As mentioned he’s certainly done his fair share of playing in the chaotic mess of the Marvel Universe, and with the Age of Ultron story arc I was certain this was going to end in more mess. The story was simple; Ultron takes over the Earth, killing off just about anyone and everyone, yet there is no point of origin, until the Heroes figure out that Ultron is attacking the Earth from the future. Enter time travel and reality altering theme that seems to be a calling for Bendis haters (New X-Men anyone). The story takes a turn from being a standard Ultron story into something entirely different. Which is perturbing at best, those that were looking for a hardcore Ultron story did not get it.
Ultron is one of the greatest villains in the Marvel Universe, his hatred of mankind, his father issues, the incredible power, indestructible hide; he is a hero’s worst nightmare. Age of Ultron isn’t really an Ultron story. It is a mess of different themes that never really takes off. It starts great, some serious eye candy in the story but it doesn’t go anywhere. When it finally does go somewhere it’s all over place. It’s easy to blame the scribe on this one, his name is on the cover and with a history of diverging and deviating stories in the 616 under his belt it seems as though this is once again another of Bendis’ Boners.
I don’t know what the original plan for Age of Ultron was and if there wasn’t a massive re-direct in the middle of it, but I have to say, taking away the whole Ultron plot I like how this comic ended. What!? PABS! Have you lost your gourde?! No, I haven’t.
As I pointed out before the state of the Marvel Universe is a complete mess (read here) and has been for sometime. Many blame Bendis for the current state and I’ve argued that it’s just a systematic collapse in editorial and structure on the business end. As I made my entry back into comics this past year through Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited, the appalling state of the Marvel Universe is shocking. But it looks like I’m not the only one that feels this way. There are number of books right now that are pointing to this very fact, Hickman’s Avengers isn’t just about a gardener messing with Earth, but about the system, the 616 being sick to its core. Hickman’s other Avengers book, New Avengers, is clearly dealing with the sick and collapsing multiverse.
Now, some of these books are dealing with issues at the same time or interweaving with one another or who knows. But what I do accept is that by the end of Age of Ultron, Bendis turned what should have been an excellent Ultron taking over the world book into a great segue to the sickness in the Marvel Universe. And the MU is sick; time traveling has all but killed it as well as all the reality altering events. It is time for some kind of reboot, reset. I like how Hickman is handling this and I hope that Marvel lets him continue to work through it.
It was good to see Bendis recognize that the MU was a mess in Age of Ultron and while I think the book took a very different turn than what I was hoping it would be, the admittance that the 616 is a mess was very heart warming. Let’s see where this goes.