By: Sam Humphries (Writer), André Lima Araujo (Colorist) Frank D’Armata (Colorist)
The Story: The self-replicating virus that killed Ultron is kind of becoming a problem. Thankfully, Hank Pym has a solution.
The Review: Sam Humphries is a strange beast. No, I do not think that he is a rather weird creature rather that he kind of baffles me as a writer. He seems to be able to bring new ideas to the table, to be willing to shake up the status quo in the books that he is writing, yet not all of these qualities managed to give us a book that I can truly say satisfied me. I’ve read his Uncanny X-Force a bit and I am kind of sorry to say that I was less than impressed by his tenure on Ultimate Comics: Ultimates, which made me drop the title. Why am I actually giving him a chance then when he has disappointed me a number of times?
Simply enough, it is because I like robots and Hank Pym, which made me willing to give him a chance on this title featuring both these elements. However, does he succeed in giving us an issue that is compelling enough for us readers to warrant coming back for another issue?
It is my pleasure to say that, albeit not in a huge or game-changing way, he does give us something worth reading. One of the more interesting thing to say about this issue, while it not something that can be said about every character in the book, would be the characterization that Humphries manage to attach to some of the playes in the book. If there’s one character that has a pretty good voice here, it would be Hank Pym, who continues the new take on him, with the character being a scientific/artist like Mark Waid wrote him in Age of Ultron #10 A.I. . No longer the character always seeking redemption for his past actions, Humphries present him as a man that will not compromise his dream, someone who knows what he’s doing and will not play ball with just anyone who asks him to. This is a much better take on a character that unfortunately had seen many different takes in the previous decade.
The rest of the characters are of varying interest, though, with some being much more interesting than others. While Victor Mancha is pretty entertaining as the kind-of rebellious kid without any cause, Vision does come out as a contrast as being rather inexpressive. He works well when compared to the others, yet that does not make him a compelling character. The Doombot, unfortunately, is a bit of a one-note character so far, which is unfortunate, considering the potential he has as a character. Monica Chang, on another hand, is a new character (yes, I know she was in the Ultimate universe, but this is the regular Marvel universe) that is actually kind of interesting, being built up as the hard, yet passionate agent of S.H.I.E.L.D that does not want to take anything from anyone, kind of a Maria Hill on the robots side of the equation. So far, the cast is kind of solid, yet has enough room to develop, which is always nice to see in a new series.
Another thing that Humphries does rather well, which is a must in a lot of superheroes book, would be the action. Let’s face it, most people read superhero books for big action featuring larger-than-life action featuring big characters. Punches, explosions, evil to fight and all that is the bread and butter of the superhero genre and this issue delivers on that front, giving us a scene with Vision, Victor Mancha and the Doombot. In the big action scene, Humphries show innovation in the use of Vision’s powers as he is set up as real powerhouse, like he could always have been. He may be kind of a bore in some scenes, he is at least entertaining in the action part. The more entertaining character, however, is Victor Mancha, who gives us some funny quips while he delivers the good.
What’s a bit disappointing, however, would be the fact that the issue does not take full advantage of the fact that this book heavily feature technology and robots, giving us a rather standard approach to superhero team and situation building. The action does take advantage of that in some ways, yet the plot, the characterization and not much of anything else does not take full advantage of that fact, which is kind of strange considering Humphries non-reluctance on bringing new takes on old ideas.
A person who does give us something a bit more satisfaction than the plot would be André Lima Araujo, who gives us some good pieces of action and some pretty impressive panels. His characters are expressive (except Vision, yet that is to be expected), the action is big and bombastic (literally, explosions are featured heavily) and he allow the scope of some of the scenes to be huge, like the Vision close to the Sun.
Frank D’Armata, on his side, collaborate quite well with Araujo, as he lights up the energy beams and the pretty much everything splendidly with his lighting effect. He amp up a lot of the action and enhance the technological aspect of a lot of panels and details thanks to his coloring, which does the script justice.
The Conclusion: While the plot isn’t the most original and doesn’t take full advantage of his premise, the issue does deliver with some good characterization, some fun action and some pretty great art from Araujo which does warrant a look at the second issue.
Hugo Robberts Larivière