With the time-hopping that occurred in “Age of Ultron” #10 and the previously fragile psyche of Henry Pym both well documented, it only makes sense that some investigation of the collision of both factors should occur. Mark Waid and Andre Lima Araujo open the issue up with Pym slumped in a corner, navel-gazing and reflecting back through the events of his life as the space-time continuum cracks all around the longtime Avenger and one-time Scientist Supreme, which leads to the biggest wrinkle in this comic.
Waid and company go back to the beginning and review the life of Hank Pym, from age five to his creation of the vacuum-cleaner inspired original iteration of Ultron. Unfortunately, Waid leaves out Pym’s recent rotation under the mantle of the Wasp and the ascension of Pym as Scientist Supreme from Dan Slott’s run on “Mighty Avengers.” I suppose that is just as well, given that Janet Van Dyne is back among the living and Pym has a history of mental instability. That omission clears the decks for Waid to carefully reconstruct Pym and insert some confidence into his pet project. It’s clear Waid has an affinity for Pym, given the writer’s use of Pym as a recurring cameo appearance character in “Daredevil.”
All too often Pym is played as a victim — of his own scheming, of short-sightedness, of naivete — but Waid gives Pym hope and really makes him an inspiring character. Waid doesn’t clutter “Age of Ultron” #10AI with other Avengers or world-threatening schemes. He doesn’t give Pym much in the way of human interaction, choosing instead to focus the spotlight clearly on the former Scientist Supreme, who narrates the issue first person, endearing readers to his plight and recovery. Waid gives Pym the line, “Everything every man does has an impact if he lets his imagination loose.”
Artist Andre Lima AraÃºjo’s drawings are whimsical and animated. The artwork has plenty of details, but like the writing, the visuals don’t stray too far from Pym. AraÃºjo does have the opportunity to draw the collection of Pym’s identities and also is given a scene of Giant-Man in action. The artist does a nice job of capturing the emotions Pym experiences throughout his life: the despair of losing his grandmother and best friend, the frustration of being creatively cornered and the relief of finally finding joy in his life. D’Armata’s colors brightly enhance Pym’s world and the calming blue tones of Clayton Cowles’ caption boxes encapsulates the peace of mind Pym is finally able to embrace.
This comic book cleanly directs readers to “Avengers A.I.” #1 scheduled for release next week. Waid has successfully utilized Pym as a supporting character in “Daredevil,” so seeing the writer get a chance for a grander story is rewarding, but disappointing in the knowledge that Pym’s continued adventures won’t be crafted by Waid, who clearly has as much to say about Hank Pym as he does Matt Murdock or Bruce Banner. For now, Waid has given us a near-definitive Hank Pym comic book, and I’m thankful for that.