Sam Humphries (Writer) André Lima Araujo (Artist), Frank D’Armata (Colorist)
The Story: Vision learns about a whole society of A.I living in a place called the Diamond as the rest of the team discovers how humanity resents robots now that Dimitrios just did his thing with their bank accounts.
The Review: New series have a hard time. They have to sell you their concepts, their characters, their themes and make sure they can hold on the reader’s attention for the long game. Whether they are independent titles or capes, they have much of the same trouble, though of varying degrees if they try something that hasn’t been tried before.
Such is the woe of Avengers A.I, a title that try to incorporate the idea of sentient artificial intelligences trying to be accepted as peoples by the regular populace. While the idea of a whole slew of beings having trouble being recognized isn’t anything new (cue X-Men joke), there were some decidedly interesting ideas that could be developed from such a premise. However, the previous issues never really did take advantage of the setting and the themes, which was definitely disappointing. Still, does Sam Humphries manage to make the most of it this time around?
Surprisingly, yes, as he brings a very interesting idea that truly does relate to the theme of artificial intelligence in a scene focusing between Dimitrios and Vision. Introducing the Diamond, a whole digital city full of various artificial persons and programs living in a society that is unique to them. It is a wonderful concept that gets explored in a small dose in this issue, as some of the rules, their roles and how they perceives themselves is touched upon a bit while Vision and Dimitrios share some small dialogue between each other. It’s almost a shame that the humanity versus A.I debate is one of the bigger focus of this issue, as this concept has so many potential, it demands to have more focus put on it.
One of the good thing he does with this issue is experimenting with the pacing. While this specific aspect was pretty bad in the latest issue, Humphries plays a bit around the concept as he use a separation between two events on the same pages to compare how time passes in the digital world and in the normal world. It is a neat technique that really plays once more with the thought-process of computers and the various other technologies nowadays and it only add to the mystique of the Diamond that is central to this issue.
What is less central and does lower the quality of the issue a bit would be the scenes featuring the rest of the cast. While it does help to propel the story forward, some of their scenes lack the grand ideas or the subtleties that could enhance the effect they could have on the readers. While it is to be expected to see a bunch of people or a mob being unhappy considering what happened in the last issue, it seems a bit exaggerated to show a bunch of normal citizens being written as bloodthirsty berserkers, disregarding the presence of S.H.I.E.L.D. easily to go destroy the robots that are there to help them. It does send the intended message, yet it seems particularly unsubtle, despite the fact that a lot of the times the normal citizens of the Marvel universe are usually written as being idiots.
What’s much less idiotic and actually wonderful is André Lima Araujo, who manage to make the scene featuring the Diamond even better than the concept itself. Taking full advantage of the fact that this is not a real place, but one made by robots, the artist goes surreal in his architecture and his depiction of how people interact with said architecture. It is experimental in multiple ways, psychedelic even and it really gives the book a visual edge beyond the fact that he really knows how to depict human emotions. The designs for the A.I characters goes from overly simplistic to downright strange. Still, the rest of the issue in the real world is pretty solid as well, as he is also able to draw regular humans quite well and he possess a sense of scope that is pretty good too. Just for the art alone, this issue is worth it.
Of course, one cannot speak of the art here without at least mentioning Frank D’Armata on colorization, who brings the psychedelics even further through the use of a chaotic combination of very bright warm and cold colors. The Diamond gets even better with the juxtaposition of utter darkness in the background combined with light effects and a trippy palette that just enhance the whole deal.
The Conclusion: There may be some missteps when it comes to some of the themes and how some characters are portrayed, yet nothing that is related to the Diamond concept is done in a way that doesn’T feel interesting, with some great ideas and some utterly beautiful art from both André Lima Araujo and Frank D’Armata.
Hugo Robberts Larivière