Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A, U! Don't watch this!

Well, by now you may have forgotten Age of Ultron, the eleventy-three part Marvel limited series that did for Ultron, the amazing killer robot, what "Days of Future Past" did for humans. It was ten issues in which not very much at all happened except superheroes sitting around talking about the end of the world (which happened off camera) and their final dramatic fight with Ultron (which happened off camera) and how the world was changed into a dystopian civilization of the sort that superhero comics seem to revel in (which happened...well, you know the drill). Then, Wolverine got to kill himself. A lot more seemed to happen in the tie-in issues, which isn't a good sign.

Trouble with a big event comic like this is that you tend to hang along for the ride, tapping your hoof semi-patiuently through all the expository, boring bits, waiting for the big-ass final-issue fight sequence where justice prevails. Except in issue #10, we were treated to only a handful of pages of the Avengers versus Ultron...what number is he on now? Ultron-58? Ultron-106? (Hey, dude, why do you insist on naming yourself after the number of times the Avengers have already defeated you?) Just as the action starts getting good, Ultron drops dead of a robotic heart attack, vowing vengeance and daring the Avengers to bite his shiny metal ass, and the whole shebang is over with nobody getting hurt except a spare Wolverine. Oh yeah, they broke time too. I hate when that happens.

Well, hey, you pays your money and you takes your chances on yet another Brian Bendis miniseries that you can read in about twenty minutes and doesn't have a real ending. And barely has the Avengers fighting Ultron in it. I'm here to tell you that if you wanted hard-hitting, robot-ass-kicking, Avenger-assembling action you should have read a totally different comic book. I'm going to tell you all about it, because that's the kind of cool bull I am. Witness the Marvel of the Age that is an economical eight page story (plus eight pages of pin-ups): Avengers: Ultron Quest! You missed it on your local comic book store's shelves? That's because it was a giveaway freebie from Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, "the official hotel partner of Marvel’s The Avengers movie" (you have to call it that or Tony Stark will sue you) as well as the good folks who put the ham dessert in "Wyndham Hotels and Resorts," if you rearrange the letters and add a few ones that weren't there in the first place. Who says this isn't the Mighty Marvel Age of Free Little Soaps and Comic Books?

Cover of Avengers: Ultron Quest one-shot (May 2012), cover art by Ron Garney and Jason Keith

As our story opens, The Avengers are, I dunno...fighting Ultron. On the very first page it's already more Avengery than AU. Another positive: they're battling in Manhattan's Times Square, so there's an entirely likely possibility that Bubba Gump's will be destroyed.

Splash panel from Avengers: Ultron Quest one-shot (May 2012), script by Fred van Lente, pencils by Brad Walker, inks by Andrew Hennessy, colors by Bruno Hang, letters by Dave Sharpe

These Avengers don't need ten issues and various spin-offs to finish off this metallic schlemiel: in fact, Scarlett Johansson does it with a big-ass gun. The exact same way she got rid of Ryan Reynolds. Unfortunately, Ultron manages to upload his programming to the internet, where he becomes infected by cat videos and Star Wars/My Little Pony mash-ups, and thus vows to destroy humanity for all time. Based on the evidence, yeah, I kinda see his point.

Ultron's used the superior speed of his AOL dial-up connection to download his consciousness into one of four possible locations across North America, and the Avengers, in the spirit of all those old Justice Society stories, must split up into small teams to try and track him down. And in case you were wondering why Wyndham Resorts were sponsoring this comic book, it's because Tony Stark has "enough Wyndham Resort Points to get us a free room in each of those cities." You may laugh at the blatant product placement, but consider this: Tony Stark is a billionaire and you aren't. And you don't get to be a billionaire by paying the market cost for a hotel room, suckers!

Across the wide chain of Wyndham's luxurious and yet affordable resorts, the Avengers make their bases to track down Ultron. Um, as soon as they're done relaxing and having some well-earned R&R. What, you've never seen a super-hero on vacation?


Suddenly: Susan! Ultron! In all four locations! Now there's a robot who really knows how to multitask! Or, possibly, engage in his long-loved hobby of Destructive Tourism, as seen in this month's issue of National Geographic Traveler and Conqueror.

Thus the Avengers are relaxed and rested for a full-one battle. Yep, you get at no extra charge another awesome Ultron vs. Avengers fight sequence, times four! Yeah, Bendis, Fred van Lente is showin' you how it's done here!

Everybody gathers in Los Angeles for the big musical number! Say, didja notice that they stuck to the movie Avengers and thus we didn't have to see Wolverine in this story? Don't fret, though, Logan lovers. Wolverine is now appearing in a comic tie-in to his new summer hit movie, a free promotional comic book sponsored by Bartles & Jaymes, the official fruit-flavored wine cooler of The Wolverine movie. "Now that's refreshment, bub!" (snikt)

So who can we thank for the freedom of the Earth from robotic tyranny? The Avengers, of course...but also don't forget to thank Wyndham Resorts and Hotels! They're the Official Hotel of the Avengers even though they don't let the Beast stay there after he shed blue fur all over their sheets.

Yes, Avengers Assemble! In the lobby of your nearest Wyndham Resort and/or Hotel! And that's One to Grow On!

Wyndham Resorts and Hotels has not reimbursed or paid Yours Little Stuffed Truly for placement of this review. In fact, I still owe them money from eating that $18 can of cashews out of the minibar.


VanVelding said...

Can I be the first pedant to mention "EMP pulse" is like "ATM machine"?

SallyP said...

Best Avengers story ever!