Age of Ultron Book 10 AI review

Reeling from the events of the Age of Ultron, Hank Pym looks back on his beginnings and re-embraces life as a costumed adventurer.

And that's it, really. This is a prelude to the upcoming Avengers AI series, in which Hank Pym leads a bunch of robotic types as they ... well, I dunno. This comic gives no real clues as to the direction or approach of the coming book. What it does, courtesy of an insightful, amusing script from Mark Waid, is show us Hank's boyhood, all of which is new to me - I suspect this is freshly minted material. We meet Hank's super-average parents, Brad and Janet ... sorry, Doris, and his grandma, Angela, sole encourager of an unusually imaginative child (click on image to enlarge).

Seriously, l'il Henry is adorable, and it's sad to see everyone but Angela try to steer him into being safe, and useful. It's perhaps no wonder he's been pulled in so many directions as an adult - jobbing scientist, superhero, mad scientist, scientific adventurer, teacher.

Waid doesn't mention Hank's first wife, Maria, and second wife-cum-creepy-replacement Jan appears in but a couple of panels as the Wasp. So happily, there's no mention of a certain incident that too many Marvel writers have allowed to define Hank down the years.

Conversely, though, there's also no mention of Hank's recent stable period as Avengers Academy principal and Eternity-appointed Scientist Supreme. The inference is that Hank's been a bit of a nothing for awhile, but he's now giving himself a good talking to and getting out there to make his mark.

The biggest problem with this story is that the recap page spells out the events that follow, so that we already know what Hank sees as his biggest triumph before it shows up in the book. So if you're planning on reading the issue, ignore the opening text.

The illustrations by Andre Lima Araujo are pleasant, expecially in the flashbacks, with the Pym family delightfully amiable. When we get to Hank donning his Giant Man costume towards the end, though, the illustrations could do with being a bit showier - Waid has our hero do cool new things with his size-changing Pym Particles, but there's no change in tone, no increase in intensity.
Awesome - not
A scene of ants growing to giant-size, for example, is thrown away, with faint lines to imply movement rather than ever-bigger images to indicate growth . Yes, Hank is back superheroing, but he's just kinda there, the opposite of what the story is saying. Editors Lauren Sankovitch and Jake Thomas really should have sent these pages back and asked for an injection of oomph - had Waid been in his old editorial chair, rather than writing, I'm sure he would have.

Colourist Frank D'armata is the Goliath of the art team, doing a lot of heavy lifting, modelling with tones and lifting the staid compositions. He deserves the cover credit he gets.

The cover itself is the work of artist Sara Pichelli and colourist Marte Grace and it's excellent, a real grabber that reflects a scene inside in concept, but trumps it in execution.

If you're looking for a fantastic preview of the Avengers AI book, this isn't it; it's a well-constructed comic with a better than average script, but it won't have you salivating for what's to come. If you want a fun ten minutes with one of Marvel's founding fathers, though, you could do far worse.


  1. didn't loki say he pretended to be eternity just to mess with pym anyways i love the guy loved him when he got the drop on the intelligicia while the other geniuses of the world where getting captured

    1. I missed whatever Loki scene that was. I say he's lying! And I have some Earth's Mightiest Heroes on DVD somewhere, I think. What I don't have is enough time to watch the things!

    2. well mart you'll love the my favoriye is cap's battle with baron zemo in his debut episode living legends hell it's one of his best

  2. but i really enjoyed in avengers earth's mightiest heroes in the episode man in the anthill he defeats all f klaws henchman in shrunken form but the best is in the breakout when hank is trapped in the big house fighting villains like griffin whirlwind cobra and mandrill also when he went giant against graviton basically that show did wonders for hank and even gave him a character arc about his pacifism you really should watch earth's mightiest heroes mart it's great and it was even written by chris yost

  3. I skipped Age of Ultron and won’t be picking up Avengers AI but I bought this comic because it was Mark Waid. He’s been using Hank in Daredevil and I’ve enjoyed his take there so I thought this would be worthwhile. It was like you said, a fine issue exploring who Hank is and adding to his story in a way that I couldn’t tell if it was a retelling or a retcon but made sense either way. The last page epilog was a very awkward insertion and didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the book or inspire me to get the next series.

    What you’re saying about the art is correct. When the action started, you couldn’t tell. What threw me off was the application of Pym Particles. When Hank uses the particles offensively the first time, he’s being shot at and wiggles his fingers producing the same waves in your two panel excerpt. I couldn’t tell what it was that he was doing to the bullets. I thought somehow he was producing shockwaves and buffering the bullets. It doesn’t make much sense but the art wasn’t telling me what I was looking at besides “the bullets don’t hurt him.” It certainly doesn’t match how Hank exposes himself to Pym Particles as shown in the flashbacks.

    In the example you posted, in panel one the waves again don’t provide much of a clue as to what is happening. Then in panel two the perspective changes and the waves are gone, instead there are faint lines around the ants that are in the same style as the waves but since those aren’t very distinct it’s not obvious. What I noticed right away was that Hank is nearly as tall as the ants and since Hank has been changing size throughout the book, my first thought was that he was shrinking (and by his posture not excited himself).

    After the two panels you provided the scene becomes clear and those panels and the previous instance make sense. What should have been exciting was instead confusing until I had nearly reached the end of the book. Considering that Waid was trying to show fun, new applications of Hank’s abilities it was an opportunity lost.

  4. Hi Adam, thank you for the comments. We're in agreement!

    I'll give the new Avengers AI series a crack and report back.

  5. There's no middle ground with Pym anymore. He's either a wife abusing, pill popping lunatic or the most super wonderful great thing ever. I'd take how he was treated in his solo series in the early Seventies over even this waste of mediocre art story...

  6. I've not read the Seventies stuff, it was the period when the UK saw very little in the way of 'Marvel All-Colour Comics'. And I doubt they've been reprinted, darn

  7. Too bad 'cause the maddened mutated Wasp was great, especially when she first showed up on panel that way...


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