Marvel’s Next Big Thing: THE AGE OF ULTRON with Brian Michael Bendis

The Age of Ultron #1 Cover by Bryan Hitch

The parade of press conferences coming from Marvel Comics continued today as Brian Michael Bendis and Tom Brevoort gathered to brief the press on the upcoming event The Age of Ultron, coming this March.

With the groundwork laid in the pages of The Avengers #12.1, which was also re-released as Marvel’s Free Comic Book Day book for 2012, this long alluded to story brings Bendis with artist Bryan Hitch for the return of Ultron.  Here are the pertinent new items you need to know about this:

  • 10 issue limited series with an accelerated shipping schedule. The first issue ships in March, with the last issue shipping in June.  March and April will see 3 issues shipped.
  • Bryan Hitch will be the artist on the first 5 issues only
  • The last 5 issues will feature art by Brandon Peterson and Carlos Pacheco
  • While the series is self contained, there will be tie in issues in Fantastic Four and Superior Spider-Man that will have supplemental numbering, similar to the Point One initiative. Those books will have AU added to their number. For example, Fantastic Four #6AU
  • While the event has it’s prologue in pages of The Avengers #12.1, it is a Marvel Universe event and was meant to be from the get go
  • There is no similarity to The Age of Ultron to a previous, successful event at Marvel, The Age of Apocalypse. Brevoort said this is not an alternate reality story

With the pertinent news bits out of the way, some of the interesting aspects to this announcement was not only that the book would finally see the light of day, but the accelerated shipping schedule. Brevoort assured that Hitch’s issues were done and in the can and Bendis added that the art change after 5 issues comes with a purpose that will be seen once the issues are released.  Bendis, who has been in the driver’s seat for many of Marvel’s events further said that this event was designed to react to feedback from readers in terms of the kind and style of event that they want.  While the story is self contained and shipping on a fast schedule, it is also in continuity (They take place during “Marvel NOW!!! with three exclamation points”as Bendis referred to it) and promises to have ramifications in the Marvel Universe.  Also discussed were the supplemental issues and how they will enhance the story but not be required reading.

The biggest reveal of the press conference was when Bendis revealed that there will be a shocking ending to this series featuring a secret so big that even many people who work at Marvel don’t even know what the secret is.  Brevoort confirmed this by stating that they’ve been using codewords and other tactics to keep it a secret.  Bendis exclaimed “The last pages are so shocking that there are literally only six people in the whole world who know what they are.”  Bendis challenged members of the press to guess what the secret may be, to which I asked if it perhaps could lead to the inclusion of Marvelman into Marvel Comics, which was followed by silence from Bendis and Brevoort.  Bendis joked off the silence by saying they weren’t going to confirm if any guesses were correct, so time will tell and we’ll see what this big secret reveal is come June.

Finally, I asked Bendis if this story would tie into and resolve the dangling plot line of the Scarlet Witch/Hawkeye/Closet story from The New Avengers #26, of which Bendis responded with laughter, “You are an insane person. No matter what we’re talking about, you bring up that *expletive* closet. We were talking about the All-New X-Men and you brought up the closet. You are nuts. I love that about you. This is fantastic.”  And then he dismissed the question by saying that behind the closet door was Ultron and laughed.

Start placing your bets as to what this big secret ending will be! Get them in the comments now so when it happens, you can go back and prove that you guessed it!

The Age of Ultron begins shipping in March and will wrap up after 10 issues with an epilogue issue in June. You can see a preview plus the variant cover for The Age of Ultron #1 below:

Comments

  1. gobo gobo says:

    So instead of doing a Fantastic Four: Age of Ultron oneshot or mini, they’re just doing Fantastic Four #6AU!? *headdesk*

    • Dean B. Dean B. says:

      Does anyone but Bendis write for Marvel anymore? It’s not that I dislike his writing or anything but I can’t help but feel 1 of every 3 or 4 books they do he’s the writer on these days. He’s a great writer but the Marvel universe is starting to feel more like the Bendis universe.

      Kinda wish they’d bring in some new talent although I am really looking forward to the new titles by Waid, Remender and Aaron that are/have released.

