Age of Ultron
(abbreviated AU) is a Marvel NOW Crisis Crossover
storyline written by Brian Michael Bendis
and featuring The Avengers
published by Marvel Comics, that involves the return of Ultron
and his conquest of the Earth.
Suddenly and without warning, a Robot War
of epic proportions was kicked off as Ultron made his grand attack on Earth, taking over the planet as a lifeless, mechanical world and forcing many of Earth's heroes — those that survived the initial assaults — into hiding. As Earth's heroes prepare to make a final assault, two heroes — Wolverine and the Invisible Woman — decide to take matters into their own hands and confront Ultron's creator, Hank Pym, before he could make the robot. However, are the consequences of these actions worth our survival?
The storyline had an odd concept with its tie-in issues. A number of titles, including Uncanny Avengers
, Fantastic Four
, and Superior Spider-Man
, released a second numbered issue alongside the regular issue for that month, this one bearing an "AU" mark beside the number. Originally, they were meant to be one-shots, but were changed at the last minute.
A sequel dubbed Cataclysm: The Ultimates Last Stand
was launched in late 2013. The series sees the heroes of the Ultimate
universe dealing with Galactus after he is teleported to their world thanks to Wolverine and Sue Storm's actions
Not to be confused with the 2015 Marvel Cinematic Universe
movie The Avengers: Age of Ultron
, which borrows the name of the crossover, but is not an adaptation
Age of Ultron provides examples of:
- Alternate Universe: Two, aside from the prime Earth-616. We have Earth-61112, where The Bad Guy Wins, and Earth-26111, where without Ultron and Hank Pym, Magic Versus Science was decided completely in favor of magic.
- Ambiguous Time Period: It's never stated exactly how long it's been since Ultron took over.
- Anyone Can Die: Ultron finally dies... until the "Rage of Ultron". The others are double subverted, as they do die, but in alternate universes that don't make a huge difference in the grand scheme of things.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Ultron takes over the world.
- Close Enough Timeline: The timeline generated at the end of the story. It's basically the same, but with a small detail that leads to a happy ending.
- Crisis Crossover
- Expendable Alternate Universe: Desperately tries to avert this, to the extent that Brian Michael Bendis said that the story takes place in Earth-616 in order to make what happens in the Age of Ultron itself more important. It doesn't work, owing to the very way time travel relates to alternate universes in Marvel. In the end, two separate Alternate Universes are treated this way: the Age of Ultron itself (Earth-61112) and the attempt by Wolverine to fix it resulting in the loss of The Magic Versus Technology War (Earth-26111).
- Fantastic Aesop: The moral of the story; do not mess around with time.
- For Want of a Nail: Going back in time and taking out Henry Pym of all people leads to a very different world.
- Genre Savvy: Nick Fury knew that the Avengers would come to his base at the Savage Land, and was waiting for them... even when they didn't know about the very existence of that base, and Fury did not arrange anything to let them know.
- Great Offscreen War: The opening of the series takes place a month or so after Ultron's conquest of Earth, with many of Marvel's heaviest hitters (including Thor, Magneto and the Hulk) already dead.
- Heroic BSOD: What Captain America has apparently been doing since Ultron took over.
- Law of Chromatic Superiority: The Ultron model that finally succeeds in conquering the world is gold, rather than the usual silver or battleship grey.
- The Magic Versus Technology War: the Asgardian/Latverian War in Earth-26111, which happened on account of Earth-61112's Wolverine killing Hank Pym before he created Ultron, resulting in the dissolution of the Avengers and the victory of said war by the combined forces of Doctor Doom and Morgan le Fay (here called Morgana le Fay) and their magic, only barely held in check by a veritable army of Iron Man drones by the time of the present day.
- Mind Screw: The entire ending. Time and space are shattered and repaired thanks to Wolverine and Sue's time travel mishaps and it brings Angela out of the Spawn Universe while seemingly pushing Galactus into the Ultimate Marvel Universe.
- The Mole: When She-Hulk tries to meet Ultron, she meets his servant instead: The Vision
- Murder Is the Best Solution: Subverted. Wolverine thinks that the best way to save reality from Ultron is to kill Hank Pym before he created it. However, this leads to magic winning over science, and Tony Stark in the new world chews him out for not just suggesting a way to kill Ultron being in-built. The resulting time travel throughout the storyline regarding the attempts to Set Right What Once Went Wrong causes untold destruction to The Multiverse.
- Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Ultron returned and is ruling over a dystopian world. The conclusion causes a multiversal Mind Screw that sends various universal versions across dimensions, including Galactus to Ultimate Marvel and Angela to the prime Marvel Universe.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Wolverine's jumps through time open a tear in the fabric of space and time, creating a Reality-Breaking Paradox.
- Shown Their Work: After Wolverine killed Hank Pym before he could create Ultron, Bendis released a list that compiled of all of the changes that would come as a result of this - Whilst some are fairly obvious (Ultron, Vision or Victor Mancha never being created), some were less so (Nova & Star-Lord not sacrficing themselves to stop Thanos) or just obscure (The events of Nextwave never took place).
- Terminator Twosome: Wolverine goes back in time, to kill Henry Pym before he creates Ultron. Sue Storm follows him, to try to convince him not to do that. Eventually, it is Wolverine who convinces her, who stands sad and does nothing while Wolverine does what he does best.
- Time Skip: What the Great Offscreen War takes place in.
- Timey-Wimey Ball: Ends with a fairly small Reality-Breaking Paradox.
- Wham Episode: Galactus of the main Marvel universe/Universe 616 is now in the Ultimate universe. Angela of the Spawn Universe is now in Earth-616, though she received an explanation later that excluded her from her source.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: In the lead up, the Bendis written Moon Knight title's main plotline concerned the deactivated head of an Ultron, and the final issue stated that this would tie in to Age of Ultron. It was never mentioned again.
- Wolverine Publicity: Wolverine seems to be doing a lot more in this story than anyone besides the Invisible Woman, to the point that there are two Wolverines at one point.