic history with "Secret Invasion" set to hit Disney+ in Spring 2023. However, it is likely not going to look exactly how it was portrayed in the 2008 comic series of the same name. The short version involves the shape-changing alien race known as the Skrulls infiltrating Earth's governments and superhero teams by replacing important figures with their own ranks. While Janet van Dyne was one of the lucky few to get away from being replaced, her long-time partner Hank Pym was less lucky.

Wasp was on the frontlines of the battle with the Skrulls, but unbeknownst to her, she was their secret weapon. Ahead of the climax, the Skrull Pym injected van Dyne with a serum that he called updated Pym Particles. Unfortunately, on the precipice of the hero's victory, the serum was activated, turning Wasp into a gigantic biological weapon of mass destruction. Certain to destroy everyone on the battlefield, Thor made the difficult choice of using his enchanted hammer Mjolnir to destroy her before detonation. Assumed dead, Wasp was absent from Marvel Comics for nearly four years before being discovered in the Microverse by the Avengers.

She was included in one of Marvel's most disturbing moments

Comic books were conceptualized as a format for children. Although the media has grown to become a legitimate type of literature for all audiences, the major publishers have done their best to maintain a family-friendly rating — at least in their mainstream lines. However, in 2008, something disturbing occurred in a Marvel Comic title that has kept fans shaken up for years.

One of the biggest events to take place in Marvel's Ultimate Universe was a world-pausing battle with the master of magnetism Magneto. However, in the early panels of "Ultimatum," Wasp was separated from her team in a massive flood that overtook New York City. Searching for her, Hank Pym and Hawkeye uncover one of the most gut-wrenching scenes in comic history. The oversized mutant known as The Blob was eating the superheroine in a grotesque way that only a character of such a disgusting name could. The moment gets crazier as Pym seeks revenge by going giant-sized and returning the favor on the obese mutant.

Her discrimination against Deadpool's appearance

Marvel's "Secret Wars" is one of the most iconic crossover events in all of comics. Not only was it the major publishing company's most ambitious title for its time, but it has also become famous for giving Spider-Man his memorable black symbiote suit. However, what not every fan is aware of — because we weren't told about it until 2015 — is that Deadpool was also on the Battle Planet years before he was conceptualized.

Deadpool retells the story of "Secret Wars" in "Deadpool's Secret Secret Wars," and it came with some significant revelations. Most relevant is the fact that Wade Wilson and Janet van Dyne had a temporary fling during the events. Note that Deadpool had been cured of his facial disfigurement while on the battle planet, and the good-looking Wade was quick to flirt with a couple of women during the event. However, when his face inevitably reverted back to its hideous visage, van Dyne struggles to even stomach looking at him. It is a moment of such brazen judgment that even Wade is turned off by her narcissism.

She hates Spider-Man

Everyone loves the wall-crawling friendly neighborhood Spider-Man; although, in the comic universe Peter Parker has a much more difficult time winning people over. And while it makes sense why J. Jonah Jameson or the police may have a vendetta against the webhead, one would expect his superhero peers to be much more accepting. Unsurprisingly, Spidey has a long list of allies and buddies in Marvel Comics, including Deadpool, Wolverine, and Fantastic Four's Johnny Storm. However, when it comes to the Wasp, Spider-Man is as icky as his namesake.

Janet van Dyne's distaste for the arachnid-inspired hero goes all the way back to 1964's "Avengers" #11. In the issue, Spider-Man attempts to join Earth's mightiest heroes long before they became the foremost superhero group in the universe. Unfortunately, upon voting, it was the Wasp who denied the webhead membership. The same fate was repeated in another team vote back in 1966's "Amazing Spider-Man Annual" #3, where she admits that she hates him because of his name. Apparently, her detest of the wall-crawler stems from arachnids being the natural enemy of wasps. It is a theme that has remained in Marvel canon for decades and was even inherited by Nadia van Dyne.

Causing a zombie apocalypse

Whether on-screen or drawn in panels, Wasp has been an integral part of the "Marvel Zombies" storyline. During the MCU animated series "What If...?," it was a mutation that Janet van Dyne faced in the quantum realm that initiated the entire episode of "What if... Zombies?!" Searching for his lost partner, Hank Pym catches up with Wasp in the otherworldly space and is quickly infected before both bring the plague back to Earth. The virus spread quickly and even crossed the multiverse later in the series, and Janet's zombie apocalypse will soon be the feature of its own animated series on Disney+.

Meanwhile, the comic book series, "Marvel Zombies" (which the television series was inspired by), featured a much darker storyline for the Avenger's tiniest female hero. A zombified version of van Dyne discovered that her former partner Hank Pym had been slowly feeding off a captured Black Panther. Confronting the other size-changing supe, Pym grows into a giant zombie and bites the Wasp's head off. However, being undead, Janet's head survives. Years later, as the virus spreads across the galaxy, Zombie van Dyne receives a new robotic body and she becomes a leader of the infected. However, it is Wasp who discovers that a long time without feeding on human flesh can also cure the effects of the virus.