Meet Nadia van Dyne, Ant-Man's Secret Daughter
Who is Nadia van Dyne? Read on to learn more about Hank Pym's daughter, who was raised in secret in the Red Room and escaped to become the Unstoppable Wasp!
As the secret daughter of Hank Pym, Nadia van Dyne has inherited a powerful legacy. Following her debut in FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2016 CIVIL WAR II (2016) #1 by Mark Waid and Alan Davis, she set out to find her father, only to become a member of such illustrious teams as the Avengers and the Champions—all while founding her own science organization: Genius In action Research Labs, AKA G.I.R.L. With Nadia and her stepmother, Janet van Dyne, teaming up in the pages of WASP (2023), here’s what you need to know about the young hero’s journey so far.
Where Was Nadia All Along?
Nadia’s origins lay in the TALES TO ASTONISH (1959) #44, which also introduced Janet to the Marvel Universe. That story revealed Hank was previously married to Maria Pym née Trovaya, who had been a political prisoner in Hungary during the Cold War. After escaping from Hungary, Maria married Hank. However, their union didn’t last long. Shortly after marrying, the Pyms went on a honeymoon to Hungary, where Maria was abducted and murdered by government agents for fleeing the country.
Unbeknownst to Hank, Maria was pregnant when she was abducted. She gave birth to Nadia before her death, only for Nadia to be raised in the Red Room, where she became one of the organization’s agents. During her time there, Nadia encountered Bucky Barnes, AKA Winter Soldier, who was with the Red Room at the time. Due to her scientific prowess, Nadia found herself assigned to the Science Class, a section of the Red Room dedicated to experimentation and scientific pursuits. There, she befriended another young trainee named Ying Liu, though the Red Room later separated them to curb their budding friendship.
In the Science Class, Nadia worked on and mastered Pym Particles, the subatomic particles that allow Ant-Man to change sizes. She then used the Pym Particles to escape the Red Room and fled to the United States in search of her father. When she arrived at his home, though, she discovered that he’d seemingly died in a confrontation with Ultron. (In reality, Hank had merged with his creation – check out AVENGERS: RAGE OF ULTRON (2015) for more on that!) When she realized Hank wouldn’t be coming home, Nadia broke into his lab, crafted herself a super suit, and took on the mantle of the Wasp. Afterwards, she set out to meet the Avengers.
Nadia Meets the Avengers and Janet Van Dyne
In ALL-NEW, ALL-DIFFERENT AVENGERS (2015) #9, Nadia officially met the Avengers. Following a tussle between her and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the team quickly accepted that she was likely Hank’s daughter due to her age and resemblance to both him and Maria. Nadia soon proved her value to the team by helping stabilize Vision, who’d been turned into a living bomb during a confrontation with Kang the Conqueror.
After she saved Vision, longtime Avengers aide Edwin Jarvis took Nadia to meet Janet van Dyne. The two hit it off, and Janet eventually gave her blessing for Nadia to use the name Wasp. When they arrived back at Janet’s home after taking a short trip together, they teamed up to take on some W.H.I.S.P.E.R. agents who attempted to abduct Nadia under the false pretense that she was in the country illegally. Soon after, news broke that Clint Barton, AKA Hawkeye, had killed Bruce Banner, AKA the Hulk, during the events of CIVIL WAR II (2016). That event sent the otherwise optimistic Nadia into a spiral of despair, as she believed heroes shouldn’t act in such a way.
Nadia decided to go into her lab in the Microverse, where time moves differently, to work on a solution that might stop a civil war from breaking out. However, the experiment went wrong, forcing Janet to save Nadia from an explosion. Janet explained to Nadia that heroes aren’t as perfect as she believed growing up.
On a personal front, Nadia’s introduction to the Marvel Universe was not without its own complications, specifically regarding her American citizenship. As the daughter of Hank, who was an American citizen, Nadia was entitled to American citizenship. However, due to Hank’s disappearance and Nadia’s lack of records, proving that relationship was not easy. Luckily, Janet and Matt Murdock, AKA Daredevil, worked to prove that Nadia was Hank’s daughter and helped her navigate the immigration process. Nadia, who did not have an official last name, asked Janet for permission to officially become a van Dyne when it came time to finish her paperwork. The original Wasp readily agreed.
Nadia Joins the Avengers and Founds G.I.R.L.
Following CIVIL WAR II, Nadia officially joined the Avengers. As a member of that Super Hero group, Nadia played a key role in the “Worlds Collide” and “No Surrender” arcs, which saw her taking on the High Evolutionary and participating in one of the Grandmaster’s deadly games. She also helped battle against Kang the Conqueror and return a baby version of him to his proper place in the timeline. Those stories generally saw her deepening her relationships with her fellow Avengers while flexing her skills.
In addition to the Avengers, Nadia also joined the Champions, a group of teenaged Super Heroes. During her time with the Champions, she became fast friends with Viv Vision and Kamala Khan, AKA Ms. Marvel. Nadia played a minor role during the OUTLAWED (2020) event, where she was imprisoned for violating the government’s ban on teenage heroes.
Nadia did more than just join those two teams. She also founded G.I.R.L., an organization dedicated to building up young women in S.T.E.M. fields, in the pages of UNSTOPPABLE WASP (2017). With help from Janet, Jarvis, and Bobbi Morse, AKA Mockingbird, Nadia recruited several talented young scientists, including Alexis Miranda, Tai Miranda, Priya Aggarwal, and Shay Smith.
In one of their first confrontations, G.I.R.L. took on the Red Room and Ying, who had been sent to retrieve her old friend. In the end, though, Nadia and G.I.R.L. were able to disable the explosive device in Ying’s skull and free her from the group. Ying then joined G.I.R.L.
In the second volume of UNSTOPPABLE WASP (2018), Nadia and G.I.R.L. took on Advanced Idea Mechanics, AKA A.I.M. The stress from fighting against A.I.M. and an attack on the G.I.R.L. lab sent Nadia into a spiral, leading her to withdraw from her friends. She also started to believe that she must solve every problem by herself. She ended up heading to her Microverse lab, where she worked obsessively and without caring for herself. When she was forced to finally come out, she got into a physical altercation with her teammates. It was soon revealed that, like her father, Nadia has bipolar disorder. In addition to working on managing her condition in therapy, Nadia made amends and healed the rift caused by her actions.
While Nadia has certainly had her personal struggles, so much of what defines the character is her ability to easily make friends and to do her best by others, and there’s no indication that will end anytime soon. She is unstoppable, after all!
Catch Nadia’s next adventure in WASP #1 by Al Ewing and Kasia Nie, on sale now, and don't miss WASP #2 on February 15!
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