One Marvel writer implied that the MCU prevented one character in the comics from being asexual.
Synergy has become a dirty word for many Marvel Comics fans, especially when it has proven to be more of a detriment than not. Although, recently, the comics have mostly just been capitalizing on specific Marvel Studios releases, such as Secret Invasion, and adding original MCU characters, such as May Calamawy's Layla El-Faouly.
Marvel Comics has even made characters to further capitalize on the MCU, such as Nadia van Dyne. Based upon Hope van Dyne, who debuted in Ant-Man, played by Evangeline Lilly.
However, it appeared that editorial limited what could be done with Nadia van Dyne in the comics.
Nadia van Dyne Stuck in the Closet
Celebrating the latest issue of Love Unlimited, Marvel Comics writer Jeremy Whitley, most known for The Unstoppable Wasp, revealed on Tumblr that despite the best efforts from himself and his editor Alanna Smith, Nadia van Dyne was unable to be explicitly shown as asexual in his original run due to "being a character who owed so much to a movie franchise," which had "a lot of nerves there."
It's unclear whether someone higher up in editorial specifically told Whitley and Smith to nix their plans, but Nadia being a byproduct of the MCU clearly played a role. However, Whitely was able to heavily imply in Marvel Action Chillers #3 that Nadia was at least aromantic.
Whitley would later clarify on Twitter that while he sees Nidia as an aromantic asexual, he specifically views her as "Quoiromantic," which he defined as her not "entirely [seeing] the difference between romantic and non-romantic relationships." Unfortunately, Whitley could not explore this in Nadia's comics, but he was able to use this storyline for Gwenpool instead.
Gwenpool! Asexual Icon!
In the latest issue of Love Unlimited, an online ongoing anthology series focused on romances in the Marvel universe, Jeremy Whitley capped off his six-part Gwenpool storyline by revealing she was aromantic asexual.
In his Tumblr post, Whitley said that this "was a chance to bring about this story for a character a lot of the fandom already saw as ace:"
"Gwen was not only a great opportunity to tell a story of a person hyper aware that they are in a story struggling with the tropes that affect their actual life, it was a chance to bring about this story for a character a lot of the fandom already saw as ace. Obviously, not everybody, but still a lot."
Additionally, in a preview for one story in this year's Marvel's Voices: Pride, "Everything's Coming Up Aces," focused on Gwenpool, Nadia can be seen in one panel attending a pride party!
Although, Nadia, unlike most of the characters on this page, isn't adorned with a specific pride flag. But it further implicates her as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
Maybe this year's Marvel's Voices: Pride could finally show Nadia as openly asexual as Whitley and Smith had originally intended.
The Downside of Synergy
It's baffling that someone in editorial decided to axe Nadia van Dyne being openly asexual. Yes, she was partially made in 2016 in response to the MCU's Hope van Dyne, who never existed in the comics. However, Nadia's connection to that character is tenuous at best.
In the comics, Nadia was the estranged daughter of Hank Pym and his first wife, Maria Trovaya, before being kidnapped and raised as an assassin in the Red Room. Nadia escaped and later met Hank's ex-wife Janet, who would adopt Nadia and take Janet's last name.
Otherwise, aside from the bob cut (which Hope doesn't even have anymore), she and Nadia couldn't be any more different, so it's a bummer that editorial decided to limit what could be done with Nadia. It's not like Marvel Studios plans to use the character any time soon, especially when they already have Kathryn Newton's Cassie Lang.
Marvel's Voices: Pride #1 is on sale on June 14.