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Age of Ultron #10: Review

Jun 2013
Brian Michael Bendis, David Marquez

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

Rating:
4.5 stars

Age of Ultron #10 Review by (June 29, 2013)
So the series as a whole collapses to 2 alternate timelines which didn't happen in the main Marvel reality. And we don't get Ultron defeated by a last ditch attack of heroes as the cover suggests. But I *like* what we do get. The robot's undone by a sneaky assault in the background of a fight we've already seen. Time travel and alternate realities get handled as well as they ever are. And the event still gets to have effects even though it never happened. There were mercifully few tie-ins, and they mostly had some relevant purpose as well as often telling a good story. Most tie-ins were set in the AoU timeline. Avengers Assemble #14AU and Fantastic Four #5AU showed how Black Widow and Invisible Woman got into their situations at the start of the series. FF#5AU also showed how the FF got here from deep space, which turns out to be relevant for Mr Fantastic's involvement in New Avengers. It also anchors the series to the Marvel NOW era. As does Superior Spider-Man #6AU, which confirms that it's the Otto Octavius Spider-Man were dealing with. Avengers Assemble #15AU ties things to a more specific time within the Captain Marvel series. I would say the point of Ultron #1AU was remind us about Victor Mancha, who will figure in the Avengers AI series. 2 tie-ins belong to the Morgana timeline. Uncanny Avengers #8AU actually fits in the UAv reality too, showing us the timeline-hopping Kang bringing up the Apocalypse Twins. And Fearless Defenders #4AU reveals that Caroline Le Fey is the daughter of Morgana and Dr Doom, which will be true in the main reality too. Finally Wolverine & X-Men #27AU actually happens in the base reality, before W&IW change things by interacting with Pym. Allegedly Logan here causes the Brood to evolve to become as bad as they are, and it isn't a change to the timeline, just a piece of secret history. (Except I don't think it really jibes with the Brood as we know them.)

The Angela pages were drawn by Quesada, and it was said to be because Marvel wanted to guarantee secrecy. This was why Previews didn't show the cover to Guardians of the Galaxy #5. However Previews did show Angela on the cover of GotG#6 (and there were announcements on the Internet) well before this issue came out. However the contents of Hunger #1&2 were both kept secret, so the pairing here was a surprise (at least to me). And the covers to #1-3 are also still secret, unless they really *are* all the same picture of the word 'hunger' and a scattering of stars. I've also read Age of Ultron #10AI now. It's basically Hank Pym telling us his life story. Then the Morgana Le Fey timeline (which Wolverine must have filled him in on) persuades him that it went bad because of the lack of Pym the superhero rather than Pym the scientist. So he decides to throw himself wholeheartedly into superheroing. But he still also manages to create a robot which I think is the Doombot from the upcoming Avengers AI series.

The time-travelling Wolverine and Invisible Woman must return to the changed timeline in what was the time of AoU. Ie post-Av#24.1 and therefore definitely after Av#12.1. This raises the interesting question of who was the IW who secretly gave Pym the tape explaining what was going on? The version of Sue in this timeline shouldn't have known anything about the anti-Ultron plan at the time, not until she later went back in time and returned. Similarly, in the 1st new page after the reprint from Av#12.1, Wolverine says "This is it." That could just mean this is where we kill Ultron for good (hah!). But when I read it it sounded like he was the time-travelling Wolverine, who knew what to expect. Irrespective of *when* the time-travelling duo returned, we also have a standard time-travel-and-create-alternate-universe problem. Which is normally ignored, but Bendis actually raised the problem himself in #7. When W&IW created the Morgana Le Fey timeline they came forward in time to find duplicates of themselves already existed there. Duplicates who had never gone back in time because there was no AoU to prevent. But the same should apply here. The pair should find duplicates here who never got involved in AoU. Luckily they don't have time to meet (and anyway this Sue is off in space) before the time-space fracture. This could be made to resolve the duplicates question. Or maybe there *will* be 2 of them hanging around?

