Janet Van Dyne is the daughter of world-renowned scientist, the late Vernon Van Dyne. In her early years she was a beautiful but flighty and self-centered dilettante, living resplendently off of her father's fortune. She had an on-and-off romantic relationship with the world-renowned soldier-of-fortune named Paladin. Tragedy struck when a deadly alien called a Kosmosian was brought to Earth as a result of one of her father's experiments, and the elder Van Dyne was murdered by the alien. A grieving Janet then contacted her father's colleague, Dr. Henry Pym. She told Pym of her resolve to bring her father's killer to justice. Pym, who was attracted to Janet and anxious to help, revealed his secret identity as Ant-Man and offered to give her similar powers. Janet underwent an advanced biochemical process involving his Pym Particles that allowed her to shrink to insect-sized proportions and to grow translucent insect wings. Furthermore, Pym outfitted her with personalized wrist devices which allowed her to discharge bio-electric energy blasts which she called her "wasp stings." Designing a colorful costume for herself (the first of many), Janet Van Dyne became the superheroine known as the Wasp.
The Wasp was originally created in 1963 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby as a sidekick and love interest for Hank Pym, who at the time went by his Ant-Man persona in Tales to Astonish. Her first appearances was in this series in issue #44. The Wasp became a founding member of the Avengers and its first female member, as well as the character credited with naming the team.
She was created by her husbands discovery of the PYM particle which enables a human to shrink into an different size. The Wasp held true to a pattern common among Silver Age female characters. This was demonstrated in one of two ways. She was generally demonstrated as dependent on her male partner (Hank Pym) for all of her super-abilities, and was mostly incapable of her own scientific understanding and ability. This extended as well to her playing the damsel-in-distress role from time-to-time, also a common trait among female characters in the silver age. As was also common for the period, her early appearances featured a somewhat standoffish attitude to those around her because of her wealthy upbringing. Later, as the Wasp was incorporated into the mainstream monthly activities of her superhero team, her mostly stereotypical behaviour disappeared, to be replaced by that of a strong ally and loyal teammate. As comics aimed to become less light and to appeal to an older audience in the 1980's and 1990's, her character underwent further change to make her more realistic, as well as deal with modern social issues (in Janet's case, with domestic abuse).
Major Story Arcs
Founding the Avengers
Using their superpowers, Jan and Hank tracked down and defeated the Kosmosian who had murdered Jan's father, banishing the alien to its home dimension. After sharing more adventures, Hank and Jan gradually fell in love with each other; Jan reminded Hank of his deceased first wife, Maria. Pym and Van Dyne became crime-fighting partners in their costumed identities, and became two of the founding members of the Avengers (along with Thor, Iron Man and The Hulk) after responding when Hank's helmet picked up Rick Jones fateful call for help. It was, in fact, the Wasp who suggested the name "Avengers" for the group which had gathered. A further milestone in Avengers history, Jan and the other founders (minus the Hulk) were the discoverers of the great World War II hero, Captain America, still frozen since the last days of the war. Being a fashion designer, the Wasp would become known for her frequent costume changes.
Jan's attitude towards crime-fighting was, at first, very carefree, and she did a lot of flirting with other members of the team, especially Thor. She saw it as her way of attracting Hank's attention for his failure to commit. The studious Pym began to experiment with Pym Particles, and found that he could cause himself to grow beyond his normal height. By this time both crime fighters had been exposed to the Particles long enough to change size at will rather than rely on gas capsules or potions, and Jan could fire her stinger blasts without the aid of wrist devices. Changing his costumed identity to " Giant-Man," Pym eventually experienced bodily strain due to the physiological effects of the growing process. Because of this, Pym decided to take a break from costumed adventuring. With the stress of constant threats from Pym's enemies (such as Egghead and Whirlwind) as well as confronting Kang the Conqueror and the Masters of Evil with the Avengers, Jan was ready for a break herself. Meanwhile, Thor and Iron Man took leaves of absence from the Avengers, leaving Captain America to preside over a new incarnation of the team. Jan remained in her civilian career as a fashion designer, with Pym continuing his scientific pursuits. Sometime later, however, Pym and Van Dyne learned that the Namor the Sub-Mariner was heading for New York City. Fearing trouble, they decided to alert the Avengers. The Wasp was captured first by Namor's foe, the undersea barbarian leader Attuma, and then by the Collector. In order to help the Avengers rescue Janet, Pym decided to use his growing power again; he donned a new costume and adopted the new name of "Goliath."
