Comic Vine Review

50 Comments

Age of Ultron #4 - Book Four Review

2

Luke Cage and She-Hulk attempt to discover Ultron's plan while the others head to the Savage Land.

The Good

If there's one positive thing you can say consistently about AGE OF ULTRON, it's that the devastated cities look good and, as usual, there's plenty of that. Illustrator Bryan Hitch once again shines when it comes to mass destruction, giving us good glimpses of what this destroyed and cold version of Chicago and New York looks like. It opens with a huge action sequence and, despite personal gripes, it looks good when you're thrown into the mix and right there with the hits. When you take a step back, though... well, that's a whole different stroy and you'll see what I think about that in 'The Bad.'

Up until last issue's cliffhanger, this book's overall plot has been moving slower than a sloth. It has been mostly destroyed locations, hero banter and some action sprinkled on top. Issue #4 finally changes that, and, while I'm not a fan of a few plot points, it is nice to finally have the narrative no longer taking baby steps and instead making huge changes. Also, we see the return of Black Widow and Moon Knight, and seeing as they're sporting Nick Fury's back up plans, they're sure to be a key part and I can't help but love that.

The Bad

Bryan Hitch has done some absolutely spectacular work, but the quality in this issue jumps all over the place. There's some solid panels of destroyed cities and Ultrons taking a first to the face, but overall there's way too many pages with stiff positions and a complete lack of detail. At one point, Luke Cage being tossed out of a building is literally represented by an all brown figure with zero detail. If it isn't a close up that involves characters or a landscape, odds are attention to detail is going to take a massive hit. Additionally, there's a pretty cool moment between with Taskmaster and Rulk that feels like a missed opportunity. There's way too much blurring effect and it doesn't pack a punch (for a lack of better words) like it should. Instead, it makes me think of his work in THE ULTIMATES and makes me wish it was more like the jaw dropping strike between Hulk and Abomination. As for why Rulk did that, it's understandable given he knows Ultrons "trade in a hero!" plan.

Look, I get writer Brian Michael Bendis likes Luke Cage and he is indeed a tough cookie, but this is crazy. The man is durable, but that durable? I understand he had the desire to inform his friends, but a strong desire shouldn't slap logic in the face. The blast alone should have killed him (remember that time he was hospitalized by a way smaller blast in Bendis' SECRET WAR?), but then he escapes, gets a vehicle, crashes in the Savage Land and crawls to Ka-Zar's village? With characters being killed off like they're nothing (Black Panther took a bad tumble, She-Hulk gets laser q-tiped) for example), having Cage endure all of this was just way too unbelievable for me. And yes, I realize how absurd that sounds while talking about the ridiculousness we see all the time in the medium, but I'm a dude that puts a strong emphasis on the power levels consistently established for these characters.

There's a huge twist revealed for Ultron and it's basically cast aside with "yeah, that makes sense!" Seeing as I'm not an expert when it comes to Vision or Ultron, it doesn't make perfect sense to me and -- I can't believe I'm saying this -- but some exposition would have been greatly appreciated. A wee bit of technobabble would have been beneficial for me there. Time travel is never exactly the most simplistic thing around, after all.

The concept of everyone meeting the Savage Land seems like too big of a coincidence to me. As of right now, it's only fully understandable why Natasha and Marc are there. The rest? Not so much. Shame on me for not calling this out in the last issue, but why would they meet all the way down there when they're all the way up in the Big Apple? They hardly know what's going on in the world around them, so how does traveling such a great distance seem like a good choice? Yes, there's resources there, but they don't suspect other locations have some resources as well? Captain America really doesn't have any other places in mind? I'm just going to assume there's a logical reason why Rulk decided to meet there, so I'll give that the benefit of the doubt until the next issue.

Finally, Iron Man says he's never seen a nuke before and that's not true. Not only has he seen a nuke, he's been hit by one and survived. Minor point, of course.

The Verdict

Incredibly mixed artwork and way too many moments that made me scratch my head weighed down this issue. That said, I am glad the story is finally taking huge steps -- I just wish said steps were going in a different direction. Bendis does indeed have plenty of excellent work on his resume, so I have to assume this next chapter will be dedicated to making sense of all of this. Why is Rulk there? How is Ultron communicating from the future? What plan will Marc and Natasha reveal? I really hope these are the topics that take up the core of the next issue and not more landscapes -- they look solid, but we've been given more than our fair share by now.