Let's see if I can work out what happened in this issue (and the whole series). In Avengers #12.1 Ultron returned and escaped. Iron Man predicted he'd take over the world, which isn't a long shot because we'd already seen such a future in Av#1-6. Nothing much was heard or said about Ultron after that except Moon Knight had an Ultron head in his latest series. Then AoU reveals Ultron conquering current Earth from the future, via Vision. This conquering must have happened in an equivalent of the current Marvel state because various characters are depicted in their current status. Eg Spider-Man is Otto Octavius, the Fantastic Four are off in space, Captain Marvel has her current brain problem. Also it must occur after Vision was reactivated in Av#24.1. Whatever, the cunning plan changes the reality of Av#12.1, and AoU never happens. This means that Av#12.1 as printed was part of the AoU timeline. (And to be fair it was billed as such.) But the rest of the Marvel issues after that have been part of the new non-AoU timeline. The cunning plan actually created the current Marvel reality. This explains why the impending possibility of AoU didn't get mentioned in other comics issues (as far as I recall). The only fly-in-the-ointment is the Moon Knight series. It would be nice to say that his Ultron head is the one bouncing on the ground this issue. But he acquires it in a very different way. And this is the only place I know where Iron Man is still worried about Ultron. Back in olden times Pym nust have incorporated the virus in the 1st version of Ultron. (Which re-raises the question I asked last time. Why, during his many rebuilds, did Ultron never spot the virus, or just accidentally not include it in one of his new bodies?) Then he made the tape (younger Pym must have been told about the future raid on the Intelligencia by the time-travelling Wolverine last issue), and removed the memory of it all (in the unspecified way not specified last time). With

The end of the next section got cut off. The last sentence should be:- With the extra wrinkle introduced this issue of the fake code attack designed to trigger the virus.

There are several pencil/ink artists in this book (not including the promo covers). This is how I think they break down:- Alex Maleev - 3 initial pages of Pym, plus 1 more introducing Avengers AI. Bryan Hitch & Paul Neary - 8 pages of Av#12.1. Butch Guice - 2 pages of Ultron fight. Brandon Peterson - 6 more pages of Ultron fight. Carlos Pacheco & Roger Bonet & Tom Palmer - 8 pages of time-space fracture. David Marquez - 3 pages of Ultimate Spider-Man. Joe Quesada - 3 pages of Angela. It's time for the dept of misleading covers again. Some of the characters shown attacking Ultron aren't even in the book. The presence of Captain America, Red Hulk and Storm suggests that it's part of the team that went to the future to attack Ultron in #6, but they never actually reached him. And I don't know who the head at the bottom is supposed to be.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Age of Ultron #10 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
6 months ago Dr Henry Pym gets a message on his supposedly-secure computer telling him to look outside his lab door, where he finds a package. He (obviously) doesn't see Invisible Woman watching him retrieve it. It turns out to be a video from his younger self which he doesn't remember ever recording. The younger self assures him that he's not supposed to remember it. He's been given the message now because he's got to do something about Ultron.

We then get 8 pages reprinted from Avengers (2010) #12.1 where a bunch of Avengers (Beast, Iron Man, Moon Knight, Ms Marvel, Protector, Thor and Wolverine plus Abigail Brand of SWORD) bust in on a meeting of the Intelligencia (Klaw, Mad Thinker, MODOK, Red Ghost and Wizard) to rescue Spider-Woman. They discover the baddies have been tinkering with a Spaceknight armour, which turns out to contain Ultron.

There is dialogue added to these scenes. 1st as a voiceover with younger Pym telling older Pym what's happening. Later there's older Pym contacting Iron Man and sending him some code to be uploaded into Ultron via a backdoor Pym had built in when he created the 1st version of the robot.

