In fiction, things always seem to get more interesting when an estranged son runs into his dad.
Especially when the son is an evil, virtually indestructible robot bent on destruction.
As Mighty Avengers ties into the Siege event in the coming months, Ultron will be showing up to once again antagonize his creator, Hank Pym. The two-issue Ultron story, titled "Salvation," begins in March's Mighty Avengers #35 and will finish up the comic's run, with April's issue #36 solicited as the series finale. Marvel hasn't announced what comes next for the characters nor the creators: Writer Dan Slott and penciller Khoi Pham.
But before its final issue, Mighty Avengers will be in the middle of the events surrounding Siege, with a story involving the Cosmic Cube, Loki, Thor and the attack on Asgard – culminating in the Pym-Ultron showdown.
Newsarama talked with Slott about what's coming in the comic and whether this means the end of his involvement with the Avengers franchise.
Newsarama: Dan, reading Mighty Avengers, you seem like you're having fun with these characters.
Slott: Oh, they're great. I think it's easy for everyone to see that Hank Pym's one of my pet characters. And I've had such a fun time writing Norman Osborn over on Spidey, so it was really fun to let the oil and water mix.
Nrama: Before Mighty Avengers was even released, you'd talked about it being an “Avengery Avengers” book, and I think a lot of people took that to mean we're going to have some of the old characters. But it also seems like there's a bit of "old-school" in the approach to the stories. Is that an accurate assessment?
Slott: Oh, totally. I think with every project I've been working on since coming back to Marvel in 2004, I'm trying to match whatever project I'm on to a feel. Like, She-Hulk's going to have a different flavor from Great Lakes Avengers, which is going to have a different flavor from The Initiative. You want to do something that matches the property and, when I'm working on Avengers, I want to work on Avengers. I want to have that kind of vibe going through it that you have reading the Roger Stern years or the Kurt Busiek/George Perez era – or Geoff Johns on the book. When it was all about big characters doing big things.
Nrama: It also has quite a mix of action and comedy.
Slott: There's something inherently funny about comics. When you look at something like Alex Ross and Kurt's Marvels, and suddenly all these people look real. And, oh my god, there's Hank Pym stepping past your head and you're looking up at him. There's something wondrous about that, but at the same time, it's a guy in red and blue tights! If you saw someone walking down the street like that, I think you'd look at it more like the way people look at the world of Kick-Ass. If you're buying into the premise, I think you need to wholly buy into it.
There's something odd about these characters, that they would dress up like this and do these things, and they're going to be in these crazy situations – I think comedy and comics always goes hand-in-hand in the superhero stuff. No comic book about superheroes is really devoid of it. You look at something like Alan Moore's Watchmen, and there's great laughs in there. There's this nonstop serious book, but you think about the sequence with Nite Owl and Silk Spectre talking about Captain Carnage. That's like one of the funniest scenes in comics.
Nrama: You also seem to have your characters using their brains a lot. Is that just something that happens because Pym's in charge? There are some knockdown, drag-out fights, but there are a lot of smarts coming across here to save the day.
Slott: Yeah. If you just win the day by the sake of your superhero powers, then a lot of this stuff is a foregone conclusion. You want your characters to be smart. And that's one of the places where characters like Hank Pym and Amadeus Cho shine. They're going to find that solution. They're going to find that thing that's kind of cool and clever.
Nrama: Now let's look forward at the comics you have coming up. Because there's a big event, Siege, which we've talked a little bit about before. What can you tell us about what we'll see coming up during Siege?
Slott: Well, if you read the last issue of Mighty, they're at Project Pegasus. And by the way, we have the Project Pegasus collection coming out from the Marvel Two-in-One reprints, which everyone should pick that up. It's gorgeous. It's fun. And there are remnants of the last Cosmic Cube there from when Cap and Winter Soldier had their big throw-down. And we have the Absorbing Man running lose and he absorbs the power of the Cosmic Cube, which he's never done before. So we're going to have some Cosmic Cube powered things going on in the issues coming up.