    • jasonhart jasonhart says:

      @gobo ~ Yeah, it may seem stupid to a regular reader, but I imagine sales are MUCH higher if it’s “in continuity” numbering. If you are reading FF & cringe at this, do you still buy the issue? If it’s a one-shot, how many people look at it differently & maybe put it back on the shelf, or don’t automatically get it in their sub?

    • BioXD says:

      I actually prefer that to them pausing the books for several months with boring tie-ins while the event runs. I kinda like the idea, it’s a good compromise between tie-ins and additional mini-series.

  2. The secret is that Captain America’s been dead the whole time!

  3. Unless I hear good things about this, it’s looking like a pass for me

  4. God bless you Ron Richards for asking The Closet Question again.

  5. Radmobile Radmobile says:

    What’s in the closet?

    His boss’s dirty laundry.

    (has this joke been made already?)

  6. flapjaxx flapjaxx says:

    I liked Bendis back when he wrote 2-3 comics a month. Not 5-7 comics a week.

  7. mrmarky mrmarky says:

    I gotta say, as a relatively new comic book reader, events like this just freak me out more than anything. I tried reading A vs. X and found it really difficult to keep track of all of the heroes.

    • glfmntn says:

      I definitely feel you on this one. I really started doing the whole comics thing starting back in July and although I really enjoy it, I definitely have some moment where I’m like “Who the eff is this guy.” Wikipedia became a good friend starting out for some of the characters.

  8. Neeks Neeks says:

    Wait… so will this take over the new Avengers book Hickman will be writing for those months as well? I hope not…

  9. capdan says:

    i think marvel has lost me with events if any of my book tie in i will deal but i think 6 issues in 2 months is two short a time i will get the trade if i can

  10. Jeff Reid Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

    Hmmmm. Marvelman, you guessed, eh? That could be fun if that’s what happens.

  11. Neb Neb says:

    You guys, everyone knows it was R. Kelly in the closet.

    I won’t be picking this up. Marvel is crazy with the double and triple shipping. It’s killing my wallet and my sanity. Only thing I’m buying at this point are the books that aren’t affected by Marvel NOW.

  12. kingjoeg kingjoeg says:

    But spider-man is peter parker in this????!!! how is that supposed to work if the story is in the marvel now era.

  13. jackietam jackietam says:

    Now the question is which Bryan Hitch are we going to get: The Authority or Captain America: Reborn. My hope is for the former, but then again, I’ve been hope for that for a long time.

  14. bigben2012 says:

    Wish Hitch was drawing the entire thing.

  15. Cindrollic Cindrollic says:

    Ten issues and an epilogue in four months? Dang… might have to wait for the trade with this one. I can barely afford my regular titles.

  16. ragcage ragcage says:

    Give me reason why i shouldn’t trade wait this? I sure as hell can wait one month extra for something i haven’t even started…
    These days i rarely read mini series in issue form.

    • WheelHands WheelHands says:

      I’ll bite. Events are arguably the one exception to the trade waiting method. When all is said and done, the deaths/secrets/changes that take place here will have already been spoiled for you by the time the trade releases (either by other readers, press releases, or in the pages of the other books you’re reading in floppy). True, events can be exciting stand-alone stories that deserve to be read and re-read for years, but part of the fun of an event is going through it issue by issues and being shocked and appalled along with the rest of us.

  17. msarsur msarsur says:

    Looking forward to this. If the comparison to Infinity Gauntlet holds, it’ll be the kind of Marvel story I love.

  18. I love the MiracleMan idea Ron. It’s been a while since they secured those rights, and have been so quiet about where and when it may be used. I like it!

  19. 85 85 says:

    “10 issue limited series with an ACCELERATED SHIPPING schedule. The first issue ships in March, with the last issue shipping in June. ”

    Thats gonna hurt a little.

  20. WheelHands WheelHands says:

    I’ve just recently (for about a year and a half) been creeping back into the Marvel Universe after only reading a book here and there for years. Even when I did read Marvel regularly as a lad, my experience with the Avengers was seldom at best. So now that I’m back behind enemy lines as it were, I have a couple of questions:

    1) How long has Ultron been gold? Or is that new here?