50 Comments
Posted by TheAcidSkull

Thanks! YOU!

Posted by Mucklefluga

I can't believe we're on book 4 and only this much has happened. I'm definitely not surprised why they need 12 issues to tell this story now.

Posted by dondave

Pretty bad issue

Posted by Deranged Midget

Ha, now that is one lengthy amount of "bad" for one issue :P

Moderator
Posted by The Stegman

Wow, it's been awhile since I've seen a two star review.

Online
Posted by TheNax

The problem is this does not feel like an important event. Sure, there are some tie-ins, but not really. This just seems like a long drawn out way to get to whatever "twist" happens at the end. The deaths don't mean anything, because they aren't really happening.

Posted by BR_Havoc

@thenax said:

The problem is this does not feel like an important event. Sure, there are some tie-ins, but not really. This just seems like a long drawn out way to get to whatever "twist" happens at the end. The deaths don't mean anything, because they aren't really happening.

You nailed it right there. I feel the same way, this story is just for a twist ending and will change Hank Pym (Personally I think he will become Marvel Man). The deaths are for shock and shock alone and I think that stuff has run its coarse with many comic fans.

Posted by gotwillpower

You know, I actually liked this book a lot when I read it five minutes ago, but after reading this review I have to agree with 2/5. The story doesn't flow very well, there are definitely problems with the art, and I didn't understand half of the Savage Land village stuff.

Edited by Cavemold

i thought this was must buy!!!!!! i tease. Glad i passed on this series.

Posted by daredevil21134

Is Jessica Jones dead?

Edited by OmgOmgWtfWtf

Why would you send She Hulk and Luke Cage of all people to figure out Ultron's plans? I assume you would send an intelligent person to do that, but hey that's just my opinion lol.

Posted by TheDarkSalmon

why do they crap all over Black Panther? hes Reeds genius in Caps body with Starks toys and Thor's regality

Edited by PhoenixoftheTides

Why would you send She Hulk and Luke Cage of all people to figure out Ultron's plans? I assume you would send an intelligent person to do that, but hey that's just my opinion lol.

She Hulk is an attorney and very smart in her own right. Luke Cage...yeah, I don't know about him. Street smarts doesn't help in this situation.

Edited by G-Man

@the_stegman: Hasn't been that long. But that doesn't have anything to do with this review. Or any others.

Staff
Edited by k4tzm4n

Is Jessica Jones dead?

Yes, that was heavily implied in the last issue.

You know, I actually liked this book a lot when I read it five minutes ago, but after reading this review I have to agree with 2/5. The story doesn't flow very well, there are definitely problems with the art, and I didn't understand half of the Savage Land village stuff.

Cool. Good to know I'm not crazy :)

Why would you send She Hulk and Luke Cage of all people to figure out Ultron's plans? I assume you would send an intelligent person to do that, but hey that's just my opinion lol.

They elaborated on the plan in the last issue. They needed someone who can hear the basics of Ultron's plan (allegedly purchasing heroes) and then bust their way out and escape. They were basically going for power and survival odds, not intellect. They didn't send Wolverine because they thought Ultron would want to take his adamantium.

Staff
Posted by TommytheHitman

@daredevil21134: Seems that way. Spidey asked Cage what happened to Jessica and the baby whic followed with an awkward silence.

Edited by gammaduck

To be fair, Cage found a fridge and climbed inside at the last minute. Everyone knows you can survive a nuclear blast inside a fridge.

Posted by daredevil21134

@k4tzm4n: I don't know ether to be happy or angry.I prefer Cage without a wife and kid but his character might not be able to handle that kind of lost.I also find it hard to believe that Bendis will leave Jessica and the baby dead

Edited by ComicKing7

Black panther's not actually dead is he? cause he's my favorite superhero.

Posted by Owie

Yeah, the Cage stuff was hard to handle. And then he magically manages to get there in a Quinjet that the others didn't know about and get there before them?

Also, regarding Taskmaster, if Rulk was working with him in the first place, you'd think he had already made up his mind about whether he'd deal with his lack of morality.