A Rocky Marriage
Pym had always loved Janet, but various inhibitions kept him from proposing to her -- feelings of inadequacy due to her wealth were primary among them. One day, while he had still not fully mentally recovered from the stress of accidentally creating one of the Avengers' greatest foes in the form of the robot Ultron, Hank had a lab accident with experimental gases. These caused a reaction in him that broke this inhibitions down, and induced a severe case of schizophrenia. This was his second breakdown, the first having been after his first wife, Maria, had been killed. Believing himself to be a new person named "Yellowjacket," Pym broke into Avengers Mansion and told the team that he had killed Henry Pym. When the team attacked him, he captured the Wasp and escaped. Soon after, the Avengers were shocked to hear that Janet, who suspected it was Pym all along, was going to marry him. Their wedding at Avengers Mansion was attended by a who's-who of active superheroes at the time. Immediately following, the Avengers were attacked by the villainous Circus of Crime. Janet later felt guilty at having taken advantage of Hank's mental state to finally get married, but the couple was initially happy.
Hank later had a third breakdown, during which he was captured and brainwashed by an upgraded version of Ultron, causing him to revert to his earliest days as Ant-Man. Ultron then sent Hank back to Avengers Mansion to attack his own teammates. During the fighting, it was the Wasp who took down her wayward husband. Undeterred, Ultron attacked the Avengers and captured the Wasp, with the intention of using her brain patterns as a template for his female robotic 'bride,' Jocasta. However, Ultron underestimated the heroic influence that Janet's personality would have on his creation. Once animated with the Wasp's brain patterns, Jocasta contacted the Avengers, who arrived in time to rescue Janet and defeat Ultron.
With Ultron's defeat Hank's brainwashing was reversed, but Janet suspected that this episode, culminating in being brought down by his own wife, may have further exacerbated her husband's already fragile mental state. He became overbearing, paranoid, and verbally abusive, releasing pent-up tension resultant of his sense of failure in science, made worse when compared to his wife's financial success.
When the Avengers were battling the Elfqueen, Hank blasted the villainess from behind during a lull in the fighting, even though Captain America had nearly succeeded in talking her down. Rather than ending the struggle, Hank's unnecessary attack provoked yet another round of fighting. Afterward, Captain America charged Hank with reckless behavior, since innocent bystanders could have been killed.
Cap's reprimand led to Pym's fourth nervous breakdown. An increasingly unstable Pym decided that if he could build a robot to attack Avengers Mansion, he could then defeat it and be a hero again in the eyes of his teammates. He included a special hidden weak spot on the robot just for this purpose. When Jan discovered Hank's plan and protested, Hank lashed out, brutally striking his wife. His plan went awry, and when the robot attacked the mansion, it was the Wasp who disabled it. In the following court-martial, Pym was stripped of his Avengers membership. Meanwhile, Janet decided that she had had enough and filed for divorce.
Continued Avengers Service and Chairmanship
Over the years, Janet had become a seasoned hero, a far cry from the ditzy thrill-seeker she had been when first teaming with Pym. She continued service with the team after Hank's fourth breakdown despite the tremendous stress of the situation. After the divorce, she at times revisited her old dallying romance with Paladin. The Wasp was elected as chairman of the Avengers, a position she held for a long time (second to only Captain America), having been molded into a savvy and capable leader. Janet and several other Avengers were among the group of heroes summoned to Battleworld by the Beyonder to fight in his Secret Wars. During the conflict, the Wasp crash-landed an aircraft stolen from Magneto and took refuge with the outcast Lizard. She was gravely wounded by the Wrecker when the Wrecking Crew was dispatched by Doctor Doom to retrieve the Lizard. In a death-like state, she was revived by the alien healer Zsaji.
While Avengers chairman, the Wasp led the team in discovering Jean Grey, an member of the X-Men long thought to be dead. Her teammate Black Knight had an unrequited crush on her for some time, while another, the Greek god Hercules, chafed at being given orders by a woman. The most serious test of her leadership ability came when the Masters of Evil under Baron Zemo attacked and conquered Avengers Mansion in the Under Siege story arc. With every other active team member incapacitated and a small army of super-villains holding their headquarters, it was up to The Wasp to assemble a rescue squad and mount the assault to retake the mansion. Eventually Hank Pym's mental balance returned and he was reinstated as an active Avenger. Janet was briefly assigned to the West Coast branch after this. The two managed to rekindle a friendship and, some years later, a romance. While on a trip to Las Vegas, however, Jan turned down a proposal of Hank's; she said she would not marry him again.
