(a) Andre Araujo
Age of Ultron #10AI is less about being an epilogue to Age of Ultron as it is about being a requiem of Hank Pym’s life. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it just feels out of place as a bookend of a series about time travel, warlord robots, and the breaking of the multiverse. Yes, the documented time is technically after all of that happens, thus it sits at the end, but nothing about this issue screams cohesive. Not even Mark Waid’s stellar writing can make it feel right.
Now, Waid’s writing is spot-on here. I’ve nothing to complain about on that front. If this was a one-shot called Pym or even Avengers A.I. #0.1, I’d be satisfied, but none of what happens fits into the themes of Age of Ultron. Brian Michael Bendis’ opus to the dangers of time travel was about taking responsibility for damaging the fabric of space and time and, eventually, suffering the consequences. Age of Ultron #10AI is about Hank Pym freeing himself from responsibility to do whatever he wanted, which led to Ultron in the first place. In many ways, this issue feels regressive, like Pym didn’t learn anything from this horrific event.
I want to stress that Waid writes a good issue here, it’s just the context in which Marvel decided it should go just doesn’t make sense. Most of the Avengers have seen an alternate timeline or two, including Hank Pym who has always been at the forefront of science. Why now, after all these years, are the visions of a destitute future haunting him? The easy answer is that the “Age of Ultron” was his fault. But the better answer is that there isn’t a sensible answer because it’s not logical. (Again) Pym is man of science who understands the nature of the multiverse and that, in the end, he prevented the nightmares of Ultron from ever actualizing in the first place. Certainly a man dedicated to science could understand and reconcile the non-happening of something bad?
Mark Waid’s look into Hank Pym’s history is intriguing and gives a lot of context for the character’s decisions and actions over the years. Pym feels like a more fleshed out hero now, and that’s always a good thing. If Marvel had published this in a better fashion, it would have been a home run. As a final send-off for Age of Ultron, if feels cheap and overbearing, preachy and depressing. In the end, it’s worth reading for Waid’s writing alone.