Page of Ultron

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In “The Next Avengers” Ultron has taken over the world and it is up to the children of the original Avengers to stop him.

Several Goodreads critics gave Marvel Avenger’s Age of Ultron just one or two stars, but like a few other critics, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Among the biggest gripes from both the naysayers and the surprised fans is that while the book is called “Age of Ultron,” the title character is missing from the majority of the book. But this wasn’t a really big issue for me. I thought of it more as an “Age of Aquarius” -type description rather than something that was literal. Ultron did not have to be represented in the pages of the book.

What mattered more were the representations of the impact he had on the world. I fault Bendis for not giving us a better sense of day-to-day living in the Age of Ultron. There is a superhero on almost every page of the book, but (discounting the gangsters at the beginning of the book and a scene in Texas towards the middle) there are no civilians. We never hear from any civilians. It would have been nice to learn how society has adapted to the “Age of Ultron.”

The Age of Ultron needed a dash of DMZ, a great comic by Brian Wood that chronicles the lives of civilians caught in a modern day US Civil War that has set New Jersey and New York on opposite sides with Manhattan as the demilitarized zone that separates them. Imagine J Jonah Jameson or Ben Urich or some reporter for the Daily Bugle chronicling the daily lives of New Yorkers struggling to create a new normalcy in the post-Ultron world. Since not all of the US was affected by Ultron, it might also be interesting to see how the citizens of unaffected states feel about those from affected states moving into their neighbors. The migration would occur as a result of people in affected states leaving their homes to escape the devastation.

As someone who only read the Miles Morales Ultimate Spider-Man portion of Marvel’s Cataclysm event, the Age of Ultron helped to put that story into context. I liked Bendis’ explanation of time as an organism that is a living, breathing part of us and that rips and tears every time someone travels through it. Time Travel has become Marvel’s narrative crutch as of late. It could just be bad luck on my part but every Marvel title I’ve read recently is a story about or influenced by time travel. I don’t know enough about the goings on in the Marvel Universe to say whether or not Cataclysm signified Marvel walking on its own again. Based on the last few Marvel Now issues of Wolverine and the X-Men I’ve read it sadly hasn’t done so yet.

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