The Crossing and Onslaught
After sustaining severe injuries during the Crossing, Pym put Janet through the same process that he had originally used to give her her powers. This temporarily mutated Janet into an almost completely wasp-like form. In this form, she was among the Avengers who seemingly gave their lives to absorb the energy of Onslaught, in reality being shunted to an alternate dimension. She was later returned to normal by Franklin Richards, and helped to re-assemble the team after this event.
Return to the Avengers
Following a membership evaluation after dealing with the sorceress Morgan Le Fay in the Morgan Conquest story arc, Wasp was left in a reservist role for a time, but eventually re-attained full membership and even regained the chairmanship. Janet hosted the television show "America's Next Superstar" for a time. Jan then had a dallying affair with Hawkeye after he re-joined the Avengers, which left Hank reeling. She soon returned to her longtime, if rocky, flame. Around this time, Jan also began using Pym Particles to grow to immense heights, just as Hawkeye (as Goliath) and Pym had done.
One day at the pool, while discussing her fling with Hawkeye and the Scarlet Witch, a slightly tipsy Wasp confessed to a pregnancy scare and inadvertently mentioned Wanda's own children, whose unnatural existence Agatha Harkness had erased from the Witch's memory. The Wasp's slip of the tongue, combined with Scarlet Witch's increasingly unstable and growing powers caused Wanda to suffer a mental breakdown which lead to the events of ' Avengers Disassembled'. Janet was knocked into a coma by a rampaging She-Hulk during an attack on Avengers Mansion by the Scarlet Witch. Hank watched over her as she laid in the hospital, and when she recovered, they reconciled. The two retired from the Avengers in order to pursue a new life together in Oxford. The Wasp reappeared with Pym in the miniseries Beyond!. At this point Hank was still her ex-husband and over the course of the events chronicled in this series, it was revealed that they had called off their most recent attempt at a romantic relationship, although they remained on good terms.
With the onset of the superhuman Civil War, Hank helped spearhead the pro-registration movement. Janet was also pro-registration (although she was very upset about the murder of her friend Bill Foster) and had become the host of a pro-registration reality show called America's Newest Superhero. When selecting the roster for the latest incarnation of the Avengers team, this time as part of the Fifty States Initiative, Tony Stark selected Janet as a founding member of the Mighty Avengers. When alien symbiotes attacked New York, Janet used a refined growth formula given to her by Hank Pym which allowed her to shift to giant-size without side effects. It was later revealed, however, that Hank had been replaced by a Skrull impostor by at that point, so it was possible that some flaw had deliberately put in the formula. During the beginning of the fight, Janet was briefly turned into a symbiote monster before a cure was created by Stark.
Secret Invasion and Death
The Wasp was among the Mighty Avengers fighting the Skrull forces, some disguised as various Earth heroes and attacking from Skrull starships during the Secret Invasion. She was later seen with the rest of the Avengers heading to New York to confront more invading Skrulls. While fighting the Skrulls, the true sinister purpose of the serum that the Skrull Hank Pym gave her was revealed. After the Skrull Queen Veranke was shot and killed, Skrull Pym activated a button that made Jan increase in size, very rapidly. Jan realized that the particles Pym had given her in earlier were now turning her into a bio-bomb. Jan was seen growing huge and emitting a black-purple matter in a precursor to an explosion. Knowing she was about to die, she tried to flee the battlefield and take as many Skrulls with her as she could. In order to save countless innocent people, Thor was forced to teleport Jan to another dimension before she could explode, vowing to avenge her in the process.
After the death of Janet Van Dyne, the real Hank Pym was discovered to be a captive on board one of the Skrull starships, along with many other missing heroes who had been replaced by Skrull impostors. Much to Hank's shock, he learned that his former wife had been used as a Skrull weapon in the invasion. Earth's heroes then had to break the news to Hank that Janet had died as a result.
The news devastated Hank, and for a while he went into seclusion in his lab. After he re-emerged, he decided to honor the woman he regarded as 'the greatest hero he had ever known' by taking up the hero's mantle again and creating a new alter ego for himself: the Wasp.
