Robot 6

‘Age of Ultron’ takes over comic shops — was it worth the wait?

age of ultron1

It’s been almost two years since Avengers 12.1, an issue where Tony Stark warned that Ultron comes back smarter each time he’s reborn. Well, Hank Pym’s robotic “son” is back again, and apparently smart enough to take over New York City and transform it into a dystopian dictatorship. The first issue arrived on Wednesday, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Bryan Hitch, Paul Neary and Paul Mounts, the same creative team who created that 12.1 issue — and the same writer who teased it in an issue of Avengers back in 2010.

So was it worth the wait? Here are a few opinions from the web who thought so or thought no, as the case may be:

Iann Robinson, Crave Online: “You have to give it to Brian Michael Bendis. He starts off Age Of Ultron with a swift kick to our comic book loving balls (it’s a metaphor, so girls are included). This first of a 10-issue series doesn’t ease us into a story – it throws us into the deep end, all the while screaming ‘sink or swim!’ This is about as unpleasant a first issue as I’ve read in many years. I don’t say that negatively, I say it with great admiration that Bendis would go right for the jugular.” (9/10)

Doug Zawisza, Comic Book Resources: “I’m certain Bendis will get to the ‘why’ of Ultron being a threat in due time, but it isn’t delivered in this issue. There is no legitimate cause behind the squalor populating the pages of Age of Ultron #1, just lots of speculation and guessing as Age of Ultron #1 presents samples of humanity at its worst. Bendis opens the adventure in the middle and works to construct the ends around it, but draws the reader to Hawkeye instead of Ultron. This installment is a study in Hawkeye’s legitimacy as a hero more than anything else and provides a quick long-range synopsis of what the world looks like.” (2.5/5)

Brian Salvatore, Multiversity Comics: “And yet, this feels familiar to the hilt. From the drab color scheme to the predictable tropes, everything about this comic has been done, both better and worse, before. One of the joys of Marvel NOW! has been that many of the more successful books feel like a totally new take on classic characters. FF, New Avengers, even the sub-par Superior Spider-Man all feel like fresh takes on familiar ideas. This feels like a retread of a retread of a retread. Plus, it is boring! Bendis takes forever to illustrate points you get a few pages in, and there is precious little to chew on after you’re done reading it.” (3.1/10)

Matt D. Wilson, ComicsAlliance: “Once the story focuses in on the people in this brave new world, there’s a distinct sense that this is not a superhero event as we know it. If anything, it feels like the darker edges of sci-fi and crime cinema from the the late ’70s and ’80s. I’m particularly reminded of John Carpenter’s Escape from New York once a much more grizzled Hawkeye than the one we’ve been seeing in his own book shows up to violently save a teenage prostitute from some creeps, and growl Snake Plisskenesque anti-hero dialogue as he moves on to a bigger goal.”

Martin Gray, Too Dangerous for a Girl: “It’s been a while since we’ve seen the widescreen stylings of Bryan Hitch in a Marvel title, and it’s good to have him back. This is a big story demanding big images, which is precisely what we get over the first few pages. And while normally I’d have a wee whine about using up so much room, Marvel give us 29 story pages, plus metallic effect embossed cardboard cover, for $3.99. It’s refreshing, and will hopefully entice more people to try this opener. It’s certainly worth looking at for Hitch’s pencils, inked by the sorely underrated Paul Neary and coloured by the rightly lauded Paul Mounts. The three men combine talents to present a dark, desperate world, eerily illuminated by blue bolts of lightning and the ray blasts of Ultron’s elite. The panels are so packed with detail it’s almost wrong, but it makes for a rich visual experience. There’s some especially fine ‘eye-work,’ showing us what the characters are feeling without need for thought bubbles.”

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Matt Price, Nerdage: “Some may question where this fits in the overall world of Marvel NOW, but I’m willing to wait and see. Everything doesn’t have to be spelled out in the first issue, nor every question answered. For me, Age of Ultron has set up an intriguing beginning with the Avengers at a low point. I’m willing to stay on board to see where it goes.”

