Real name: Janet Van Dyne
First Appearance: Tales to Astonish #44
Base of Operations: New York
Occupation: Fashion Designer, Dilettante
Place of Birth: Cresskill, New Jersey
Classification: Human
Marital Status: Divorced
Membership Status: Currently inactive
Known Relatives: Vernon van Dyne (father, deceased), Yellowjacket(ex-husband), Jocasta (in a manner of speaking. Jan's thought patterns were what animated Jocasta)
Affiliations: Avengers, Lady Liberators, West Coast Avengers

Janet Van Dyne is able to shrink down to insect-size, due to her exposure to Pym particles. Originally, she used pills or gas canisters to control her size-alteration, but now she is able to control it at will. She is also able to grow wings on her back as she shrinks, enabling her to fly, and is able to grow antennae from her forehead, enabling her to communicate with and control insects. By harnessing her bio-electric energy, she can also produce energy blasts from her hands. (Previously, she wore identical weapons on either wrist called her "wasp stings." The stings were originally needle guns and were later modified to let her project bio-electricity.) Janet's strength now increases to near-superhuman levels as she shrinks.

Janet van Dyne is the daughter of world-renowned scientist Vernon van Dyne. Accompanied by Janet, Vernon visited the celebrated biochemist Dr. Henry Pym to ask if Pym would collaborate on Jan's pet project, the use of a gamma radiation-based beam to detect signals of intelligent life from other planets. Pym declined since the nature of van Dyne's project lay too far outside his won field of expertise. Janet found herself attracted to Pym, while Pym was deeply struck by Janet's remarkable resemblance to his late wife Maria.

Vernon went ahead with his project, and several days later succeeded in projecting the beam through hyperspace to a distant planet. (It has since been revealed that Jan actually contacted a planet in another dimension.) This planet was inhabited by the Kosmosians, a sentient non-humanoid race. Piliai, a criminal from that world, utilized the beam to teleport himself through hyperspace to Earth to escape prosecution on his home world. Arriving on Earth in van Dyne's laboratory, the extraterrestrial murdered him, not wanting a witness alive who had the means to contact the authorities on his home planet. After killing him, Pilai escaped to menace the rest of the city. Janet heard the noise of the brief scuffle from an adjoining room. She discovered her father's body, and, uncertain of how to handle the situation, called Pym. Although Pym at first dismissed Janet's call as a cruel prank, he subsequently discovered that her story was true.

In his secret costumed identity as the original Ant-Man, Pym went to investigate the scene of Vernon death. Janet demonstrated moral strength during the crisis that Pym had been unaware she possessed, and which reminded him again of Maria, and Janet expressed her determination to avenger her father's death. Pym, who had longed for a crime-fighting partner and confidante, revealed his secret identity to her and asked if she would undergo conversion into a superhumanly powerful being in order to become his partner. Janet readily accepted, and Pym implanted cells beneath her skin at her shoulder blades and temples corresponding to those cells found in wasp wings and antennae, respectively. He instructed her on the use of the gasses containing the sub-atomic "Pym particles" he had discovered, which enabled him to reduce himself to insect size. Janet took the name of the Wasp and quickly learned how to fly. She then aided the Ant-Man in tracking down and vanquishing the murderous Kosmosian. Just before this confrontation with the alien, Janet told Pym that she was falling in love with him.

Jan and Pym became crime-fighting partners, fighting a wide variety of costumed villains and monsters. Although Pym was far more emotionally inhibited and reserved than Janet, he was failing in love with her as well.

The pair joined the original Iron Man and Thor in hunting down the Hulk, who had been made an unwitting pawn in one of the schemes of Thor's enemies, Loki. After Loki had been captured and his role in the scheme exposed, Ant-Man proposed that the heroes remain as a regular team of adventurers. The others adopted this suggestion, and it was the Wasp who suggested the new team's name, the Avengers.

Copyright Avi Green. All rights reserved.

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