web stats

CSBG Archive

Another View: Age of Ultron #10 Part 10

Judging from comments, I feel like I should explain how I view the events of Age of Ultron #10 in more detail, specifically when the issue (and series) take place and what that means for my somewhat sarcastic post from yesterday.

Firstly, I don’t presume that the ‘timequake’ that occurs in issue 10 is localised to a specific moment in time. The concept of it suggests a ‘breaking’ that spreads throughout time. The images that we see are of six people, at least three in different times: Star-Lord, Hank Pym, and Blackbeard Thing. I could argue that Wolverine is in a fourth time period, but that’s not as objective. Pym is in the period covered by Avengers #12.1 that is reexplored/rewritten in Age of Ultron #10, which happens in the past of when Star-Lord is when the ‘timequake’ hits him during the current Guardians of the Galaxy series. Blackbeard Thing is clearly not in the present, adding a third time period. Iron Man and Ultimate Spider-Man are not presented distinctly enough to pinpoint when we are seeing them (presumably, Stark is in the same time period as Pym and Ultimate Spider-Man is in the present, which is close to the same time as Star-Lord). But, whatever, that doesn’t matter. We have enough evidence to show that the ‘timequake’ isn’t limited to one time period, meaning that it has no bearing on when Age of Ultron #10 happens. (Though, the explosion/shattering of time showing numerous images from Marvel Now books seems less based in a specific time period and more in a variation on the recent trend of comics giving teaser images of what’s to come over the next year.)

So, that out of the way, here’s how I see it:

1. The opening scene, the repurposed pages of Avengers #12.1, and the rewritten follow-up scene take place, obviously, during the events of that issue, which came out just before Fear Itself. The first page also provides the only reference to when the issue takes place: “Some months ago.” In the opening scene, we see the Sue Richards that travelled back in time with Wolverine to stop Ultron.

2. The two pages where that Sue and Logan arrive in New York via Nick Fury’s flying car takes place at roughly the same time as the events of the first half of Age of Ultron, which is some point in the future. (Yesterday, I half-joked that that future is what the Marvel Universe is soon entering because Peter Parker is Spider-Man in Age of Ultron, not Otto Octavius. As was pointed out, some tie-in comic(s) had Octavius as Spider-Man; as I responded, Brian Michael Bendis didn’t write that comic and I only read the actual Age of Ultron series. I tend to have a fairly narrow view of events in that I usually only read the comics written by the writer of the main series, ignoring the rest (unless it’s a comic I’m already reading or is written by someone whose work I really like, like, say, Secret Invasion: Thor, written by Matt Fraction when the only other Secret Invasion comics I read were written by Bendis). So, my views on Age of Ultron are 100% based on the Bendis-penned series. The tie-ins do not exist in my world and citing them is irrelevant.) This is the future, because we never saw the events of Age of Ultron in present continuity (aside from those tie-ins that don’t really count). While it’s possible that the series would happen with us seeing the rewritten continuity simultaneously (and without explicitly being stated as such), it seems unlikely somehow. Since the series seems to take place in the future of the ‘present’ (aka the time when the series was being released), Sue and Logan would travel to that future time to verify that they succeeded in stopping Ultron. Their New York is still there; they won.

3. The ‘timequake’ spreads across time.

4. Pym, Stark, and the Beast discuss what happened. The Beast, oddly, has his pre-secondary mutation appearance, suggesting (inaccurately) that this takes place prior to Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run. This scene seems to take place shortly after the defeat of Ultron ‘some months ago.’

5. A series of epilogue teasers plant seeds for stories that will be published after Age of Ultron #10, showing three consequences of the ‘timequake’ that was not limited to a specific time or reality.

Not a lot of this is made explicit. Only the teasers and the take down of Ultron are specifically locked down in time periods. Technically, the Pym/Stark teaser doesn’t need to be a ‘present’ scene either. It could either be a scene from shortly after Ultron’s defeat or even a scene shortly after Bendis’s final Avengers story where Pym helped rescue the Wasp.

Part of me finds all of this ambiguity fitting for an issue where time ‘breaks.’ Maybe none of it is as clearly defined as I’m arguing. Maybe it bleeds together and jumps around, put back together in the wrong order.

