Ultron has taken over and killed off most of humanity except for a group of heroes. Luke Cage and She Hulk started their counter-attack on Ultron by trying to go find the headquarters and collect information. When they got to Ultron's headquarters, they were surprised when they found Vision, an android creation of Ultron and trusted Avenger leading the evil robot sentinels. Really, there's MUCH more to the situation, but I don't feel like explaining it in explicate detail. Go back to my reviews of past issues of Age of Ultron if you're really that desperate.
Same with The Superior Spider-Man. Most of you should know that Doc Ock and Spidey switched brains and Peter Parker has died. If not, well, read our brilliant review for ASM 700. It doesn't really matter in this issue anyways.
|Executive Producer:||Alan Fine|
|Chief Creative Officer:||Joe Quesada|
|Editor In Chief:||Axel Alonso|
|Editor:||Lauren Sankovitch, Tom Brevoort|
|Assistant Editor:||Jake Thomas, John Denning|
|Writer:||Brian Michael Bendis|
|Lettering:||VC's Cory Petit|
Bendis starts us off right where we left last issue: Luke Cage with She Hulk knocked out over his shoulder, looking at Vision, leader of the Ultrons. They are all in a robotic-like structure in the middle of NYC, which consists of two spheres held by three legs. Ultron sentinels are still standing by the situation for back-up.
"Sweet Christmas," Luke Cage says. "Hey, yo! Vision! You hearin' me?! I-I want to talk to Ultron." Vision replies, "Luke Cage. What dooo yooouu have to off...er?" Cage asks if he is talking to Ultron and Vision says, "Ultron can hear you. Ultron can see you." (Geez. It's like he's referring to God, not some crazy robot. This isn't our Vision.)
Vision goes dead for a minute but the peace is suddenly punctured when he screams, "He controls from the future! He watches and controls us all from the fuaaggh!" Ultron is in pain until he goes dead silent again. "Whatttrrrr-- What dddo you offer?" he asks again.
"Well, I've heard enough," She Hulk says as climbs from Cage's arm. "Make sure you tell Tony Stark everything you saw here." She throws Cage away as a fleet of Ultrons gather around her, poised for attack. Cage crashes through the stronghold surprisingly easily (like glass) and leaves She Hulk to deal with the Ultron sentinels."I told him I was stronger than him," She Hulk says as the Ultrons lunge for him. "I'm almost the strongest one here." She kicks an Ultron while punching another in a head. Fakang! She then takes another's head off with a mere fist to the neck. Shakang! (I love how you can always expect unique from Bendis.)
"Now, Vision, about that--," She Hulk starts to say. But she is interrupted by a concentrated laser fired in her head by an Ultron sentinel. The Ultron hits her and she drops lifelessly to the floor. The Ultrons she took down have already repaired themselves. Vision is also very distraught about the situation.
Meanwhile, Luke Cage is falling in the air after She Hulk pushed him out of the stronghold. Another fleet of Ultrons swoop down and hit him with an unconcentrated laser blast. He starts falling even faster than before, now on fire. But the Ultrons are faster. A sentinel swoops down and grabs Cage by the feet. In a fit of rage, Luke hits Ultron in the face. Cang! "You killed my wife! You killed my baby! Did you just think--" The Ultrons start dog piling him midair and they all crash into a building. Spashh! (Bendis is on a role!)
A backup squad of Ultrons fly down and start firing at the ground below. Cage isn't done and runs from the blasts. The other Ultrons that smashed him into the building are being torn by the blasts. (I love how great the teamwork is shown by the Ultrons.) Soon, they gather in a circular formation around the building and begin to explode it. "Killed my friends!" Cage leaps out of the fire and hits an Ultron in the face. (Why don't they aim to take out the legs? Always with the head.) He starts bouncing from roof to roof, still on fire. A fiery group of Ultrons gather around him, and he's obviously out of breath. (They're surrounded by Kirby dots!)
The area explodes. And it really erupts in comparison to the inferior fires that the Ultrons were doing before. The streets are filled with light and gushes of water fill the street. In the middle of the explosion is what looks a lot like the impact of a crater. It sure looks like Cage is dead.
In San Francisco, in Nick Fury's secret bunkers underground, Mark Specter wakes up from a much-needed rest. "Bad dream, Moon Knight?" Black Widow asks. "I dreamt that the world had come to an end," he replies. "And that I was stuck in one of Nick Fury's secret bunkers under San Francisco with a surly Black Widow who... Oh wait." (We only wish that it was a dream.)
She tells him that, while he slept for three hours, she opened the black box that contained Fury's end of the world scenarios. She says that he has plans for their very situation and has another emergency bunker in the Savage Land. "So--so there might be others there?" Mark asks. She hands him Fury's end of the world plans for their situation. "Are you kidding me with this?" he asks.
"You asked for a suggestion. That's a suggestion," Widow says. "Have you ever done anything like this before?" Mark questions. "No one has."