In the original issue Ultron escaped at this point. But now Ultron is aware that something's happening within him. The code is still uploading, so the Avengers attack him to keep him distracted. Ultron claims that he's dealing with the code as it arrives, but it still finishes uploading and starts installing. Ultron shuts down, and Thor destroys him leaving only his head.

Afterwards older Pym explains to Iron Man that it wasn't the uploaded code that stopped Ultron. But when he tried to fight it, that triggered a virus that Pym had built into the original Ultron. And it was the virus that killed him.

Next we see Wolverine and Invisible Woman arriving back from their time trip, to a New York not dominated by Ultron's structures. They think it's all over. But reality breaks apart:-

We see Wolverine over a backdrop of various versions of him such as Old Man Logan and the Days of Future Past incarnation.

We see Tony Stark against a similar backdrop, including Iron Man 2020.

We see a Guardians of the Galaxy comprising Groot, Rocket Racoon and Star-Lord in his old uniform, with a backdrop of a Nova (but which one), Thanos and the original (dead) Captain Marvel.

We see Hank Pym in a couple of his super-identities, plus some characters from the upcoming Avengers A.I..

We see the current Ultimate Spider-Man over characters from various alternate realities, such as the Squadron Supreme and Killraven.

We see Thing in his Blackbeard disguise from the original Fantastic Four #5, and scenes from other time-travel adventures such as Dr Doom and Iron Man in Camelot.

Then a bright light starts to consume these scenes, while at the same time they break through into cover or interior scenes (mostly) from Previewed future comics:-

The Wolverines connect to the cover from next month's Indestructible Hulk #11 which starts a time-travel mission caused by Age of Ultron.

The Iron Men shatter Kang and the baby Apocalypse Twins in a page from the recent Uncanny Avengers #5 (and the succeeding storyline mentions an event that splits the prime Marvel timeline into 7 - an aftereffect of Age of Ultron?).

The Guardians are paired with the original X-Men brought forward in time in All-New X-Men, who are going to be involved in a story involving X-Men from 3 eras.

Pym morphs into a scene which eludes me, featuring a load of robots and an old man.

Ultimate Spider-Man meets up with Galactus from the main Marvel timeline, which refers to the upcoming Hunger series mentioned below.

The time-travellers are linked to Spider-Man 2099 who will soon feature in a time-clash with the current Superior Spider-Man.

Plus the shattered bits of the current scenes show other elements (including HERBIE!) too numerous to mention (and often too difficult to identify).

Now cut to Beast, Henry Pym and Tony Stark discussing what just happened. Pym believes Wolverine's repeated time jumps to the same place and time over the past few issues have broken the space-time continuum (as the alternate Iron Man predicted last issue). Other timelines may be affected.

We now see Ultimate Spider-Man facing Galactus again, followed by a promo for Hunger #1 (the issue previously known as Age of Ultron #10UC). This must be Galactus from the main Marvel timeline because the Ultimate Gah Lak Tus was totally different. This indicates a crossover between the 2 universes.

Then Pym tells Stark he knows how to do AI right. Cue Avengers AI #1.

Finally out in space Angela has arrived, swearing vengeance on whoever has brought her here. And she'll appear next in Guardians of the Galaxy #5. Angela extends the space-time fracture to the omniverse, as she's Neil Gaiman's character from Spawn.

And just to round things off there's an ad for the 1st follow-on book to appear, Age of Ultron #10AI.


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> Age of Ultron: Book info and issue index

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David Marquez
David Marquez
Richard Isanove
Brandon Peterson (Cover Penciler)
Brandon Peterson (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Lauren Sankovitch.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Beast
Beast

(Hank McCoy)
Invisible Woman
Invisible Woman

(Sue Storm)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Ms. Marvel
Ms. Marvel

(Carol Danvers)
Spider-Woman
Spider-Woman

(Jessica Drew)
Thing
Thing

(Ben Grimm)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)
Wolverine
Wolverine

(James Howlett)

Plus: Abigail Brand, Protector (Noh-Varr), Ultimate Spider-Man.