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Marvel Legends
by yo go re

Lots of girls will go to great lengths to impress a guy. Few would go so far as to expose themselves to experimental shrink-gas, put on a costume and have a pair of wings surgically implanted.

Trend setter. Socialite. Superhero. Janet Van Dyne switches hats as often as her ex-husband, Giant-Man, outgrows costumed identities. Despite the financial comfort afforded by vast inheritance, she chooses to risk life and Lilliputian limb as the courageous Wasp - standing tall as a founding member of the Avengers, Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Many criminal masterminds have underestimated the diminutive dynamo, only find themselves on the receiving end of her bioelectric sting!

In her first few appearances, Wasp was pretty shallow. Check out the early issues of Avengers and you'll mainly see her swooning over how "dreamy" her new teammates were. While the rest of the team was looking out for villains, she was on 24-hour man patrol. Fortunately, that changed eventually, and she became one of the most dependable members of the team, and one of the only characters to ever appear in the book for 100 consecutive issues.

Despite sharing most of her mold with this series' Spider-Woman, Wasp doesn't suffer from the same articulation problems. She's the same size - 6⅛" - and moves at all the same joints, but she has a new chest. Since her wings are articulated, they needed to plug into her shoulders. Whatever other changes ToyBiz made, it kept the chest (and waist, oddly enough) from flopping out of place like Spider-Woman's does.

A Wasp has to have her wings, and ToyBiz did a really nice job on them. Each translucent wing is double-layered, giving us four independently moving wings and a 9" wingspan. Her face is cute, but her haircut seems a little flat - not that it shouldn't be short like this, but it just seems pressed really tightly against her skull. Her hands are also more appropriately sized than Spider-Woman's are.

Jan is a successful fashion designer, so she's had more costumes than any other hero. Hell, more than most other heroes combined. You could probably lump Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and Captain America all together, and she'd still have more spandex in her closet. To that end, she actually has three versions. The standard version is one of her most recent costumes, taken from around the time of "Avengers: Disassembled." It's a solid black suit with a chartreuse yellow pattern running from her chest down her torso and matched by panels on her palms and soles. But the abdomen seems to have been painted upside down.

Wasp variant 1 is red and black, a costume that first appeared in 1987 on the cover of Comics Interview #50, as a promo for the soon-to-be-cancelled Justice League/Avengers crossover. It's a George Perez design, and it looks really sharp. The boots and gloves are red, as is the body. The arms and legs are black, with black panels running down her sides and forming a W below her neck. Both Wasp variants have a longer haircut, too.

Wasp variant 2 is a blue and white costume that was seen during Perez's early-2000s run on the book. Apparently it's similar to one she wore in the late '70s, too. The body is blue, with black trim, and the gloves and (thigh-high) boots are white. The W neckline dips pretty low, and the tops of her boots are arrows - pointing downward. Clever. Blue Wasp wasn't in the first release of variant cases, so she's extra hard to find: the cases had two Red Wasps instead. Supposedly she's going to be just as plentiful as variant 1, but no one's seen her yet.

[Note: the second variant would end up never being released. --ed.]

Like all the figures in ML15, Wasp comes with a piece of this series' Build-A-Figure, MODOK. She gets his awesome crotchplate and his dangly little legs. You can get the legs to stand up, if you really want them to, but that's not the way the character is designed. She also includes a reprint of Avengers #195, which does feature a Wasp-centric story (along with Yellowjacket and Ant-Man), but also features a costume not worn by any of the three variants. Her diorama backdrop is a technological lab - you can decide for yourself whether it's the one from the comic, or the one where her husband slapped her around.

-- 12/28/06

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