The fact that comic book characters don’t stay dead (unless their name is Uncle Ben) is a well-established fact. But the last time we saw Hank Pym in a Marvel comic... something strange happened to him. We had no idea how it was going to fit into the then-upcoming reboot, but Uncanny Avengers has finally offered a clue.
Spoilers ahead for Uncanny Avengers #4, by Gerry Duggan, Ryan Stegman, Richard Isanove, and Clayton Cowles.
So yes, a catch-up—the last time we saw Hank Pym was in Avengers: Rage of Ultron by Rick Remender and Jerome Opena, a graphic novel released with a nebulous place in Marvel’s continuity and a title juuuuust close enough to “Age of Ultron” that Marvel probably hoped that people looking forward to the then-imminent Avengers movie sequel would pick it up thinking they were related. The book was all about the relationship between Hank Pym and his creation, Ultron, and their strange bond as both father and son (as well as mortal enemies).
Hank’s latest attempt to stop Ultron once and for all lead to... well, Hank and Ultron merging into one being. It gave Ultron a nose, Hank’s Giant-Man antennae, and a heart that let him basically be defeated by the power of love. Yeah, it was weird.
But Rage of Ultron ends with the defeated Pymtron floating around in space, a hybrid of human and robot, of father and son. Rage of Ultron’s strange place in Marvel continuity ahead of Secret Wars and the “All-New, All-Different” reboot meant fans had no idea if this bizarre fate for two of Marvel’s oldest characters actually mattered or not. Turns out, it did.
The final pages of Uncanny Avengers #4 ends with the team triumphant over their latest foe, and team leader Steve Rogers telling them to rest up, because they never know what they could be up against next. The page cuts to space, to see a strange and yet slightly familiar exo-suit coming to the aid of spaceship under attack:
(Nice Rom the Spaceknight reference there, but an odd one considering Rom is about to get his own comic series at IDW.)
The exosuit then starts melting away from the mysterious figure... only to reveal the face of Hank Pym, seemingly healthy and seemingly separate from his “friend” (and now super-suit) Ultron.
So what’s the deal here? Hank and Ultron’s fusion seemed a lot closer when we last saw it. There was a literal heart hooked up to wiring and everything. Now it seems like not only is Hank hunky-dory, but he can “wear” Ultron like it’s an exosuit. Is it all a deception? Is Hank really in control of his wayward A.I. child now, flying around the cosmos like a superhero?
He’s on his way back to Earth, so it seems like it won’t be long before we know more—and it looks like the Uncanny Avengers may have a new threat to face already.