In New York, TONS of Ultrons are just standing in the air, monitoring, obviously alerted after Cage and She Hulk's attack. All of the heroes who had been camping out in the fallen S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier are floating in the air. "Everybody keep an eye on the sky," Captain America alerts. Storm of the X-Men is keeping them all adrift, but is having a hard time concentrating. "I'm better out here in the open air than I am locked in a cave!" she calls.
When the explosion caused by Cage happens, Spidey immediately recognizes it. "Was that a real actual nuclear blast, Stark?" he asks. "Let's hope that wasn't Cage or She Hulk in there." "Everyone grab on to the person next to you! I can keep us invisible until we're out of the city limits," Sue Storm yells. They all turn invisible while passing through the area where Ultron's stronghold is, on their way to the Savage Land.
In Chicago, Taskmaster is running down the streets, frantic after watching Black Panther's death last issue. While sprinting past a group of toppled cars, he is launched in the air by a giant red foot. "Where you going, Taskmaster?" Rulk asks, with a broken Ultron torso tied to his body with wires. "I-I-I was getting the heck out of here," he says. "You were abandoning ship," he corrects. Taskmaster tries to defend himself by saying that he was just trying to follow the plan by taking the Ultron tech out of town. Rulk isn't happy. "I don't trust you," he says as he smashes Taskmaster's body. And that makes three...
Eight days later, after days of traveling on all three parties, the biggest one arrives from NYC. The Savage land is in terrible condition. The terrain has been stripped of all the trees and it is apparent that the Ultrons have been trying to blow up the whole area. A fallen Quinjet sits on a mountain. "Oh my god, this place is worse than New York," one hero says. Cap asks Wolverine and Emma what they sense. "Nothing on my end. But I told you guys--My physic powers aren't what they used to be," Emma says. Wolverine confirms, "All this nightmare happened days ago at least. Ain't no machines around here as far as I can smell."
They start discussing what to do next when Emma Frost spots someone on top of an icy mountain. It's Ka-Zar, Lord of the Savage Land! Ka-Zar subtly leads them to a small village full of huts that look like they belong to Wookies from Star Wars. (I can't help that reference. Just look for yourself and tell me what it looks like.) "What you seek is there," he says. Wolverine knows immediately that Cage is in a certain hut. Emma, digging in Cage's mind, finds that he's dying from the nuclear blast and that he piloted the Quinjet they had found crashed. Emma also finds that Vision is being used as a "conduit" by Ultron from the future. "The reason we can't get to Ultron is because he--he isn't here," she says.
Suddenly, Wolverine becomes grim. Luke Cage is dead. "He wouldn't let go until he told us what we needed to do next," she says. "Which is?" asks Wolverine.
"We go get Ultron. And we wipe even the idea of him out of existence," says Rulk, who is standing next to Moon Knight and Black Widow on a random snow mound. "And God bless Nick Fury, because we know just how to do it," says Natasha.
Wow. You can't say that you aren't amazed after reading this issue. It has so many different feels. The encounter with Vision is creepy, Luke Cage's Ultron battle is emotional, Rulk's confrontation with Taskmaster is tense, and you can't help but feel relieved when it is revealed that there is still a bit of civilization left in Ka-Zar's village. It really is a great issue. I have to specially praise the part with Luke Cage battling the Ultrons. That is some raw emotion and one of the best fights I have read in comics in a long time. (Perhaps since Spidey's battle with the Green Goblin after Gwen Stacy's death or Pursuit in the 90s'.)
I have to admit, I am happy that next issue shows promise that an actual plan that isn't suicidal will be attempted. I mean, Cage and She Hulk were destined to die. They were and I spotted it out in my review of the last issue. Am I angry about it? No. I knew that Bendis would kill them to show Ultron's superiority and it worked. Anyways, it looks like Fury's plan involves erasing Ultron from existence and Luke Cage will be back before we know it. I find Rulk's reaction to Taskmaster a bit brutal, but it works with him. He's a furious army general and he doesn't have time to fool around with idiots. I respect him POV, oddly enough, but I still feel bad for Taskmaster. As long as the same thing doesn't happen to Spidey...
I found Bendis' dialogue to be much more chatty than before. It gives a light-hearted feel to a story where three separate people die and I am actually kind of relieved that they are finally talking like a family, which Bendis is master at. It opens everything up from when they were all sitting in the crowded S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier.
Hitch's art is still great. I found his characters to be much more concentrated this issue than last and he had quite the script to fulfill from Bendis. He masters it and keeps everything moving quickly. His Ultrons are becoming creepier and creepier each issue. I still yet to see any artist pull off a massive crossover as well as Hitch is.
This is a wonderful issue that is far more productive and exciting than the last three. I stand by my words when I say that Bendis is a master at crossovers. Too bad they have to be so expensive and have so many inconsistent tie-ins.