Artist: Bryan Hitch
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release date: March 6, 2013
Verdict: Epic in Scale!
After nine years guiding the loves and lives of the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Brian Bendis left the series a few months ago. When it was announced, I was confused, as this mini-series, The Age of Ultron, had been teased over a year and bit ago with a special free comic book day issue by Bendis and Bryan Hitch. Were we not going to get it? Had the various Marvel characters stories taken them places that would preclude this Age of Ultron from making sense? Neither it seems. It was just a bit delayed, and now, it’s finally started to ship.
The series is set to run for 10 issues and will feature artwork by Bryan Hitch for the first 5 issues (don’t worry everyone! He’s already finished all the artwork for all 5 issues!), as well as Carlos Pacheco, Brandon Petersen and, for a few pages at least, Marvel Chief creative officer, Joe Quesada. From what I’ve heard throughout the grapevine, this entire series is fully drawn and will come out according to its schedule, which should be three times a month for issues #1-6 and twice a month for issues #7-10. In other words; about four months.
The first book opens on the Marvel Universe already fully conquered by Ultron. It’s hell on Earth and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get better any time soon. This issue follows Bendis’ favorite Avenger, Hawkeye, as he strives to save an imprisoned Peter Parker from the nefarious Owl. What struck me right away was how many people Hawkeye outright killed. Not just an arrow in the bicep or the leg, but full on murder. I guess in the Age of Ultron, the old rules go out the back door. We only have a handful of heroes left, and what’s left is awfully down on themselves. They have no plan, limited weapons and tech, and their general, Captain America, is depressed as hell. It seems hopeless with the outlook quite grim. Will our heroes prevail?! I’m sure they will, and the next three months are going to be a whirlwind getting this whole story.
This first is absolutely gorgeous. Bryan Hitch really hit it out of the park. The two page spreads are as beautiful as his pages in the Ultimates, and the colours were perfect. The chromium cardstock cover was a fun throwback to the 1990’s, but not really necessary. After only one issue, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I’ll be here for every issue to follow. The series seems like it will be pretty much self contained with only a few tie-in issues in total. What’s funny is that it kind of reminds me of those Mark Millar storyarcs. The ones he wrote like Wolverine and Fantastic Four where his story is not attached to other stories; it just runs for 10-12 issues and is one fantastic story. Hopefully this will be Bendis’ perfect send off to the Avengers and Hitch’s perfect send off to Marvel Comics (for now at least). See you guys after issue #2