Or – “Perhaps #11 of 10?”
In the final analysis, Age Of Ultron was pretty much a whole lotta nothin’. Though there was a cool sci-fi premise at play, the slow build and utterly deflating resolution didn’t do it any justice, and any power that it might have had was blunted by its distance from the current status quo of Marvel. Will this issue be the one that redeems the whole mess? Your Major Spoilers review awaits!
Lovely character work.
A good rationale for the new series.
Ridiculous numbering convention.
AGE OF ULTRON #10 AI
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Andre Lima Araujo
Colorist: Frank D’Armata
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Editor: Lauren Sankovitch
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Age Of Ultron: The decision to murder Hank Pym before he created the evil robot Ultron was probably not Wolverine’s finest moment, as it took his dystopian crapsack future and replaced it with an even more dire and horrible dystopian crapsack future. Only through the intervention of a younger Henry Pym did the situation actually get resolved, and the consequences to the timeframe have been dire. Now, the heroes have to deal with the fallout of things that they really don’t understand, and the entire world wonders: What happened to Henry Pym?
ORIGINS AND OMENS.
I wasn’t sure what this book was going to be, based on the sketchy solicitations, and I was VERY surprised to find Mark Waid writing the book. We start with an epilogue of the AoU, ending with the revelation that Hank may have finally lost his $#!+ forever, as we find him sitting nearly catatonic, in tiny form, on the floor of his lab. Things quickly transition into an origin story, one that doesn’t seem familiar at all (though I admit to not knowing Henry Pym’s old origin well enough to tell you what has or hasn’t changed.) This one does Pym a couple of serious favors, recasting him as a wild-eyed dreamer forced to play dull to fit in, and gives him an utterly charming, equally ephemeral grandmother who serves as his muse as a young child. The scenes of young Hank interacting with his family are quite well-written, but serve to underscore the tendency for Marvel to turn everyone who is even vaguely smart into a polymathic super-genius. (See also: Bruce Banner, Reed Richards, Peter Parker, everyone whose character description includes the word “intelligent” who debuted before about 1973.)
A NICE NEW TAKE ON HANK.
Fortunately, I’m able to overlook that, based on how neatly Waid’s story repositions Pym as a functional Avenger again, giving him a fun attitude and sending him into action using his powers in fascinating new ways, i.e. making his ants giant to deal with a train crash, and rapidly switching back and forth from Ant-Man to Giant-Man in mid-air. Artist Araujo does good stuff with the domestic scenes, but when we get to the moments of Giant-Man in action, he isn’t quite as adept, with his Hank Pym seeming thick in the middle with the slim neck of a teenager, and never looking far from ridiculous in costume. These artistic concerns are troubling, given that Araujo is going to be handling the art for Pym’s new book, Avengers AI, especially given that the cover art as solicited seems vastly different from what we’re getting here…
THE BOTTOM LINE: COULD ACTUALLY DISPEL THE SPECTRE OF YELLOWJACKET: WIFE-BEATER.
All in all, I like the Henry Pym we see in this issue, and I believe him as the man who had the brilliant idea that outsmarted Loki back in the day, with his dark Elfqueen back-stabbing and wife-slapping days finally behind him. (Really, after 30 years, we can probably let that story go, no matter what Mark Millar thinks about it.) Age Of Ultron #10 AI really could have been titled “Hank Pym #0″, or at least had a title/number that made any sense at all, especially since, other than a brief mention of the things that may or may not have changed in the timestream, this is pretty much a whole new story spinning out of the AoU, but still is strong enough to earn 4 out of 5 stars overall. This issue actually makes me want to check out Avengers AI, and does a lot to help me forget what a bad taste Age Of Ultron left in my metaphorical mouth…