Last time I said I was hoping for a good next month, but then I realized that the next book was a Bendis book. I’ve made fun of Bendis before, saying he can’t write Hank Pym and that Dark Avengers was pretty bad. I think it should be obvious I don’t hate him, hating someone because they wrote a book I don’t like is irrational. This was a heavy handed way to start a review, but I think that needed to made clear.
Age of Ultron was a ten issue (technically eleven, but I’ll get to that later) maxi-series from 2013, about how in the future, Ultron has taken over the Earth. That’s a pretty solid premise, a “What If?” style look into the future of the Marvel Universe and a message on A.I and technology. However, this book tries hard to establish itself as the canon future of Marvel and tries way too hard to set up future events instead of focusing on the actual plot.
The first five issues are really good, setting up the future world and following great characters like Black Widow, Moon Knight, and Peter Parker (Hawkeye is here, too.) These first five issues throw amazing plot twist after plot twist, such as Captain America being broken down, Vision working for Ultron, and the big reveal that Ultron is attacking from the future.
However, issue six destroys everything that the series was working towards, throwing aside the future fight against Ultron for a plot where Wolverine and Sue Storm go back in time to kill Hank Pym to prevent Ultron’s creation. The people fighting Ultron are all killed by a bunch of Ultron head drones, mostly off panel. So Wolverine, being an idiot, murders Hank while Sue Storm stands by and watches, They try to make her seem conflicted, but she does nothing to try and stop Wolverine. Wolverine himself goes for the kill in one page, not even trying to explain to Hank why he’s doing this or maybe a possible alternative solution,
After this they go to Back to the Future, but of course the future is drastically different. Instead of Avengers there are Defenders, including Hulk, Star Lord, The Thing, Captain America, Doctor Strange, Cyclops, Captain Marvel, and Wolverine. They waste about two issues in this new timeline until two carriers crash into each other, killing everyone except Wolverine and this new world’s Iron Man. They say “Five Days Later” so I have to assume he was lying there, sliced in half for five days without either bleeding out, calling for help, or flying away. Tony tells Wolverine that time is an organism, then dies. (Wolverine stood still for about five days to let his leg heal, so Tony could have told him this at any time)
So he goes back in time again but is stopped by another version of himself. The two convince Hank to put in a virus override on Ultron and then the old Wolverine kills the new Wolverine somehow, the fight is off panel even though them fighting is the cover for the issue. So we finally get to see the Avengers fight Ultron in the present, before he is finally stopped by Hank’s new virus. Yep, that’s your lot. Nine issues of build up for a solution any one with a functioning brain, let alone a brilliant scientist, could come up with. We then get a montage of scenes of the timeline now broken, with the Illuminati talking about it, Miles Morales seeing Galactus, and Angela from Spawn showing up. All of this is for future stories, and has no bearing on the actual “Plot” of Age of Ultron.
Now for the technical, eleventh issue, Age of Ultron #10AI. It’s actually a really good issue, where we peer into the mind of Hank Pym. We see his origin and where he is going from here, as Giant Man again. It’s a build up to some series called Avengers AI so I’d recommend this issue alone.
Final Thoughts: I struggle to think of what rating to give this. I want to be nicer to it because of the beginning issues, but all of that potential is wasted on one of the worst couple of issues I have ever read. Even the beginning part isn’t perfect, with spotty logic such as, why are heroes like Luke Cage, Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Moon Knight alive when people like Hulk, Thor, and even the freaking Sentry aren’t? Also, the actual Ultron character, not just his drones, only appears in nine panels.