Many years ago, founding Avenger Henry Pym invented the artificial intelligence known as Ultron. Once he became self-aware, Ultron dedicated his existence to purifying the Earth of the human condition. He is the one villain that the Avengers sees as 'personal'.
“Ultron Unlimited” was one tremendously powerful Avengers story arc that I wondered just how Marvel writers would be able to top such an epic. Ultron had returned since then with somewhat less than impressive outings in the pages of “Mighty Avengers” and “Iron Man”. But Avengers fans knew that something was cooking since Kang revealed several unrealized futures concerning the murderous automaton. Busiek and Davis even hinted at a dread “Age of Ultron” during their run in the Avengers.
Tony Stark warned that if Ultron was to continue to evolve he would find a way to destroy humanity.
That Day is NOW.
Book Two follows through with the build up that has been perfectly established in Book One and goes further. This issue reveals in surmountable detail just how life would be for humans if ever Ultron did win. Humans are left turning on each other, they have no choice but to go into hiding and scrounge for food. Humanity is being hunted and annihilated slowly but surely. The Avengers or anyone else is helpless to stop it. I am not sure, but I did feel that Bendis’ writing and the illustration by Hitch were aimed to give that feeling of a holocaust, that humanity was truly on the verge of extinction.
Bendis and Hitch also goes into some details just what happened to Earth’s Mightiest heroes, as much as the majority seemed to have grouped themselves into hiding, there are those who still roam the city who are trying to find some semblance of hope. In some ways, they incorporate that very human side. It was smart point, since it was a way to establish the difference between machines and humans, something that made each one strong and vulnerable in a variety of different ways. It is almost as if the writing wanted to express the idea that man has the natural instinct to survive, even when it requires turning on each other. Machines on the other hand, can be single-minded and they usually act as a collective.
Book Two takes the reader into the holocaust through the eyes of the Black Widow and former Avenger Moon Knight. What I noticed was that Bendis was really trying to do to the limit, as the beautiful Black Widow is revealed with a very nasty wound on her face, and Marc Spector’s resorting to what he knew before as a mercenary, and he has no qualms in doing what he needs to do. As always, Marvel knew how develop its storylines on established devices and it was wise of Bendis to utilize such a device as a ‘safe house’ hidden by Nick Fury. Book Two also gives hints as to how Spider-man was captured, and it even reveals a shadowy image of Ultron. Again, Hitch and Bendis wanted to further tease, and generate chills, and they succeed.
I felt that Bendis wanted to set a groundwork for further developments of the storyline, as to avoid any holes in its plot. I did feel that Book Two slowed down a little. While effective in a different way, this issue lacked action scenes and instead opts for further plot development. The dialogue was strong, each sentence meant to instill confusion, withered determination and fear among its characters. Bendis does keep things simple and focuses on what had been introduced in Book Two. Simple and yet effective.
Hitch’s art was gorgeous as always and he was able to create tension through the use of shadows. The mood was certainly dreary and there was a feeling of unease for the characters and anticipation for the reader in the panels. As with a ace artist of his kind, Hitch follows up with the haunting last image of Book One with something that opposes that image of helplessness.