Tuesday, January 06, 2009

For Comparison Purposes: The time Jan turned into a Sectaur.

Most characters that are lucky enough to get an action figure, get one depicting the character at their most iconic. That would also in most cases be the plain vanilla figure; if they're popular enough Battle-Damaged Spider-Man or Pirate Batman can come later. Janet Van Dyne Pym, better known as the Wasp, wasn't quite as lucky. Out of the literally dozens of different costumes that she had worn over the years, somehow the powers-that-were went with this one for her first figure:
In case you thought Jan's death was the lowest point for her character...
Hoo, boy. This just reminded me that like the Fantastic Four, I really like the Avengers, but can go long stretches without reading them. Badly injured at some point during the Onslaught crossover the Crossing, (I had to look it up, the cover's here, but the Avengers were in crossover after crossover leading up to Heroes Reborn), the Wasp was on the verge of death. Her ex-husband Hank "today I'm Giant-Man" Pym, used some doubletalk science device...to heal her and escalate whatever alterations he made to Jan before, like her wings and little-used antennae. Also: lavender. And a lot of it.
Did Hank design that top?
Before anyone asks, I have no idea why the Wasp's top has it's own antennae. Nor do I want to know.

I think I have all of two comics with this new Wasp, and after Heroes Reborn Jan was back to her old self. Also, I'm pretty sure since the Avengers were in an escalating quagmire of crossovers and "events," Jan may not have even got an issue to sit down and cry about becoming an insectoid freak. Yet, she got a toy out of this debacle. This was from a Spider-Man wave, and in case she wasn't buggy enough, she came with "Transforming Insect Armor!" 'Cause, you know Jan would be keen on turning into a giant bug. Perennial Spider-Man punching bag the Beetle was also in this wave, as well as the inexplicably beloved Swarm and a "Cyber-spider" Spidey.
Jan's fashion sense must be screaming right now.
Two years after this version, Jan would get a somewhat more-traditional figure in the Avengers box set, in her 1963 costume. The next Wasp came from the Avengers cartoon, and there was also a small trapped Jan packaged with the animated Kang.
From 1999, it's not a terrible figure, although I think she came with an alternate helmeted head that was just tiny. If you don't like her redesign or the little robotic stinger arms, keep in mind that the Wasp got off easy compared to Hawkeye's design for that cartoon. Also, in digging her up, I noticed all four (!) of my Wasp figures had either stands or putty on their feet to keep them standing. The combination of Jan's dainty little feet and colossal wings knock her over every time.

The Wasp finally would hit the jackpot in one of Toy Biz's final Marvel Legends waves, getting not just one figure, but three. Well, variants anyway. Two were done in an older style, costumes the Wasp wore in the 80's, I believe. While I like the current costume, I kinda like Jan's hair better in the variants, which I never saw in person to buy.
Photo yanked from ebay, and I'm tempted to put in a bid for one of these. There's also a blue costume.
Oh, and the Sectaurs? They were insect-themed action figures from the 80's. The Wasp would've been a hit with them, no doubt. Tomorrow, we'll take a look at one of the aforementioned comics I have with Jan's ugh...new look.

And I think I promised Iron Fist for this? Maybe next week.


SallyP said...

Jan is a tough one to immortalize in plastic, considering she was changing her outfit every issue or so there, for a goodish while. I have to say that I rather like the one in the black with the yellow pattern, it is the most waspish.

Sea_of_Green said...

Hey, I HAD that action figure once! Believe it or not, at the time, I had no idea it was supposed to be JAN.

googum said...

Sea: Really? I'm still a little dismayed I had her and not Swarm, for crying out loud. Or the Beetle: it'd be a good ten years 'til I'd get a figure of him.

Sally: Yeah, I wonder if someone's gonna ask Hank if he's going to keep that aspect of the Wasp legacy going. And I don't like the possible answers...

SallyP said...

!...Well, there WAS that fetching little purple outfit with the holes going up the legs and the matching eye-shadow!