The epic conclusion to Age of Ultron is anything but.
Any reader that picked up last month’s release of Age of Ultron knows exactly how Brian Michael Bendis’ “epic” is going to play out. Last issue’s climax for all intents and purposes revealed the entire plot of its following offering, and the only distinguishing aspect of issue #10 is that it tries (and perhaps fails) to set up a new and interesting status quo for the Marvel Universe, instead of providing a quality conclusion to the 10 issue mini-series.
The pacing of Age of Ultron has been its achilles heel for the majority of its schedule, as plot-threads were introduced and then forgotten, only to be replaced by new directions that offered little payoff. The initial post-apocalyptic setting that was heavily developed in the early issues, for example, is never seen again, while Nick Fury’s time-traveling attempt to fix the world is likewise left hanging without resolution. The post-Pym timeline is similarly forgotten, despite being the center of a major plot point for two issues, which leaves one to wonder what exactly was the purpose of introducing and building these interesting characters only to have them forgotten on a whim?
That’s not to say that Bendis does not make use of his 30+ pages for Age of Ultron #10. On the contrary, this issue is packed with superheroic action and universe-shattering events, but none of them are terribly interesting. With last issue’s exposition completely foreshadowing the coming events, the final showdown between the Avengers and Ultron is rather stale and anticlimactic, and hardly worth the price tag. As the battle comes to an end, moreover, Bendis forgoes offering any sort of a conclusion to his 10-issue plot in favor of shattering and rebuilding Marvel’s multiverse in an effort to introduce a new villain for several upcoming serieses to pick up and build upon. The consequences of Age of Ultron are only tenuously connected to the story Bendis wrote, which makes the illogical nature of it more than difficult to care about.
If Marvel and Bendis wanted to tease their new direction for the Marvel universe it would have been a lot easier and cheaper for both creators and fans for the publisher to just simply release a press release with the requisite hype attached. For anyone who dived in at the beginning of Age of Ultron there is barely a page that will offer a satisfying conclusion or legitimize the series’ existence, which is sad because the initial world-building offered up some truly interesting plot threads and new takes on familiar characters.
Age of Ultron is not the worst series ever, but it certainly failed to capitalize on its possibilities and interesting hooks, while only truly serving as a promotional tool for Marvel’s future.
Brian Michael Bendis (W), Alex Maleev, Bryan Hitch & Paul Neary, Butch Guice, Brandon Peterson, Carlos Pacheco & Roger Bonet w/ Tom Palmer, David Marquez, Joe Quesada (A), Marvel Comics, $3.99, June 19, 2013.