Review: Avengers A.I. #1 – Humphries and Araujo

avengers-a-i-1And so we begin with the Age of Ultron spin-offs, this one featuring Hank Pym, Vision, Monica Chang, Victor Mancha, and a Doombot. Despite AoU’s truly dire final issue, this seemed like an interesting combination. I love Vision, I find Hank a very interesting and important guy – when he’s written well, and I was interested to see how they would develop Monica as a character in the primary continuity (if you don’t read Ultimates, she’s the current Ults Black Widow).

So… Sam Humphries, who is best known for taking over from Jonathan Hickman on Ultimates, is the writer on this one, and I really only have one word for almost everything he does here.


No no no no no.


To be honest, there’s also some other words that come to mind, but they aren’t appropriate for a review that isn’t preceded by an adult content warning.

I’ve read some other reviews, and I can’t help but wonder… did we read the same book? I hated this book so much that if it had been a physical copy instead of a digital one, I would have burned it ceremonially, and buried the ashes with a small piece of cardboard as a headstone proclaiming here lies what remains of Dr. Henry Pym’s character.

Hank’s no saint, we know this. He’s a mentally unstable, obsessive narcissist, and thanks to that artist’s drawing mistake, he’s also one of the most controversial characters in Marvel’s line-up. But hey, when the writer gets him, he can be very compelling. I think he’s often written badly, but when he’s written well, he’s one of the most interesting and complex heroes out there.

noSam Humphries takes the subtle nuances of his persona, and exaggerates them, turning him into a wisecracking, smarmy, egomaniacal dickwad, who has already apparently forgotten how his out of control A.I. nearly destroyed humanity. I mean, come on. The Avengers almost destroyed reality to repair the mess that was AoU – and yes, as mentioned, Hank is obsessive about his creations. But this is just ridiculous.

What is with writers trying to make characters ‘cooler’ or ‘more interesting’? What is wrong with writing characters in the way that we’ve come to know them? Why can’t someone with a a mental illness be written like a person with a mental illness, instead being turned into a socipoath? While you may think that assertion is a little over the top, that’s exactly the vibe I got from Hank here.

The other characters… whatever. I don’t really care. Steve pops up for a page, and basically tells Monica to let Hank do whatever he wants… I mean what?

I just can’t fathom what is going on with the characters in this book. It’s truly horrendous. The only shining light here is Doombot, who is reasonably amusing, if underused, as a reluctant hero.

What about André Lima Araújo’s art?

Ugh. It’s horrible. Vision looks like a green and yellow brick with some appendages sticking out, the colouring is dull, and everyone’s faces are wonky and flat. Bodies are out of proportion, the page design is snooze-inducing, and all the characters look incredibly young. Where others have praised the action sequence, all I see is a lack of movement, and far too many static panels meant I got very bored very quickly

Over all, it was a real struggle to get through this book. I put the misinterpretation of Hank’s character right up there with Remender’s work with Steve at the moment (Uncanny Avengers, and Captain America), and sadly, it means I won’t be continuing with this title.

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