Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Age of Ultron #9-10 Review

Previously in "Age of Ultron": Wolverine and Sue Storm traveled back in time and rather than hold a conversation about morality or try to talk him out of it sympathetically, they murdered him in cold blood. The result was a timeline ruled by random villain Morgana Le Fey in which Tony Stark has grey skin, Colonel America exists, and there's no sign of Ultron so the story loses all semblance of having a point. And now, the end of this miniseries!
Well first I'd like to thank God this freaking miniseries is ending because I'm just about sick of not-Tony Stark, not-Captain America, and certainly not our regular Wolverine and Sue Storm taking over the story instead of, you know, ULTRON. We've strayed so far from the point that I sometimes forget that this series is even titled "Age of Ultron."

For that matter, what "age" were we even entered into? According to the dialogue early on, Ultron was only back for about a week before Nick Fury took his team and Wolverine went AWOL. He hadn't even conquered all of the United States as we saw in that random scene of Texas or whatever back in Issue 3. This series should be titled "Week of Ultron" not about his age. Heck, even Morgana Le Fey has had a bigger stay than Ultron has time wise and this isn't even her story. Not like it matters, since she's actually had just about as much dialogue as he has (for now)!

So, we're now at the beginning of the end. 

Issue 9 starts with the Helicarriers crashing down on New York City and causing a massive explosion, the only survivors being Wolverine and Iron Man, apparently Sue Storm didn't make it even though she was getting clear of the blast last issue. Normally I would find issue with all of the characters suddenly dying but this timeline is about to be moot so I really don't care. Besides, these weren't the ones I was particularly attached to. 

Before Wolverine can make a very sudden scene change, Tony Stark tries to stop him. 

Basically, Tony is once again the only character that is making much sense again, despite the fact that he's about to die. Interesting that a man on the brink of death can have a good idea, unlike all those OTHER people who were on the brink of death. Guess our Tony just couldn't think of something on time, eh writers? 

Also, Tony's words can basically be summed up as something like this: 

He also mentions that they aren't alone in the universe...which is a ridiculously stupid statement because obviously they aren't alone, since two huge alien empires waged war right above Earth several times. I get that he means the multiverse, but, why not say that they aren't alone in the multiverse or the space-time continuum? Saying just "the universe" doesn't imply much in comic books anymore. The universe is sort of just a neighborhood at this point. 

We get a needless page of Wolverine about to kill Hank Pym before seeing what Sue Storm was up to, only to be attacked by a shadowy figure. Then, we see who the shadowy figure is/ was...Wolverine, in his yellow suit! He tells the Wolverine who arrived to kill Pym to stand down, saying it won't work and the result is stupid. 

Our Wolverine manages to convince the killer Wolverine that he is really him, after killer Wolverine wonders what the heck he's wearing (continuity and memory is for chumps, I guess) and the three sit down to figure out just how the heck Pym can do this. 

Basically it can be summed as: "Let's kill him." "No." "How can I become such a monster?" "Let's kill him." "No." "Did I really do all this?" 

Then Sue Storm shows up because we needed to waste a full page on her. I'll take it over the dumb exchanges between these three, though. 

She, back to her senses unlike a few issues ago, says that she heard everything and contacted the Reed Richards of this time to help creating the virus Age of Morgana Tony Stark within Ultron so Pym can know when to pull the trigger on shutting him down. This opens up a major question but I'll get to it in a minute, just be grateful the characters are wisening up. 

Outside, the two Wolverines have a brief chat before there's a confusing bit in which the Wolverine intent on killing Pym seemingly kills our main Wolverine. 

Wolverine murders Wolverine

I suppose this was wise since the Wolverine in yellow is aware of an alternate timeline and may screw time up even further, but, the dialogue implies that the killer Wolverine is one that is meant to get it. Though, I suppose the major question is how can Wolverine kill Wolverine? Wolverine's regenerative abilities far surpass that of just being stabbed repeatedly. Is there a clause that adamantium has to do him in? 

Whatever, I guess this timeline is practically done in anyway and there's another glaring plot-hole to look into: how would Pym know the correct moment that Ultron should take over the world for his major takeover? How many countless Ultron stories have come around where Ultron was intent on destroying everything and everyone prior to this story? Did they tell him that this was the right moment, did the technology not exist to be able to pull this off until that year that Ultron attacked? If they told him, why weren't we shown that? It'd be a good moment to see Wolverine and Sue Storm adamantly tell Pym when this happens and give some emotion to their dialogue rather than most of it being pretty flat in this issue, and we could see how it pushes Pym to really try and get this done. 

This issue does come to an end as Ultron, in his base form, is activated before Pym's eyes. A savior is born...and by savior, I mean killer robot :-)

Issue 10, the final issue, kicks off with Pym finding a tablet, delivered by Sue Storm (wait, are there two Sue Storms in this timeline, how does she know to give him the tablet)? apparently that tells Pym that this is the day to, well...

Thanks, Varrick.

