After weeks of uncertainty, I think this comic has finally hit its stride.
If you’ve read these reviews before, you know that I’ve criticized the pacing, the lack of backstory, and the vagueness of what exactly Ultron did to so completely wreak havoc on Earth. Book Five of Age of Ultron doesn’t solve all of those problems, but it does give them all a somewhat startling and endlessly intriguing new direction, and as such it becomes the best issue of the series so far.
After escaping the carnage of New York and San Francisco, the surviving Marvel Heroes relocate to the Savage Land, where they hope to regroup and find a way to deal with Ultron’s wrath. Things are complicated by the news that Ultron himself is not actually leading the conquest. Instead, he’s watching things from the future while Vision runs things in the present day. With this information, the heroes begin to form a plan, and an old ally returns to galvanize their efforts.
I praised the last issue of this miniseries for the way it seemed to open up the door to the greater plot of this series. I still feel like everything that came before could have been covered in one issue, not three, but that’s a Bendis comic for you. He takes longer than other writers do, and while that can sometimes be frustrating, it also means he can deliver big character moments. Here, in issue five, he not only delivers those moments, but kicks down the door of this comic. Everything is bigger and more ambitious. Everything seems part of a larger whole, finally, and that makes what’s come before worth it…at least, so far.
I don’t know yet where this is heading. I won’t spoil it for you, but parts of this seem awful gimmicky. Other parts, though, look like the stuff of fantastic character building. We’ll see where it goes. In the meantime, I’m willing to brand Age of Ultron Book Five a thrilling, relentlessly plot-filled issue that sets up the rest of the event in marvelous ways.