Best Shots Advance Review: AGE OF ULTRON #1


Age of Ultron #1

Written by Brian Michael Bendis

Art by Bryan Hitch, Paul Neary, and Paul Mounts

Letters by Cory Petit

Published by Marvel Comics

Review by George Marston

'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10

Click here for preview

Marvel's much-hyped and much-speculated-on crossover Age of Ultron is finally here. And, while it starts out small, the end of this first issue hints at the larger picture for Marvel's post-apocalyptic epic. Brian Bendis and Bryan Hitch are one of Marvel's creative dream teams, and Age of Ultron is definitely a format in which the pair can deliver, but what they're delivering in this first issue is, at once, jarring and anticlimactic.


Focusing on Hawkeye, an Avenger whose star is certainly on the rise, Age of Ultron #1 serves more as a precursor than anything. It doesn't feel like the start of a mega-story, so much as a glimpse into a world so unlike the one we know that it's almost unrecognizable. As Hawkeye picks his way through an almost alien landscape of wrecked buildings and Ultron tech, he pursues a specific quarry, resulting in a long scene that echoes the climax of Taxi Driver almost perfectly. It's just the first in a staccato of increasingly depressing beats, culminating in one of the saddest images of a certain iconic Marvel hero ever committed to paper.

Bryan Hitch's sweeping, staggering shots of a New York devastated and overrun by Ultron are honestly the best part of the issue, not because of a lack of quality anywhere else, but because of the level of sheer craftsmanship, and the scope of the whole thing. Brian Bendis's script is appropriately subdued, and even when there are opportunities for him to go overboard, he lays back, allowing Hitch's pencils to deftly convey more emotion than words can often muster.


And yet, this isn't the strongest start this story could have made. While it's smart to focus on a smaller story first, building emotional stakes and setting the tone for the larger epic, this isn't the kind of popcorn-fueled, blockbuster opening that many would expect from a major event. Coupled with the thoroughly downcast plot, Age of Ultron #1 leaves the reader wanting more, both from the story, and from the world in which these versions of the characters live.

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