Also, because Loki is such a key player in Siege and the whole landscape of the Marvel universe right now, it's important to remember that we have a book, the only team book, where Loki is a constant key player. We have the only team book where Loki is actually kind of a member. And you're going to see a resolution of the whole Loki storyline coming up, which is our last pre-Siege issue in #34. And we've got Thor in that issue, too.
Nrama: And then in March you've got the Ultron story?
Slott: The start of our two-part Siege crossover.
Nrama: Right. Now talk to me about Ultron, because if I'm not mistaken, before you even started this series, you said on the record at Newsarama that you'd love to get Ultron in this comic someday. Why is that?
Slott: Oh, god, yeah. Ultron is the – here I go again. People are going to hate this. He's the most Avengery Avengers villain you can get. Either Ultron or Kang. They're the two big ones.
Nrama: What is it that makes you rank Ultron that highly when it comes to this team?
Slott: Well, besides that he's ruthless and unstoppable and predates Terminator – he is born of the Avengers. He comes out of Avengers lore. He's the robot that Hank Pym built. So on some level, he's part of the Avengers – he's an original sin of the Avengers.
Nrama: The one that just keeps coming back.
Slott: Yes. And he's also based on – the same way that Vision is based on Wonder Man's brain patterns – here's a character that's based on Hank Pym's brain patterns. So he's got a direct link to the founders.
Nrama: Can you tell us how the Avengers encounter Ultron?
Slott: Well, we haven't seen Ultron in the Avengers for a while because he was off in Annihilation. So this is the first time in awhile that we've seen him.
And the last time I remember, he was off in the Kree side of the galaxy. And the Avengers were just over on the Kree side of the galaxy.
Slott: Interesting. Like a big puzzle.
Nrama: Obviously, this is going to be an important meeting for Hank Pym. What might we see between those two characters?
Slott: Father and son?
Nrama: Yeah, that one.
Slott: Yes. They should go to a father/son picnic shouldn't they? Be in the three-legged race and sack races and everything. That would be wonderful.
Nrama: I can see it.
Slott: Yeah, it's the first character in the Marvel U that really does get to go "You are my father." Stan and Jack always knew that the best story comes from family. And this is Avengers family. And there's also a certain character named Jocasta running around in there who was the bride of Ultron. Bride of Ultron.
Nrama: The solicitation says that Hank is trapped in Pym-Space with Ultron. Is Jocasta also going to meet him?
Slott: Yes. You're going to get Hank and Jocasta trapped in Pym-Space with Ultron. Bad stuff will happen.
Nrama: Khoi Pham seems to have really grown with these characters as you guys have been working together.
Slott: Oh, he has. Khoi's really been hitting his stride and knocking these out of the park lately. There's a reason why they named him one of the "Young Guns." One of the up-and-comers. One of the, "Hey. Keep your eye on this guy." I think it's great to look at the issues we've got coming up and go, "Wow. This is guy is A-list." He's totally A-list.
Nrama: What effect will Siege have on Mighty Avengers?
Slott: No Marvel book will be as affected as Mighty Avengers. Siege will have a massive effect. Mighty Avengers is going to be furiously affected by the Siege.
Nrama: The April solicitation for Mighty Avengers says that will be its final issue. Will you still be working on the Avengers after Siege?
Slott: Can't really comment on that. It's all super top-secret.
Nrama: OK, but is there anything you can tell us about what happens with these characters later in the year? Anything you can tell fans about future stories we might see involving them in 2010?
Nrama: I think one of the things that Eternity tells Hank, after naming him Scientist Supreme and sending him back down to our world, he tells Hank that he's going to be a very important person for the future of the Avengers. He's not just one of the Avengers' founders, but he's a very important piece for the Avengers of the future. And Hank Pym is going to have a very important role to play in the "New Age of Heroes."