    2) Why is Cap wearing his old costume in that Hitch cover? And is Ultron really powerful enough to crack his shield? Or is that just visual hype?

    As far as the secret goes, I’m not really informed enough to hazard a guess, but Bendis’ reaction to Ron’s question sounds pretty telling to me. And Ron, I hope you don’t stop asking about the closet until Bendis is forced to work it into a story just to shut you up. The ongoing saga is comedy gold.

  21. tomdpimp tomdpimp says:

    If this ties into that Kang arc in Avengers its going to tie into the KIDS!

    Or ROM will return to Marvel!

  22. And Ron, you’re right to keep asking about the “what’s in Wanda’s closet” question, until,we get that answer we keep asking the question.

  23. BC1 BC1 says:

    The ending is such a big secret only 6 people know about it. OK, you really want to prove to us that this is a huge super-secret deal? Then DON’T SPOIL IT IN THE NEWSPAPERS! Don’t put out a press release at 12:01 AM the morning of the issue’s release. Let us find out as we read the comic, like in the old days!

  24. So Age of Ultron ties in to Superior Spiderman, which stars a new Spiderman. And here in these previews, we’re seeing a maskless Spiderman, who resembles Peter Parker but is it Peter Parker?

  25. USPUNX USPUNX says:

    I’m dying to know what’s in that damn closet but do think we’ll ever actually find out? I’m not being sarcastic, I’m really interested if people think we’ll ever get the answer.

    • WheelHands WheelHands says:

      I don’t know Ron or Bendis personally, but I’d like to think that if Ron bothers him enough he’ll either either make something up, tell him the original intention, or write something into a story as a joke. From what little I’ve learned about Ron over the years, he can be very … persistent.

    • glfmntn says:

      I apologize for the ignorance on this one, but what is the closet that is being referred to?

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      In an early New Avengers issue, #26, Clint sleeps with Scarlet Witch, post House of M, and afterward wakes up and opens her closet door. The reader never sees what is inside but Clint has a horrified look on his face. In fact it’s never actually clear if Clint opens the closet or decides not too but it IS clear there is something of great importance in there. The general theory is that it was meant to be a teaser for a future important plot line but was later dropped somewhere along the way. Many fans, principally Ron Richards, are dying to know what was intended to be in there.

  26. cosmo cosmo says:

    If I can borrow this off a friend (same way I read the last two Marvel events) then I’ll read it. Otherwise, nope . . .

    The AU numbering does sound really silly, but at least it means that other creators won’t have their arcs interrupted . . .

    Mircleman? Could be interesting. Now, what would really excite me if they put the Moore/Gaiman runs back in print. I read pieces of them looong ago, but never in any orderly or systematic manner.

  27. As long as you keep bringing up the closet Ron, that joke will never get old.

  28. Quinn says:

    It all comes together when Ultron comes out of the closet.

  29. mutielover says:

    Ultron models as Sentinels? Interesting…

  30. filippod filippod (@filippodee) says:

    Rapid shipping schedule? Can’t. Afford. Anymore.

  31. Two years late and there’s already an art change hahaahaha.

  32. Also, how long is this damn farewell tour? This is like Rolling Stones / Cher territory now.

  33. kmob181 kmob181 says:

    The scarlet witch is secretly…a communist! Ah!

  34. Skruff Skruff says:

    Communism is just a red herring

  35. So… You know the HUGE secret at the end is the return of the Sentry right?

  36. I demand that the first six issues just be Ultron in the Savage Land talking.

  37. player1 player1 says:

    I’ll read the public library’s copy next year.

    SO DON’T SPOIL IT FOR ME!!!

    8)

  38. Did we just get a hint at who the new Superior Spider-Man is?

  39. Is that Hawkeye in the reflection of Ultron’s helmet?

  40. MutantSentry MutantSentry says:

    The secret… The entire history of the Marvel Universe since the flashback in Avengers #58 has been an encephalo beam induced delusion suffered by Hank Pym while Ultron 1 tries to deduce what chances he would have once he escapes. Hank Pym’s recurring breakdowns has been Pym trying to fight this. When he finally wakes up we will have rebooted the Marvel U with a whole new continuity from ’68 on.

    God I hope I’m wrong…