Shortly after her death, it seemed that Janet's soul-spirit was encountered by her former Avengers teammate Hercules when he journeyed to the underworld. Since Janet felt as though she still had unfinished business among the living, her spirit was shown trapped in the dimension of Erebus and relentlessly attempting to gamble her way back into the living world. It was noted that the gambling games that the trapped souls played in Erebus in search of their release had the odds of a win stacked overwhelmingly against them, though these odds did not deter Janet from playing.
Meanwhile, Hank Pym discovered a massive and seemingly female celestial entity in the alternate dimension of Underspace while experimenting with dimensional technology. The entity featured a pattern on her body that strongly resembled the Wasp costume Janet last wore when she exploded, so Hank become convinced the entity was in fact Janet herself. Hank established an extradimensional headquarters called the Infinite Avengers Mansion in the location of one of the entity's "eyes." He designed the Infinite Mansion to act as a dimensional "harness" to keep her particles from drifting apart completely, and then began work on a device that would restore her to human form. But one of Hank's young Avengers Academy members, Veil, grew desperate to make a good impression on Hank and decided to trigger the device prematurely in an attempt to bring Janet back. When the entity returned to human form, it turned out to be Carina Walters (the ex-wife of super-villain Michael Korvac), not Janet. Hank Pym had transferred Janet's memories into Carina's energy form when he thought she was his late wife. The memories inspires Carina to live by her own wishes and not her father or husband's.
Meanwhile, a version of Janet's psyche still lives on in the robotic form of Jocasta, though Jocasta has developed her own feelings for Hank. Jocasta, now an honorary Avenger and Hank's assistant, has grown increasingly distraught by Hank's obsession with bringing Janet back. A cyborg Janet Van Dyne also appeared, serving Father. She fought against Hawkeye and the Secret Avengers.
Return from the Microverse
Recently it has been revealed that the actual Janet Van Dyne was still alive in the Microverse, apparently having been flung into that dimension when her body seemingly exploded during Secret Invasion. During all the time she was presumed dead, she had been seeking a way back. She was finally discovered there by ex-husband Hank Pym, Thor, Captain America and Iron Man, and has since returned to normal Marvel reality.
She became a member of the Avengers Unity Squad. There she developed a relationship with Alex Summers, also known as Havok. They eventually fell in love. In the Apocalypse Twins storyline, the Apocalypse Twins use Scarlet Witch to send all the mutants to their own planet. Janet goes with them and there she and Alex marry and have a child. When they are returned to the normal timeline, the memories of their marriage and unborn child remain.
Powers and Abilities
Making use of sub-atomic Pym particles, the Wasp possesses the power to alter her physical size, causing her body's mass to be shunted to or gained from an alternate dimension known as Kosmos. She is able to shrink to a minimum of half an inch or grow to a maximum of several hundred feet. Smaller or larger sizes are possible but the exertion begins to put a strain on her body. Initially, these abilities stemmed from use of a Pym particle gas released from special capsules. Over time, however, her body has absorbed enough particles to allow her to alter her size at will.
At miniature size, her strength level increases as her body's mass is compacted. At giant size, her strength and endurance increase geometrically with her height, reaching superhuman levels. Despite the advantages of giant size, Janet usually prefers to remain the diminutive Wasp, calling on her growth power only in times of extreme emergency. At miniature size, the Wasp grows a pair of translucent insect wings from her back, a result of genetic modifications provided by Hank Pym. These grant her the power of flight, at incredible speeds.
The Wasp is able to harness and augment her body's natural bio-electric energy, releasing it from her hands in powerful electrical bursts, which she calls her "stinger blasts" or "wasp stings." Originally, she required special wrist devices to produce these but again, Pym particle absorption has allowed her to create the ability unaided. The Wasp's genetic modifications also grant her the ability to sprout small prehensile antennae from her forehead which allow her to telepathically communicate with and control insects. However, this is an ability that she rarely uses.
Janet Van Dyne has also displayed several non-superhuman abilities that have garnered her special fame and attention, foremost of which is her fashion sense. She possesses considerable talent as a clothing and costume designer, and in her early appearances she showcased many different costumes, all designed and created herself. She also helped her Avengers teammate Ms. Marvel create her own signature costume.
