Avengers: Rage of Ultron
Original Graphic Novel
w. Rick Remender
a. Jerome Opena & Pepe Larraz
4 out 5 Space Monkeys
Because what I thought was gonna be a more cinematic-based storyline, turned into a Graphic Novel rife with Marvel’ s historically melodramatic relationships, non-stop over the top action, intelligent writing, humorous moments that are actually funny, and spectacular artwork.
Basically Rage of Ultron is everything Avengers fans wanted Age of Ultron to be (the stale miniseries filled with bad time travel tropes and uneven plotlines from a few years ago, not the blockbuster Avengers movie coming out in 30 days), and more!
Remender has a grasp for not only the Avengers, but sci-fi action-adventure, I mean besides writing Uncanny X-Force, Secret Avengers, Uncanny Avengers, and AXIS for Marvel, he’s got a slew of independent titles like Low, Black Science, and Fear Agent under his belt. He treats these characters and concepts with admiration and respect, giving each character a chance to shine ( but really, this is a Hank Pym/Vision/Ultron story at heart ) and uses them not only in character, but excellent examples of their personalities. Hell, in this he makes Starfox cool. Yes I said that out loud. Hard to grok , but he does it.
Opena is Opena. From page 1 of Uncanny X-Force to his work on Hickman’s Avengers run, this guy has shown the comic world he is a force to be reckoned with. His action scenes are fast and fresh, he adds great detail to characters faces and costumes, without a bunch of useless squiggly lines cluttering the page, and few can surpass him when it comes to intricate technology and it’s design. What Remender does for character’s personalities, Opena does for their looks and style.
The Avengers, both past and present iterations are perfectly drawn, not some “oh this my interpretation of their character”,….. and everyone looks damn cool! Even Starfox!
The story opens up with an Avengers team of yesteryear (Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Yellowjacket, Wasp, Beast , Vision and Scarlet Witch) battling Ultron in Manhattan, trying to prevent him from overriding America’s nuclear codes and wiping out humanity. Hoping to contain him in a custom Quinjet, that plan goes awry rather quickly, as the Quinjet, piloted by Ultron’s “father”, Hank Pym, gets blasted out of the sky when first joining the battle. While Ultron is wiping down the streets of Manhattan with all sorts of Avenger, Pym concocts a Plan B. Tricking Ultron into the crashed Quinjet, Pym traps him with a little help from Hawkeye and some vibration. Pym filled with a fatherly regret, sends his creation into deep space never to be heard from again… NOT!!!
Flashforward a few years to Titan, moon of Saturn and home to the Eternals, birthplace of Thanos and home to his brother Starfox and father Mentor. Ultron and the damaged Quinjet crashland into the moon’s surface. Only problem, this moon has a sentient computer named ISAAC that runs all its technology and has become one with the moon itself. A recipe for disaster once Ultron’s viral program takes over and assimilates the planet’s, with Starfox barely able to escape, heading to earth to warn the Avengers. But he’s too late, Planet Ultron has arrived….and not even the latest team of Avengers cam save Earth from total annihilation!
This is an epic one shot any Avenger fan can enjoy. Remender layers deep philosophical ideas regarding Sentient A.I.’s, the antagonistically oedipal complex that exists between Ultron and Pym, and further extending it to the Vision, the responsibilities of being a parent, and science reflecting humanity (or inhumanity), over a faced paced sci fi superhero story.
The character progression of both the Vision and Hank Pym ( his “grandfather” so to speak, Vision being a creation of Ultron’s ) standing out, showing how both have hardened and marginalized themselves over the years in the current battle with Ultron, compared to the idealistic/altruistic versions we see in the earlier confrontation with Ultron. A more pro-A.I. Vision nearly coming to blows with Hank after he shuts down members of the Descendants ( various villainous Robots, Androids and A.I.s from across the MU who have banded together to destroy humanity ), essentially killing them, has to be one of the best 2 pages of dialogue these two characters had in years. From the opening page to that shocking ending, that even a long term Avenger fan like me didn’t see coming, this creative team had me hooked.
Doubt my word, check out this promotional video from Marvel:
It barely scratches the surface. This is a must for ALL Avengers fans! Think you know Ultron??? You don’t know Pym!!!