Ultron – an artificial intelligence robot created by Hank Pym who mapped his own brain onto his creation. Ultron fought back against Pym and developed beyond his capabilities, becoming deadlier, more intelligent, until he became one of the Avengers’ greatest threats.
Marvel’s latest Event, Age of Ultron, featured an end of the world scenario where Ultron returned to wreak havoc on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and conquer the world. Issue #1 began in the aftermath of Ultron’s invasion where his army of Ultron drones had killed a number of superheroes and driven the survivors into hiding.
It’s a great setup and the series looked very promising in the first couple of issues. Bendis’ scenario was novel – we didn’t see the main event, we jumped on right after – and the fight back against a super-powerful Ultron looked to be really something. But things dovetailed quickly as Bendis struggled to move the story forward, essentially treading water for 5 issues until he got to the main reason behind this Event, using that hackneyed narrative trope time travel.
As the story veered off at alarming tangents, it resembled less and less a fight against Ultron and more an excuse to have a whacky time travel adventure with Wolverine and Sue Richards, as Ultron continually failed to appear until the final issue which came out last Wednesday (19 June).
There were elements of the mini-series I enjoyed like Bryan Hitch and Carlos Pacheco’s wonderful artwork and the first 5 issues reads like a really great hero story – at least until you realise it’s not actually about Ultron but about time travel. I was also impressed with the publishing schedule that Marvel kept to – all 10 main issues along with the 8 tie-in comics were all released in the 4 month window, hitting all its deadlines.
Although Age of Ultron started off well it ended up becoming another bloated, boring, and overlong Marvel Event that disappointed. While the mini-series was a commercial success with its issues frequently topping the bestselling comics charts of the month, it was a creative failure for many reasons. What were they?
This article was first posted on June 21, 2013