In addition, the Wasp is one of the most intuitive and deductive members of the Avengers. She effectively deduced that a chemical accident had created a schizophrenic break in Henry Pym. She was the first Avenger to realize that the relationship between the Scarlet Witch and the Vision was the result of the infused personality of Wonder Man, and also was the first to correctly guess the identity of Iron Man at a time when Tony Stark faked his own death.
As a founding member of the Avengers, the Wasp has learned a great deal by fighting alongside veteran heroes like Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and many others, and has grown into a strong and capable leader in her own right. She has served both as field leader and as chairwoman of the team many times during her Avengers tenure.
- Height (normal): 5' 4"
- Weight (normal): 110 lbs (50 kg)
- Eyes: Blue
- Hair: Auburn
- Unusual features: Translucent wasp-like wings sprout from Janet's back when she shrinks to under 4 feet tall.
- Citizenship: American
- Place of Birth: Cresskill, New Jersey
- Marital Status: Divorced
- Occupations: Avenger, adventurer, television show host, fashion designer, independently wealthy socialite
- Known Relatives: Vernon Van Dyne (father, deceased), Dr. Henry Pym (husband, divorced), Ultron (self-declared 'son'), Jocasta (first 'daughter-in-law'), Alkhema (second 'daughter-in-law'), Vision ('grandson'), Scarlet Witch (former 'granddaughter-in-law')
In the Ultimate Universe, Janet is of Asian descent, rather than Caucasian, and she is a scientific genius in her own right, holding 2 PhDs. She is also a mutant, but it is unknown everyone except SHIELD and her boyfriend Hank Pym. Her mutant powers allows her to shrink and grow wings when she is shrunken. She can also produce energy blasts which act like wasp stings. Her powers have strange side effects however, which include causing her to eat insects, forming her own larval nests, and laying eggs. She started dating Hank during college, but even during college Hank was extremely abusive to her. She was a roommate of Betty Ross, and Betty remembers times where Janet was missing chunks of her hair.
Their relationship would not change in time though. Hank tried to improve his behavior with medication and joining the Ultimates program. Janet also became good friends with Captain America, which made Hank jealous. After a humiliating loss to the Hulk, he took out his frustration on Janet. He started attacking Janet, which caused her to change size and start firing wasp-blasts at him. Hank got even more angry and ordered his ants to attack Janet. The swarm of ants began biting the wasp-sized Janet, and she was left in a coma due to the ant attack. After Captain tracked down Hank and beat him to a pulp for what he did to Janet, he went to visit her. Janet became outraged at Captain for beating Hank and was embarrassed at people talking about her personal life. However, after they finished a mission, Janet and Captain reconciled and would slowly develop a romantic relationship. When Hank came back to reconcile with her, Janet refused. However, Janet would tell Hank about her relationship problems with Captain, stating that his age gap and the friends he hung out with made it hard for her to connect. Janet would continue to see Hank secretively. Later, when the Liberators attacked America, they failed to take Janet into account. By the time they found her she had already freed Captain America, who was being held captive at the Triskelion. She and Cap later met up with Nick Fury and Betty Ross and helped free the President. With the Giant-Man serum given to her by Hank Pym, she helped fight the Liberators and killed the Liberator named Swarm.
As she had in the main reality, the Wasp later became the leader of the Ultimates, though her tenure proved to be short-lived. During the disaster known as the Ultimatum flood, the Wasp disappeared. Hank and Hawkeye both searched for her, and they later found her corpse being eaten by the evil mutant known as the Blob. Upon this gruesome discovery, Hank flew into an uncontrollable rage. He grew to giant size and bit the Blob's head off, killing him and avenging the Wasp's death.
Hank met his own demise later in the story arc, as did many of this reality's heroes and villains. The surviving heroes carried out Hank's dying wish of bringing Janet's body to his lab and activating what he called the "Jocasta Project," the results of which have yet to be revealed.
In the Marvel Zombies universe Wasp was, as most of this reality's heroes, transformed into a zombie. Wasp was the zombie that first bit Magneto and was the reason for Magneto's death by consumption from other zombies. Later on, she finds Giant Man eating a piece of Black Panther and Black Panther himself without an arm and leg. Wasp is enraged by this and attacks Giant Man. She is easily defeated by Giant Man by getting her head bit off and spat out by Giant Man. Black Panther escapes Giant Man's place and takes Wasp's head with him. She tries to persuade Black Panther to let her have a bite of him, but is denied of this request. They are found by Magneto's Acolytes and they are taken by the Acolytes to Asteroid M, with the exception of one acolyte, because Black Panther had thrown Wasp's head at the acolyte, killing him. Wasp is given a cybernetic body by Reynolds (a surviving highly intelligent Acolyte) and Forge, and is used for experimentation to find a cure for the virus.
