One of the first Avengers gets a spotlight in this week’s The Darkhold: Wasp #1, but for Janet van Dyne, it’s a dream she’ll likely not want to revisit.

The Darkhold: Wasp #1 is the third installment of its namesake storyline, involving the titular tome (recently seen in WandaVision) as an ominous plot device. For those who haven’t been keeping up: Wanda is shaken by a vivid nightmare wherein the evil Chthon has turned New York City into a veritable hellscape. Even Wanda knows her  “dreams” are just teaser trailers for things to come, so she doesn’t dismiss it and makes a proactive choice to prevent it from really happening.

This brings her into an uneasy alliance with none other than former flame Doctor Doom, who kinda sorta brought this upon the both of them by fucking around with dark magic, which Doom is known to do from time to time. But even the two of them alone are no match for Chthon, which means they’re forced to undergo a classic superhero trope: assemble a team! Unfortunately, the “Darkhold Defenders”—Blade, Wasp, Spider-Man, Black Bolt, Iron Man—quickly succumb to the Darkhold’s power, transforming those heroes into dark versions of themselves (you know they’re “bad” now because they’re all dressed in red and black monster drag). Now we’re caught up.

This one-shot follows Janet through an alternate timeline of events wherein her toxic relationship with Hank Pym drives her to insanity, leading her to become the “Dark” Wasp overtaken by Chthon’s influence.  Befitting the overarching story, this flash-sideways is a horror-flavored tale of domestic inequity, which is a recurring aspect to Jan and Hank’s relationship in the comics (not so much in the MCU thus far, probably for the best). As such, The Darkhold: Wasp is surprisingly dark for an event tie-in, especially for a character known to be as cheery and upbeat as Jan.

It’s a credit to writer Jordie Bellaire—who also colors the issue wonderfully, as she typically does—that when Jan makes the turn she does, it’s understandable and even sympathetic. Bellaire has made a name for herself in recent years with horror titles like Redlands and Boom!’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and I’d even be interested in reading an entire limited series following this version of the Wasp were it to continue.

But The Darkhold: Wasp is not solely successful because of Bellaire. Artist Claire Roe nails the faux-retro vibe of the story, which is obviously meant to be set in the vague past of the Marvel Universe when Jan and Hank were still an item. Her linework here contains lots of black space, invoking shadows and darkness befitting Jan’s mental state. It contrasts nicely with Bellaire’s colors, which are often bright and vibrant. There’s one sequence towards the end of the issue that really makes use of the dichotomy to thrilling effect. It all makes for a handsome package that, even if you’re not following The Darkhold, I’d recommend checking out.

The Darkhold: Wasp #1











  • Writer: Jordie Bellaire
  • Artist: Claire Roe
  • Color Artist: Jordie Bellaire
  • Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
  • Cover Artist: Paul Renaud

Credits (cont)

  • Editors: Alanna Smith, Sarah Brunstad
  • Publisher: Marvel Entertainment
Nico Sprezzatura
Nico Frank Sprezzatura, middle name optional. 24. Schrödinger's writer.

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