Published April 4, 2017

Unstoppable Wasp: Red Room Revisited

Jeremy Whitley digs into the perilous past of Nadia Pym!

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Anyone following the adventures of the new Wasp knows that Nadia Pym doesn’t exactly represent the typical Red Room veteran. She has a cheerful approach to life that we don’t see with many of the RR’s alumni. But as we’ll see in the upcoming UNSTOPPABLE WASP #5 on May 3, her former captors want her back, and they’ll come with full force to try and get their girl.

We caught up with writer Jeremy Whitley about how Nadia’s time in the Red Room impacted her, and what that will mean for her story moving forward. Nadia has retained her optimism, despite everything that happened in the Red Room; this is so different from Black Widow, for example. What has allowed her to avoid becoming jaded?

Jeremy Whitley: Well, I think part of it has to do with the fact that Nadia never actually functioned as an assassin. While she went through training, they pulled her to join the Science Class before she actually had to kill anyone. Beyond that, I think some of it is just a natural optimism. Nadia sees things differently. It’s part of what makes her innovative in science. Rather than seeing the time that she has lost and feeling angry about it, Nadia sees the potential to do big things now. Nadia had at least one person—Ying—whom she got close to in the Red Room. How did this affect her experience?

Jeremy Whitley: They got to work together to design the tech we see in issues #2 and #3, since it required a chemist along with Nadia’s knowledge of Pym Particles. It gave them a chance to work together and they became friends immediately. Unfortunately for them, as soon as the Red Room figured out that they had started developing a friendship, they had them separated. I think during her time in the Red Room, it gave Nadia hope to know she had a friend there. On the other hand, as we’ve seen in the first few issues, the Red Room is not above using that connection to get Nadia back. Having personal connections may become Nadia’s undoing—a problem Black Widow didn’t have to worry about. Of course the Red Room was terrible, but it also fostered Nadia’s scientific genius in some ways. How did this impact her?

Jeremy Whitley: We talk a bit in the book about the lack of women in many STEM fields in the real world. Studies have shown that a lot of that has to do with the way we discourage girls from pursuing these field either actively or passively. On the other hand, people have told—even forced—Nadia to pursue these fields. She knows she can do amazing things. She has had to do it to survive. As a result, Nadia has a superb sense of confidence and self-esteem. She knows her value and intelligence. The means were pretty awful, but at this point she doesn’t need anyone to validate her. What aspects of her time in the Red Room do you think still stay with her?

Jeremy Whitley: I think her knowledge of her worth is certainly one thing. I think her desire to meet and connect with people the way she does has a lot to do with not having had the opportunity to forge those relationships in the Red Room. And, as readers will find out in issue #4 this week, some aspects of her assassination training are harder to kick than others, especially when she gets pushed too far. Did her time in the Red Room have anything to do with her decision to be a super hero, or to start G.I.R.L.?

Jeremy Whitley: To some extent. She obviously wants to make the most of her time now that she finds herself free in the world, and she considers acting as a super hero part of her answer to that. The fact that all the people she looks up to are super heroes—her father [Hank Pym], Janet [Van Dyne, the original Wasp], Bobbi Morse) has a lot to do with that decision as well.

As for G.I.R.L., I think her time in the Red Room showed her what’s possible and that there are tons of super-intelligent girls out there. Her push to do it comes from both her need for human connection and her need to make up for the time she has lost thanks to the Red Room. She knows that by doing this, she can make an impact both on the world and on the lives of the other girls in G.I.R.L. Would you like to mention anything else?

Jeremy Whitley: Well, the first trade collection, available for pre-order now, will contain our awesome interviews with real women in STEM. So if you didn’t have the chance to keep up with the single issues or you’d like to order the book for your classroom or library, now is the time to order.

Learn more about Nadia’s time in the Red Room from Jeremy Whitley and Elsa Charpentier in UNSTOPPABLE WASP #5 on May 3!