Or – “An Uneven Series Thus Far…”
Future Wolverine traveled back in time to undo Ultron’s reign of terror by murdering Hank Pym, but created an even more crapsack world in the doing. Now, he’s once again in the timestream, but if Doctor Who has taught us anything, it’s that messing with history can be dicey business. Your Major Spoilers review awaits!
An interesting concept.
Both art teams are well-chosen.
9 issues in, 3 issues worth of story.
Time-traveling Wolverine is confusing.
AGE OF ULTRON #9
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist(s): Brandon Peterson/Carlos Pacheco
Inker: Roger Bonet
Colorist(s): Paul Mounts/Jose Villarrubia
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Editor(s): Tom Brevoort with Lauren Sankovitch
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Age Of Ultron: There’s a lesson to be learned from Wolverine’s folly. In an attempt to rid the world of Ultron, he murdered Hank Pym, causing the world to be even more horrific than the one he wanted to avoid. What to do now when you’re a psychopath with a time machine?
WHEN THIS THING GETS UP TO 88, YOU’RE GONNA SEE SOME SERIOUS $#!+.
Last issue ended with two armies clashing over the ruined remnants of New York City, and this one opens with a massive explosion that levels even more of it. Wolverine seems to be the only survivor, at first, but future Iron Man is still around to monologue about the nature of time and space. Artistically, it’s a little off, but from a writing standpoint, it’s just frippery, taking all the momentum that the story had generated, and dragging it to a halt as Iron Man reminds me of Roy Batty’s death in ‘Blade Runner.’ Something strange seems to be going on in this issue, as we cut back to the moment where Wolverine fatally stabbed Hank Pym, only for another Wolverine to arrive. He’s wearing a different outfit than the Wolverine who started out the issue, which implies that either he stopped to change into his old outfit (the one from Hulk 181), or that we may be looking at the third individual version of Logan in a single story. Dialogue may or may not indicate a transition, it’s unclear, but the slow story gets even slower as The Wolverines begin comparing notes…
VERY CONFUSING STUFF.
This series started out talky and awkward, referencing what is clearly a heavily-thought out backstory, without giving us enough clues to really make it feel “real.” The time-travel plot brought life to the middle section of the story, but the second half of this book is a four-way conversation between Wolverine, Wolverine, Goliath and the Invisible Woman, and it just feels endlessly unnecessary and overly talky. Worst of all, though Wolverine slashes the hell out of Goliath early in the story, he doesn’t bleed, even when binding his open wounds, which makes for a strangely mixed message when tied to the seemingly adult discussion of whether to murder an Avenger. Wolverine takes a bit of Tony Stark’s dying rambling, and tries to give Pym the information necessary to take Ultron down in the future, and the issue ends with the iconic scene of Ultron-1 addressing his “father” for the first time. It’s a 20-page story, but if you were to boil the cyclical conversations and long digressions away, there’s maybe 7 or 8 pages that actually mean or do anything…
THE BOTTOM LINE: UNCLEAR AND HEAVILY PADDED WITH TALKY-TALKY…
Along with a puzzling decision by Wolverine at the end, this issue left a very bad taste in my mouth, and reminds me that Marvel’s current publishing strategy is one of volume. We’re certain to see miniseries exploring and expanding the alternate futures seen in this issue and previous ones, which will give the depth and background to make the carnage seen at the beginning of this book meaningful. Unfortunately, there’s none of that here, which makes even the shocking death of Iron Man seem like a meaningless fillip, while the conversation that sidetracks the second half of the issue feels like unproductive filler. After a couple of strong issues, Age of Ultron #9 puts on the brakes hard and destructively, undermining the plot that worked for me with a lot of hot air, leaving the issue with a very disappointing 1.5 out of 5 stars overall. Once again, a big crossover event is so concerned with the destination (and the eventual reveal of Angela) that the creators forget to make the journey interesting or fun…