Actress Evangeline Lily made some waves in the comics news realm by paying homage to Jack Kirby on what was his 100th birthday. Of course, she's the actress who plays the Wasp in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and while we expect our comic book movie actors to have a thorough familiarity with the backgrounds of their characters, her knowledge of the importance of the day reveals a thorough understanding of the Wasp's history as well. She's been in one Marvel film, Ant-Man, with another on the way with Ant-Man and the Wasp.
This is also pretty cool because it gives me an excuse to talk about how the character she's portraying—well, the mother of the character she is portraying—is the greatest Avenger of all time.
That's right. I'm laying down the gauntlet. The Wasp, aka Janet van Dyne, is the greatest Avenger in the history of the team.
You may be wondering how and why this could be the case. That's convenient, because I'm going to lay down some learning on ya to explain how Wasp is the greatest Avenger of all time.
As a quick aside, I would like to point out that Wasp isn't my favorite Avenger. My favorite classic Avenger is Hawkeye, my favorite New Avenger is Luke Cage, and my favorite character who was ever an Avenger is Bucky Barnes. You may not care to know all of that. Oh well.
But that doesn't change the fact that, objectively speaking, the Wasp is the greatest Avenger of all time.
First, she was with them in the beginning. Jan was a founding member alongside Hulk, Ant-Man, Iron Man, and Thor, soon followed by Captain America of course. She was there when Earth's Mightiest Heroes were born.
She was also on the team for longer than most other members, with the possible exception of Captain America and Iron Man. She rarely took lengthy leaves of absence from the team—unlike Thor, who seemed to leave all the freaking time.
Seriously, I like the Odinson, but good lord, a large portion of early Avengers issues I've read have talked about Thor is not there or shows Thor leaving.
The Wasp even led the team for a fair stint in the 80's and some in the 90's. She led them well, with a leadership style that was less stiff than Captain America and less demanding than Iron Man. She was a great Chairwoman for Earth's Mightiest, and she damn well earned her spot.
Also, during the original Jim Shooter, Mike Zeck, and Bob Layton Secret Wars, the Wasp managed to take down the entirety of the X-Men.
This seems to be a sore point among some people for some reason…
Jan put up with Hank Pym longer than any sane person ever could. I like Dr. Henry Pym as much as the next socially-awkward recluse, but, damn, Hank is a tough man to sympathize with sometime. There was, of course, the now-notorious slap that got him kicked off the team. There are also the constant identity crises, the many times he's turned on the Avengers, and the creation of Ultron, one of the most dangerous beings in existence. Janet stuck with Hank through much of this, only leaving when she could not deal with him any longer.
One of Jan's longer hiatuses from the Avengers came after the old team disassembled after a vicious attack by Scarlet Witch having a mental breakdown. She would stay off the team during the initial creation of the New Avengers. She rejoined the fight when the Civil War broke out, and she joined Ms. Marvel's Initiative Mighty Avengers team after the war ended.
The Wasp went down in the line of duty while fighting the Skrulls during the Secret Invasion. She "died" as a hero, betrayed by a Skrull disguised as Hank.
She came back, of course, and joined up with the Avengers Unity Squad under Havok and Captain America. While both of those individuals have since left the team, the Wasp has stuck around, currently serving alongside Rogue, Doctor Voodoo, Synapse, the Human Torch, and Quicksilver.
She was also incredibly accepting of Nadia Pym, the All-New Wasp and previously unknown daughter of Hank Pym. Pym had "died," shortly before Nadia made it to America, and he was now one with Ultron. Without any real parents, Nadia would have been all-but alone had it not been for Jan's kind heart and acceptance of her.
Moving more into the realm of character traits, the Wasp is one of the most endearing and lovable heroes in Marvel comics. She's always had an upbeat attitude, an optimistic outlook, and a zealousness for helping others. She represents the heart of the Avengers and what they should be all about. She wants to make the world a better place for everyone, and she enjoys doing it. She does her best to lift people up, and she is everything an Avenger should be.
So, there. Next time anyone talks about the greatest Avengers of all time, the Wasp should be the first one who comes to mind. Janet van Dyne is just plain awesome, and she is a hero through-and-through.
Actress Michelle Pfeiffer will be playing the heroine in Marvel's upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp movie, so Janet van Dyne will finally have her moment on the silver screen.