So, that mysterious "A.U." teaser from Marvel last week turned out to be advertising Age of Ultron #1, which will be next year's big event book from Brian Michael Bendis and artists Bryan Hitch, Carlos Pacheco and Brandon Peterson. This was teased in 2011's Marvel Point One issue, and it's coming to pass as a 10-issue series starting this coming March.
Apparently, the 12-issue drag on Avengers vs. X-Men took too long, because Marvel's EIC Axel Alonso says they're going to ship all 10 issues between March and June.
Here's their synopsis blurb:
Ultron, a deadly sentient robot created by founding Avenger Hank Pym who turned on his creator to achieve his twisted objective…the utter destruction of humanity. Now that Ultron has conquered, enslaving most of the world’s Super Heroes, it’s up to a small group of resistance fighters—including Invisible Woman, Taskmaster, Beast, Emma Frost, She-Hulk, Luke Cage, Spider-Man, Wolverine and Moon Knight—to find a way overcome darkness and bring hope back a world that has suddenly lost everything.
“From the very first page, readers will see the unthinkable – Ultron has won,” said Alonso. “In a world where we’ve learned to depend on technology to sustain us, what would happen if one villain found a way to turn it against us? In order to survive, the world's greatest super heroes will have to make drastic choices whose ramifications will be felt throughout the Marvel Universe."
For his part, Bendis says "In the vein of Infinity Gauntlet, Secret Invasion and Civil War, Age of Ultron is a massive Marvel Universe-spanning Event. One of our most famous villains, Ultron, the super artificial intelligence, has fulfilled his destiny and taken the Earth. This story touches every corner of the Marvel Universe and will have an amazing effect on things going forward. We have taken the time to do this right – everything is gorgeous, every page matters, and most of all – something I'm very proud of – is that it will be shipping at a furious pace. Every day for the last year and a half people have been asking me when this story will come and I'm thrilled to announce that it is here.”
Since they teased it a year and a half before it's actually coming out, it seems like the artists have had all the time they need to get all the work done. Hopefully, Marvel's figured out a way to do a big event without overmilking it to the point of disinterest.
Of course, the speculation must begin immediately. One – is the utter destruction of society on a yearly basis getting a little overdone? Two – does that A.U. teaser possibly have a double meaning, like maybe the Age of Ultron will all take place in an Alternate Universe like the Age of Apocalypse, and then we'll get some kind of alternate reality Luke Cage to join the 616 Avengers now that the real Luke is taking time off to be a father? Three – will this tie in legitimately to Annihilation: Conquest and involve Ultron's Phalanx and thus Guardians of the Galaxy – also written by Bendis – or will they just ignore all previous continuity?
The most important question of all, though: will this finally be a truly enjoyable event book from start to finish? There always seems to be some point in these events where things go wrong, be it crapping on canon, wrongheaded character motivations or what have you. Ultron being one of the coolest Avengers villains, one hopes we can get it on the nose this time. Wouldn't you love to have an event book that doesn't result in a bunch of people groaning about event books for once?
I'll tell you one thing for free, though – Golden Ultron ain't as cool as Silver Ultron. S'all I'm saying.
Check out these preview pages from Age of Ultron #1 and tell us what you think.