Forty years later, Wasp is still there in an upgraded robotic body; seemingly no longer experiencing the zombie plague's hunger. Her function in the still floundering remains of human society is unclear though she seems to always spring to King Black Panther's defense, so perhaps she is an official body guard. After an attempt on Black Panther's life by an assassin tasked by the son of Fabian Cortez, leader of the mutant opposition, that leaves him fatally wounded, Wasp bites Black Panther in order to preserve his life the only way she can (at the request of Panther's wife and queen). Black Panther becomes a zombie. Wasp and Panther go into seclusion for a time during which they can both get their blood-lust out of their systems before returning to human society.
Shortly after their release, the power cosmic empowered zombies return to earth and attack the human compound. Wasp joins her king and their few other combat ready heroes in attempting to repel the evil zombies; constantly imploring them that she can help them to conquer their blood-lust as she has cured herself of it; but falling upon deaf ears. In one of these conflicts, Wasp's robotic body is damaged and while she is being repaired by Reynolds, Reynolds reveals his romantic feelings for her and the two share a kiss that shocks and appalls all onlookers, human and zombie alike. In the next battle, Wasp's robotic body is destroyed and she is presumed dead. Reynolds, who had fallen in love with her and is despondent due to her apparent demise sacrifices himself by allowing himself to be eaten by a rampaging zombie Hulk; banking on that if Hulk's hunger is sated, he will revert to Banner. Reynold's sacrifice pays off and, once Hulk has reverted to Banner, Banner allows himself to be killed for the greater good before he can become the Hulk again. By this point, the last remaining power cosmic empowered zombies have stopped feeling their hunger pangs and they all try to band together to help the humans. During the cleanup and repair efforts on the human compound, Wasp's head is discovered, still "alive". She is given either a new robotic body or an unused older model to get by with. She mourns for Reynolds and reveals to her long ago husband Giant Man that Reynolds was the greatest man she had ever known. Shortly thereafter, Wasp, along with the few other remaining zombies is tricked by Cortez and is teleported to another dimension.
The Marvel Adventures: The Avengers series (set in its own continuity) features Janet Van Dyne as Giant Girl, showcasing her ability to grow rather than shrink, which she uses most frequently in combat. She is younger than her main universe counterpart and she cracks jokes along with her teammate Spider-Man. Issue 13 of the series reveals her origin as a wealthy socialite given access to size-changing Pym particles by scientist Henry Pym (here an employee of Janet's father, rather than a superhero). Janet does not appear to have ever used her Wasp identity in this version. It has been revealed that Janet can shrink to wasp size but, unlike in Marvel's main reality, she sees no point in being tiny. Her maximum size is unknown but she has grown tall enough to catch a school. Instead of having her powers naturally, Janet requires a suit powered by Pym particles to change her size. Like her Earth-616 counterpart, Janet seems to change her costume regularly. Originally she wore a skin-tight full body suit that accurately accentuates all her curves along with her muscles and primarily purple with some blue costume with a mask that was similar to that of Giant-Man. It included the antennae (although she never used them). They left her vulnerable to insect mind control as seen in issue 13. Her second costume was primarily blue with some purple set in a v-pattern from her waist running all the way to her posterior regions and lacks a mask or antennae. A recent preview of Marvel Adventures the Avengers 19 has shown her wearing a costume which is primarily blue but has gold/yellow. Whether this costume increases her maximum size is yet to be seen. She has also mentioned that she has at least two brothers although they have never been seen or given any names (see Marvel Adventures the Avengers #3).
In the MC2 universe (an alternate future timeline), the marriage between Janet Van Dyne and Hank Pym was more successful and they had a son and a daughter. But Hank, as Giant-Man, was killed during the final mission of the original Avengers, and Janet died of a broken heart soon after. Their children blamed the Avengers for their parents' deaths and used Hank's technology to give themselves super-powers. Hope Pym gained her mother's Wasp powers and became the Red Queen, while Henry Pym Jr. gained Hank's growth powers and became Big Man. Red Queen assembled a supervillain team called the Revengers, who battled A-Next, the next generation of Avengers.
