Brian Michael Bendis & Bryan Hitch
Another Marvel crossover event began with a bang this week, as the first issue in the Age of Ultron mini-series debuted (complete with a foil cover that you can't miss on the stands), which will see stories crossing over into several other books, including Fantastic Four, Wolverine and the X-Men and Uncanny Avengers. The mini-series will run for ten issues, with artists Brandon Peterson and Carlos Pacheco taking over art chores in later issues, after the first half is completed by Hitch. Coming off of Avengers vs. X-Men, they have quite the shoes to fill, as that crossover event proved epic and actually really, really good. Fans have been waiting for Age of Ultron for awhile now, since we got a little preview a few years ago in the opening volume of Bendis and John Romita Jr's Avengers series, in which Kang took key Avengers members to a future ruled by Ultron. So, it's been a bit of a wait, but it's finally here.
I'm glad that the creators weren't heavy-handed about spelling out what was going on in this first issue. It's a pretty basic idea - a future world where Ultron has taken over, with a few struggling heroes left, fighting back. But we see this future world through an action scene, where Hawkeye is rescuing Spider-Man, who has been captured by some villains planning on handing him over to Ultron for "favors." Through these events, we can infer what the world is like, from the dialogue between the villains, to the Ultron sentinels that appear on scene, to the welcome home that Hawkeye and Peter receive from the other remaining heroes. Solid storytelling, with nice cinematic art by Hitch make this a successful debut. Of course, since this takes place in the future, I can't really speak to how this will shape the current Marvel Universe, if at all, so this could seem like kind of a cheat - an "Age of Apocalypse" that never comes to happen. But as long as the story remains well-crafted, I'll be buying the issues.