So, I suppose they did tell Pym last issue--though I still would liked to have seen it go down--but the dialogue implies a pretty broad mission: "Hank, the Avengers are attacking a hideout. You won't be there. The Avengers don't make it time because plot convenience."

Sounds pretty generic to me. Also, he's telling Pym like this has already happened...when it's happening simultaneous to the video. We're even graciously shown the team attacking Intelligencia, again, although this time Moon Knight is given more prominence so I'm really not that mad that we're just rehashing what we've seen. Just feels something like a waste of time and not showing more of Pym's reactions and how he is going to stop it. That's what voiceovers are for! 

Pym gets into contact with Tony just as Ultron reawakens and prepares to leave--where I once again, think the Avengers could have taken him down since he said that he wasn't ready for a fight with them--but is halted, and Ultron begins to freak out a little. 

Thank God, finally some Ultron dialogue. 

Though, another plot hole: they have to stall Ultron from uploading an internal file by fighting his external body...see the logic? Maybe if Stark were to cast some sort of computer mumbo-jumbo, sure. But all that happens is Ms. Marvel, Thor, and an agent of S.W.O.R.D. whose name I don't care to remember, attack him while Ultron realizes that Pym is the one behind this. 

I'm always an advocate of Ultron stories dealing with family so it's rather exciting to see him suddenly feel such scorn toward his father...though there is very little empathy (there normally is quite a bit) coming from Pym as Ultron insults his father. Also: Wolverine is at the battle, so, points off for me remarking he wasn't before. 

They continue to hold him off until Pym finally gets the better of Ultron and he shuts down. And, what is their first instinct? For Thor to blast him with lightning just as he shorts out. Electricity. Sure, he dies, but, I think Ms. Marvel using energy blasts would have been a smarter move than Thor possibly jumpstarting his systems. It'd put a real damper on the day. 

So the day is saved until Sue and Wolverine reappear. Oh, so, the Sue Storm from the past wasn't the one that gave Pym the tablet? Then how did she know...?

Gah, it's about to get a heck of a lot more confusing. 

As the two touch down, there is a sudden shattering going on that is actually very well done. The artwork makes everything feel like the images are shaky and broken, showcasing a wide variety of worlds and making the collisions seem uncomfortable. There's a wildly disjointed feeling going on over the next few pages and it does leave quite an impact on the reader--more of an impact than anything else has this miniseries anyway.

It all culminates in a really great two-page spread of, essentially, the Marvel multiverse shattering. It's the best display of artwork in the entire miniseries and is really, really cool. 

Naturally, Tony Stark asks the obvious question: "Okay...what the hell was that?" 

Stark, Beast, and Pym (for some reason not Reed Richards included here) discuss what did just happen, correctly assuming it was a great shakeup in the multiverse as a result of so much time-travelling over the issues. Though again they say they're not alone in the universe, to which I say is redundant since you literally just mentioned the multiverse. 

As the three ponder what it means for the other universes, we get a nifty, and kinda scary, look into the world of Spider-Man Miles Morales. 

So yeah, that sucks. 

Pym and Stark talk some more but it's not important, because we have a new character to introduce! She's really nice. 

Angela, from Heven! Thus, our comic ends with Angela appearing in the Earth-616 universe, proclaiming to bring death and destruction, when what she's really going to do from then until now is join the Guardians of the Galaxy and star alongside Thor and Loki in a boring "Original Sin" spinoff. 

There you have it, folks. "Age of Ultron" is a wrap. How's it end?

Much worse than it started. 

The last issue isn't quite that bad, since there is some intensity as Pym talks to Stark and it seems like Ultron may have the upper hand in the battle, but, that's the thing. It's only that one scene that Ultron directly makes tense. The main robot isn't in any other scene in the comic. He has servants, like Vision (which was a neat twist) but we never get to see the main man himself, and look at the intimidating presence he has when he is on the pages in front of our heroes. He's not all that intimidating when he's letting others do his dirty work for him. 

This miniseries would have been truly epic if Ultron had been on the front-lines, directly going against our heroes as they struggle against his invading army. You could still have Vision go with Ultron and even have the heroes go into the past to help Pym develop an out to Ultron, but more toward the end of the story in an act of desperation. 

What we got instead was a mess from the very start. The artwork fluctuated from pretty good to "meh" at times, the writing plummeted once we reached the Savage Land in Issue 4, the characters were never really that compelling at all except for two or three for an issue at most, and the story took a complete nose dive which it couldn't come back from at all. 

No Marvel event since "Age of Ultron" has been particularly compelling, and I'm left to wonder if this story even has relevance to the upcoming destruction of Earth-616 that "Secret Wars 2015" will have. There may be neat tie-ins such as all the time travel abused here as far as the Incurions go, but other than that, this story is simply a trend in bad event comics. 

Let's all hope the movie with a similar title isn't as big a let down. 

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @seanovan13 to stay up to date on when I post! Thanks for reading! 

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