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What bugs me about the end of Age of Ultron #10 is that the Beast is with Hank Pym and Tony Stark as they discuss time being ‘broken.’ I mean, there’s the fact that he’s drawn pre-Quitely, which makes no sense at all; but there’s also his action in All-New X-Men. No matter where you place that scene happening, he comes off poor: either he contributed to the problem by bringing the original X-Men into the future or he knew about the problem and still abused time travel. Given his association with the two men (while he’s a member of the Illuminati, he hasn’t associated with the Avengers really since Avengers vs. X-Men; but, he was with the group that rescued Spider-Woman), I’m sticking with my view that this scene takes place shortly after Avengers #12.1 and before Avengers vs. X-Men, meaning he still used time travel after time ‘broke’ because of too much time travel.
Upon reflection, I think I was wrong. I argued that Age of Ultron takes place in the future and that it probably wasn’t an alternate present. That was wrong. It was an alternate past.
The page after the big Ultron explosion and disappearance in Avengers #12.1 shows the facility the Avengers and Intelligencia were in blown to bits and the Avengers getting up from the wreckage. It’s a big two-page panel above three smaller panels of Tony Stark talking all Tony Stark-esque. In Age of Ultron #10, we get two panels that seem like they’re visual allusions to that large panel of the grey building wreckage and Avengers struggling to their feet: the first Butch Guice panel, which is tiny and cramped; and a big two-page panel where Ultron’s head gets knocked off as he fights the Avengers in the wreckage of the building. Neither is satisfying.
You ever look at comics with multiple artists and wonder how those specific artists wound up working on the book? Not your average time-strapped “Get that shit done as soon as fucking possible” comics, but the planned multiple-artist comics where those different artists are actually meant to entice readers rather than fill them with dread over the uneven visuals they’re about the experience. Ever wonder about those comics? While there were story reasons for Brandon Peterson and Carlos Pacheco doing the art that they did in Age of Ultron #6-9, why those two artists? Why, when looking for two artists to pick up where Bryan Hitch left off, did everyone involve decide that those two were the logical choices? Was it simply availability? That exact right combination of “Isn’t drawing anything right now,” “Someone Bendis likes/wants to work with,” and “Big enough name that it doesn’t seem like a step down?” I don’t know. Then again, I don’t know how they pick artists that draw entire projects themselves, so…
Was it his Fantastic Four run with Mark Millar where Bryan Hitch started dropping the hard panel borders, preferring soft, nonexistent edges with thick wide gutters? It might have been before that, but that’s where I remember it showing up. And every artist save Carlos Pacheco uses that layout style in Age of Ultron. Except for in issue 10 when Pacheco does it, too, and Joe Quesada doesn’t. How fucking weird is that?
Bryan Hitch coming aboard for this issue is a smart move. Hitch’s role as an artist who comes aboard for special project suits him. He’s the perfect artist for big comics featuring a ton of characters with a strong ability at drawing a crowd without it seeming crowded. What impressed me most was how he made Noh-Varr’s costume actually look good, something that artists like John Romita, Jr. and Chris Bachalo haven’t been able to pull off.
—Chad Nevett’s complete discussion of the art of Bryan Hitch, CBR review of Avengers #12.1
It’s mailbag time!
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.
I’ve been thinking about the duplicate Wolverine and Sue Richards and how, maybe, they’re still around and we just haven’t hit the point in time that they came back to. After all, it’s unclear when the events of Age of Ultron happened exactly. It was just a vague “At some point that’s maybe now or sometime after now… maybe…?” Actually, there’s only one clear piece of evidence that indicates when the post-apocalyptic events of Age of Ultron happen: Peter Parker is Spider-Man.
The Vision appears only in the background of the Hank Pym timequake panel in Age of Ultron #10, but this issue sets him free and proves one of Tony Stark’s theories wrong. Or, it proves how futile all efforts to stop Ultron truly are. Or, both. So many possibilities! How I love time travel!
Random Thought! Age of Ultron #10 is the only comic that I own. It’s Random Thoughts time! Get excited!
Having discarded it almost immediately upon returning home with my new comics, it’s hard to remember that Age of Ultron #10 came wrapped in a black Polybag. The series began with a foil cover and ended in a Polybag. In 2013. It was a series of constant surprises, no?
One of the things I’ve always liked about Age of Ultron #10 is how it brings to an end not just Brian Michael Bendis’s time on the Avengers books, but also closes the loop on the first arc of the “Heroic Age” relaunch of Avengers. Bendis is not just a writer who likes to return to ideas/themes, he likes to return to specific plot points and characters, exploring them as fully as possible. Here, it’s Ultron and time ‘breaking.’
I had a small theory to float about Age of Ultron #10 and the moment where time is ‘broken,’ but I don’t think it’s going to play out exactly. I think I’ll float it anyway.