Age of Ultron, the long awaited event that Brian Michael Bendis had been planning since issue #12.1 of Avengers in 2011, has come and gone, but so is the excitement and happiness a of many readers who eagerly awaited the series felt when it was starting, myself included.
The question is this: did Marvel and Brian Michael Bendis deliver on all the pre-Age of Ultron hype?
If I’m not mistaken, we were told the story would follow specific characters as the “feet-on-the-ground” of the event, one of which was my personal favorite: Moon Knight. Now, when I hear that Moon Knight is possibly going to be a big part of something, I get excited. Unfortunately, things never exactly work out for Moon Knight in the way they’re hyped up to (case in point: Secret Avengers and Shadowland) and this was no different. The feet on the ground thing happened, but only for about the first four issues, before it just spiraled into a Hey-let’s-stop-this-big threat-and-go-back-in-time-to-do-it-and-watch-what-happens-when-we-step-on-all-these-butterflies sort of story. This isn’t necessarily isn’t a bad thing, but this series could have been so much better than that. The Marvel Universe was destroyed and people were fighting for survival. Captain America was broken, Iron Man became hysterical when he found out that The Vision was being used by Ultron to take over the world and Thor was dead. It could have been left up to the lesser-known heroes to step up to the plate and get their moments in the sun, but what we got was something far less substantial.
Those in charge of this book kept hardly any of the promises that they made, except for one. I’m sure no one imagined that this book would end the way that it did. I mean, no one could have predicted it. Just to clarify, I’m not talking about the big reveal of Neil Gaiman’s Angela coming to the Marvel Universe at the end of the book, which was announced on comic book news sites months ago (for example: here) and could have only appeared in a high-profile event, no, I’m talking about the book ending with no real ending. The way this issue ended seemed to imply that if we wanted to continue the story we would have to follow it into three separate titles (“Hunger #1,” “Avengers A.I. #1,” and “Guardians of the Galaxy #5”) and it feels as though we didn’t really need this ten-issue event to begin with because of it.
Hell, aside from not really needing this story, this series could have been over a lot sooner if Iron Man went back in time to talk to Henry Pym instead of Wolverine. There you go, the day is saved as well as a good sixteen bucks. Unfortunately, that’s not how things worked out; instead, Wolverine screwed everything up by killing Hank Pym. Only after seeing the repercussions of Pym’s death does Wolverine decided to go back in time to stop himself from killing Pym and do what he should have done to start with, talk sense into Pym. When he finally does, Pym comes up with a fail safe virus to stop Ultron before he can get to the point where he takes over the world. Wolverine goes outside, kills himself (the first Wolverine kills the second Wolverine because he’s seen too much due to killing Pym), and travels back to his present with Sue Richards. We’re then taken back to Bendis’ “Avengers #12.1,” where instead of Ultron taking off after defeating the Avengers, Ultron is taken down by Pym’s implanted virus, thus making the events that take place in the entirety of Age of Ultron null and void. Hawkeye rescuing Spider-Man? Never happened. Black Widow’s scarred face? Nope. Luke Cage and She-Hulk dying? What are you talking about? I’m sure you get the point by now. The only significant changes made to the Marvel Universe were that due to Wolverine’s actions, the space time continuum was shattered and Angela was pulled into the Marvel Universe.
In an interview with Newsrama (which you can find here) earlier this year, Bendis had this to say:
Newsrama: You mentioned House of M just now in discussing it — and like that story, I think people see the Age of Ultron preview pages, and they think, even though it spins out of current continuity, that with the Marvel Universe devastated and only a few survivors, that this doesn’t really ‘count,’ or will be overturned by the end of it.
Bendis: No. Nope. And everyone knew about this going into their Marvel NOW! books; this was in the plans before Marvel NOW! and even before AvX. People heard about it at the retreats, people were ready for it, people knew about it; some creators taking full advantage of it where they want. But at the same time, I didn’t want anyone to feel obligated. But a lot of people jumped on board. You’re going to see a very big fallout from this. I’m telling you, last page, you’re going to go, Alright, what do I buy next? Where is it? What do I do?
Really, Bendis? Because I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what happened, everything pretty much went back to normal with the exception of the final reveal of Angela. Age of Ultron: a glorified springboard to bring Angela to the Marvel Universe.
Joseph Torres, a mysterious character who aids the forces of law and order, is in reality, Lamont Cranston, wealthy young man-about-town. He is a Marvel News Reporter for Capeless Crusader and aspiring comic book writer. His favorite ‘Big 2′ comic book characters are Marvel’s Moon Knight and DC’s The Flash. If you want to reach him for something pertaining to reviews or comic news, or, heck, to argue who’d win in a fight between comic book characters you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org