Review: Age of Ultron #4 by Brian Michael Bendis & Bryan Hitch

Age of Ultron #4

Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciled by: Bryan Hitch
Inked by: Paul Neary
Colored by: Paul Mounts
Lettered by: VC’s Cory Petit

Published by: Marvel
Cover Price: $3.99

Note : This review is for the digital version of the comic available from Marvel on Comixology.

Warning! This review contains quite a few spoilers!

Summary (contains spoilers): Last issue ended with Luke Cage following Captain America’s plan to enter “Ultron City” to try and sell an unconscious She-Hulk to Ultron. Luke Cage was shocked to discover Vision, not Ultron at the heart of this city.

Vision reveals that the reasons the heroes haven’t been able to track down Ultron is because he is hiding IN THE FUTURE! What is with Vision and delivering cryptic messages like this?

She-Hulk “wakes” up and tells Cage to get out of there and tell the other heroes what they learned. She then proceeds to hurl him out of Ultron City and tries to take out as many Ultrons as she can. Her last stand ends with her getting her brains blown out. Messy death number 1!

As Cage is attacked by numerous Ultrons himself. We find out that both his daughter and his wife had been killed by the Ultrons, so he is determined to enact some revenge. Cage seems to be caught in a massive explosion.

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, Moon Knight and Black Widow have accessed Nick Fury’s “secret plans on what to do at the end of the world.” It seems like Fury had predicted a massive Ultron attack, and had developed some back up plans on what to do (just in case). Moon Knight and Black Widow have to sneak out of the Ultron infested city and get to the Savage Land, where they hope to meet up with any other heroes who may have survived.

Back in New York, Storm and Invisible Woman have managed to get the other heroes out of town, and they are heading to the Savage Land as well.

In Chicago, after Black Panther died in order for Taskmaster and Red Hulk to recover an Ultron head for unknown purposes. Red Hulk decides that he can’t trust the Taskmaster, and punches him through the chest to kill him. Messy death number 2!

Eight days later, Storm and company have arrived in the Savage Land. Impressive stamina Miss Monroe. They find a crashed Quinjet is already there. Ka-Zar leads them to a gravely wounded Luke Cage, who manages to tell them what he found out. Ultron is hiding out in the future and Vision is a conduit to him.

Soon after, Luke dies of the injuries he suffered. The issue ends with Black Widow, Moon Knight, and Red Hulk arriving in the Savage Land. Red Hulk declares that they need to wipe the very idea of Ultron out of existence, and Black Widow says that thanks to Fury they know how to do it. Didn’t we hear this same idea from Scott Lang (with Doom as the target) back in FF issue 3?

Review: I have been pretty harsh on Age of Ultron in the reviews I did for issues 1 and 2. Age of Ultron just seems to be taking a long time to really get anywhere. Thankfully, this seems to have reversed itself some over the last two issues. A lot of big things happen in this issue, and we start to see how everything fits together.

I was also surprised by some of the deaths in this book. It wasn’t your usual cannon fodder characters who died (RIP Black Goliath), these are some of Marvel’s top characters who bit it. Granted, I have said from the beginning that this story seems to be leading towards some kind of major history rewrite at the end, so these deaths won’t stick, but they were still pretty shocking to see, especially the brutality of how Taskmaster got torn apart.

I really liked the use of the Savage Land and Ka-Zar in this issue. It gave this issue a real “last stand” feel to it. I especially liked when Ka-Zar says that Ultron was proof that “society failed” and Cap is forced to admit that Ka-Zar might be right about that.

There were times I did feel the issue got a little wonky. Like Storm being able to fly the entire group of heroes to the Savage Land. Storm has always been powerful, but this seems way beyond what we’ve ever seen her do. And was Sue Storm keeping them invisible the whole time too? Also, it is never really clear why Red Hulk decided to turn on Taskmaster (though I will admit that was a pretty cool scene).

Like I said earlier, I keep thinking this story is going to lead to some kind of huge Deus Ex Machina or rewriting history, and I just don’t like those kind of stories. It just takes away from the impact when you know “everything will be back to close to status quo at the end, so don’t worry too much.”

Bryan Hitch’s art continues to be the most impressive part of Age of Ultron. He really has shown the scale of how messed up the world has become. I especially loved the scenes in the Savage Land, where we saw the devastation had even reached there.

Age of Ultron is definitely shaping up to be one of the better Marvel epic events I’ve read in a long time. If nothing else, it is a lot more entertaining and coherent than Civil War, House of M, and Avengers Vs X-Men (I didn’t read Fear Itself, Reign, or Secret Invasion).

I still think that the pacing could be better, and I definitely want to see more of how things got this bad this quick, but I am always curious to see what happens next, and I will likely be picking up all the tie-ins.

Final Score: 7.5: Finally starting to feel like this mini is getting to the point. Better than the earlier issues, but still has some flaws to it.

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