Garrett Martin, Paste Magazine: “And all that’s done in under 15 minutes. It took almost as long to download on that weak fast food Wi-Fi as it did for me to read. Even Ultron‘s short length would be fine if the story felt like a full experience, a full chapter in a longer tale, and not just the first scene of the first act. Instead, it’s a fight scene and then a brief glimpse at the heroes’ harried underground existence. Instead of being intrigued for the next issue, I’m just sort of frustrated.”

Tony ‘G-Man’ Guerrero, Comic Vine: “Age of Ultron has finally begun. Without seeing the trigger that caused the Marvel Universe to become devastated, there are definite pros and cons with the first issue. We don’t get bogged down by seeing the events take shape. The opportunity to jump right into the action is here. At the same time, we have no idea how it came to this state. There is a nice sense of mystery along with a feeling of despair seeing the heroes and world like this. The art and action gets intense and you will feel the need to want to know how all this came to be. Bendis has started another ambitious story. It’s not just anyone that can cause such devastation to the Marvel Universe without explaining it step by step. We can assume big things are coming. We’re already getting a glimpse of the craziness we can expect. Was Age of Ultron worth the wait? With everything Bendis and Hitch throw at us in this first issue, the answer is yes.” (8/10)



Jake Earlewine

March 8, 2013 at 4:01 pm

I read it in twelve minutes at the store, and didn’t feel the need to buy it and take it home. Another Bendis travesty. Gee, I’ll save $40 by not buying this series.

I’m going to tell everyone how I read, but didn’t buy, an issue of a comic book I wasn’t going to buy anyway!!!

Congratu-fucking-lations! You are not special.

That’s insanely uncool Jake.

Sheesh ok Bendis enough, we get it you believe comics should be written like movie scripts and that all heroes should be F.Milleresque dark and dismal etc. etc. The powers that be i.e. movie makers want Hawkeye to be front and center yaaawwwnnn womanizing freak of character

“I’m going to tell everyone how I read, but didn’t buy, an issue of a comic book I wasn’t going to buy anyway!!!”


Isn’t that just a description of The Buy Pile? And he’s been running a regular article about it every week for 10 years.

The Original Jimmy

March 8, 2013 at 6:20 pm

No it’s not – if you read the fine print on The Buy Pile you’ll see the comics are sent to him by the comic companies for him to review. It’s a form of publicity. Free advertising for the comic companies.

Jake’s is a form of stealing – from his LCS’ pocket. There is no excuse. If you want to read it for free then wait for the trade paperback at the library.

Age of Ultron #1 is actually the very first Bendis comic I felt was worth reading and buying. I was shocked. It’s more sci-fi than the braindead stuff Bendis has written in his entire run at Marvel.

I’m actually excited for this event. Maybe Bendis will actually write something that I end up enjoying.

Let’s just hope that Bendis never writes the dialogue “I know” in Age of Ultron.

I’ll only buy Bendis once he makes Hawkeye go crazy attack all the Avengers and kill Hercules and then brings him back to life. And then once Herc is back to life he finds an amnesiatic Hawkeye in a remote village. And then we know what happens next.

I liked the movie when it was called “Terminator”. Like everything Marvel NOW, I just have no idea where it fits in to the Marvel U. Is this the Superior Spider-Man we’re seeing? (It’s the old Amazing suit) Is this a dystopian future or past? And I have no idea why there’s a Fantastic Four #5 and a Fantastic Four #5AU coming out. (Comixology is listing the AU version as #5.1) I’ll give #2 a read, but I hope we get an understanding of where/when we are soon. Cap/Thor/Iron Man already being in different realities in there solo books, while being elsewhere in Avengers, Avengers Assembled, New Avengers…,etc… is already making my continuity loving head hurt.

There were some good ideas here and the general atmosphere was good and this was the best art I’ve seen from Hitch in years.

Problem was that, well, not a whole lot happened…..

AoU was not what I expected at all nor did I enjoy it but am committed to read it. They butchered my precious She-Hulk with that god awful short hair.

@The Original Jimmy: You are sooooo wrong. I will present you with the OPENING of each weekly installment of “The Buy Pile.”