Then again, Age of Ultron #1 tells us that the story takes place “Today,” so who knows.

7 Comments

Please stop… Just stop.

No one is making you read these? I like these. Good academic writing about superhero comics.

Age of Ultron #1 took place “today” because it was set in the Marvel present, but a Marvel present where Ultron went back in time and succeeded back in Avengers #12.1.

So Bendis could honestly say “this is happening right now in current continuity” and be truthful, while it also not working for stuff like Otto as Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four away from Earth.

All I know is if there’s a timequake, someone better say when it gets “fixed” that “you were sick, now you’re better, there’s work to be done”.

As I read it, AoU didn’t need to happen immediately after Avengers 12.1. The seeds are in that issue, but there is no reason to assume that Ultron’s attack from the future was aimed at the exact day after his awakening, right? He might as well have launched his attack to days or even years before Avengers 12.1.
That’s why I didn’t think the Superior tie-in necessarily confilicted with the story. Ultrons attack and subsequent takeover happened during Marvel NOW times, the foundation took place in 12.1.

Of course, Bendis did write Spidey with a distinctive Peter Parker voice – I doubt Otto would go to the lengths of masking his true identity to tell Hawkeye “Did I tell you how much I love you recently?” after being rescued from torture, but that argument could be made for the sake of validating the various tie-ins, should the desire to do so be there. I read everything in the HC which includes all of the tie-ins, and I didn’t think it felt off. I actually enjoyed most of it myself. Sure, most of the tie-ins weren’t so grand (esp. that Fantastic Four one…) but I thought Al Ewing’s ‘Assemble’ issues were really, really good.

” I tend to have a fairly narrow view of events in that I usually only read the comics written by the writer of the main series, ignoring the rest (unless it’s a comic I’m already reading or is written by someone whose work I really like, like, say, Secret Invasion: Thor, written by Matt Fraction when the only other Secret Invasion comics I read were written by Bendis). So, my views on Age of Ultron are 100% based on the Bendis-penned series. The tie-ins do not exist in my world and citing them is irrelevant.)”

I think this is where you’re going to lose a lot of people. It’s nice to WANT to maintain the integrity of a story by saying “this happened and the tie-ins didn’t,,” but neither the readers at large nor Marvel see it that way. Officially, the tie-ins happened. Officially, Spider-Man was Otto in Peter’s body. You have to suspend your disbelief to read Bendis’ main issues to understand that Spider-Man-acting-like-Peter is actually Otto. You also have to accept that when Bendis wrote the story, the “Otto as Spidey” hadn’t happened yet because the series was delayed by two years.

Besides, it’s not like in all of Marvel’s history of publication, a writer has never contradicted or been contradicted by another writer. An example that comes to mind for me is how John Byrne had the Hulk guest-star in an issue of FANTASTIC FOUR shortly after the Secret Wars. In the FF title, the team comes home from the Secret Wars, Sue immediately goes into labor, and they rush her to the hospital and call in Bruce Banner to help with radiation issues. In the Hulk’s title, the Hulk comes home from the Secret Wars, goes looking for his missing girlfriend, and immediately goes on a rampage which ends with the Hulk’s exile.

There’s no plausible way to read those two stories together. None. You can do a mental leap of logic and think, well, maybe the Hulk calmed down for a few minutes, ran over to the hospital to help the FF, and then went back to the events of his own title. However, if you read those two books, it’s implausible and ridiculous. The better answer is that John Byrne and Bill Mantlo just weren’t coordinating with each other. It looks sloppy, but you ignore it and move on.

Same thing here. Bendis didn’t get Dan Slott’s advance notice that Spider-Man was Otto, so AoU doesn’t read that way. Oh well. You accept it and don’t worry about it too much. It’s a comic.

I’d like to know what you view as evidence that it is actually Peter, and not Otto playing the role of Peter. As I’ve stated previously, Otto still had Pete’s memories and most Avengers weren’t aware if his identity anyway-making it easy for him to dupe everyone.
There is no specific evidence to prove its the original Parker.

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives