Age of Ultron is writer Brian Michael Bendis’ swan song on the Avengers franchise. Ultron is the ultimate archenemy of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Beside their destruction all it wants is the eradication of mankind and the coming of a machine age. The story so far – Ultron has won. We all woke up one morning and everything was different – we were living, dying, or worse, in the Age of Ultron.
Captain America Is Not a Bitch
Captain America’s role in the first issue of this series was to break the spirits of not only the Avengers, but also the readers. Our hero, sobbing and sulking on the floor, is shorthand for ‘yeah, it’s that bad, folks.’
This image of Cap crying, sobbing, weeping, whining, whatever, has become a fixture in recent years. It always indicates that all is lost, there is no hope. It’s getting old. Captain America is not a bitch. Let Cap be Cap – a leader, a hero, a soldier – and the Avenger who never gives up. Does he have to punch Hitler in the jaw again to get the point across? The A doesn’t stand for France, folks, ya know?
If he has to cry, let him cry when it’s appropriate. Like when he thought Bucky was dead, when he thought the same of Sharon Carter, definitely at 9-11, or when he lost those photos of his childhood in the mansion siege by the Masters of Evil. In that last instance, it should noted, not a tear was shed until after the enemy was vanquished. He’s Captain America, damn it!
Of course in the second issue, his big play was to stand up and say he has a plan. The Avengers should attempt to sell one of their own to Ultron. Oh Cap, that’s a bad plan. I take back what I just said about you. You should go, on your own, or better yet, bring the Avengers, and take down that mad robot, once and for all. That’s what my Cap would do.
Bendis has said it’s not a plot point how Ultron has won, just that he has. Fine, I’m good with that, but what about when did it happen? Spider-Man makes it seem like it was overnight, but apparently it was a few weeks to a few days ago. How long was Cap despondent?
Enough time has gone by for Thor, the Hulk, and the Thing to have been killed. Enough time has gone by that an apparent black market for Avengers has developed, and through that, some sort of word of mouth grapevine has been established. Enough time for She-Hulk to go for a more severe hairstyle (looks like someone has an electric razor in this no-tech world). So how long is that? Longer than Spidey’s overnight.
Also enough time has gone by for Wolverine to have lost a leg in battle. Ultron has weapons to cut adamantium. Okay. That’s a scary thought, but my mind also wanders to the idea that Wolverine has grown back a leg. So does that mean he has one leg that has bones without adamantium plating? Where is the original leg?
Okay, I have fought this battle and argued this plot point before in my reviews here at Biff Bam Pop! of both Age of Ultron Book One and Book Two, but this Spider-Man – he’s Peter Parker, not Otto Octavius. Doc Ock just doesn’t know about Luke Cage’s wife and child. Period.
We know what happened. This story was planned and written either before, or without knowledge of, the current status quo of Spider-Man. Bendis should simply stop denying it and saying in interviews that that is Peter.
Of course, if there is an in-story explanation for this obvious Parker personality in Otto’s speech patterns and memories, I’ll gladly withdraw my objections. Honestly I hope Bendis pulls it off. I’ll have to wait and see along with the rest of you.
“And can I just say screw Hank Pym for inventing Ultron in the first place?” Wow. Yeah, that’s Hawkeye saying those words. Or more accurately that’s writer Brian Michael Bendis speaking through Hawkeye. Because any old school classic Avengers fan can tell you that’s not Hawkeye talking.
Clint is Hank’s friend, or was at least. After Captain America left the Avengers the first time, the two of them ran the team together. Clint followed in Hank’s footsteps as Goliath. Clint pulled Hank back from the brink of suicide in West Coast Avengers.
Their friendship is what made the Chuck Austen penned affair between Clint and Jan so outrageous and monstrous. Why would he betray his friend like that? I doubt this is Hawkeye here in Age of Ultron just as much as I doubt this Spider-Man is Doc Ock.
As long as we are talking characterization, there are places where Bendis gets it right. Peter Parker (don’t get me started again), Luke Cage, and Iron Man are all spot on. She-Hulk gets some good lines in as well. I liked her pronouncement of power, but shouldn’t Valkyrie have been considered as well for the mission? She is a goddess, right?
Our spotlight this issue is on the characters opposing Ultron in Chicago – the Black Panther, the Red Hulk, and the Taskmaster. No, I don’t know why T’Challa is in Chicago either. It appears they are after the head of one of Ultron’s Sentries.
I both see and like the logic. With one of their heads, maybe the Panther can figure a way to fight back. Many writers forget what a brilliant technical as well as tactical genius he is. What the Taskmaster is going to do with the head, I have no idea.
I’m sorry, much like Magneto, Emma Frost, and, ahem, Ares, I have much difficulty seeing the Taskmaster as anything but a villain. I did like him calling the Red Hulk ‘Dave’ however. Nice one, Bendis, you made me chuckle.
Logic in the Machine Age
***Spoiler Warning*** Stop here if you haven’t read Age of Ultron Book Three yet, there be spoilers ahead…
When Luke Cage gets to the center of Ultron’s headquarters to confront the monster that has ravaged his world, he’s in for a shocker. It’s not Ultron, it’s the Vision.
It does actually make a bit of sense. The Vision is Ultron’s ‘son,’ and therefore the next step up in evolution. Why wouldn’t Ultron upload himself into the Vision’s body? And what about the android avenger’s mind? It’s a valuable commodity, not only loaded with intimate info on the Avengers, but it’s also already conquered the planet once before, remember?
Then there’s the emotional aspect brought up by Stark. Perhaps it’s not Ultron pretending to have emotions and rationalizing, but maybe it’s the Vision’s emotions influencing Ultron. Of course, that really could be the Vision too.
And as long as we were talking about Ultron, and evolution and emotion, shouldn’t there have been a shout out to Ultron Mark 12? I guess if Clint can’t remember that he’s Hank’s friend, he certainly can’t remember the Steve Englehart West Coast Avengers either. Still I can’t wait for that next issue.
Also on shelves this week are Young Avengers #3 and Uncanny Avengers #5. Young Avengers by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie continues to entertain in a way not many comics out there these days do, and it also continues to prove to me that Allan Heinberg isn’t the only person who can write these characters well. Our teenage heroes’ parents keep coming out of the woodwork, inexplicably in most cases, to read their kids the riot act. Over and above the regular team, I am just loving the new Miss America and that mischievous Lil’ Loki.
Over in Uncanny Avengers #5, writer Rick Remender and artist Olivier Coipel continue to deliver what I consider the most Avenger-y of the Avengers franchise, even though half of its roster is filled with X-Men. Just to prove that point, this issue, a special new order announcement issue, features not one, but two classic Avengers foes. Woo hoo! At least there’s some happiness in the Avengers-verse.
I’ll see you next week, same Avengers time, same Avengers channel. In the mean time, watch out for those evil undead brothers, they always show up when you least expect them…