Time and time again, the Mighty Avengers despite its different rosters have found a way to defeat Ultron. There were those who warned that Ultron’s continuous evolution would bring humanity’s destruction. That day has arrived.
Many were killed. The entire world is left in ruins but never as much as the United States. The heroes that survived from the remnants of the X-Men, The Avengers and the Fantastic Four have moved underground to avoid Ultron’s patrols. Hawkeye had rescued Spider-Man on a solo mission from Hammerhead and the Owl, who had planned to sell him to Ultron in exchange of leniency.
This issue takes place after Marvel Now! Fantastic Four # 5 and during the events of Superior Spider-Man # 6. (which I may review later?)
Espionage and intelligence is vital when one needs to win a war. This war with Ultron is no different. Bendis’ writing was wise to remember that such things always happen during a struggle, that sacrifices need to be made to win a desperate war. Book Three goes into the psychology and the strategic need that the heroes need to go into. The book takes the reader into two scenes of the war, book two gave the reader a glimpse of what has been happening through the eyes of the Black Widow and Moon Knight, this time, Bendis seeks to express the desperation of being in the front line as well the efforts of the Black Panther, The Red Hulk and the Taskmaster in Chicago. I know, times are desperate indeed, that a villain such as the Taskmaster had joined the efforts against Ultron (but those who read Secret Avengers would not be surprised).
This chapter is a little slow to pick up even as it Bendis once again tries to define the deadly stakes and the desperation of the situation. The dialogue is strong that despite the fact that it takes its time in getting to the action, Bendis was able to bring forth certain losses that had driven the heroes into hiding. The Hulk, Cyclops, The Thing, Thor, Luke Cage’s wife and child have either been written off as dead or critically injured. Captain America once again takes point in leading the heroes and formulating a plan. (Tony Stark and Spidey have also hatched a plan against Ultron in Superior Spider-Man # 6) This plan is one of sacrifice and a way to get inside Ultron’s stronghold.
I do have to admit that this issue began to pick up when Red Hulk, The Black Panther and the Taskmaster engage a platoon of Ultron’s drones. They act independently of Cap’s group, and yet, obviously they have hatched up a scheme to also garner intelligence. The battle was quick and fierce, a little brutal and has a very surprising outcome. I really do hope that Bendis has plans, either this story takes place in a distant future or he will have a hard time trying to convince me that another reboot may be necessary (though Kang being plugged as a player may indeed play a huge part in this reality). I do feel that the losses and the story itself may put a huge dent in Marvel continuity.
Luke Cage and She-Hulk take the center stage in this issue as they may become major players in future issues. Readers of the Avengers would remember that the team has rules such as “the ends do not justify the means” and that “when at war, Avengers can indeed kill.”. Well, Bendis and the illustrations by Hitch were hell-bent in expressing the emotions in each panel, that even such rules become that much harder to fulfill even in the face of such a menace. Simple close-ups and shadows show a lot of emotions, as Hitch makes use of each panel to bring the characters into focus. Hitch was clearly the right artist for this series.
Yes, this chapter picks up a little and it becomes much more obvious that this series may be a slow-burning affair. The final page of this chapter brings about a shocker that made me wonder just what was it that I have seen. Is this ‘age’ of destruction truly set forth by Ultron or is it something along the lines of his “Ultron Imperatives”? I guess I’ll have to wait until the next chapter. Highly Recommended! [4 ½ Out of 5 Stars]
See previous reviews of the books in the AGE OF ULTRON saga:Book One and Book Two.
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