Some relationships just don't work out.
That's the case with super hero inventor Hank Pym and his robotic creation Ultron. The two just don't get along, partially because Ultron decided that destroying humanity would be better than joining or serving it.
Meanwhile, other relationships get better with time. Writer Rick Remender and artist Jerome Opena will continue their long collaboration in April 2015 with the release of the AVENGERS: RAGE OF ULTRON original graphic novel. The story by the UNCANNY X-FORCE creative team kicks off with a never-before-seen tale from Ultron’s earlier days before flashing to modern times as a new Avengers squad must deal with the villain’s takeover of Saturn's moon, Titan.
Remender explains that this graphic novel exists partially to redefine the Hank Pym-Ultron relationship for new readers:
“This continuity goes back so far at this point that we’re expecting people to understand things that we as fanatical industry folk have known because we read comics for 20 or 30 years,” he says. “That context and the heart of that relationship between Hank and his son Ultron has not been reformed and shone a light upon in quite some time. So the opening of the story takes place in the past, during the [Roger] Stern/[John] Byrne era of AVENGERS in a snippet where they deal with an Ultron and the choices that Hank has to make are unique to the history of Ultron while damning them in the future. So what we see is an untold story of Ultron that basically redefines who he is and his relationship with Hank and the father/son dynamic as well [as] the grand question: Is artificial intelligence life?”
Like many fathers, Hank feels responsible for the actions of his child, even if that progeny happens to be a murderous robot with a seemingly never ending desire to destroy.
“For Hank because his son is in fact artificial intelligence who is quite, quite crazy,” Remender explains. “So we open up the story with those Avengers and how they deal with that version of Ultron in the past then comes around to haunt the Avengers of today. The [present team] will be a cast comprised of many of the new Avengers we recently revealed as well as a number who will be coming out of AXIS. It’s a very unique and cool looking team who are suddenly forced to deal with the sins of their proverbial parents, the Avengers of the past, as well as Hank being brought back to face something that happened with an Ultron who has taken over Titan, the home of Thanos, and has a devious plan to come and not only pay back his father, but to completely soil his legacy forever.”
Remender continues to explain that Ultron landed on Titan by pure luck of the draw, but it just so happens to be bad luck for the moon of Saturn.
“How it comes together is happenstance that’s quite unfortunate for Titan but quite fortunate for Ultron in that inside Titan there is a techno-city—and that’s not a band, techno-city,” the writer jokes. “So this planet is a giant computer, basically, which is a very bad thing to be when Ultron comes a calling.”
Longtime Avengers fans will remember that Titan serves not only as the home of Thanos, but also a former member of the team: Starfox.
“We will be putting a spotlight on Starfox who Jerome and I have literally been talking about for 10 years, going back to our days of building up indie books together when we would say, ‘Let’s just go pitch Starfox!,’” Remender says. “And actually, during the course of building this up on a call with Jerome, an idea was struck and some interesting aspects were struck building off of Titan that gave Starfox a really terrific role and puts him back into position to be a major player and do a lot of cool stuff. So there [were] a number of reasons for choosing Titan as well as wanting some connective tissue to Thanos and what that might lead to in the future."
Remender adds that the impact of this original graphic novel will be huge as it offers a new history and look at the villain who will make his presence known to the world at large on the big screen when “Avengers: Age of Ultron” debuts on May 1, 2015.
“This is as important a story as I’ve written for Marvel in terms of continuity in what it’s putting together and what it’s changing and what it’s building into in the future,” he says. “This is a done-in-one that you can read and enjoy and be done with, but this is, much how ‘The Killing Joke’ gave us a Barbara Gordon status-quo change and put her into a new position, this book does that for a number of characters. Coming out of this book, there will be long lasting ramifications and this book will also, while self-contained—it was very important that it be a great self-contained story—but the consequences of it have long, reaching effects for not only Ultron, but Titan and Thanos and all the other wonderful pieces that are involved."
While the relationship between Hank and Ultron might be strained to say the least, Remender says the between himself and Opena remains rock solid.
“We’re great buddies and he’s a great guy and somehow completely surprises me on every project we do together as he somehow gets better and better and surpasses every single page indescribably, inexplicably, page after page becomes better and better to the point where he’s the infinite artist,” he remarks. “He’s the infinite man. He’s going to eventually become so good that the pages will induce psychosis to anyone that view them and bring peace and harmony to mankind.
“There’s something pretty wonderful about being able to just drop a big chunk of pages from Jerome and I on the world at a point in time to support such a huge film like ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron,’ to not only tell a big Ultron story but to move continuity forward in a way that changes the status quo of Ultron and the Avengers entirely. And to do it in a way that people don’t have to wait five months. This is something that can queue people up for the movie. It’ll define Ultron. It’ll define Hank. It’ll define the old Avengers and the new Avengers.
“It’s good, it’s fun. And beyond that, I think, as a reading experience for people who are new readers to comic books and people that are interested in the film and don’t know where to start, this is something you can literally grab, get a whole story, [and] it’s Jerome and I at the top of our game dropping beats and science and it paints all of that picture that I described and then is a nice lead-in to the Marvel Universe, what’s coming up.”
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