Avengers A.I. #4

Story by
Art by
André Lima Araújo
Colors by
Frank D'Armata
Letters by
Clayton Cowles
Cover by
Marvel Comics

"Avengers A.I." #4, by writer Sam Humphries and artist Andre Lima Araujo sees the team attempting to defeat the manipulative AI Dimitrios while The Vision attempts to convince the citizens of The Diamond that peace with the humans is an option.

" Avengers A.I." is still finding its feet. Right now, the cast is interesting and improving with each issue, with great moments here for the likes of Victor, Alexis and the Vision. The problem is that the plot seems unsure how deeply it wants to explore its ideas. Hard sci-fi elements like The Diamond could provide the most interesting material, but the idea of an entire city of AIs is too under-explored to ever feel real, with the citizens feeling like little more than 2D cut-outs rather than super-evolved AI beings.

The villain Dimitrios takes up a lot of the spotlight in this issue, and his discussion with the Vision is heavy on visual metaphor in a way that doesn't quite click. The challenge of showing AI characters battle in an AI world is a tough one, but it's not something this issue solves. In a way, it suffers in the same way telepathic battles on the Astral Plane do -- the rules aren't very defined and the stakes feel abstract.

The art is definitely improving, though at times there are still areas of weakness. Araujo's rendering of the battle scene is generally great, full of energy and excitement, with good environment design and a strong sense of physicality. Sometimes, though, it becomes hard to follow.

There are sequences where events are disjointed and confusing rather than chaotic in a deliberate way, and it's particularly unclear to readers what characters like Victor and Alexis are doing because all of their powers manifest as beams shooting out of their hands. The Vision might explain what he's doing in a somewhat retro fashion, but at least that means we can tell.

There are some good ideas in here, and Humphries has done a good job of taking a cast of misfits and nobodies and turning them into a group you want to read about, but broadly speaking it's suffering from similar problems to his "Uncanny X-Force" run: truncated plotlines, disjointed sequences and a little too much abstract imagery. It's clear that Humphries has an ambitious drive, but at the moment -- on "Avengers A.I." at least -- his work isn't quite reaching the clarity needed to realise his intentions for it.

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