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I like the Avenger's book Marvel is putting out right now. I like the New Avengers. I like robots. This idea intrigued me from the get go. Tied into Age of Ultron, Avengers A.I. is an Avengers title centered around a team of sentient robots. And Hank Pym. And a mysterious new, tough-as-nails SHIELD Agent.
Hickman is bringing it with Avengers and New Avengers, though. The team behind Avengers A.I have big shoes to fill. So then the questions is: do they?
Issue one starts off interestingly enough with a mysterious attack on a hospital. We then jump back in time to an interrogation between SHIELD's head of AI affairs, Monica Chang (cudos to SHIELD for their female leadership, military operations tend to be something of boy cubs).
It turns out that the virus Hank created to stop Ultron created a dangerous, constantly mutating AI that threatens all life. Again. This is a theme in Hank Pym's life. Why do they keep letting him around computers? Oddly enough, Hank says "this is a breakthrough! A new form of life!" Is it? Isn't Ultron true AI? The Vision? Victor Mancha? None of them are real AI? Did I miss something?
Anyway, at the behest of Captain America, SHIELD allows Hank to get a team of artificial life forms together to find this AI and kill/contain it. A team that consists of a post-Runaways Victor Mancha, The Vision back from exile, and Doombot with a micro black hole his chest to prevent him from going all regular Doombot (Christ, Hank, a black hole? Whoever sparked your love of science is humanity's greatest monster).
Andre Araujo's artwork is good. That's about the right adjective for it. It's detailed, it gets the point across, it can be interesting to look at it. However, it's just missing... something. I'm not sure what it is. There are some cool images, but nothing really struck me. Nothing "wow'd".
I think the biggest things keeping it from reaching a higher level are the little issues. The faces looked a little stiff and/or generic at times and, well, some things were a little off. For example:
I know that's supposed to be forced perspective, but it just looks a little... wonky? I don't know, it just looks like her left arm is GIGANTIC compared to her body. Her hand is as big as her head! Speaking of weird forced perspective:
So I'm not sure what this is all about. It's a cool image for sure, but it doesn't work out logistically. If he's that size compared TO THE SUN, The Vision would have to be, like, a hundred Earths in size. His cape would be millions of miles long. We could be closer to the Vision and he could be reeeeeal far away from the sun, but it says he's orbiting the sun. I suppose everything in the solar system is, but I don't think Hank Pym was being pedantic.
Side note: Akira reference!
It's unfortunate that Dustin Weaver's Avengers A.I. begs to be compared with Hickman's Avengers. This is definitely its own thing, its not trying to crib off anything. So in all fairness, we'll judge this on its own merits.
The "BOOM BIG EVENT THEN CUT TO A FEW DAYS BEFORE" trick has been used to death. It's in everything all the time everywhere. It annoyed me, but it was only a few pages inconvenience. Victor's search for a superhero persona works well as does Doombot, although I can tell he's a character that only works in small doses. Vision's new powers are a cool edition that will lend well to the series. I think Weaver nailed the perfect voice for Hank, kind of a douche-bag-who-wants-to-be-good vibe.
However, I think that story seems a bit thin. It is of course a first issue, so there's not a lot to play with, but this didn't have any set up that made me feel the potential of the story to come. It ended on a good mystery note, but nothing before that made me excited for the next issue. I could drop this title right now and not really care too much about finding out what happens. Maybe that will change later on, but getting readers hooked right off the bat is crucial no matter the medium.
I'm not recommending this. It's not that I'm telling you to decry this in the streets or hunt down the creators and force them into some type of Bloodsport situation. If you're interested in it, then by all means. However, this is skippable, or at least from what I've seen in issue one. There's not a lot going on and nothing mind blowing that you have to see.
Although, Cap's reaction to harsh language is kind of fun.