Online
Posted by manwithoutshame

There's like no content in any of these issues. They're all splash pages followed by double splash pages with hardly any dialogue, and the dialogue I did read was embarrassing...I'm referring to the part where Luke Cage is fighting the robots and starts screaming "You Killed My Family!" out of nowhere.

Edited by windcaster

I have read that Luke Cage's durability exceeds his strength level. Seen how they gave him a power upgrade during AVX I guess that's why he is able to take all that damage?

Edited by dondave
Posted by Super_SoldierXII

Bendis. Ugh. He has his moments, but consistency with power set and characterization are not strong points.

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

This is turning into another lackluster event. I hope bendis Delivers.

Online
Posted by danhimself
Edited by Dreadmaster

I did not get why Rulk punched Taskmaster(I can't honestly tell if he was being punched either). The issue was 'ehh' for me. I'm just here for the Moon Knight.

Edited by TheLeagueofMutualAgreement

The first two issues got me excited for this event because I love me some moon knight but it all feels kinda pointless. All of theses events have no real impact on the characters at all because we all know the timeline will change back to normal where Black Panther and others are still alive and they don't even realize what has or what was suppose to happen. Alternate time line stories can be great if the give us a deeper look into our favorite characters' minds like in Superman:Red Son and I don't think will get that here.

Posted by Fenderxx

I agree, this was not the best Issue, but i find myself really enjoying this event, and even this issue, regardless of its flaws (I stared at the Red Hulk Punching Panel for like 3mins trying to figure out what happened ... it was the morning before Work ... i wasnt fully awake yet .. dont judge me ..)

Posted by Gambit1024

Couldn't agree more.

Posted by Kerrigan

Black panther's not actually dead is he? cause he's my favorite superhero.

For now. This whole book is clearly headed for a "rewrite history" conclusion, at which point I'm sure BP and all the others will be resurrected.

Posted by Jacobin_Wisdom

Rulk punch fail -__-

Posted by Kerrigan

The basic premise and set-up for AoU is one that I quite like, even though it's hardly original. But the execution is just sloppy. We have Spidey shifting from Pete to Ock depending on what book you read, wildly variable art, vast coincidences to drive the plot, Cage communicating vital info off screen (lazy), a weirdly vulnerable She Hulk (but Cage survives a nuke...), and a plot that really hasn't moved as much as you'd hope for 4 books.

Feels hurried, just filling space till the Big Conclusion. Think Bendis is spending more thought and energy on the X-books right now.

Posted by sparty-dbq

I don't understand Red Hulk's actions at all. Last issue he yelled "GO!" and Taskmaster went. What the hell's his problem?

Posted by DonFelipe

It's a good thing to see such reviews with a low rating on CV. There's way too many reviews with a perfect rating hence 5 stars.

I do still wonder why it took 4 issues to give AoU a negative review and such a bad rating on CV! The previous issues weren't much better and they're were far from 4.5-5 stars imho. Even the 2 tie-ins were more exciting than the main issues - not saying the tie-ins were great but better. This whole story seems overlong and full of fillers, stupid dialogues, and focusing on splash pages with the very same background scenery over and over again.

There's too much ado about nothing!

Ironically, after reading this review I'm even more interested in picking this up one more and last time.

Edited by TheCommissar

@br_havoc said:

@thenax said:

The problem is this does not feel like an important event. Sure, there are some tie-ins, but not really. This just seems like a long drawn out way to get to whatever "twist" happens at the end. The deaths don't mean anything, because they aren't really happening.

You nailed it right there. I feel the same way, this story is just for a twist ending and will change Hank Pym (Personally I think he will become Marvel Man). The deaths are for shock and shock alone and I think that stuff has run its coarse with many comic fans.

It's not like characters actually stay dead in standard Marvel events, anyway. Not that I'd ever defend this awful thing.

Posted by Cafeterialoca

Honestly, this event is Horrendous. Worst than Fear Itself.

And that Rulk scene? I'm sorry, but when did the heroes become worst than the villains? We had Hawkeye killing people freely, and now Rulk just kills a scared Taskmaster for NO reason?!

