Published in 2015 and coinciding with The Avengers sequel, Rage of Ultron is squarely in current continuity and has major ramifications spilling out of the book. Rick Remender and Jerome Opena weave a fantastic tale about arguably the biggest mistake the Avengers ever made. Hank Pym, Ant-Man, is a gifted scientist that created an artificial intelligence that gained sentience and has challenged Earth’s Mightiest Heroes time and again.
Rage of Ultron is, at its core, a story about fathers and sons. And in this story, Pym is the father, and Ultron is the son. And since Ultron created Vision, he is also a part of this dysfunctional family. This is classic Avengers material here, and Remender takes that conceit and runs with it.
The story stars in the past where the Avengers defeat Ultron, putting him in a ship and shoot him out to space, presumably to never been seen again. And, honestly, when does that ever work out? Hank Pym uses the nuances between fathers and sons to manipulate Ultron into defeat. There are some touching moments here, and the depth of the relationship between the generational lines show here. Unfortunately, for the homeworld of Titan, birthplace of Thanos and former Avenger Starfox is right in his path. Ultron crashes on the moon and immediately decimates the inhabitants, leaving only Starfox to warn the Avengers that Ultron is coming.
The crux of the story brings Ultron, the Avengers and Hank Pym into direct conflict with each other. With Hank claiming that A.I. is not alive and since he created the first one, he is the one that should end them, lest the full wrath of the A.I. As Ultron has infected the whole of Titan and is now infecting Earth, a dark plan emerges from Hank Pym. He’s created a device that will destroy all A.I. and with no other options available they decide to implement that plan.
An interesting concept here is Hank’s idea of what A.I. is. He now believes that no A.I. being is actually alive, which brings about its own complications with Vision, an android with a long history of showing emotion. The climax of the story sees Hank merge with Ultron and sends them both to space to perish.
The artwork in this book is amazing. I’ve been a fan of Jerome for quite a while, and he doesn’t disappoint here. You can feel the pain and wonder on their faces and his attention to detail is impressive as well. This is an exciting book and really uses the format of the graphic novel to the fullest. There are great moments here that tie into continuity and it really moves the story of Ultron, Hank Pym and Vision forward. Their father-son dynamic is complicated and hard and honest. It’s in those moments that Remender shines and the full extent of the Rage of Ultron is explored. Pick this up for a great read and you can also see ramifications of this story in comics today.