In this reality, also called Battleworld, Wasp and Human Torch married and had a son called Firefly.
During the House of M story arc, the Scarlet Witch went insane and created an alternate reality where mutants became the ruling class and humans the oppressed class. In this reality, Janet Van Dyne was a normal human who had never gained her Wasp powers. Due to her great artistic talent, she overcame prejudice against humans and became a renowned fashion designer with headquarters in Paris. She was famous for designing the uniform of Ms. Marvel (who was a wildly popular hero in this reality), and powerful and successful mutants routinely went to Janet when they wanted distinctive costumes made for themselves.
Earth-398 was created when a longtime Avengers enemy, the sorceress Morgan Le Fay, stole a powerful Asgardian artifact called the Twilight Sword and used it to transform reality into a medieval society, with herself as its queen. She bewitched all members of the Avengers and made them into her personal bodyguards called Queen's Vengeance, with their code names and costumes altered to reflect their medieval setting. The Wasp was a member of Queen's Vengeance and became known as 'Pixie,' wearing a green fairy-like costume. Eventually the Scarlet Witch broke free of Le Fay's mind control and used her powers to free her teammates. The Avengers then defeated the sorceress and restored reality to normal.
In the Marvel Mangaverse, Janet Van Dyne was an employee of Stark Industries and the creator of the technology called W.A.S.P. (Winged Amplification Surge Plasma) which allowed her to fly. This differed from the original Wasp whose powers came from experimentation by Hank Pym, and changed size via a serum.
What If: Volume 1 #35
Hank Pym died in the hands of Elfqueen. Janet blamed herself for his death, for not arriving in time to save him. That thought took her into a dark place where she wanted to punish every criminal much harder than before, and she eventually took up a new name: Black Wasp.
The Wasp was nearly featured as a main character in the film, mirroring her role in the comics as a founding member of the team. She was written into the script to replace Black Widow when it looked like the character would have to be omitted due to salary issues with Scarlett Johansson, and according to Joss Whedon, she was essentially a viewpoint character for the audience. Unfortunately, it was decided that it would take too much time to establish the character and explain her origin, especially with six other Avengers in the film (since Johansson did ultimately come to a deal with Marvel, allowing Black Widow to return), which resulted in Wasp being cut from the movie.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Wasp was a costumed S.H.I.E.L.D. agent during the 80's, working alongside Hank Pym. At an unknown certain point she married him and they had a daughter, Hope. In 1987 she undertook a mission to disable a Russian nuclear missile with Hank. Unfortunately, they couldn't breach the missile's titanium outer shell. In order to breach it, Janet shrunk to dangerous sub-atomic levels and destroyed the bomb at the cost of her own life.
However, at the end of the film, Scott Lang manages to survive after being trapped in the Quantum Realm, the same place Janet was supposedly sent, causing Hank to conclude that Jan may still be alive somewhere. The film's mid-credit scene later shows Hank presenting Hope with an unfinished Wasp suit he had been developing with Jan prior to her sacrifice, passing the torch from mother to daughter.
In contrast to the comics, Wasp's wings and abilities appear to come from her suit.
She was played by Hayley Lovitt.
The Marvel Super Heroes (1966)
Wasp's first animated appearance was on the 1966 cartoon Marvel Super Heroes. She along with the rest of the avengers appeared in a few Captain America episodes.
Wasp makes a brief, non-speaking cameo appearance in the episode "One Man's Worth", where she appears as a member of the Avengers.
The Wasp was featured as a team member of this short-lived Avengers animated series. Her look was redesigned to include red and gold insect-like armor. She was voiced by Linda Ballantyne.
As the titles suggest, the characters and storylines of these animated adaptations were based on the Ultimate Universe reality rather than the main reality. The Wasp was a featured member of the team in both movies. She was voiced by Grey DeLisle.
The Wasp is mentioned in the film, though like the other Avengers, she is dead by Ultron's hand long before the events of the movie take place. However, her son Henry appears as a central character.
The Wasp joined the Avengers in the fourth episode of this animated Marvel title and became a regular team member. She wears the same black and gold wasp-patterned costume that she last wore in comic book continuity, though her proportions are drawn in the "cute" toon style of the show. She is voiced by House star Jennifer Morrison.
