Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Frank Cho
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: As Ms. Marvel tries to decide what to do about Mechababe Ultron, the latter beats down the Sentry with a succession of hard objects.
Comments: This issue is almost criminally simplistic. Ultronís technique of wielding various cudgels is just silly; another example of the Bendisian take on ďwidescreen actionĒ as amounting to exponential orders of magnitude substituting for regular old fisticuffs. Itís story as stalling tactic, and itís not helped by the once again annoying misuse of thought bubbles as subliminal commentary.
However, some of the smaller bits, in between all the clunky bludgeoning, arenít bad. Jan and Simon try to figure out how to handle Ultron, as theyíve fought it before. Hank Pym gets caught with his pants down, thanks to a very randy Tigra. S.H.I.E.L.D. and Deputy Director Hill and the Avengers all collaborate in building intel, and when the worst happens, Ms. Marvel, Wonder Man and Sentry all pitch in to do their parts. This team has each otherís backs, not from years of experience with each other, but from years of experience as powerhouse heroes. Thatís nice to see, and not exactly what the other Avengers team is offering right now.
Itís also nice of Natasha to step up where her expertise will do the most good, too, once Director Hill is taken out and Tony is still missing. This isnít really the most dysfunctional bunch ever, and thatís good because the real challenge for Bendis here is to write happy, rather than tortured, characters. But heís really got to stop throwing big things around whenever he needs to up the stakes; itís just getting stupid.
Cho provides solid storytelling for most of the issue, amidst all the cheesecake, but the really scary moments of Terminator-esque transformations he hints at with Ultron donít really come off; she has no costume, just a glistening silver body, and she looks rather bland against all her spandex foes. Soccer Mom Ultron is an intriguing idea, but he really doesnít take it all the way to the creepiness the concept needs. Hey, Cho: my eyes are up here!
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