Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils by Bryan Hitch
Inks by Paul Neary
Colors by Paul Mounts
The Age of Ultron is here! Ultron has conquered the Earth, leaving the heroes of Earth broken and in hiding. I love the way this book kicks off; we get dropped right into the action as Ultron has already taken over. I love that move because not only to we get dropped right into the action, but also the way he takes over can be used for some clever flashbacks later on. The tone of the book is very reminiscent of one of my favorite stories ever, Age of Apocalypse. Things are dark and bleak and there doesn’t seem to be much hope for anyone.
As we kick off we are treated to some classic Hawkeye bad assery as he mounts a solo mission to rescue Spider-Man, who has been captured by a group of humans who have allied themselves with Ultron, which I take as another nod to AoA. I love the way Hawkeye moves through the human base taking out captor after captor with all the coolness of an action movie. Hawkeye also delivers some great dialogue while he moves, adding to the cool factor.
Once Spider-Man has been rescued, Hawkeye takes him back to the lair where Earth’s remaining heroes are holed up in utter disarray. Apparently Hawkeye was the only one even willing to go after Spider-Man, which shows us just how broken our heroes are. What really surprised me was that Wolverine was there, and even HE wasn’t willing to save Spider-Man, that’s really saying something about just how scared they are. The reason for their broken spirits becomes clearer as we see that even Captain America is clueless on what to do, something we just aren’t used to seeing. The splash at the end with Cap sitting there hugging his knees to his chest really serves to hit that point home.
The set up story here is great, one thing I don’t like about first issues is that they are generally slow as the story seeds get planted. There was none of that here as we open up with some amazing action, then we get to see how the heroes are living, each story beat hits perfectly and serves as a great set up for what I’m expecting to be a great series.
The art here is gorgeous with some very beautifully dark splash pages to introduce us to the Age of Ultron New York. The artistic tone of the book also helps to hammer home just how bleak times are, not only do we see how destroyed New York is, but the colors have a muted and dark quality to them to convey just how tragic these times are. A fair amount of the tone and the story is actually conveyed through the dark tone of the art. The words give us the story, but the art gives us the experience of being in the Age of Ultron.
Overall this is one of the best first issues I’ve read in a long time and after the way it ends, I’m hungry to delve deeper into the Age of Ultron to find out just how things got this bad. Action fans will not be disappointed!
4.5 out of 5 nerds
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