You know, this is why I don't like the Avengers. They're some of the most unlikable characters in comics and do HORRENDOUS things, and they never, EVER, face consequences for it. They kill, they condescend other teams, and they are rewarded. They're just jerks!

Edited by Reignmaker

If you have any beef with the art, just look at the backstory behind this series. Hitch really didn't give a damn because they left him out of the ending. He mailed it in. Frankly, I don't blame him.

Posted by thanosrules

So, that Rulk / TM exchange... did Task Master die? I couldn't tell...

Posted by Tmul501

So, that Rulk / TM exchange... did Task Master die? I couldn't tell...

yeah, i see some rib cage action going on there. I disagree about the 2/5 rating. I'd give it a 3/5. Not an amazing issue by any means, but certainly not that bad. just my opinion, but I actually like this story so far. Is it perfect? No. Sure, Spidey is clearly peter (which i'm not sure why everyone is complaining...sure it breaks continuity, but I'm frankly getting sick of spock) and some elements aren't hanging together, but i'm entertained. Sorry so many of you are disappointed with the story :(

Posted by SavageDragon

Hmm im probably in the minority here but I thought this was a solid 3/5. I think this series has been pretty good. Not great not amazing but interesting.

As for this issue, I had fun with it but I'm not buying any of these issues just reading them in store so maybe people are feeling like they arnt worth the money, I cant say. What I will say is that I am very interested where/how and when the heroes are making their play into the future.

Posted by thanosrules

@tmul501: Agreed. I am enjoying this for what it is... entertainment. I would have given this a 3/5 as well. I am actually reading it like I read those "Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe" and "Marvel Universe vs. The Avengers" books... maybe it should have been slated like those? People would be less disappointed? Who knows. Anyway. Thanks for validating my thoughts on Task Master. It is a shame, I liked seeing him crop up...

Posted by windcaster

@dondave: He wouldn't be the first character to receive a power up.

Posted by TheNax

@br_havoc said:

@thenax said:

The problem is this does not feel like an important event. Sure, there are some tie-ins, but not really. This just seems like a long drawn out way to get to whatever "twist" happens at the end. The deaths don't mean anything, because they aren't really happening.

You nailed it right there. I feel the same way, this story is just for a twist ending and will change Hank Pym (Personally I think he will become Marvel Man). The deaths are for shock and shock alone and I think that stuff has run its coarse with many comic fans.

It's not like characters actually stay dead in standard Marvel events, anyway. Not that I'd ever defend this awful thing.

But even when a character doesn't stay dead, they still die for a little. We get stories that explore their loss and the impact it has on those around them. There is a "What if?" feel to this series. All the "real" ongoing books basically ignore it (probably because it was written years ago.) The Fantastic Four tie in tried to have an emotional punch that just didn't land because on the last page we're reminded that next issue continues the real story and this thing didn't really matter.

Edited by ILLO_29

I agree with this review all the way. I had to stop half way through and look at the cover to double check if Hitch was still drawing the book because it looked so off at times. The only reason that I can muster for the everyone showing up at the Savage Land is since there isn't a lot of tech there it would be a logically place to go to escape the grip of Ultron.

Edited by saoakden

I'm still wondering when does this happen. I read somewhere it's taking place in the Marvel NOW! and other stories are happening now. I'm just wondering when does this happen.

Posted by The_Hat

This issue had all the hallmarks of "written when drunk". Rulk's random act of violence, fried Cage getting himself to the Savage Land & the big shrug his revelation then received, ridiculous decompression everywhere then a 4 panel trip to the Antarctic. All this & the knowledge that it will all be reset after the series anyway, so nothing matters.

Edited by New_World_Order

I just hope we will find out what happened to Marvel's biggest heavy hitters. ( Thor & Hulk ). Well there is Ghost Rider, Magik, and others, but you get my point. I think it may be explained in Avengers Assemble #14, because it's a tie-in with the Age Of Ultron series.

Posted by silentecko711

Is anyone else bothered by Luke Cages ridiculous Hair line ? Hitch should have just left him bald

Edited by tim_mik

I'm just glad that something happened in this issue and it's starting to come together at least. I don't know if I'm going to care when it's all over, which makes me long for Civil War and Dark Reign -- the last two big event Marvel stories I liked