Age of Ultron #1

Background

Ultron has always been one of the most popular Avengers villains. As a creation of Hank Pym, it was built for good, but came to despise humanity. It has tried to kill off all humans with artificial intelligence many times. For those who have read Bendis's run of the Avengers, Ultron has been planning something big. And here it is.

For reasons unrevealed, Ultron has taken over Earth and is an unstoppable force of mass destruction. Many heroes have died and humanity is ever so screwed.

Lastly, most of us are aware of the revelations of ASM 700. Spider-Man's body is now inhabited with Doctor Octopus's mind. Marvel has made us aware that the new Spider-Man is defiantly included in the event.

Story Details

  Age of Ultron #1
Summary: Spider-Man Appearance
Executive Producer: Alan Fine
Publisher: Dan Buckley
Chief Creative Officer: Joe Quesada
Editor In Chief: Axel Alonso
Editor: Lauren Sankovitch, Tom Bervoort
Assistant Editor: Jake Thomas, John Denning
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Bryan Hitch
Inker: Paul Neary
Lettering: VC's Cory Petit
Colorist: Paul Mounts

The story begins with The Statue of Liberty, obviously without an intact hand, looking over the ruins of New York City. Many buildings have toppled, leaving much rubble scattered everywhere. Many oversized industrial towers and strongholds look over the lesser buildings. The skies are lit up only by a streak of lightning.

The close-up of a city street is much more depressing. Few structures are still left standing. Those that are seem as if they could topple any second. The beams and rafters of destroyed skyscrapers litter the streets. An unorganized formation of massive robotic processing units and such hover above, blocking out the sky and any other source of natural light. A torn American flag is hung from a pillar, giving a sense of defeat. Fire provides a huddle of people a disordered feeling of comfort.

Behind the cracked wall of a building, Hawkeye watches in the shadows, clearly trying not to be seen. A lady navigates around many metal planks and random rubble to arrive at an unattractive building colored by a brown paint that has certainly seen better days. A voice emerges from an entrance. The lady tells him that she was invited and he, using few of the manners that his mother should have taught him, tells his accomplices that they have a "honey delivery out here." His buddies sneak up behind her.

Hawkeye aims and fires his bow, hitting a man covered in armored weapons fatally through neck. His friend in the doorway receives the same treatment. Hawkeye races up the stairs to the entrance, telling the girl to go away. When he opens up the door, it is obvious that the inside of the building is far less sanitary than its outside appearance. While walking, Hawkeye notices a mechanical camera watching him, but does nothing about it.

Beyond a doorway, a room is surrounded by television sets that monitor the camera that Hawkeye had just walked past and, like every other room in the house, the walls are in desperate need of a new paint job. The two lowlifes inside are too busy harassing a girl than to actually look on the sets around them.

Clint stands at the door, watching them. "Take your hands off the girl," he orders as he enters the room and aims his bow at one of their heads. A man with a green Mohawk grabs and fires a gun right as an arrow pierces his mouth.

The gunfire sprays and hits a man in another room upstairs The others around him are immediately alerted. Hawkeye finishes up downstairs by killing the other man with an arrow right in his forehead. As he is leaving, the girl picks up and cocks a rifle. Hawkeye shoots her in the arm and tells her to leave. As the girl runs down the hall screaming, Hawkeye catches a glimpse of one of the TV sets. On the screen is a captive man tied to a chair, guarded by gangsters.

A group of people run down the hall, afraid that Thor has come to get them. "Thor ain't around no more, idiot," one hollers. Upstairs, the men are equipping themselves with deadly looking guns. Hammerhead and the Owl lead them down yet another hall. (What a big house.) As they're carefully walking down the stairs, Hammerhead stops them. He instructs for another to go down first. When he is two steps ahead of them, his neck is impaled by an arrow.

