Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Spotlight: Age of Ultron #8

(w) Brian Michael Bendis     (a) Brandon Peterson


As of this issue, we should really change the name of this series from Age of Ultron to the more fitting Brian Michael Bendis' Tale of Time Travelling TrepidationLast issue, we got a good look at the world as it is now that Wolverine murdered Hank Pym in the 1960s. Ultron never came to be, the Defenders are Earth's primary defense force, and Tony Stark apparently runs the damn world. But at least everyone's alive, right?


The true tragedy of Age of Ultron is how the end of all things can push us to places we never believed possible. If faced with the hypothetical question, "Would you eat another human if you were about to starve to death?", most people will explain that there's no way they could ever be persuaded to eat a person, no matter the circumstances. While not necessarily a lie, per se, this is a misconception we tell ourselves is true because the fact is that we have no idea what we would do in the most dire of situations. Wolverine and Sue Storm knew what they were doing when they travelled back in time against the wishes of the rest of the Ultron survivors. Unfortunately, it was a most dire situation, and they felt pressured to do something most dire in response.

Age of Ultron #8 gives a ton of insight into how much the Marvel universe was screwed up by Wolverine and Sue Storm's actions. Recently, Bendis posted a long explanation of exactly how things would be different as a result of Pym's death. The list is astoundingly long, and all from just one character. Everyone is alive, but their lives are significantly worse. Tony Stark runs the planet, but it's not a prestigious job. In fact it's a curse because this new timeline is still in a state of constant paranoia after the Skrull 'Secret Invasion', and before that, a loosing war against the supreme magic of Morgan Le Fey. The Avengers broke up in their infancy. Captain America is only a violent shadow of his former self. Thor is dead. The world is in a police state. 

Wolverine believed anything would be better than the apocalypse he left and only succeeded in betraying the legacy of everyone he ever loved. By killing Pym and changing the course of history, Wolverine and Sue Storm nullified everything they and their friends and families have ever worked to achieve. Any victory, any success, any happiness was eliminated and replaced with a new lifetime of struggle, fear, and hopelessness. In their attempt to save the lives of everyone they knew, Logan and Sue cheapened all of their existences.

On the surface, Age of Ultron feels like Brian Michael Bendis just going through the time travel motions and jacking up the action level to compensate for the level of timey whimey talk. But under the initial layer of fun time-space disruption, there's a message about the cost of rewriting history when the going gets rough.


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