Monday, July 6, 2015

Book Review: Avengers Rage of Ultron by Rick Remender et al.

Avengers Rage of Ultron written by Rick Remender, art by Jerome Opena with Pepe Larraz

The Avengers battle Ultron over the years in this book. Many years ago, they fought in Manhattan where Ultron is eventually trapped in a Quinjet and sent off into space. Before he goes, he has a bit of a heart-to-heart talk with Hank Pym (who is the hero Yellow Jacket at this point, though he was Ant-man before). Pym built Ultron and put either too much of himself in or not enough. Ultron is a homicidal robot motivated by contempt of humans for their insufficiency. Pym, in classic Marvel style, has a history of being scientifically proficient but also being constantly teased and belittled for his abilities. He's got an inferiority streak coming from self-doubt and emotional pain. A robot doesn't have emotions and doubt can be left out, so Ultron is a dark reflection of his "father" Pym. Ultron sees the inferiority of humans without any check on his actions. So he's got to go.

Jumping to the present, Ultron has taken over a distant planet and is coming back to Earth to take over there (as well as the rest of the universe, eventually). Pym (now Giant-Man) invents a device that will delete the Ultron A.I., effectively killing Ultron and possibly everyone he's infected (that's a whole alien planet for starters). The Avengers debate the morality of using the device as Ultron approaches. Pym is strongly in favor but the Vision (an android built by Ultron who has rejected his creator as evil) argues against it. Vision sees himself as an A.I. who could also be expendable. The Avengers don't kill people, even bad guys, let alone the possible killing of a planet's population as collateral damage (maybe). Ultron shows up and, in classic Marvel style, the Avengers continue the debate as they fight against him.

The book is an extended meditation on Hank Pym's character as a brilliant scientist and a troubled person who struggles to overcome his feelings of inadequacy. That struggle is thrown in high relief as he deals with Ultron and tries to make others see things his way. I found the ending very moving and satisfying.


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