Every week Hannibal Tabu (two-time Eisner-winning journalist/blogger/novelist/poet/jackass on Twitter/head honcho of goes to a comic book store called Comics Ink in Culver City, CA (Overland and Braddock — hey Steve, Jason, Vince and Quislet) and grabs a whole lotta comics. These periodicals are quickly sorted (how) into two piles — the “buy” pile (a small pile most weeks, comprised of planned purchases) and the “read” pile (often huge, often including comics that are really crappy but have some value to stay abreast of).

Now. Let’s break this down. Hannibal Tabu GOES TO A COMIC BOOK STORE and GRABS A WHOLE LOTTA COMICS. He then takes these comics and sorts them into two piles, one of which is called the READ pile (these are NOT purchased).

That “fine print” of which you wrote ONLY applies to comics that are NOT carried at the store. It does NOT apply to the mainstream Marvel and DC titles.

Sorry, buddy, but you’re in the wrong on this.

The Original Jimmy

March 9, 2013 at 3:40 am

Does Hannibal “grab” a bunch of comics off the shelves to review? Sure he does. There is NOTHING in your cut and paste job that says he doesn’t pay for his comics. The way I interpret it is he has two piles of comics: one’s he has reviewed and deems worthy to be purchased, and ones that after reviewing in HINDSIGHT, he deems not worthy of spending money on. That’s the whole concept of his blog.

I find it hard to believe that he just goes into a LCS and just takes comics for free. He’s not shoplifting is he? If he does it’s obviously because the LCS is giving him permission to do so. At the end of the day the LCS is not missing out on a purchase. It’s a prearranged agreement.

The fact that you’ve gone to all this effort to skew the issue leads me to the assumption that more than likely, you also spend 12 minutes reading comics at your LCS with no intention of buying them and are also a thief. I really don’t know and personally don’t care. But trying to justify someone stealing a LCS revenue by trying to slander Hannibal is pathetic. The guy’s an Eisner winning journalist. Have some respect.

You cannot compare what Hannibal Tatu does to a guy who decides to read a whole comic at his comic store when he has no intention of buying it. Hannibal Tatu reviews comics for a living. His comic store provides him with the comics to do his job. He tells us what he’d be willing to spend money on and what he wouldn’t. His comic store gets advertising space in his column. It is called a business transaction.
Jake’s actions allowed him to read a comic without buying it. His comic store didn’t benefit from this action. The person who bought the comic after he had read it didn’t benefit from it either. Jake should know better. Hopefully he won’t try to justify his actions with the, I buy a lot of comics anyway, line.
I enjoyed Age of Ultron a lot. I did not order it but I got it off the shelf. I took a chance when I bought it and am glad I did. I’m looking forward to seeing Moon Knight in the second issue.

Hmmm…I’d have to give the first issue a meh. Not much going on here that hasn’t been done before. Lots of pretty pictures, a shiny cover, and an emphasis on Hawkeye, a character that seems to be pushed for media development. $3.99 for five minutes of reading isn’t exactly a deal, either.

Books like Prophet, Nowhere Men, Locke & Key, Sixth Gun and Saga are really where it’s at these days, and give a lot more bang for the buck, as well…

“…a retread of a retread of a retread.”

Sounds about right.

Here’s part of the Cosmic Book News Review:

Bendis has finally released the tale of the Age of Ultron that was teased way back in 2009, but is it worth the hype that Marvel is giving it? In my eyes, no!

There is little substance to make the reader interested in the hows and whys of the tale, not that we are given any, and it seems like a rehash of a tale we all have read a thousand times before. There is no heart to make us feel vested in our heroes, no emotional tug that pulls you along and certainly no “wow” factor for you to want to purchase the off shoot books that will be released enmasse in conjunction to the core book!

All in all, this book fails to excite and intrigue the reader, posing no true reason to want to purchase the rest of the series. Bendis should have left his Avengers stories alone after he left the books, at least those felt original.

It’s kind of silly to get hung up on continuity points in story being told in the intentionally disorienting manner this one is; also kind of silly to expect the entire scenario, the how’s and the whys explained right away. For a writer who’s hated on for his decompressed “waiting too long to get to the juice of the story (especially in an event), I find this opener refreshing. No waiting, and solid scripting.

I liked this issue and actually expected to be bored out of my brains by it. Buzzfeed has a nice interview with Bendis and Brevoort, that I’d recommend.

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