The worst has happened. The Avengers’ greatest enemy, Ultron, has won. The Earth is conquered, the human race decimated and enslaved, and the Avengers on the run. In a last ditch effort to stop the evil artificial intelligence, our heroes turned to time travel for salvation.
Wolverine and the Invisible Woman traveled back in time and thoughtlessly murdered Avenger Hank Pym before he created Ultron, but this only made things worse when they returned to the present. How can our heroes reset time and save us all? Can they? Find out in my review of Age of Ultron Book Nine after the jump.
One of my major complaints about writer Brian Michael Bendis on his decade long Avengers reign has been his use of space on the comics page. He wastes it, in my opinion. In a day when comic books regular run between twenty and twenty-four pages, wasting space is a big no-no, yet Bendis frequently makes use of full page and double page panels. It used to be a stunt only used for pin-up type images or very important shock endings or something that has to be shown as big. However, for BMB, it’s a card he plays far too often.
Pages one, two, three and four of Age of Ultron Book Nine are all perfect examples of this. We wasted at least two pages in the last issue seeing the big helicarrier explosion over New York, so we know it’s bad already. That’s not even mentioning the fact that a helicarrier crashes in every Bendis event, so much so it’s almost a joke. Then we have a double page of the aftermath wreckage, then a page and a half of Wolverine taking out a Doombot, something that should have taken him a panel, if that.
Once all that crap is done, our story this issue actually starts, on page eight. The world that Wolverine created by killing Hank Pym is under constant attack by Morgana Le Fey, and this last assault took out the Defenders and mortally wounded King Tony Stark. Stark, who knows what Logan has done, warns him not to go back in time again to try to fix his mistake. Guess what Wolverine does, off panel, mind you.
Scene change to when Wolverine shows up to kill Hank Pym, and lo and behold, another Wolverine shows up. This new Wolverine, wearing the same togs he wore when we first saw him way back in Incredible Hulk #180 (Bendis’ sense of irony, I suppose), is talking sense, and tries to talk his younger (by a few weeks at least, my guess) self into not killing Pym. Got a headache yet? Yeah, time travel does that.
What is nice, but out of character for a stubborn dumbass like Logan, is that he is talking sense. This Wolverine at least, has learned from what Stark told him, possibly the hard way, but still learned. After much discussion between the Wolverines, Sue Richards, and Hank Pym, a plan is concocted, more on this later. But Hank lives this time.
Once Logan 1, Logan 2, and Sue return to the present, the weirdness gets weirder. How can there be two Wolverines? It’s like the extra DeLorean in the old west cave, paradox, baby, and it shouldn’t exist, but it does. Logan 2’s solution is very Back-to-the-Future-old-west-DeLorean. He’s seen too much, he wants Logan 1 to kill him. Yeah, right. And Logan 1 does it, off panel of course, but it is our cover this issue – does that count?
Earlier in the issue however, in the wasted space pages, Wolverine’s leg is burned away, leaving only his adamantium skeleton. It takes five days to grow back. Five days. Doesn’t his healing factor work faster than that? I won’t even go into what was holding the bones together, but really, five days? Given that we saw this earlier, the question really is – how does one kill Wolverine?
We have seen him die in the original “Days of Future Past,” when a Sentinel burns away all his flesh, sorta like his leg earlier actually. Now I’m thinking, in that alternate future, wouldn’t his flesh eventually grow back? Give him a month maybe. Again, how do you kill Wolverine? Age doesn’t do it, flaying and burning don’t do it. Curiously, we are shown that Logan 1 kills Logan 2 with his claws. How does that work? My money is on Logan 2 still being alive. He can shake off a claw wound in his sleep.
The plan that Sue, Hank, and the Wolverines come up with is insane. It should be noted that Sue does suggest getting her husband Reed’s help, but much like stopping Logan from killing Pym the first time, it’s just a hollow threat. Bendis’ Sue is a wuss. So, Pym builds Ultron, because apparently he can’t not, but puts a failsafe in it to shut it down when it gets to the point where it takes over like it did just before Age of Ultron started. And then, Pym has to make himself forget he did it, so that the time stream remains intact. Absorb that for a moment.
Worth mentioning is that Ultron is created by Pym’s Goliath identity, just before he becomes Yellowjacket, an unstable new personality who insisted he had killed Goliath. There has been speculation for years that Yellowjacket emerged for a number of reasons – untested chemical gases, mental duress, even Ultron tampering with his mind as he did so many times in later years. But what if Hank Pym did it to himself, to insure he forgot what he had done in the creation of Ultron? I don’t think it will happen, but wouldn’t it be nice if Bendis connected those continuity dots?
Book Ten is the final issue. It will be extra-sized and feature not only the story’s conclusion, and hopefully finally a battle against Ultron, but also the long awaited appearance of Neil Gaiman’s former Image Comics character, Angela, in her Marvel debut. Also art by Joe Quesada, I just hope Mephisto won’t be involved! See you next time!
What Has Gone Before