Avengers AI #1 (Marvel)

Rating: 4/5 – An Avengers book that works using humor and “B-List” characters.

Launching out of the pages of Age of Ultron is a new Avengers series with long time Avenger Hank Pym at the forefront.  This Avengers book is much different in tone than the other Avengers series currently being published.  Avengers A.I. seems as though it will focus more on character development and humor, rather than the big epic scale stories being told in titles like Avengers or New Avengers.  It’s a refreshing change of pace, and it’s a fun way to introduce readers to what might be their first time getting to know these characters.

This team of Avengers has a cast of mostly A.I. based characters that includes the Vision, Victor Mancha from the series Runaways (who if you’re not familiar with happens to be Ultron’s son), a repurposed Doombot and Shield Agent Monica Chang.  Although you’d think that the title would be a bit dull reading about a cast of mostly A.I. characters, writer Sam Humphries breathes some fresh life into them and makes them interesting and unique.  For example, while Vision is still similar to the Vision we’ve seen in the past, because of the Age of Ultron story and the creation ties he shares with that villain, he’s evolving into something a bit more powerful.  And while the idea of a recycled Doombot on the team seems a bit of an odd choice, it’s this character specifically whose one-liners and quips make you laugh and appreciate the humor Humphries is attempting to bring to the book.  Although there’s a healthy dose of humor, there’s still plenty of action for a book with Avengers in the title.  This Avengers team is assembled because of yet another evolving A.I/virus created by Hank Pym that’s mounting cyber attacks against Shield and other military targets.  Why Hank Pym didn’t learn his lesson with the creation of Ultron and all the problems he just caused for the Marvel Universe…that’s still yet to be explained.

Artist Andre Lima Araujo’s style is a great fit for this book.  His art for this issue has a bit of a manga feel which compliments the lighter tone of the story.  Unfortunately, although the character drawings and action scenes are well done, his backgrounds and use of onomatopoeia tend to be a bit dull and lazy.  And while it was refreshing to see Hank Pym in his Ant-Man costume from Age of Ultron 10A.I. (https://comicspectrum.wordpress.com/2013/07/09/age-of-ultron-10ai-marvel/), unfortunately we don’t get to see that Ant-Man in this issue.  It was great to see that iteration of Ant-Man back in the Marvel Universe, sadly it looks as though that may have been a one-time thing.

Overall, these complaints didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of the title.  When looking at the more “B-List” cast and personalities involved, you wouldn’t think this title would work as well as it does, but to Humphries and Araujo’s credit, they’ve made them gel together.  However, because of the lineup involved, this title could turn into one of those fan-favorite, but under appreciated series.  Here’s hoping that won’t be the case.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas – shawn@comicspectrum.com
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