Truth be told I didn't pay much attention to Janet Van Dyne. My special Marvel ladies have always been the Scarlet Witch, Boom-Boom, Jean Grey...just to name a few but lately something's begun to peeve me when it comes to Wasp. See, before I had more of a disinterest when it came to her but the wool was lifted when I read this....
- Civil War - Janet was hosting a reality show finding the next superhero, had maybe a few panels here and there and played no real role in it.
- House of M - she was merely Ororo's fashion designer. Mind you, this is a universe Wanda constructed in which all of the superhumans live out their most ideal existence. In the beginning of the crossover she speaks about how she would consider Wanda like a sister to her and yet when it comes time for the battle she isn't present. Oh and by the way, she was the one who drunkenly revealed to Wanda she had kids previously.
- Secret Invasion - Janet is collateral damage, dispatched by a Skrull posing as Hank.
To the last arc on the list, I recall reading an interview with Brian Michael Bendis where he stated that there was a list of characters who writers were allowed to kill in storylines. He saw Janet, picked her, and with that she was simply offed. First of all, while I understand a list of characters it's acceptable to kill is a probably an organizational tool, I must ask myself "What the f**K?!"...it definitely explains a lot in terms of the recent deaths we've seen. Whereas they used to be coming from a place of good storytelling, of impact, now there's just a hit list that any writer can go to when they want to "shock" us.
I hear so many people talk about the Avengers as though the glory days were in it's conception with Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, and Thor but truthfully, the only thing that made this comic a balanced platform for an ensemble cast were Hank and Janet. Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor are their own beasts, they have their own franchises, and together the only real dynamic is between Cap and Iron Man as their ideologies clash. But the real meat in the Avengers has always been the relationships and the dynamics of the team, as opposed to the individual egos. Heavy hitters like Hulk or Iron Man look good together but the Avengers got so much more mileage out of the Scarlet Witch, Vision, Quicksilver, Hawkeye, Wasp, and Ant-Man when it comes to arcs and character development. They were the heart of the Avengers.
Where other premiere Marvel Women like Jean Grey, the Scarlet Witch, and Invisible Woman have managed to grow, Janet seems stuck in the 60's portrayal of her character. Frivolous, flirty, and easily bested- it's a shame. She was a chairwoman of the Avengers for ages, she's been one of their most consistent team members, her storyline with Hank about domestic assault was easily the very first of it's kind, and throughout the years Janet actually has been a valuable asset to the Avengers from a management standpoint. She was brutally killed in the Ultimates arc and outside of comics altogether she is really only represented in cartoons. Even in the most recent cartoon, she's not considered a founding Avenger but rather a college student who's significantly more meek than her allies. As for the movie? She's MIA. I mean, the cast itself could use at least one other woman seeing as how the Black Widow is the only one on the Avengers. From what I understand, Joss Whedon was pushing for Wasp to be included but was denied sometime last year.
Now, the Avengers, a name she created, is likely to be retconned because apparently there was an Avengers team created by Nick Fury before they had even assembled. And Hank's little plot to bring Janet back? Thwarted. Apparently it was Krovac's wife that he had been harnessing this whole time. I know in the past Janet's been portrayed as a mischievous, flighty, and sometimes emasculating character but in the 90's and early 00's, it appeared her character had finally settled into being a respectable member of the Avengers only to be offed like it was nothing.
I just don't really see why a more whimsical character deserves such a crap deal. Is it possible that someone interested in the world of fashion, someone who longs to be married, someone who comes from money should be defined by these characteristics?