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Comic Review: Age of Ultron #4

Age of Ultron #4 Bryan Hitch Luke Cage cover Marvel NOW!

Brian Michael Bendis’ post-apocalyptic series at last hits its stride with Age of Ultron #4, an exciting, eventful and sharp-looking book that kicks a heretofore sluggish story into high gear while promising continued thrills going forward.

The story picks up with Luke Cage and She-Hulk confronting the Vision in Ultron’s citadel, but quickly dashes ahead to hit more plot points than we’ve seen in the last three issues combined.

Bendis has been juggling disparate threads to varying degrees of effectiveness up until this point, but with Age of Ultron #4 he starts to pull them together and drive the plot beyond the initial shock of the situation toward a definite attempt to resolve it. There are a few more deaths – including one particularly brutal lobotomy by an Ultron bot – but the surviving Marvel heroes finally start to get back on their feet.

And the narrative shift isn’t the only breath of fresh air.

After toiling in the blasted, grey ruins of New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco, Bryan Hitch gets the chance to draw more colourful, energetic scenes in a variety of settings. Hitch offers up some sizzling Red Hulk pages, a menacing Ultron army chase scene, and a finale in the Savage Land to make Age of Ultron #4 a bright and varied visual experience.

But rest assured, dark and dreary dystopia fans: this comic is still brimming with the depression and death that has defined this event so far.

The first three Age of Ultron issues were slow on the uptake, but the hook at the end of last issue – Vision’s dismembered attachment to the Ultron machinery – seems to be just the tip of the iceberg.

There’s some time travel afoot, which opens the door for all kinds of possibilities going forward.

Bendis has told fans that this story is indeed set in the Marvel 616 universe, so it will be interesting to see how he uses time travel to link everything together.

The time travel angle also opens the door for some of the rumoured character additions coming to the Marvel universe, including the confirmed debut of Neil Gaiman’s Angela.

If you were nonplussed by the slow start to this event, Age of Ultron #4 will put your fears to rest. The heroes are done moping. Now, they’re ready to fight back.

8 out of 10

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