Wasp appears as a main character in the new animated Avengers TV Series, which airs on Disney XD. In this series she is the youngest member of the team, being a college student in her early 20's. She has a flighty and flirty personality reminiscent of her early days in the comics. This led many of her teammates to underestimate her but over the course of the series (as in the comics) she proved her dedication to the team as well as her potential as a hero. She also has a relationship with Hank Pym (ant man) that is similar to there comic counterparts. Despite her flirty personality she is always supportive and dedicated to him and is the one who tries the hardest to keep him on the team with her. Her costume is a black and yellow skirt with a yellow antenna-like head piece. She is voiced by Colleen O' Shaughnessey.
The Wasp appears as one of the characters in this Japanese anime series, voiced by Kaori Mizuhashi. Her partner in the show is a young heiress named Jessica Shannon, voiced by Naomi Ozora.
Captain America and the Avengers (1991)
The Wasp appeared as a NPC in the game, flying onto the screen at certain intervals to help the player attack enemies.
Marvel: Avengers Alliance (2012)
Wasp appears as an unlockable character in the Marvel: Avengers Alliance video game on Facebook. She is an Infiltration Class character.
Her bio says: To avenge the murder of her father, Janet Van Dyne sought the aid of Dr. Henry Pym, better known as Ant-Man. Pym's treatments allowed her to grow or shrink in size, and gave the ability to fly and fire bursts of bioelectric energy. In time she left Pym's shadow to become a hero and leader in her own right, and one of the most steadfast members of the Avengers. She was one of the founders of the Avengers.
Marvel: Avengers Alliance 2
Wasp is a playable character in the game. She is a Tactician class.
Her bio in the game says: In order to avenge her father's death, wealthy socialite Janet Van Dyne sought help from Hank Pym. Pym imbued her with his remarkable 'Pym Particles,' granting her the ability to shrink and grow at will, as well as the power to sprout wings and project bio-electric 'stings.' Often underestimated for her size, Wasp has repeatedly proven herself to be one of the most effective, fearless and loyal members of the Avengers.
Marvel Super Hero Squad Online
Wasp is a playable character in the game. She is voiced by Tara Strong.
Her description says: Whether she's stinging bad guys or designing awesome new outfits, Wasp has got great big talents to go with her tiny body.
Marvel: War of Heroes
Wasp is featured in several of the cards in the mobile game War of Heroes. Her cards are:
- [Pixie] Wasp
- [Stylish] Wasp
- [Surprise Appearance] Wasp
- [Woman Worth Marrying] Wasp
- [Cool and Collected] Wasp
- [Dimension Jaunt] Wasp
- [Sleuth] Wasp
- [Tragic Bond] Ant-Man & Wasp
The Wasp appears as a Team-Up character. Though she herself is not playable, she can be equipped to provide support for one of the playable heroes. She is voiced by Colleen O'Shaughnessey.
Lego Marvel Super Heroes
The Wasp is playable character in the game.
The Wasp appears as a non-playable supporting character in one of the missions for the Avengers toy box. She is once again voiced by Colleen O' Shaughnessey.
Marvel Future Fight
Wasp is a payable character in the game.
Marvel Avengers Academy
A teenage version of the Wasp is playable in the game, voiced by actress Alexandra Daddario.
Lego Marvel's Avengers
The Wasp appears as a playable game in two iterations. Her comic incarnation is playable in the standard version of the game, while the MCU version of the Wasp is playable as part of the Ant-Man movie DLC Season Pass.
- Toy Biz released a Wasp figure for the short-lived Avengers: United They Stand line.
- Toy Biz released a Wasp figure for the M.O.D.O.K. "Build-a-Figure" wave in the Marvel Legends line.
- Toy Biz also included a small Wasp figurine with the Marvel Legends Goliath figure.
- Bowen Designs released several Wasp statues and busts.
- A Wasp figure was included in Hasbro's Super Hero Squad line.
- A 3.75 inch Wasp figure was released as part of Hasbro's Marvel Universe line.
- A Wasp figure was released for Hasbro's Marvel Legends line as part of the Ultron "Build-a-Figure" wave for the Ant-Man movie. Though it was released as part of the merchandise for the film, the figure depicts the comic version of Jan, not the movie version.
- Kotobukiya released a Wasp statue for the company's Bishoujo line.
- IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time (2011 list): Wasp ranked #99
- Marvel.com's Greatest Avengers of All Time (2013 list): Wasp ranked #5
- Comics Buyer's Guide's 100 Sexiest Women in Comics list: Wasp ranked #94