I was really looking forward to this series for a few years now, and ever since it was teased way back in Avengers #12.1 (April 2011) I felt that this series couldn't come sooner. After a long wait I started to feel that this series may never come out, but just shy off two years following this point one issue the series has finally hit the shops, and I question has it been worth it?
Now I know that it's a little early to criticise the entire series, with only three out of the ten issues haven been released, and seven still to come, as well as the tie-ins, but in my opinion this series is too ambitious length wise. The previous big event at Marvel was Avengers vs. X-Men, which lasted twelve issues, which was way too long. Avengers vs. X-Men was considered by many as a disaster, but in fact I felt it wasn't a bad story, just that it was spread over too many issues, and had way too many tie-ins, which lead to it being slow and boring most of the time (luckily Age of Ultron isn't quite that long, and doesn't have as many tie-ins). If you look at the better crossover events in Marvel like Siege and Civil War, neither have near as many issues as either Avengers vs. X-Men or Age of Ultron, with Civil War having seven issues, and Siege even less with only four, and both of these series were brilliant, and if they were longer I'm sure they'd be a bit slow.
Story So Far...
So far the story has consisted of Hawkeye saving Spider-Man (revealed to still be Doctor Octopus), and took him to an underground bunker, where the remaining superhero's live. Captain America finally came up with a plan that involved selling She-Hulk to Ultron, making a shocking discovery (won't spoil that).
As you can probably tell from that summary the story hasn't been the most entertaining one in the world, and in fact it's been rather slow. The first two issues basically showed the superhero's mopping about their situation, and not knowing what to do, and even when Cap does come up with a plan it takes half an issue to explain it, which slowed that particular issue down, although I was happy that the series was finally making progress. The second half of issue three was however very good, and exciting, with Red Hulk (Thunderbolt Ross) attacking an Ultron and removing it's head, giving the head to Black Panther and Taskmaster to run away with. At the same time however this sequence had very little dialogue, meaning that it didn't last long. Although I've got all these complaints about the construct of the story so far my main complaint is the fact that we've had not backstory to how this all happened, and how Ultron suddenly took over the Earth, apart from certain superhero's recounts (Spider-Man and Fantastic Four) of seeing the world go to hell. I do however think that the backstory will get told in Ultron #1AU, although I hope we also get some proper backstory in the main series.
Now there have only been two tie-ins released so far, Superior Spider-Man #6AU, and Fantastic Four #5AU, but I already start to question the necessity of these tie-ins. To be fair both tie-ins weren't bad, and both good to a certain extent, with fun and unique stories, but I still question were they necessary? Most tie-ins to comic book events don't actually do anything for the overall story, and although some actually do, there are many against that one that don't, but mugs like me continue to try and get as many tie-ins hoping that they help develop a certain part of the story a bit more.
Anyway the tie-ins in this so far are no different, with Doc Ock trying to control the Ultron's in Superior Spider-Man, failing, and all of the Fantstic Four apart from Sue Storm getting killed by the Ultron's whilst Sue and Reed's children, Franklin and Val watch a goodbye video. As I said both of these issues were fun, and entertaining, to a certain point, but they didn't really do anything to help the story as a whole, and although you could say that's a good thing as it doesn't ruin the main story, they still could have made the issues achieve something small that helps with the development of the story.
Future tie-ins include, Ultron #AU (which I already mentioned), Avengers Assemble #14AU &15AU, Wolverine and the X-Men #27AU, Uncanny Avengers #8AU, Fearless Defenders #4AU, and Age of Ultron Epilogue, all of which beside the Epilogue, and Ultron#1AU I believe will also do nothing for the series, but I hope that I'm wrong (even though I won't be getting all the tie-ins).
Best Part About the Event So Far
The best part about this event so far is easily Bryan Hitch's artwork. I know that you can argue that he hasn't really been used properly on this series, drawing mostly rubble, but I think that his artwork has been astonishing and easily the best thing about the main series, as well as the event. His art has been nothing short of phenomenal, and although some may argue that his work on The Ultimates, The Ultimates 2, and Fantastic Four (Fantastic Four: World's Greatest & The Master of Doom) I personally feel that some of his best art has been featured in this series so far, as the entire scenery (even if most of it's rubble) is beautifully detailed, and the art on the characters, and action is simply stunning as well as dramatic, and I can't really fault anything about his art. His art also feels like you're watching a movie, as it's so lifelike, and the character emotion is brilliant, with everything looking perfect. The bad news however is that Hitch is only working on the first five issues (with only two left), and after that the series will have Brandon Peterson, and Carlos Pacheco doing the artwork, with Marvel's Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada drawing the final part of issue 10.
Future of the Series
What do I see in the future of this event? Like Avengers vs. X-Men, I expect that this event will be brilliant in the long run, and that it will have some really exciting, and shocking moments throughout. I do however still have some fears that this series will continue to be slow and mundane, and nothing more than a reason for Marvel to have an event, but my faith in the series outweighs that, and I really expect that this series will be remembered as a fantastic series that had a horrific start. Also from the events in the last issue, I expect that the next issue will have some dramatic events, and from the preview it looks to have more action than the series has had so far, and I hope that the series continues to have plenty of action, whilst also actually developing the story (which as I said has been the big problem).
Thanks for taking the time to read this feature and please feel free to leave a comment expressing your thought on this topic, and what you think of Age of Ultron so far.