Darkhold: Wasp #1 Review The Nerdy Basement

Darkhold: Wasp #1 (Review)

What would happen if Janet Van Dyne went down a darker path? Let’s find out as we open turn the pages of the Darkhold…

The first part of the comic is a summary explaining that Janet Van Dyne is the wife of Hank Pym (AKA Antman). She became The Wasp after meeting him and is a founding member of the Avengers. She and Hank married but when Hank’s personal demons made the relationship unsafe, she separated from him. This was her story until she read the Darkhold and the sinister book showed her a more twisted path she could’ve taken. I like how it gives a summary of what’s going on. It will be easier for new readers to get into this comic.

The story starts off with Janet asking Hank where his wedding ring is. You can feel the tension between them when he says he must have left it in the lab. She makes a metaphor about male wasps being utterly useless because they don’t even have their own stingers. She says she understands cruelty too well. If you know anything about her and Hank’s relationship you’d know how abusive he was to her in the comics. Definitely different from how Hank is depicted in the MCU movies. It then cuts to an Avengers fight against Kang The Conqueror.

The Avengers team consists of Captain America, Wasp, Ant-Man, Iron Man, and Thor. He finds a way to control Iron Man’s suit and has them fighting against each other. Janet goes on her own to stop him but he doesn’t try to fight her. He says she reminds him of his old wife. He tells her that she had so much sorrow in her eyes just like his old wife did. He gets away before she can come up with an answer to him.

After it cuts to a scene with Janet in Hank’s laboratory making him lunch. He yells at her, asking her what she wants but settles down when he sees the food. I think the art shows how dejected she looks really well. She gives him his food and tries to butter him up by complimenting him.  She is just trying to spend time with him but he keeps brushing her off, talking down to her.

The Avengers wanted Hank to take a break from the team because of his recent behavior. He feels like they don’t care about him. She says she will always care about him. That they can look out for each other. He tells her she can look out for herself. Giving up on speaking to him, she says loves him before she leaves. Only to be told a simple goodbye.

She reflects on her husband Hank, saying that he was always so self-important. He could never own up to his mistakes. She’s wondering why she lets this marriage continue. It next cuts to Janet outside of an Avengers meeting on whether or not Hank should stay in the avengers. She runs into Tigra who asks her if she’s doing okay. Tiger tells her that she was married once to a police officer. She had his back and he had hers. That there was never any fear between them.

Marriages should not have any fear at all. She tells Janet that she worries that she feels afraid. Hank burst out of the meeting angry. He tells her that the Avengers think his behavior has become too erratic. They are going to make him stand court-martial. He clings to her, not seeing how her eyes look so empty.

The last scene is Janet in bed alone. She can’t sleep and makes the decision to shrink and find out what her husband is working on. He ends up seeing her spy on him. He smashes his fist on the table making her fall. She tells him that she is worried about him and what is the horrible thing he’s building. He is building Ultron. He is erratic, telling her that this will save his career.

She begs him to stop but is suddenly slapped by him, making her fall into his test tubes. Glass shatters around her. Hank freezes telling her he is sorry. In a rage, she picks up a big shard of glass and stabs him with it. The page turns red as she keeps stabbing him over and over again. She smiles in a pool of blood afterward.

The art by Claire Roe is really well done. Her art gives an old-timey feel that portrays this look in the past of Janet Van Dyne amazingly. It feels like it should take place back in time. She draws the expressions of all these characters wonderfully with each emotion. You can just see the loneliness and anger on Janet’s face in each panel. Her art is also very detailed. The backgrounds are interesting to look at as well as the side characters. I really like the use of insects swarming on a panel to show Janet’s rage.

As for the writing, Jordie Bellaire is just excellent. Her writing was the stand-out for me. The way she portrayed a failed marriage and the resentment Janet fell over time is great. How she portrayed Hank as a flawed character who is dangerously obsessed with his work is on par with the character. Hank Pym might be a hero but he is not a good husband at all. I think when a character is made to be flawed it makes the story more interesting.

I really love the metaphors Janet used about female wasps being more dangerous than males. Showing that if she decides to sting him it will be his downfall. Which ends up being the case when she murders him. The whole what would happen if Janet went a different route after the abuse of her husband is such a fascinating thing. I will be anticipating the next issue to find out what happens.

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