Upon reflection, I think I was wrong. I argued that Age of Ultron takes place in the future and that it probably wasn’t an alternate present. That was wrong. It was an alternate past.
Originally scheduled to be the next Marvel event following Fear Itself, Age of Ultron was replaced by Avengers vs. X-Men and delayed. But, I think it was actually just replaced by Avengers vs. X-Men. With no Ultron invasion, that event was free to happen. What we saw in Age of Ultron was the story of how the previous year’s Marvel comics came to exist. The reason why I think this is because I was thinking about All-New X-Men and how none of the time-displaced original X-Men are in Age of Ultron. And, if they were killed here in the future, then the entire Marvel Universe would have been undone/changed. Therefore, Age of Ultron had to take place before they were brought to the future, which was almost immediately following Avengers vs. X-Men. So, that event didn’t happen. (Of course, that made replacing Charles Xavier in Age of Ultron somewhat pointless.)
That would also mean that the Sue Richards and Logan from Age of Ultron have been running around this entire time. We’ve seen that duplicates from alternate futures/presents/pasts can exist despite their timeline being wiped out. Hell, we saw that in Age of Ultron. I keep coming back to these two characters and wondering when they’ll return and for what purpose. What have they been doing all this time? (Wait, have they shown up in some comic that I haven’t read?) Now, they could have been wiped out when time ‘broke,’ but that seems unlikely for two reasons: 1. It was never explicitly stated (and, therefore, can be undone without any issues and, in comics, they undo shit that have clear problems); and 2. That’s far less interesting. Them showing up again is a story of some sort.
I’m still not easing off my guess that that Wolverine plays a role in the current ‘no more healing factor’ shit that the regular Wolverine is going through. But, that still makes me wonder about what they’ve been doing all of this time. In Age of Ultron #10, they fly to New York and see that it’s still there. That suggests that they went forward in time to some degree from Avengers #12.1, but not too far. When exactly? Before Avengers vs. X-Men, sure. Going by the Bendis Avengers timeline, is that sometime after Fear Itself, probably when it was the Avengers vs. Norman Osborn Round 2. What did they do during Avengers vs. X-Men? (What did regular Sue Richards do?) Trying to picture Wolverine hanging out during all of that is hard. I picture a story where he’s flipping out because this is the world he made. It’s not as bad as Ultron’s destructive rampage or the ‘world where Hank Pym got stabbed,’ but it’s still kind of shitty. He just can’t win. It’s almost surprising that Spider-Man wasn’t with him, because, then, it would seem fitting. Those two trying everything to save the world and it still kind of sucks even when they win. Isn’t that just the story of their lives?
Also, it couldn’t be post-Avengers vs. X-Men, because Captain America’s costume is different in Marvel NOW comics and that would explain Peter Parker as Spider-Man better than it being the future. So… yeah… I was wrong.