Here’s Sam Humphries, talking with our very own Albert Ching about Hank Pym’s role in Avengers AI:
Hank Pym is a fantastic character to write. It’s a little difficult for me to talk exactly about Hank, because a lot of it comes out of the end of Age of Ultron, and the Age of Ultron epilogue that Mark Waid is writing. Both of which I’ve read, and both of which are great. The Age of Ultron has got an incredible crescendo, and that leads right into what we’re doing.
Waid’s epilogue is great, because Waid loves Hank Pym so much. Waid really, really has this deep, genuine affection for Hank Pym the same way that he does Daredevil and Superman. Waid has this ability to tap deep into these classic characters in a way that nobody else does. Talking about the end of Age of Ultron, and the epilogue, and the beginning of Avengers A.I. with Bendis and Waid was fantastic for me. It was amazing. I wish both of those guys could re-define my characters before every book I do, because they’re razor-sharp at this.
All of which is a long way of saying that I can’t really say what my take on Hank is, other than I think this is a take that is firmly rooted in Hank’s history. It in no way ignores what came before, but I think it’s also a bit of Hank coming into his own.
How many times has Hank Pym come into his own?
I ask that seriously; the character seems to be one that just never works for fans, and undergoes constant revision. It’s always been the case, all the way back to his first appearances fifty years ago. He was Ant-Man, then Giant-Man, then Goliath. Back then, the character didn’t evolve, but his costumed identities did. Goliath, Yellowjacket…
Hank has no central personality traits that the creators who handle him can seem to agree on, and that’s plagued him throughout his existence – It’s also, I’d argue, why his hitting Jan has become the defining fact of his character despite numerous attempts to rehabilitate him; at least it’s something unique that people remember about him outside of “he messes with his size a lot and created Ultron.” But even since then: We’ve seen him suicidal and then come to terms with his position in life, then come to terms with it again and reclaim former identities to express that, and then again and again. Is he the (somewhat jerky, infallible) Scientist Supreme, still, or a (sensitive, emotionally aware) teacher at Avengers Academy?
I’ve said it elsewhere, but I suspect that the Hank Pym we’ll see post-Age of Ultron will himself be an artificial intelligence of some sort, giving him yet another reboot and attempt of definition. Either way, it’ll be interesting to see if the makeover he’ll get in Age of Ultron and Avengers AI is something that will actually stick, or whether we’ll see yet another redefinition of Hank Pym a couple of years down the line, as Marvel Studios prepares to release its Ant-Man movie.