Age of Ultron 9

age of ultron 9 AU

Today, Taylor are Patrick are discussing Age of Ultron 9, originally released June 5th, 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.

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Taylor: What is time? This is perhaps one of the most fundamental questions to human existence, and as such, it has been discussed by mankind since time immemorial.  While philosophers and physicists debate about what exactly time is (it’s a question that still rages today), science fiction and pop culture have popularized the question by using it in a countless number of plots and stories. So none of us should be surprised that a comic book entitled the Age of Ultron (my emphasis) would come to center its plot on time travel and its consequences. Indeed, with time travel we have seen a proliferation of ages in this event increase exponentially, the consequence of which has been the raising of an eyebrow both for better and for worse. Yet while the plot of Ultron isn’t always all that original, issue nine raises the question of what exactly time is and what the consequences of traveling through it could be.

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Age of Ultron 10 A.I. PREVIEW

age of ultron preview

Age of Ultron 10 A.I. comes out on June 29th, 2013 and is written by Mark Waid with Art by Andre Araujo. Click here for our complete Age of Ultron coverage.

Here’s a fun exercise: let’s all embrace the cognitive dissonance regarding Hank Pym. Wolverine may have gone back in time to murder him in Age of Ultron 6, but this event seems to be concluding with a new emphasis placed on the former Ant-Man. (Also fairly dissonant: he’s appears to be alive and well in the present in Daredevil and Scott Lang is Ant-Man in FF.) So what do these preview pages look like to you? A crusader for tiny things? For technology? For coming back from the dead / never dying in the first place? Maybe he’s just a crusader for brightly colored costumes?

Preview a couple pages after the jump. Continue reading

Uncanny Avengers 8AU

Today, Taylor and Ethan are discussing Uncanny Avengers 8AU, originally released May 22nd 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.

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Taylor:  The thing about parties is that they’re only fun if you know the people who are going to be there. Now, this doesn’t apply to everyone, some of the more socially fluid among us have an ability to mix and match with anyone. However, for your average Joe, going to a strange party means having to make conversation with a lot of people you’ve never met before and who you will never meet again. What do you do; who do you know; is that beer good; this song is great – become your most-used phrases for a couple of awkward hours. By the end of the night all the names and faces blend together and you’re more than happy to leave without saying goodbye to any of the people you just met but couldn’t care about less. In just the same way Uncanny Avengers 8AU is not a fun issue to read unless you are steeped in the mythology of the Marvel Universe. Even then, there is little that is appealing about this issue for fans of the series, both old and new. Continue reading

Age of Ultron 8

age of ultron 8 AU

Today, Patrick are discussing Age of Ultron 8, originally released May 15th 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.

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Patrick: A few weeks ago, I noted that I wasn’t having very much fun with the whole Age of Ultron concept – issue after issue of pure, relentless destruction and doom was getting to me. But that started to feel like the point: Brian Michael Bendis was taking my comic-book-fan apocalypse-lust and rubbing my nose in it. When the heroes decided they had to take drastic action and travel through time to fight Ultron on his inventor on different chronal fronts, I cheered the initiative. Anything to stop the suffer-slog through devastated cityscapes. But as the series moves further and further away from what’s familiar in the Marvel Universe, the harder it is to get a grasp on the story. Continue reading

Avengers Assemble 15AU

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.

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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

Age of Ultron 7

Alternating Currents: Age of Ultron 7, Drew and Patrick

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Age of Ultron 7, originally released May 1st 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.

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Drew: I wanted to start this writeup with the clip from Back to the Future part II where Doc explains the notion of “alternate 1985” — the idea that changing something while time traveling to the past can create a timeline different from the one you know. It’s a common notion (and plot device) in most time-travel stories, but Doc explains it quite clearly in a simple chalkboard diagram. When I went hunting for that clip, however, I was bemused to discover that most of the discussion of that scene hinges on how the rest of the movie doesn’t really adhere to its rules (how does Biff of 2015 return to the “original” timeline — which needs to happen in order for Marty and Doc to use the delorean to return to 1985 — if he is coming back from creating the “alternate” timeline?) which illustrates the larger problem of time-travel stories: they can’t ever make any sense. Continue reading

Wolverine and the X-Men 27AU

wolverine 27 AU

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.

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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.

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Age of Ultron 6

age of ultron 6 AU

Today, Mikyzptlk and Ethan are discussing Age of Ultron 6, originally released April 17th 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.

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Mikyzptlk: Age of Ultron has taken us to some pretty extreme places. We’ve seen cities destroyed, deaths of countless civilians, and heroes taken out left and right. In a series that’s all about going to dark places, this issue really manages to go to some darker places. Essentially, it asks us if the ends justifies the means. More importantly, it asks us what we would do to protect the ones we love.  Continue reading

Age of Ultron 8 PREVIEW

age of ultron preview

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.

Preview a couple pages after the jump. Continue reading

Avengers Assemble 14AU

Alternating Currents: Avengers Assemble 14AU, Drew and Ethan

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.

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…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