If there's one thing I'll continue to love about this book, it's writer Brian Michael Bendis' ability to create super lighthearted and enjoyable banter. In this latest chapter, all of the fun conversations can be found between Tony Stark and Rocket Raccoon as they're working to repair his damaged armor. The lack of understanding between their societies delivers plenty of amusement. From Tony being blown away by Rocket's vastly superior technology to explaining why he had a strong urge to get down with Gamora, the dialogue between the two is definitely my highlight. I particular love Rocket talking down to a character we consider to be one of the brightest from Earth. It's a refreshing and amusing change of pace. Also surprisingly fun: Peter's chase sequence in the market. It feels like a scene stripped right from a sci-fi film. It's short yet a real blast, especially when Peter shows off a non-lethal option his gun offers.
For the most part, I'm a fan of Sara Pichelli's illustrations. I think she does fantastic work with facial expressions. Seeing Tony Stark light up with joy is contagious and I couldn't help but smile like a goofball with him. She does a solid job presenting the sci-fi vibe we need for this title. Each species has their unique look and the various technology looks solid. She also does a great job with the establishing shots in space and the impact on the moon had a great amount of force behind it.
While I do like a majority of Pichelli's work, I find Rocket Raccoon to be frightening instead of cute quite oftenn. I imagine a solid reason is the decision to make his eyes completely red and give him incredibly sharp teeth -- almost vampire-esque. And I know it's not her fault, but I can't get over that absurdly large belt Angela wears.
And regarding Angela, her role feels rather forced here. It essentially boils down to, "Why am I here? I want to kill something!" Don't get me wrong, I'm glad an event is actually creating changes, but her inclusion doesn't exactly feel organic. The fact they attack her without any attempt at communicating first certainly doesn't help, either. Yes, they can assume she's bad because they don't have info on her, but wouldn't you at least say something first before assaulting this random person?
Out of everyone in the universe, Peter Quill approaches Thanos about what's going on? I get he wants answers, but shouldn't seeking him out be an absolute last resort? There had to have been other ways to find this out except for Mantis, right? And Thanos is crazy tall... like, to the point where Peter would only be up to his knees if he was standing. Isn't Thanos just under 7 feet tall and Peter is just above 6 feet tall? Has Thanos been drinking extra milk? Also, if you're going to approach someone that powerful, aiming your gun at him probably isn't the smartest option.
Minor gripe: Drax talking in the third person felt like an unnecessary way to introduce him in case there's new readers. Man, I really wish this guy would get more focus in this series.
Bendis continues to do what he does best: comedic banter. This book shines when we're hit with the characters spending downtime together, but when it comes to the overall narrative, AGE OF ULTRON has seemingly shoved aside the plot I was really enjoying with Peter's father and is forcing Angela into the picture. I'm sure Bendis will continue work the pre-existing plot into this new scenario, but so far it doesn't feel like an organic fit. Hopefully that'll change in the next issue and the various plot points will be given equal attention.