They rush back up the stairs as Hawkeye chucks a grenade at them. When it explodes, they are all either blown to bits or rammed into the wall. The three armed men stand by the man tied in the chair, waiting for something to happen. Dust sprays from the ceiling above them and they instantly know that something's wrong. Before they can act, each of them are killed with an arrow in the head. Hawkeye greets the man in the chair, who happens to be none other than Spider-Man.

Spider-Man is obviously not in peak condition. The upper half of his costume has been torn off and it looks like he's been injected with drugs of some sort, with needles and pills scattered on the ground. Hawkeye releases Spidey with a knife and gives him a pill, which he says will help. Spidey starts muttering random things when they both barely dodge a spray of gunfire. Hammerhead and Owl are back for round two.

Clint and Otto (this is the Superior Spider-Man, after all) camp behind a doorway and the criminals obviously have the upper hand. When Clint takes a shot at them, the Owl yells, "Bows and arrows? The world's gone to hell. And you're sticking with bows and arrows? That's why no one likes you!"

Suddenly, the ground below them begins to shake. Both the heroes and villains are rendered incapable of sucking it up and continuing their battle. Outside, a fleet of golden Ultron sentries hover in the sky, shining a blue light on the dilapidated house. "All humanoid life forms are to exit the premises. Immediately," one states.

The Owl and Hammerhead rush up the stairs. "I thought you paid off Ultron," Owlsley scolds but Hammerhead can't hear him. Hawkeye picks a grenade off the ground and tapes it to an arrow. Meanwhile, Hammerhead is upstairs, trying to grab the stash of money that they gained after selling drugs. The Owl tells the Ultrons outside that they paid with no luck.

Otto runs upstairs and slams open the front door. Hawkeye jumps outside and fires his grenade-strapped arrows at a Ultron. "We have a deal! The damn deal is we deliver to you and you leave us alone," the Owl pleads. Together, the Ultrons explode the run down house in a blue explosion. Hammerhead is killed holding his briefcases of money at the entrance.

Then, the unlucky Ultron detonates above. Spidey and Clint manage to evade the impacts of both explosions. Otto thanks Clint for saving him, and asks if there are others. "Not enough," Hawkeye responds. When Clint asks if he's okay, he says, "No. None of us are. We're all so incredibly screwed." They run away as a fiery Ultron torso smashes into the ground.

In Central Park, all the trees are dead and the grass isn't as green as it should be. The S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier is wrecked and sits in the middle of the park. Much of the covering is gradually falling off of it's titanium frame and the massive engines are disconnected from the structure. The sky is still blocked by the robotic processing units.

Clint and Otto hike up the side of the ship until they find a tube leading into it. "This isn't going to be pleasant," Clint mutters. "Considering the week I has, unpleasant sounds absolutely fabulous," Otto replies. Suddenly, they are both taken down by She-Hulk and Luke Cage. She-Hulk has obviously cut her hair while Luke Cage grew some. (Shocking, isn't it.)

"We told you not to came back, Barton!" Cage scolds as he slams Clint into the side of the tube. "And I told you I was bringing him back!" Clint says. Tony Stark, in a suit that looks like it came straight out of Tron, walks up with a strange device. " I hate using this tech out in the open," he complains. "Darn you for putting us in this position."

While She-Hulk holds him down, Stark straps the device on Otto's mouth. A scan reveals that he is not an Ultron in disguise. Once the same has been done to Hawkeye, he asks, "Could one of you "heroes" help the poor guy...He's been through a lot." Still, they're paranoid that Ultron followed them or infected them with something. Emma Frost, Wolverine, and Beast appear out of the tube system. Emma confirms that they're clean.

When Clint thanks Emma, Cage says, "Don't act all put upon. We told you that if you left to go get him--" Hawkeye interrupts, "And I told you that I'm not giving up on what's left of our friends, no matter what." Luke tells him that there are rules that they must live by or they're all going to die. Hawkeye informs him that they're going to die no matter what and they might as well live their life rather than give up. They walk into small room that is filled with bunk beds. The Thing, Invisible Woman, and many others sit in despair. It's a depressing environment.

