The Latest News

[Comic Book Review] Marvel’s Age of Ultron by Brian Michael Bendis (2013)

Marvel Website

Plot Summary: For years the heroes of the Marvel Universe have lived in fear that the artificial intelligence known as Ultron would one day evolve to fulfill its desire to wipe out all organic life and take over the Earth -- that day has arrived.

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Pencils: Bryan Hitch, Brandon Peterson, Carlos Pacheco

Inkers: Paul Neary, Roger Martinez, Roger Bonet

Colorists: Paul Mounts, Jose Villarrubia, Richard Isanove

Letterer: Cory Petit

Review: by Anthony

The massive Age of Ultron Marvel Crossover event, hinted at in Avengers Vol 4 issue 12.1 (June 2011), has finally come; and Ultron has brought death and destruction with him. The ramifications of this event will change the Marvel Universe as we know it.

What I Liked:

The premise of this story, starting out with the heroes having lost the war, was a wonderfully dark beginning to this tale.  The large panel landscape art was really good, showing both a decimated major city and a technological robot city on top of the destruction at the same time.

The action and high levels of gritty violence shown in the series added to the already dark premise.  The Ultron drones were my favorite example of the amount of brutality shown in this series; on any page where they appear they were destroying something or someone.  It showed how Ultron dispatched them in great numbers and how they razed an entire city in moments, giving some insight as to how large cities such as NYC were destroyed in mere hours.

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 8.44.29 PM

When the Ultron drones were out on patrol and came across the few human survivors attempting to resist and revolt, they were quickly put down without any hesitation.

Not to be outdone, Hawkeye made short work of cannon fodder henchmen, shooting all kinds of arrows with pinpoint precision through throats, eye sockets, and foreheads while on his solo rescue mission to save Spider-man who looked to have been beaten and tortured within an inch of his life.

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 8.42.31 PM

What I Didn’t Like:

Unfortunately, the dark, gritty violence  and action was about all I liked about this series. Once the plot started to unfold, nothing made sense, and they used time travel to fix situations that were messed up because they used time travel in the first place.

Now I previously hailed the artwork for the large landscape panels, and the reason I specified that is because some of the art for the characters looked plain terrible.  For some reason Luke Cage looked like ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

However, Luke Cage wasn’t the only victim of poor artwork; at times She-Hulk, partly due to her close cropped hair, looked like a green tinted Haley Joel Osment.

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 8.45.42 PM

The lack of stable artwork could have been caused by numerous artists working on the series.  Different artists did the cover pages, pencils, and color work throughout the 10 issues.

One problem with the series was that it was 10 issues long.  When you strip down the plot and look at the problem and how they went about solving it, you realize that it really could have been done in about 4 or 5 issues.  In the 10 issues, there were more questions raised than answered.

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 8.44.09 PM

One of the main things I wondered was where the rest of the Marvel heroes were; Where was Thor? Where was the Hulk? Where was The Sentry? All that was said was that they died in the initial battle with Ultron. First of all how did they kill Thor, the Hulk, and The Sentry? Secondly, if Ultron was capable of killing them, what chance did the likes of non-powered heroes such as Hawkeye and Black Widow have?

Never have I seen so many smart people make such dumb decisions.  For example, Captain America sent Luke Cage and She-Hulk on a suicide intel-gathering mission in which Cage would pretend to offer up She-Hulk to Ultron in the middle of his Robot city stronghold with no plan of escape.

That bad decision did not stop more from being hatched, however. Nick Fury and Captain America, with the knowledge that Ultron had already defeated them once and killed a large population of the superhero community, decided to go into the FUTURE for an all out war with Ultron, based on the premise that “he wouldn’t expect it.”

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 8.43.53 PM

This brings me to another problem with this series, the time travel.  Time travel is such a comic book cliche, and any time it is brought up there always has to be a conversation comparing linear time travel, alternate universes, and paradox theories such as the Grandfather Paradox.  In issue #5, there was a brief flashback where they discussed time travel, the problems with changing things that could affect the future, and just how far one should go to change something.  You would think that after such a discussion there would be no way they would excessively use time travel to try to solve everything, right? Wrong.

They abuse time travel so much that the fabric of the Marvel Universe, and the space-time continuum in general is damaged to a point where multiple universes run into and overlap one another.

Another issue with this story was the priority shift in the plot after the first five issues.  It went from finding a way to retaliate against and defeat Ultron to finding a way to correct their time travel mistakes.

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 8.44.59 PM

My biggest and most frustrating problem with this whole story was that supposedly none of it happened; however, the ramifications from the time travel abuse happened.  The grand solution to defeating Ultron wasn’t to meet him in battle on some massive battlefield. It was to stop him before he ever got going by uploading a virus as soon as he was re-activated; thus, the entire “Age of Ultron” never happened.

While all this action, death, and destruction never happened, however, the space-time continuum was ripped a new one.  Then, at the end issue #10 there was a trivia game of “can you recognize all these people,” and it showed some Marvel universe crossover stuff, further setting up for future events.

The second half of Issue #10 could have been done in an “aftermath” issue instead of part of the main story, but it sets up for the next major Marvel crossover event of Infinity

There were a bunch of smaller issues and questions I had that were never addressed. For example, there was a lot of attention drawn The Black Widow’s eye, but it was never explained.

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 8.44.40 PM

Another question I was left wondering was how in the world Red Hulk knew to head to the Savage Land to meet up with the main group of heroes.

Finally, the biggest question I had was presented on the cover of Issue #9.

Looking back to older Wolverine comics and X-Men comics, depending on the writer, Wolverine’s healing abilities have varied between accelerated healing of minor wounds, healing severe wounds within hours or day, and regenerating nearly any damaged or destroyed bodily tissues within seconds. In older comics it has been suggested that Wolverine could be killed by either drowning him or by removing his head from his body and keeping the two separated for a period of time.  All of this leads to the question: How does stabbing him through the chest, as the cover page indicates, kill Wolverine?!

You can purchase Age of Ultron from Amazon here:

  • Chris F.

    damn only 1 star?? lol i agree with most of the sentiments here, but the time breaking stuff was handled well throughout the MU, at least for me. the first 4-5 and wolverine doing what needed to be done put it at least a 3 tho. lemme know if u need a contributor for more comic reviews

%d bloggers like this: