AGE OF ULTRON: Hitting the Halfway Point with AXEL ALONSO
For the second half, we discussed the Brian Michael Bendis-written event series Age of Ultron, which hit the halfway point this week with issue #5. The latest installment (the last of the series to be illustrated by Bryan Hitch) features a look back at the reconstruction of The Vision — destroyed by a Scarlet Witch-possessed She-Hulk back in "Avengers Disassembled" before reappearing towards the end of Bendis's Avengers run — as well as the remaining heroes coordinating a time-travel plan with Nick Fury in the Savage Land to attempt to set things right.
We talked with Alonso about the series so far, as well as last month's high-profile news that Angela is coming to the Marvel Universe in the final pages of June's Age of Ultron #10. Courtesy of Marvel, we're also debuting new interior pages from the upcoming Age of Ultron #8.
Axel Alonso: And then some. Brian had been working on this story for a while, and this was the perfect time to publish it. To see Age of Ultron come in at No. 2, right behind Guardians of the Galaxy, is very encouraging.
When you do an event, you always promise it's going to be universe-changing, then it's up to you to deliver upon that promise. Avengers vs. X-Men, for instance, set up Marvel NOW!, and transformed X-Men and the Avengers stories you're reading now. Age of Ultron will set up big things — transformative things in the Marvel universe, both at the character-level and the macro/universe-level. The arrival of Angela in the Marvel Universe is just a little piece of that.
Alonso: Right out the gate, we were very clear: This story takes place in the Marvel NOW! universe, not the future or in an alternate reality. Who of our heroes can survive the experience and/or restore the Marvel Universe back to what it was, are the big questions. And, of course, what will it be, if they do restore it? That last part is what's going to knock readers on their heels. Angela was just the tip of the iceberg — I have to be careful, I don't want to say too much. [Laughs.]
Nrama: Also notable in the first half was that it featured five consecutive issues of Bryan Hitch material, which was another example of how Marvel has worked ahead with this story. How important was it to launch with an artist like that, and releasing that much material in a few weeks?
Nrama: Backtracking to that well-publicized spoiler for the end of Age of Ultron — Angela coming to the Marvel Universe — it's certainly an interesting situation for many reasons. She's a character that hasn't been in comics in many years, and hasn't really even been in that many comics total. What kind of potential does Marvel see in the character? What made her important to get involved, and pursue?
Age of Ultron #5.Alonso: Angela's importance — how she fits into the Marvel mythology — will be revealed over time. And with Neil at the helm, count on her having a unique and fascinating place in the Marvel Universe. Judging from the way the Internet exploded after the announcement, it's clear there are a lot of interested readers out there.
Nrama: From the outside, it seems that a lot of the appeal of using the character is Neil Gaiman's involvement, and bringing him back into the Marvel fold.
Alonso: Yes, Neil's involvement is key. And Angela's arrival is just the first "oh @#$%" moment.More from Newsarama:
- Long and Short of It: The 10 Best SIZE-CHANGING Superheroes
- Best Shots Extra: AGE OF ULTRON #5 Reviewed
- AGE OF ULTRON #4 Debrief: Savage Land Sanctuary