Open Mike Night: Avengers A.I. #1

Avengers A.I. #1

Written by: Sam Humphries
Art by: Andre Lima Araujo
Colored by: Frank D’Armata
Lettered by: VC’s Clayon Cowles
Published by: Marvel

Maillaro: This week’s column is going to be a quickie. I have been on vacation all week, but I did think it was was important that we did a little epilogue to our Hank Pym column from last week. This time, Avengers AI takes center stage.

I am going to start with a quick warning: this book is not as good as last week’s Age of Ultron 10 AI. That is not to say this is a bad comic, not at all, but it certainly feels like a bit of a let down. Sam Humphries had some really good ideas here, but unfortunately, he’s just not Mark Waid.

Weaver: This book had its moments, but I’d agree that it’s not nearly the comic Age of Ultron 10 AI is. It did manage to get through the Skitch Test with flying colors: Here’s your team, here they are functioning together. I’m not real familiar with Victor Mancha, but the Doombot was classic.Henry Pym was fine, if not as great as last issue. Vision…I’m not really sure I’m liking what’s going on with him. It reminds me a lot of Any Internet Versus Topic where you’ve got your sundipped Superman or whatever.

They hint a lot that Vision’s powerset might have changed through this experience, so I hope it was all just an excuse to get him to do different stuff, but I am definitely red flagging it.

Maillaro: Victor is from Runaways. He also featured in the Ultron special during Age of Ultron…which never happened because of that damn Wolverine.

Vision has gone through so many changes over the year this didn’t bother me all that much. Doombot was great. Sort of reminded me of Strax the rogue Sontaran from Doctor Who.

And what is with Marvel using blacked out cursing to tell us “this woman is a badass.” It annoyed me in Fearless Defenders and it is just as annoying here from Division Chief Chang.

I did like the rogue AI…though it does seem to be similar to X-Men’s current story….and it sort of seems like Age of Ultron was not stopped….just delayed and now called Age of Demitris.

Weaver: Getting cute with the black bar censorship is fun once…but twice it’s not as clever anymore. I agree with that.

See, I didn’t like the rogue AI because rogue AI is just kind of…weren’t we just here last week? And then, here’s new more sure of himself Pym and the first thing he gets is a guilt complex from a killer AI that descended from one he created. I mean, let’s just saddle the guy with an out of context domestic violence story while we’re at it. I like how he handles it, how he’s not going to take the guilt. Another thing I didn’t like, though, is how now we have to have Captain America show up to endorse people. And that’s bad enough, but here he has to endorse Pym.

Maillaro: Yeah, now that you mention Cap, I think I figured out exactly what bugged me about this book. It didn’t seem to take a lot of risks. Let’s put together a team of AI’s to fight an AI threat. The overcompensating SHIELD leader is suspicious of Pym, blaming him for this whole mess. even going so far to punch him in the face.

Cap is there to step in, giving Pym the all clear. There were nothing particular bad about this book, but at the same time, it all just felt very market calculated.

Even calling the book Avengers AI for that matter. I am not particularly anti-marketing when it comes to my comics, but at the same time, it doesn’t typically produce the most creative or exciting comics to read. Maybe they should have called Morbius “Avengers Vampire.”

Weaver: Nothing ventured, nothing messed up, I guess. It was very by the numbers. Perhaps the Doombot appeals to us both because it was the only relatively risky part of the equation, and they made sure to let us know, several times, that Pym considered it risk-free.

Captain America showing up was kind of silly in a few other ways. First, he needs to tell SHIELD that Pym’s a long-standing Avenger? That woman must have never turned on the news ever. Or looked at his file. And clearly, she’d looked at his file. So that was clearly pointless. And then he goes about how Pym is exactly the guy we need, so he’s there to sell our main character, and how confident he is in him, and then his next action is…to tell Pym what to do (call Vision). That part just clunked along and caused me to lose faith in the book.

Maillaro: Cap was there to help boost sales, in my mind. Just like Iron Man showing up in Guardians of the Galaxy, even if he is a very awkward fit. It is like when Spider-Man and/or Wolverine used to appear in the first five or ten issues of any new series back when I started reading comics. Thank you Marvel Movieverse for replacing the iconic appearance whores with Iron Man, Cap, and Thor.

Weaver: It was a sad day for me, even as a non-fan of Fantastic Four, when the FF needed Ghost Rider, Wolverine, and Spider-Man to sell their comic. But I don’t think that’s what Cap was doing here, he doesn’t seem to have been advertised as existing at all. Now Iron Man in issue 2…that’s definitely a sales driver.

Maillaro: New Fantastic Four are just awesome though. I actually own those comics digitally…pretty much the only old FF comics I own digitally actually. Must have been on sale or something.

One other thing about this book that bugged me was Victor’s dialogue. “Dude, trust me, she’s mad conscious” and “Tell the Internet.” There is nothing worse than when an adult with no ear for it tries to write young characters.

Weaver: I assumed that was just his style, but yeah, it was clunky. I also didn’t like how we had to have Captain America take shit from (and be taken aback by) the SHIELD Agent just to sell her hardness. You know what, the more I think on this issue, the less I like it. It’s like a cheap mystery novel which is enjoyable enough until you lift the hood and think about it.

Maillaro: It’s been a while since I read Runaways, but I don’t remember Victor talking that way. Definitely a quirk given to the character just for this comic.

It is kind of weird how once we sit down and start talking about a book, our perspective on it changes. I texted you when I read it that I thought it was pretty decent, but with some time and distance, I agree with you, the good parts of this book don’t make up for all the problems. It is far from the worst comic I’ve ever read (CATWOMAN 0), but I can’t give it much more than a 3/5 for the writing.

Weaver: I’ll give it an empty calories 3/5 for writing too. It was fine while it was happening, but it doesn’t hold up to heavy analysis. I thought the art was middle to the road to decent, I’d give it a 3.5.

Maillaro: The art on this book was fine. This actually is the same artist who did Age of Ultron 10AI, but he seemed to have a lot more interesting things to draw in that book. 3.5/5 definitely seems like the right score.

I probably will give this book another issue or two to try and win me over, but I am not expecting it to survive long on my shopping list. But I did say the same thing about Fearless Defenders, so it’s hard to say.

Weaver: Sad to say, but Fearless Defenders had a lot more promise. I don’t anticipate following this.

So…next week, Jack Knight week?

Maillaro: Yeah, definitely need to cleanse the mediocrity off the column. So, next week, we are reviewing a comic that is pretty near and dear to my heart. Based on the David Bowie song and the Jeff Bridges movie, it’s Starman!

Weaver: Damn you, now I have that song stuck in my head. But alright, let’s do it.

Final Scores

Maillaro – Story Weaver – Story Maillaro – Art Weaver – Art
Avengers A.I. #1 3 3 3.5 3.5

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