REVIEW: Secret Suburban Sickness in DARKHOLD: WASP #1
In Darkhold: Wasp #1 by Jordie Bellaire, Claire Roe, and Clayton Cowles, we open on Janet Van Dyne looking out a suburban kitchen window and considering the fact that wasps are gendered, and the males are “utterly useless”… which is swiftly paired with her husband, Hank Pym. By the title card on page 3, this issue already feels like something completely unexpected… A.K.A. just what you want out of an anthology-style series like the ongoing Darkhold crossover event!
Darkhold: Wasp #1
This issue follows an alternate timeline where, instead of divorcing Hank Pym and moving on with her life, as she did in the Earth-616 narrative, Janet Van Dyne stays beside her increasingly awful husband. I don’t think I’ll be spoiling anything by saying this issue goes some dark places, even by the standards of these Darkhold tie-ins!
One thing that was especially cool about this issue was that it was written by Bellaire, who also did the coloring. In fact, Bellaire is one of Marvel’s most impressive colorists, having worked on high-profile books like The Vision (also by Tom King, Gabriel Walta, and Cowles, with main covers by Mike del Mondo)… but while that book showed us a vision of suburbia from Vision’s masculine perspective, the world that opens up to us in Darkhold: Wasp #1 is hardly viewed through rose-colored glasses.
To emphasize that this story takes place earlier in Janet’s personal timeline, the art style and colors evoke a bygone era of the Avengers. This is especially effective thanks to the newsprint texture, which is especially emphasized on the characters’ faces.
Over the course of this issue, several characters speak with Janet, and she can’t get their words out of her mind. When the climax of the issue arrives, it isn’t surprising, but you can’t look away, anyway. Maybe it’s the way this straightforward story of a woman pushed too far is heavily integrated into Avengers continuity, or maybe it’s the stark red color that splashes behind a full-page image of Janet in her wedding dress, but this ending seemed unfamiliar and thrilling (even if you sort of see it coming).
While each of the Darkhold tie-ins have offered unique and entertaining stories, this one feels uniquely satisfying, with no punches pulled and an ending that you won’t soon forget!
Available at Your LCS Today
If you haven’t picked up Darkhold: Wasp #1 yet, there may be a copy available at your local comic shop – you can call ahead and ask what variants they might have in stock (with covers by Paul Renaud, Josemaria Casanovas, Cian Tormey, and Audrey Mok, there are plenty of awesome possibilities at play)!
Do you make your egg salad sandwiches with diced cucumber (for texture)? Which Darkhold tale has been the most upsetting? Will Wanda be able to sort all of this out by the end of Darkhold: Omega?
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