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Review: Age of Ultron #4 and Thanos Rising #1

Age of Ultron #4

AgeOfUltron4CoverI’ve been generally down on Age of Ultron, the latest major event from the Marvel team. This one, has Ultron enacting his revenge upon the Marvel universe warping the world into a war-torn landscape where heroes are outnumbered and hunted. In the last issue, we were presented with the “shocker” that the Vision was involved, being manipulated by Ultron to make this plan happen.

For three issues, we’ve been teased and hinted at what’s going on, but with Age of Ultron #4, it’s all finally laid out for us. We now know the “how” generally in what’s going on and the solution is rather predictable. It’s taken us four issues and a good chunk of change to get to this point?

That’s part of my disappointment with this event so far, the pacing. We should be much further ahead in the story than we are now. The first issue felt like the action sequence before the opening credits of a movie and the next two issues was set up, and easily could be crammed into one issue. Did this really need four issues? Maybe two, or two and a half comics, not four. The story is far too decompressed, it’s working against the enjoyment right now.

Also, the art isn’t up the Bryan Hitch’s normal fantastic standards. Characters’ heads are misshapen, eyes are crossed, there’s weird poses, it all is sub-standard for a talented artist.

As far as big events, this one is really off in all aspects. The story is predictable, the pacing is plodding, the art is sub-standard. For a major event, I expect more. I could go further into the fact this is the first major event post Marvel NOW! and as an introduction of such things to new readers, this is a pretty poor one to begin with.

I’ll continue to read it in hopes that things improve, but so far, I’m unimpressed.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: Bryan Hitch
Story: 6.75 Art: 6.75 Overall: 6.75 Recommendation: Pass

Thanos Rising #1

ThanosRising_1_CoverIt’s clear Marvel is setting up Thanos to be a big deal in the coming years, not only in the comic universe, but also the movie universe. It’s not surprising there’s now an effort to flesh out the character, giving him more of a background and some history to explain his actions. That’s where this mini-series comes into the picture and it’s an odd one.

We get to see Thanos is a child, and some of the major events that have shaped his life. What drives a person to be obsessed with death as much as he is, and we’re lead to believe it stems from being rejected as a child. There’s some interesting stuff here, but it all comes off as a checklist of social issues, as opposed to the build up of a character who has committed genocide on a vast scale. We’re not given a complicated tragic figure, instead it’s a predictable, paint-by-numbers set up.

From the beginning Thanos is rejected as a child due to his appearance and for some unexplained reason “death” is all around him causing numerous attempts to kill him as a child. It’s all predictable, unexplained and laughable. We’re taken through his early years to see how he deals with children and from there how he’s accepted or rejected. Again, all cookie cutter stuff. Nothing stands out as original, which is a shame because writer Jason Aaron is beyond talented.

Simone Bianchi’s art is as fantastic as I’d expect. It’s painted like style is so unique and original, you know it when you see it, and it’s the highlight of the book.

Overall, this first issue actually does a disservice to the character of Thanos. Previously we were given a mad tyrant obsessed with death and willing to do all to appease his mistress. Now, we get some motivation, but it’s weak and predictable. I’d rather take the mysterious unpredictable character whose motivations were simple, instead of the one whose back-story came off an assembly line.

I’m giving this comic a “read” recommendation, not because the story is worth it at all, the art is the draw here.

Story: Jason Aaron Art: Simone Bianchi
Story: 6.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 6.75 Recommendation: Read

Zeismic