I’m always happy to see when the major comic book publishers remember that children might want to read comics, too. About a decade ago, Marvel launched its all-ages Marvel Adventures line with that thought in mind. These stories were set outside Marvel’s main (and increasingly convoluted) continuity. They were simpler, cleaner, and more accessible to anyone of any age picking up any random issue.
These Avengers were some of the company’s most recognizable characters—Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Hulk, and even Storm and Wolverine from the X-Men. And they stuck closely to their original molds. No major reinterpretations here, just faithful adherence to each character’s core essence. With one big exception.
In Marvel Adventures, Janet Van Dyne did not become the incredible shrinking Wasp. She instead grew into the role of Giant-Girl, which was a very smart decision on Marvel’s part.
Issue #13 reveals Giant-Girl’s origin, and does so with good humor and nice inversions of classic tropes. No dark past or death of a loved one motivates Janet to help others. Rather, the fact that helping others is the right thing to do motivates her. And when Dr. Henry Pym presents her with size-changing technology and suggests shrinking to insect-size, she discovers a more practical application.
So we’ve got a great role model in a story that’s good, clean fun. There’s not much for adults, but it’s a comic you can give your kids without reservation.
Writer: Jeff Parker
Penciler: Leonard Kirk
Inker: Terry Pallot
Publisher: Marvel Comics
How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; included in Marvel Adventures: The Avengers vol. 4: The Dream Team (TPB)
Appropriate For: ages 7 and up