Age of Ultron #2
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
After its jarring opening issue left readers with numerous questions, it's becoming obvious that even the characters in Age of Ultron aren't sure what's going on. The abrupt and brutal nature of Ultron's seeming conquest of the world generates an atmosphere of hopelessness and urgency that sets Age of Ultron apart from other recent events such as Siege and Fear Itself despite a plot that is strikingly similar in terms of scope and context.Brian Bendis is definitely still finding ways to flex new muscles when it comes to dialogue and pacing. While there are a few beats in this issue that echo some of his more well-known dialogue driven stories, the overall architecture of Age of Ultron is more front loaded than he's often known for. Again, the issue starts off with a bang, moving the action to the west coast with Moon Knight and Black Widow, who share a dynamic that's surprisingly compelling. It quickly becomes clear that not only does Ultron's reach extend across the country, but likely over the entire world. Further, all may not be as it seems, as no one seems sure how Ultron's attack occurred.
Bryan Hitch continues to bring his widescreen sensibilities to Age of Ultron, building an excellent dynamic between his expansive panels, and the intimate, singular vignettes of Bendis's script. This is less a summer superhero crossover than a dystopian sci-fi spectacle with more than a little in common with the Terminator franchise. Paul Mounts is a tremendous asset, setting off Paul Neary's moody inks by consistently finding ways to inject alternate lighting and dynamic colors into each page without overselling the drama, or undercutting the mood.If there's a downside to Age of Ultron so far, it's that the deliberately oblique nature of the mega-story, while creating an interesting dynamic, is somewhat alienating. While the smaller pieces of the puzzle are compelling and engaging, the larger picture that they're working towards is still somewhere in the offing, waiting for its surface to really even be scratched.
And there's plenty of time left. After all, this is only the second issue. However, there's a nagging feeling while reading Age of Ultron #2 that the component to turn this from a good story into a great one is still waiting in the wings. It's as if the knowledge that it's going to take some time for the bigger pieces to move into place is undercutting the human drama at the core of the story. This is Marvel attempting The Walking Dead, and while there are enough tropes to support a meandering journey through The Walking Dead's dying world, Age of Ultron will need a little more flash to show why it's different than any other major Marvel event.