January 31's Avengers Inc #5 brings the series to a close, tying up the title's loose ends and setting up what may be the next chapter in the story of Janet Van Dyne and her allies. And along the way, the issue also manages to bring a new status quo to two members of Janet's extended family that puts them more in line with their MCU portrayals.
Spoilers ahead for Avengers Inc #5
Avengers Inc. #5 by writer Al Ewing, artist Leonard Kirk, colorist Alex Sinclair, and letterer Cory Petit picks up right where the previous issue left off, with the apparent reveal of the return of Ultron in the form of Victor Shade. And while that is in fact the case, it doesn't work out quite how one would expect.
As it turns out, Ultron has been hiding his code in all the low-level supervillains who have been brought under Hank Pym's control, including Victor Shade - but Shade is fully aware, and actually knocked Hank unconscious in the previous issue not to harm him, but to purge the Ultron code from his mind, where it has been hiding since Hank and Ultron managed to re-separate each other in the future.
If that sounds complicated, it kind of is. See, years ago, Hank Pym's physical form was bonded with that of Ultron, relegating them both primarily to the background of the Marvel Universe in the time since, though Pym-Ultron has appeared here and there.
But back in Al Ewing and Tom Reilly's 2022 Ant-Man limited series, a version of Pym from his early career joined forces with Scott Lang and Eric O'Grady to free Pym from Ultron in the future. They succeeded, and as a result, both the older Pym and the Ultron AI were sent back in time to the present day Marvel Universe - hence why Pym looks so much older in Avengers Inc.
Back in the present day story of Avengers Inc #5, Ultron's code is hiding in Pym's biological neural network, and is using the Lethal Legion to restore himself to his own physical form. However, Victor Shade reveals that he's actually the heroic version of Ultron, Ultron MK. 12, who actually battled the other Ultrons alongside the West Coast Avengers years ago. This allows Pym to redirect the evil Ultron's control of his reforming system to Mark 12 (as the good Ultron calls himself), ending the Ultron threat.
Pym, now much older but still the same Hank Pym who helped found the original Avengers, departs with his Lethal Legion, promising to hunt Ultron down wherever he hides. But before he goes, he shares a tender moment with his daughter Nadia Van Dyne, in which he tells her that her mother Maria Pym named her 'Hope' before she was taken by Russian operatives and raised to be their secret agent. Interestingly enough, the name Nadia also means "hope" in some Slavic languages, so the connection has always been there - but now it's a little more obvious in English.
This leaves both Nadia Van Dyne, who we now know is also named Hope, and Hank Pym looking a lot closer to their MCU counterparts, where Hope Van Dyne is the second Wasp and Hank Pym is much older.
But that's not all that seems to be set up in the finale of Avengers Inc. At the very end, Janet Van Dyne stands assembled with Victor Shade, Moon Knight, Cassie Lang, Scott Lang, Nadia Van Dyne, Luke Cage, Vision, and Jane Foster.
"I do seem to have assembled me some Avengers, so watch this space," says Janet. "Maybe next time I'll even wear a costume."
So are we about to see the official formation of a new Avengers team, maybe even a new incarnation of the Los Angeles based West Coast Avengers? Moon Knight does namecheck the team in the story, and that would leave some room for the main Avengers to stay in place as the Marvel Universe's premiere superhero team.
Nothing has been announced just yet, but we wouldn't rule out some kind of return for Janet and her new team down the line, so as the Wasp herself said, "Watch this space."
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