It’s been a long time coming… Since Free Comic Book Day last year, in fact! We’ve been covering the main title and the tie-ins for Age of Ultron throughout many of our Bullet Reviews (Don’t believe me? Go take a look!) So after such a long time in waiting for the series to start, we are now at its end. I have tried of late to focus more on the creators and what they bring to the issue rather than focus on anything too spoilery, but I simply cannot with this issue. So let’s put it out there quite clearly… Spoilers – they be ahead, yar! Now that I’ve gotten off of the pirate ship…
First off, to put it bluntly… I was disappointed. This story has been longer than a year in the making and it literally did nothing. There are many of us who have read comics for a long time and we hard and we harp upon continuity. In this week’s issue of Fantastic Four, Marvel editor Tom Brevoort made a valid point on the letters page as to when they decide to change something that was in continuity:
[quote]While it’s always our intention to respect the continuity and the past, especially with so many stories told over such a long period of time, there are going to be instances where what worked in 1985, or 1975, or 1965, doesn’t work as well in 2013… [W]e made a conscious decision to modify and update [how Reed met Sue] somewhat, keeping the same essence…[/quote]
OK, so a conscious decision to change something so it’s no longer creepy and plays to something for today… I can get behind that. But here…
It seems that when Logan and Sue returned to the future, they did not return to the time period in which they went back in time. No, they went to an earlier period, before Ultron even attacked. How do we know this for a fact?
- Carol Danvers is in her Warbird uniform
- The Beast has not yet mutated – again
- Iron Man is not in his “I’m going to space” armor
Ok, so they went back further in time. So what? Well, to put it one way, this means that the time period in which they went back has yet to happen. So there are 2 Logans and 2 Sue Storms living in this time period! (Either that or the entire AoU takes place in the past, which then how do you explain how the AU tie-in for Superior Spider-Man was Spider-Ock?) Yeah, I’m a Doctor Who fan so I am used to some messed up time travel stories but I really don’t think they thought this one through. Maybe the 2 versions merged into a single body as a result of how it all still managed to go drastically wrong – more on that in a minute…
But how did they stop Ultron? Well, the backdoor system that Logan told Pym to install from the getgo. But how did Pym know to activate something? Why, he sent himself a video message on a tablet that Sue delivered! Seriously. My first question is: Why would Pym listen to the person on the video? Remember, he was captured and was duplicated by a Skrull for a long time – did he not think that maybe this was the Skrull version up to something? Why would he listen? I used to like Pym but really, since Secret Invasion I simply do not care for him. I liked him being flawed and a complete jerk who was always trying to gain redemption. Now he’s more trying to just forget about it – but he really has a lot to redeem. You know, like hitting his wife and creating Ultron. Sure, he found a way to stop Ultron… Now. Would have been nice a long time ago.
So why am I so upset when I mention changing continuity above? Like I said, I get when it makes sense because times have changed. Most of these characters, with the exception of Franklin Richards, have not really aged much at all since the Marvel U started in the 1960s. So I can understand that – if it makes sense. But earlier in this series, we saw an entire team go to the future to battle Ultron. How did that turn out? No clue – that piece just vanished. It was never even addressed. Really, once Sue and Logan went back in time… It was gone. Ignored. Who cares?
And to top it all off, the heroes state that by travelling through time too much they’ve broken the space-time continuum. Did anyone think about telling that to Doctor Doom? How about Kang, the Council of Kangs, or any other possible persona of the time traveller? Yeah, if all his interference doesn’t break the universe, maybe it’s 2 Sues and Logans coming together as one that did it. Yes, there were craploads of cracks in the time stream… But if it;s now gone to hell, maybe someone should pull Reed and his family back from, you know, travelling through time?
So… Did I like ANYTHING about this issue or this arc at all? Yes. The end. And not because it ended but because of some of the possible futures we may see. We saw many characters feel the repercussions. Logan in all of his incarnations, past and present, but also future in the “Old Man Logan” story. Tony sees craploads of Iron Man armor appear, even that from Iron Man 2020 (hey, time has split apart). Pym sees himself past and future. But wait – I see both Miguel “Spider-Man 2099” O’Hara (who we know is returning in Superior Spider-Man soon) and Doom 2099! I see Richard Rider, the original Earth-based Nova! I see the original Captain Mar-Vell standing next to Thanos! I see J2, American Dream and Spider-Girl from the long-gone MC2 line! Never mind the original Squadron Supreme.
But most of all I see Miles Morales. We know that the universe between the Ultimate and 616 universes were broken down briefly in Spider-Men and now we are going to see some bleed through. So what did I like? The setup for what Marvel has coming up next…
- Angela, created by Neil Gaiman, has crossed over to the Marvel Universe and will be featured in upcoming issues of Guardians of the Galaxy. It sounds like she’s been forced into the 616 and she’s none too happy about it.
- Pym decides to built ANOTHER artificial intelligence, which leads to Avengers A.I. next month
But what I really like is the setup for Hunger… Miles Morales, on a rooftop. When a large purple shadow arises out of a storm of clouds and lightning. Galactus has crossed over to the Ultimate universe.
OK, so overall… Not too impressed with Age of Ultron as a whole. I think it had a great original concept – when it was introduced in 2012. Maybe Hickman’s current run on the Avengers titles also played into things going ca-ca with some parallel universes showing up; that probably didn’t help. Can we say that Marvel is trying to rule out time travel anymore as a result? Nope, cause the first family is still going wherever and whenever they want! So why did this event even happen? It was a way to evolve Pym somehow, it was a way to start to bring the Ultimate and 616 worlds together, and (it just happened to work out) it was a way to bring Angela over to the Marvel family.
At least, that’s my opinion. But, overall, it was a great disappointment for the actual story… It’s the next round that I am looking forward to.