Hawkeye scolds them for giving up. "No one gave up," She-Hulk states. "What do you call this?" he asks. "We have no plan," Tony says. "And who's fault is that?" Clint asks. "He's working on it."

"Is that what you call it?" Clint questions.

Captain America sits on the floor with his head in his knees, next to his shattered shield.

General Comments

I feel bad for Captain America. It feels like Marvel is always putting him through hell and back in every event. Just give the poor guy a break. If he isn't killed by Ultron, the stress is going to get to him in the end.

This was a great first issue. In Avengers vs. X-Men, it literally took five issues for anything exciting to happen. In this event, we aren't put through all the annoying build-up and are placed right in the middle of the event. It was hinted that it has been a week since Ultron took over.

Also, in Avengers vs. X-Men, I was constantly annoyed by how unexciting the premise was. Really, the main antagonist was The Phoenix Force. To enjoy the event, the reader had to be really afraid of it's power. As an Avenger/Spider-Man fan, I only knew that the X-Men have defeated it multiple times and that it was just a stupid bird made of fire. So, I wasn't really that afraid of it and just kind of laughed at how ridiculous it was that everybody was fighting each other over it.

Bendis approached the issue that the Avengers have beaten Ultron many times masterfully. Instead of just having people ranting about how terrifying they are for five issues, he just showed us by putting us right in the middle of what would happen if they won. The Ultron appearance, as short lived as it was, terrified the heck out of me. Just their one line left chills down my spine. When you have one robot program pretty much kill everybody in NYC including heroes, you know that it's probably really serious about taking over all of Earth.

I found the get-things-done-by-all-means Hawkeye interesting. I mean, he wasn't as mean as Punisher is, but... Look, he shot a lady in the arm to make her go away. This definitely isn't the Clint Barton that Bendis is known for writing. His new attitude just makes me look forward to all the other character's perspectives during the event.

Bendis said in an interview that Spider-Man would be Otto Octavius. After reading this issue first, I thought it was Peter. Looking back, the dialogue could count for either Otto or Peter. I know production on this story started in 2010, so Bendis probably had everything all figured out beforehand. When Marvel released 700, he simply changed the dialogue. It was nice to see Spider-Man have a more serious role in this issue, even if he was the damsel in distress. At least he isn't just getting one line for each issue. Plus, the Otto\Hawkeye dynamic was entertaining.

Also, I look forward to the rise of the misfits. Many popular characters were killed off during the rise of Ultron. That means that we will get to see the more obscure heroes like Moon Knight, She-Hulk, and Black Panther play a bigger part, which is fine by me. I am always frustrated that Iron Man and Captain America are always the center of attention.

Amazingly, I was pleased with the overall layout of the issue. Marvel is usually accused of being a tightwads by many, which is true in some cases. I haven't seen one of these shiny covers in YEARS. I was pleasantly surprised when I found it at my comic book store. Usually, I don't give a crap about this stuff, but I am really enticed by it. I hope it stays like this for the next few issues. Plus, you may have noticed that there were no ads for the first half of the comic. Without them, the experience was more realistic and enjoyable. Those darn ads always remind me that what I'm reading is just words and pictures on paper. I certainly didn't miss them.

Probably the highlight of the issue is Bryan Hitch's art. There is so much detail in each page, that I was astonished after first reading it. Who puts that much thought into how the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier should look once it has crashed? Usually, artists just draw random lines to symbolize wreckage. As an artist myself, I usually just draw a few buildings and call it a day with the background. Hitch masterfully places his extensive detail and his characters still stand out. I wish Hitch was illustrating the whole event, not just the first five issues...

Overall Rating

This issue does what any good #1 should. I am left wanting more. Thank god the next issue is coming on Wednesday.