Name: The Wasp
Alter Ego: Janet van Dyne
Other Names: Janet Pym; Giant-Woman; Pixie; Faery Queen
First Appearance: Tales to Astonish (vol. 1) #44 (June 1963): "The Creature from Kosmos!"
Super? (Has Super Powers/Special Abilities/Technology): Yes
Number of Appearances: 1,339
Comic Book Appearances: 1,322
TV, Film Appearances: 17
Employer: Van Dyne Industries
BELOW: The Wasp: "Thank Heavens": The Wasp is not portrayed as particularly religious, but she appears to have at least some religious sensibility. When she finds herself alive rather than tramples because of a fortuitous gap in the ground, she spontaneously thinks "Thank Heavens the ground here is so uneven!" The phrase "Thank Heavens" or "Thank Heaven" is often used by religiously observant people as an intentional way to avoid taking the Lord's name in vain (one of the Ten Commandments). Is this why the Wasp uses this phrase? Possibly. But this may be more of a linguistic expression borne of a religious background or upbringing rather than a conscious, intentional expression of gratitude to the Divine.
Source: The Avengers (vol. 1) #3 (Jan. 1964): "The Avengers Meet... Sub-Mariner!", pg. 21, panels 4-5. Written by Stan Lee. Art by Jack Kirby, Paul Reinman. See also: gratitude to God; Heaven; The Wasp (Janet van Dyne)
BELOW: The Wasp senses an evil presence: The Wasp (Janet Van Dyne) here demonstrates an unusual ability sometimes attributed to her in early Marvel stories but later forgotten: the ability to sense evil. In this scene, the Wasp is sensing the evil Space Phantom, who has transformed himself into a wasp in order to escape detection from the Avengers. Comic book writers with a more scientific outlook, such as Mark Gruenwald, have made the point that "evil" is an abstract religious concept and doesn't really have a scientifically discernible physical manifestation, despite how it is sometimes portrayed in comics. Thus, "sensing evil" would be a purely spiritual (or at least mystical ability). Yet the Wasp's powers were given to her by purely scientific means by Hank Pym, a very secular-minded scientist. Wasp's ability to sense "evil" is particularly interesting because throughout her career as a super-hero, she herself has largely been a secular character.
Source: The Avengers (vol. 1) #2 (Nov. 1963): "The Avengers Battle... the Space Phantom", pg. 14, panels 4-5. Written by Stan Lee. Art by Jack Kirby, Paul Reinman. See also: evil; The Wasp (Janet van Dyne); The Space Phantom
BELOW: Tony Stark (Iron Man) contemplates the dark "secrets" of his fellow Ultimates:
Then again it wasn't like Banner was the only one whose character could be considered . . . murky. They all had secrets... And Janet, ah, Janet. Darling, Tony thought, nobody likes a mutant. Yet here you are.
BELOW: Wasp thinks about Captain America's morally conservative views about women's clothing:
Something had been on his mind, distracting him in the middle of sentences. He hadn't even commented on her dress, which she'd chosen specifically to provoke him because he was still such a fuddy-duddy about women's clothing.
BELOW: The Wasp's ability to sense evil ascribed to "half female intuition, half insect super-sense": The Wasp's ability to sense "evil" is not explicitly identified as a "spiritual" or "religious" ability (although "evil" is a religious/spiritual concept). Rather , it is said to be "half female intuition, half insect super-sense." Early Marvel writers often spoke of "female intuition" as a mysterious, almost mystical sixth sense.
Source: The Avengers (vol. 1) #2 (Nov. 1963): "The Avengers Battle... the Space Phantom", pg. 15, panel 1. Written by Stan Lee. Art by Jack Kirby, Paul Reinman. See also: intution; The Wasp (Janet van Dyne); The Space Phantom
From: "Atheist representation on the Avengers" forum discussion, started 20 June 2001 on the Comic Boards website (http://www.comicboards.com/avengers/view.php?trd=010620110715; viewed 24 May 2007):
Posted by Jae on Wednesday, June 20 2001 at 11:07:15 GMT
Atheist representation on the Avengers
The teams pretty well rounded now, but are there any atheistic members?...
Posted by Kevin Phillips on Wednesday, June 20 2001 at 14:04:31 GMT
In the Last Avengers Story, the Wasp said she didn't believe in God.
Posted by Jae on Wednesday, June 20 2001 at 13:41:05 GMT
...Hey, does anyone think Jan is a hedonist?
Suggested links for further research about this character and the character's religious affiliation: