Avengers: Rage of Ultron
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Jerome Opena, Pepe Larraz, Mark Morales
Published by Marvel Comics
You might have heard of this tiny little film called Avengers: Age of Ultron hitting theaters on May 1st. Marvel wanted to prep casual readers and hardcore readers alike and published a bold, game-changing, original graphic novel about everyone’s favorite robot overlord, Ultron.
Rage of Ultron opens up with the Avengers battling Ultron in a time only classified as “then”. The team lineup of the classic Avengers with Vision, Scarlet Witch, and Beast in tow are trying to stop Ultron (with strings attached!) in the New York city streets. Beast and Hawkeye are the comedic duo throughout the early battle, and writer Rick Remender makes them hit all the right quips all the while dodging Ultron and his blasts. Jerome Opena handles the art duties for this section and owns it. The explosions and characters all feel distinct and looks visually aged just enough to feel like a flashback tale. The angles Opena uses to showcase the action makes this battle feel primed and ready for the big screen. The remaining Avengers join the fray and try to stop Ultron to no avail. It falls on Hank Pym, who was masquerading as Yellowjacket for this specific adventure, to stop his “son.” Hank gets injured in the battle, and Ultron attempts to help his “father”. Remender writes a interesting conversation about family, and what it means to love what we create, no matter the outcome. The day is won after Ultron is skyrocketed to who knows where and the Avengers live to fight another day.
The “another day” comes calling when we pick the story back up on the present day A.I.M. Island with the Descendants from Rick’s Secret Avengers Run causing trouble with a Stark Sentinel alongside them. Cue the Uncanny Avengers with old teammate Wasp, no Rouge, new additions Spider-Man and Giant-Man to foil the androids who claim to be “the sum total of human purpose!” (This is a small gripe but, continuity begins to blur after this point because of the current Uncanny Avengers Arc which highlights the team’s journey of surviving Counter Earth.) While both the teams are battling it out in the snowy backdrop, Giant-Man observes from the side and shares a inner monologue that shows just how the famed and renowned scientist has come on how he views artificial life. He goes one mile further and makes his story altering decision to use an invention that can effectively shut down robots with a flip of a switch, killing them instantly. The other Avengers take offense to this method but, Vision takes it personally because he is just like Father and the rest of the Descendants only on the opposite side of the tracks. Hank casually brushes it off stating he “didn’t kill them, he turned them off.” We get more insight on how far Janet and Hank’s relationship has grown in the Quinjet ride home. She tells him Ultron wasn’t his fault and how she too has lost family in the form of her daughter Katie, that she had in an alternate timeline with Havok only for Kang the Conqueror to rip her away from her.
It’s here our story shifts to Titan, the moon in which Thanos was born on. We catch up with Starfox aka Eros aka Brother of Thanos, sexing it up with two ladies and saving wine from spilling over. Remember that Quinjet that skyrocketed Ultron away from Earth? It landed on Titan. It takes literally minutes for the maniacal A.I. to take over the major functioning computers and systems on the planet to…fuse with Titan itself and become Planet Ultron. Throughout the midst of the invasion, back on Earth the Avengers are asking questions about Hank’s decision and we see his view point on how he believes the others treat him. It’s almost sad reading how the once founding member has fell from grace among his fellow heroes. Before a resolution can be reached however, Eros stumbles in claiming Ultron is on his way to Earth and before they can even look out of the window…Planet Ultron is already smiling devilishly in the upper atmosphere.
The bulk of the assault on Planet Ultron story is handled by Pepe Larraz, and while the art style is different, it’s not so unlike Opena’s to where it would take you out of the story. The Uncanny Avengers accompanied by Star Fox and the (new) Thor all make and continuously get eliminated by Ultron and seemingly non-stop drones. It’s up to Hank, Vision, and Captain America to stop the madness with one final trick but, the plan goes awry and it leads to one of the biggest twists in recent Marvel History. A character undergoes a transformation that is “out of left field” but, given the characters ties to the Marvel Universe it’ll be interesting if the other 616 books whether they be set before or after Secret Wars pick up on Rage of Ultron and its last page.
For all that it’s worth, Rage of Ultron proves that Marvel can tell a story that feels like an event while giving longtime readers something to add to their collection.