For an “event” comic, I find myself surprised more and more with each issue at the slow, plodding pace of “Age of Ultron.” Even as issue #3 promises that something will finally happen, this comic by Brian Michael Bendis, Bryan Hitch, and Paul Neary fails to excite as it takes three installments to get to a point that should have been cleared in just one.
At first, it felt like “Age of Ultron” had opened at a slower pace so the extra room could be used for Hitch and Neary to give us big, expansive images of the devastation caused by the Age of Ultron. But in issue #3, that aspect is curiously absent. Instead, this is a book primarily told using tight quarters and a narrow focus on head shots. It’s something that feels very uncomfortable, not only to read but quite possibly for Hitch to draw. We end up with a lot of reused poses, especially the tilted head shot. Several of them are so similar, down to the angle and what is and isn’t included, that it’s hard to ignore. For an artist who’s normally hired to draw larger-than-life images, this feels like a huge waste of Hitch’s talents. Even when we do finally get some images along that line, it’s something as underwhelming and dull as Luke Cage silently walking through rubble. For a book that should have been a perfect match between ideas and artist, “Age of Ultron” #3 is showing us that this is instead a bad decision.
Bendis’ script is at this point hard to ignore in terms of its drawn-out nature. The pages with the heroes bickering just remind you that this has been going on for three issues, now; I’m not saying that we need a fight scene in every issue, but there needs to be something more exciting than this. By the time Luke Cage decides to head into the heart of the Ultron-controlled territory, you expect something better, but instead get something lacking in any sort of adventure or even interest-holding. The closest we get is the surprise final page, but at this point it’s a revelation so late in coming, I’m not sure most readers will even care.
“Age of Ultron” #3 feels like it’s sealing the fate of this miniseries. There’s no sign of the pace approaching something that can grab your attention, and the idea of seven more issues of this can’t help but invoke a vague sense of dread. “Age of Ultron” right now feels like a failure; after building a lot of buzz in “Avengers vs. X-Men,” this feels like a complete reversal of fortune. Maybe we’ll all be proven wrong and later issues will show us otherwise, but for now,