Welcome back to our monthly segment, What’s On Ronnie’s Calendars, which fortunately ties in nicely to this week’s theme.
My freebie Marvel calendar is naturally using this month to promote its new Avengers Assemble series. The title launched last month and features — for the first time ever — an Avengers lineup consisting of Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, HULK, Black Widow and Hawkeye. Sound familiar? That’s right, it’s the movie lineup. And while those six characters have never had reason to work together as a team, you can bet Marvel came up with a reason now.
I’m not complaining, mind you. I rather like this lineup. Could use another woman or two. It’s just that Marvel currently publishes four Avengers titles a month and didn’t really need another — this team could’ve easily fit in the main Avengers book. But hey, it’s the Marvel Age of Milking Your Customers.
The official Women of Marvel calendar marks the month of May with WoM calendar mainstay Jennifer Walters. I don’t have anything new to say about Jen that we haven’t covered in previous calendar series, and since it’s Avengers week we’ll focus on her role on the A-team.
She-Hulk joined the Avengers in 1982, after attending a luncheon held by the Wasp because Jan was trying to recruit more female members. She joined the team at the same time Hawkeye rejoined the team and they did not get along well at all in the beginning. Jennifer is not currently with the team, having left after the Scarlet Witch possessed her and forced her into a murderous rage in which she ripped The Vision in half. He’s better now, but she still feels bad about it.
While Susan Richards is the first lady of Marvel Comics, Jan is the first lady of The Avengers. The Wasp was the only woman among the founding 5, she came up with the group’s name and was the first woman to serve a long stint as team leader. She likely holds the world’s record for most costumes worn by a single superhero. Not bad for a character who is basically Tinkerbell with a stinger.
Like many a superhero, The Wasp’s origin begins in tragedy. Janet Van Dyne was a flighty, wealthy socialite until her scientist father was killed by an alien monster. She makes a solemn vow to wage war on alien monsters and all other evil, conveniently within earshot of scientist Henry Pym, who had recently begun a superhero career as the size-changing, insect-communicating Ant-Man. Hank shares his powers with Jan and in addition gives her tiny wings and energy blasts known as “wasp stings.” The crime fighting duo of Ant-Man and the Wasp is born.
Hank and Jan were the first power couple of The Avengers; they eventually marry, eventually divorce; get back together; break up… Jan’s current status is dead. She got blown up during the Secret Invasion story line a few year’s back. She’s been gone a while but hopefully she’ll be back in time for the second Avengers movie.