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Avengers A.I. #5 (Hey, f*ck you Johnny Five! Spoilers)

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Punchy
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Avengers A.I. #5 (Hey, f*ck you Johnny Five! Spoilers)

Postby Punchy » Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:47 am

After a crazily fast-paced opening storyline, Sam Humphries slows down a little, and we get a very enjoyable issue that starts to delve into who these characters are, and also develop the ongoing Human/A.I. conflict.

Let’s start with the character on the cover of this issue, the mysterious Alexis. She and Vision head to New York to try and stop an angry protest at the banks, caused by what Dimitrios did a few issues ago, where he randomly redistributed money from one person’s account to another. Of course, because these problems were caused by A.I. the appearance of these two, even though they are Avengers, only makes things worse. To add to that, Alexis starts freaking out again, seeing visions (no pun intended) or weird alternate versions of herself, and also little glimpses of the future, like what Vision is about to say next. She bursts off, and people think she’s gone crazy, but she’s actually inside her own head, fighting a giant version of Dimitrios that is ‘The Encryption’ that’s blocking her memories. She defeats The Encryption after a fun fight, and is on her way back to being restored. She doesn’t have her memories yet, but they will come, and she now knows that she is one of The Diamond’s ‘Original 6’ and is ‘The Protector’, not just of A.I., but of all life. I like that Humphries hasn’t gone all the way here, and that there’s still a lot of things that can be revealed in the future. Alexis then uses her precognitive powers to see which protestor is going to blow himself in the near future, and throws him into the air, saving everyone, which is of course, a good thing.

Hank Pym meanwhile, is in kind of a funk after the death of Victor Mancha, and has locked himself in his lab. After some very funny scenes with Doombot (I don’t think Doombot will ever not be hilarious to me) and Monica Chang, Monica gets into Pym’s lab, and finds him… playing video games. It turns out that Pym is trying to create an ‘Infinite Game’ (isn’t that just Animal Crossing?) but really, it’s all a way for him to cope with his being bi-polar. I’m not sure if Marvel have ever actually come out and outright said Pym is bi-polar before now, but it makes sense for his character, and I love that he’s mapping his entire brain and trying to hack himself so he’ll stop being depressed. Monica tries to get Hank to snap out of it and realise that Victor’s death isn’t on him, but it’s not working just yet.

Of course, Hank’s depression is kind of all for nothing, as it turns out that Victor isn’t actually dead! Tumblr, stop your weeping now! Yes, Victor is still alive inside The Diamond and the conflict with Dimitrios is far from over. This was a very strong issue of this book, and as I said, after the hyper feel of the first 4, a bit of a slow-down was necessary. I know feel like Humphries has a better handle on these characters, especially Pym and Alexis, than before, and he still managed to cram in some great moments of humour and mad ideas.

Valerio Schiti stepped in on the art with this issue, and I was once again very impressed by him, it’s not quite as perfect for an A.I. world as Araujo, but it was very good superhero stuff, and the facial expressions were fantastic, which is paramount for a book with this level of humour and weirdness.

I think this issue marks the way this book should be going forward, with Humphries leavening the craziness with a bit more focus. But hell, I love the craziness too.

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Re: Avengers A.I. #5 (Hey, f*ck you Johnny Five! Spoilers)

Postby Stephen Day » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:04 pm

I liked what went on with Victor this issue. I liked the fact that we have a better idea about where Alexis comes from. I liked the character development put into Monica Chang. I liked Hank's lab. There was a lot to like about this issue. :)
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Re: Avengers A.I. #5 (Hey, f*ck you Johnny Five! Spoilers)

Postby sdsichero » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:16 pm

Punchy wrote:Valerio Schiti stepped in


I thought you were going to go in a different direction here

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RE: Avengers A.I. #5 (Hey, f*ck you Johnny Five! Spoilers)

Postby Coby Criste » Mon Dec 16, 2013 10:47 pm

(read the original at http://cobyscomics.blogspot.com/2013/12/hank-pym-bipolar.html)

I've been reading through the issues of Avengers A.I. to catch up to issue seven, which is an INHUMANITY tie-in. So far, the book is weird. Really weird. While there are some hilarious moments with the Doombot ("Doom rejects all apologies"), for the most part, I didn't really care about the characters or the story. As a recovering ludditte, the whole "A.I. is a lifeform" thing is too much for me. Reading the author's comments at the end of every issue where he pretends to like robots more than people doesn't help.

And then I got to Avengers A.I. #5, and Marvel went somewhere I never imagined they would. Somewhere I never imagined possible in a mainstream comicbook:

Hank Pym diagnosed himself with bipolar disorder. I can't believe it, but I am oh so very happy about it. Not happy for the fictional character of Hank Pym, of course--that would be cruel and silly. I'm happy Marvel had the gonads to bring this up. Sure, they've got their Moon Knight and Legion type characters with schizophrenia, but to take a major character like this, one of the original Avengers, and give him an actual real-life everyday mental disorder? That's bold. And I love it. I can't wait to see where they take this. Already, in issue 6, they brought it up again:

Doing some quick Google searches, I learned that being mentally broken has sort of historically been Hank Pym's thing. He even appears on this list of "Top 10 Greatest Mentally Ill Superheros". (I also found this humorous little web-comic summary of the Hank Pym character, which is worth checking out). But, as someone who never closely followed the character before, learning this little bit about him was a real shocker for me. And I've got to say, the way it was delivered was brilliant. It wasn't the focus of the issue and it wasn't thrown in your face, but it was delivered tactfully and eloquently. The decision to bring Hank Pym's bipolar disorder into this comic completely changed my opinion of it, making it a comic I now want more of.

So, good on ya, Sam Humphries, and good on you, Marvel. Thanks for this extra layer of depth to an otherwise boring character who I never cared about before.

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