Today, Ethan and Taylor are discussing Avengers Assemble 15AU, originally released May 8th 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.
Ethan: It’s always tempting to poke fun at other cultures. Humans seem evolutionarily predisposed to draw lines between Us and Them, and in the present, enlightened point in the development of our species, we like to use humor to act on that where our paleo-ancestors might have used a nice, big stick. Humor’s got more uses than pushing others away though; sometimes it’s a good way to navigate the gap between the familiar and the different, and to draw people together. All of this is a bit overblown for introducing this issue. What I’m really trying to say is that writer Al Ewing really went to town on those silly Brits in this issue. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Ethan are discussing Wolverine and the X-Men 27AU, originally released April 17th 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.
Taylor: Expect the unexpected. On a scale of one to ten that measures cliché sayings that enrage me, this one is at about a 9.3. How can you expect the unexpected? By its very nature a person can’t prepare for the unexpected. If something is unexpected that means you cannot see it coming, so how can you prepare for it? I understand that some of the charm people derive from this saying comes from the very paradoxical nature of it that I hate so much. However, I think a lot of people have forgotten this aspect of the saying in eschewing its true meaning. Rather, those who employ the saying often seem to use it as a way of preparing people for wild times ahead, not caring that the dribble coming out of their mouth is useless and confusing. However, occasionally this phrase is useful, like when you really have no idea what to expect from your present circumstances. I think time travel is one of the times when it’s safe to say you should expect the unexpected if for no other reason then temporal mechanics are wonky. So when Wolverine and Sue Storm travel back in time in Wolverine and the X-Men 27 AU, I think it’s safe to use the phrase I deplore so much.
Age of Ultron 8 comes out on May 13th, 2013 and is written by Brian Michael Bendis with Art by Brandon Peterson. Click here for our complete Age of Ultron coverage.
Marvel’s previews for these things are getting increasingly obtuse. Okay, what do we have here? Someone in the Iron Man armor sorting through images of Ultron’s destruction. The logical question – who’s in that armor? Unless Tony’s had a rough couple weeks, that ain’t him. I’ll get the ball rolling with wild speculation: LOST’s John Locke.
Also, the cover suggests we’ll see some of Sue and Wolverine’s adventures in the past. That could be fun.
Today, Drew and Ethan are discussing Avengers Assemble 14AU, originally released April 10th 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.
…it’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you.
-Rachel Dawes, Batman Begins
Drew: I remember laughing out loud when I first heard Rachel’s lecture to Bruce in Batman Begins. It’s not that the scene was poorly acted, or even that the sentiment was that offensive, but that its underlying “who you are on the inside doesn’t count for much, after all” message flew in the face of essentially every 90s movie, from Beauty and the Beast to She’s All That. Of course, the message here is about action vs. sentiment — talk is cheap, if you will — rather than about superficiality, which makes it a more appropriate, if sensitive, topic for comics. It’s sensitive because we care about who our heroes are underneath. Does Superman’s moral strength come from never failing to want the right thing, or from never failing to do the right thing? Many fans may balk at finding out Superman has immoral thoughts, while others may find a squeaky-clean mind entirely unrelatable, making the very act of pulling back the curtain a precarious one. You might expect this discomfort to be smaller with more down-to-earth human characters, but as Al Ewing demonstrates in Avengers Assemble 14AU, the opposite might be true. Continue reading →
Today, Ethan and Taylor are discussing Ultron 1, originally released April 10th, 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.
Ethan: In the aftermath of terrible, unexpected events, it’s good to find comfort in familiar places and situations. Ultron’s instant and total takeover of the world qualifies as a pretty terrible and unexpected event. For the lead character of Ultron #1 – Victor Mancha – this catastrophe is a unique blend of insult and injury. Not only has Ultron killed off Victor’s former teammates the Runaways, but Ultron is also Victor’s father. Add to this the fact that a visitor from the future once warned that Victor would bring about the destruction of the world and the death of its heroes, and you’ve got a pretty complete package of misery. Writer Kathryn Immonen and artist Amilcar Pinna explore how Victor copes with all of this by returning to his roots as a teenage hero.
Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Age of Ultron 5, originally released April 10th 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.
Shelby: Why is it always time travel? If you have a science-y plot in a comic book (especially a Marvel book, it seems) odds are pretty good that time travel with either be the basis of the conflict or the solution. Personally, I hope we never figure out how to travel through time. Travel to the past, and the most innocuous action could alter the future in unimaginable ways; travel to the future, and your knowledge of what will happen will color the actions you take in the present. It all seems too risky. It would appear that Brian Michael Bendis disagrees with me; not content to limit himself to one kind of time continuum manipulation, Age of Ultron 5 has the team traveling to the past AND the future to resolve this Ultron problem. What could possibly go wrong? Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Ethan are discussing Age of Ultron 4, originally released April 3rd, 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.
Patrick: One of the things I’ve absolutely loved about picking up monthly comics is that I’ve had the opportunity to get know the work of a ton of great writers and artists. It pains me a little to think of how few people will ever read a funny exchange written by Jeff Lemire, and how few people will never see Adam Hughes masterful acting simply because they don’t read comics. Drew, Shelby and myself have been at this for over a year — I like to think we’re in the club now — and I have this brand new skill of identifying someone by their work. Brian Michael Bendis, the writer behind Age of Ultron is notorious for his massively decompressed stories, and between this series, Guardians of the Galaxy, and his X-Men books, I feel like I can spot his handiwork a mile away. But Age of Ultron is a special case, and its glacial pace allows almost every issue to be a Bryan Hitch vanity project. This makes it kind of tough to discuss in the same way we discuss other comics, but it’s clear now that this is the series’ identity – the problematic obsessions with character development and plot and theme are mine and not Ultron’s. Retcon Punch needs a new way to talk about comics. Alright, let’s see what we got. Continue reading →
Today, Ethan and Patrick are discussing Superior Spider-Man 6AU, originally released March 27th, 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.
Ethan: Familiarity is a funny thing. The exposure we have to a thing or activity, the more hard-wiring space our brains devote to it. That’s great when you need to do something quickly — like recognize and react to a baseball flying at your head — or when you do something the same way over and over — like driving a route to work every day. That hard-wiring can save you from injury, or save on processing power that could be put to other use. Automatic responses aren’t always helpful though; sometimes your conditioning assigns a label and to situation too quickly and funnels you into a course of action that almost always works, but not this time. In the Age of Ultron crossover Superior Spider-Man #6, writer Christos Gage and artist Dexter Soy demonstrate the folly of this kind of snap judgement as Otto Octavius (in the body of Spider-Man Peter Parker) faces off against the malicious artificial intelligence. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Courtney are discussing Fantastic Four 5AU, originally released March 27th, 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.
Patrick: How do you say goodbye? I believe that we don’t have a choice in matter — our goodbyes tend to come out in ways that most honestly get to the heart of our relationship with the person we’re saying goodbye to. There’s always a sense of obligation, like you’re trying to impart one lasting image of yourself in the person’s brain. Something to remember you by. While the rest of the Age of Ultron event seems interested in telling the stories of heroes pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, Fantastic Four lingers on goodbyes, and finds some touching honesty in the process. Continue reading →
Today, Mikyzptlk and Drew are discussing Age of Ultron 3, originally released March 27th, 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.
Mikyzptlk: In any post-apocalyptic scenario, you can either give in to the destruction that surrounds you or you can find that one last sliver of hope to hang on to. The first two issues of this event have mostly centered on a group of defeated heroes who are on the verge of giving up hope. The resistance, if you could even call it that, was rudderless and quickly losing its steam. It was all quite depressing, if not in a fascinating kind of way. The latest issue of Age of Ultron reveals that perhaps not all hope is lost and, armed with a shiny new plan, our heroes start on a path that can hopefully lead them to victory.