Saturday, July 6, 2013

AVENGERS A.I. #1: Protecting Humanity from Technology

Marvel Comics just finished it's latest Big Event called "Age of Ultron". This was the nutshell: Ultron (an evil robot created long ago by founding Avenger Dr. Hank Pym AKA/FKA: Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket, and Wasp) finally managed to conquer the planet and destroy most of humanity. Wolverine and the Invisible Woman decided to save humanity by traveling back in time to kill Dr. Pym before he created Ultron and managed to create another timeline where humanity was being destroyed by another menace. So Wolverine went back again and had Dr. Pym create Ultron, but with a special weakness that they could exploit back in the present. Dr. Pym created a super-computer virus right before the Age of Ultron could begin and everything is back to normal.

Except that it's not.

Because the computer virus that Dr. Pym created to wipe out Ultron has become sentient and has begun causing trouble for humanity. Now SHIELD is pissed at Dr. Pym for averting an apocalypse that they themselves couldn't avert. They are upset that he didn't think through every possible consequence that might arise when he whipped up a last minute super-computer virus. As a result, SHIELD A.I. Division Chief Monica Chang decides to kidnap, torture, and permanently imprison one of Marvel's founding Avengers.

Because he saved humanity from Ultron...

Anyway, Captain America steps in and recruits Dr. Pym to create a team of robotic Avengers consisting of Vision, Victor Mancha (from the Runaways), and a Doombot to stand up against this newly evolved A.I. menace. This menace is named Dimitrios and it has corrupted a bunch of SHIELD drones, which it uses to attack a Georgia-based hospital for some unclear reason.

This new team of Avengers quickly saves the hospital but not before discovering a new puzzle. Namely, who is that blond-haired black woman floating over her hospital bed? Something tells me that she's a newly created robotic Avenger, but what to I know?

AVENGERS A.I. is an interesting concept. It's filled with robots, androids, and A.I. specialists who are tasked with protecting humanity from evil A.I.s. Somehow thought, I can't help but wonder if this type of battle wouldn't be more effectively fought over a keyboard and monitor than on the streets of America.

If you can't tell, I'm not terribly impressed with how the SHIELD agents treat Dr. Pym in this story. Why not just recruit him to help them shut down Dimitrios? Why threaten him with torture? It's not like he's a loose cannon (usually).

Lastly, what's up with Vision? When has he had the ability to deploy tiny nanites? Either I'm out of it or that came right out of left field!

I will stick with AVENGERS A.I. for a few more issues to see what's in store for this bunch of artificial heroes. I haven't liked how Dr. Pym and Division Chief Chang have been portrayed, but I'm anxious to see more of Vision, Victor, and the Doombot in action. And seriously, whose crazy imagination decided to recruit a Doombot for the Avengers??

But I'm not sure if I'll be here for the long haul. AVENGERS A.I.'s tagline is "Bigger. Better. Faster. Stranger." This is the type of specialized book that really needs to hit the ground running. Let's see Dimitrios in action. Does it do much more than randomly attack people with drones and hack computer mainframes? Is there going to be anything unifying this team once Dimitrios is eventually defeated? Will Doombot be the "strangest" A.I. to join the Avengers? And will Division Chief Chang learn that there is more to leading than threatening and saber-rattling?

I guess ultimately I want to see this series live up to its tagline for me to continue reading. Because there's nothing more frustrating than technology (or comic books about technology) when it lags.

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