In our continuing series looking at the main players of Age of Ultron — the upcoming 10-part Marvel event series starting in March — we turn to two characters that will always be inextricably linked with Ultron: Hank Pym and The Vision.
Effectively, Hank Pym is Ultron's father, and The Vision is Ultron's son. Those may seem like inappropriate nouns to use when referring to a human, an artificial intelligence and a "synthezoid," but they're absolutely apt.Hank Pym is an original Avenger, but his history goes back even further than that. He debuted in 1962's Tales to Astonish #27 (pre-dating Avengers #1 by more than year), and soon adopted the superheroic identity of Ant-Man. Of course, he's taken on many aliases over the past 51 years — Giant-Man, Yellowjacket, Goliath, and, after his ex-wife's presumed death, Wasp — with Ant-Man and Giant-Man (depending on which direction he's focusing his Pym Particle-powered size-changing abilities) the most common.
It wasn't immediately revealed that Hank Pym was Ultron's creator, but it's since become one of the two great failings attached to the character — the other being when he hit his then-wife The Wasp (leading to him getting divorced and kicked out of the Avengers) in the early '80s Avengers. But hey, there's an Ant-Man movie coming from Marvel Studios in 2015, so it's not all bad for the guy.The Vision was first seen in 1968's Avengers #57, shortly after Ultron made his (its?) debut. Ultron made him to attack the Avengers, but he rebelled against his creator and instead became an Avengers mainstay, appearing in multiple lineups over the years — plus engaging in an unusual yet iconic romance with The Scarlet Witch, and helping to form the west coast branch of the Avengers. The unique dynamic of Hank Pym, Vision and Ultron have fueled a big chunk of the three characters' fictional lives, further proof of the considerable dramatic power of daddy issues.
As two of the most prolific Avengers, Hank Pym and The Vision have been involved in many of Marvel's biggest stories from "The Korvac Saga" to Atlantis Attacks, and have a notable history with Age of Ultron writer Brian Michael Bendis.
In Bendis's very first Avengers story, 2004's "Avengers Disassembled," She-Hulk — out of control thanks to an out-of-control Scarlet Witch — ripped The Vision in half, putting him out of commission for years. (Bendis made it up to Vision fans by bringing the character back towards the end of his eight-year Avengers run.) That led to a new version of the character showing up in Young Avengers, though that Vision met its end in another event story, The Children's Crusade.Pym stayed away from the Avengers for a time after "Disassembled," but was a big part of 2006-2007's Civil War by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven, where he was part of Tony Stark's pro-registration forces. In 2008's Secret Invasion, written by Bendis, it was revealed that Hank was one of several Marvel characters temporarily replaced by a shape-shifting Skrull.
Despite Bendis's long Avengers stint and the prominence of both Hank Pym and The Vision in the franchise, neither character spent much time on the writer's Avengers teams. Vision was out of the picture for much of his run until its final year, and Pym was more frequently featured in non-Bendis titles, like the Dan Slott-written run on Mighty Avengers and Avengers Academy.
AGE OF ULTRON IMPACT:
In the month's since Avengers vs. X-Men ended and the Marvel NOW! era began, neither Hank Pym nor the Vision have been seen much on-panel. Pym's kept a pretty low-profile following the end of Avengers Academy — he's a background player in Captain America — and Vision, despite being rebuilt by Tony Stark and returning to the Avengers relatively recently, also hasn't been a focus, other than last week's Avengers Assemble annual.You'd think that they'd be affected by Ultron taking over the world and decimating the human population, right? Well, yeah.
"They both have a role to play in the Age of Ultron story," Marvel senior vice president of publishing and Age of Ultron editor Tom Brevoort told Newsarama. "They're both fundamentally crucial to what goes on."
Yet despite the vast history between the three characters, don't think of their part of Age of Ultron as simply fulfilling a nostalgic obligation.
"This is not any other Ultron story that you've read before," Brevoort said. "The fact that Hank is in it, or the Vision is in it, doesn't mean it's going to be the same thing, or a very similar thing, to what was done in the past."
While both characters will be important to the Bendis-written, Bryan Hitch/Carlos Pacheco/Brandon Peterson-illustrated story, you might not see them right with issue #1, scheduled for release on March 6."Hank's definitely very important to the second act structure of the story, and the third act and the aftermath, and the same thing with the Vision," Brevoort said.
Keep in mind that Marvel has made it very clear that a) not everyone makes it out of (or into) Age of Ultron alive, and b) the ending is such a big surprise that very few people, even within Marvel, know what it is. It's probably way too early to ponder the significance of neither Hank Pym or Vision appearing with the many Marvel characters on the Free Comic Book Day Infinity cover, right?
Keep reading Newsarama for more on Age of Ultron.
- 10 Biggest MARVEL Characters Not in a Movie (Yet)
- AGE OF ULTRON Profiles: Ultron, Hank Pym's Wayward 'Son'
- Marvel's Next Event: INFINITY's Possibilities