'Age of Ultron' takes over comic shops -- was it worth the wait?

It's been almost two years since Avengers 12.1, an issue where Tony Stark warned that Ultron comes back smarter each time he's reborn. Well, Hank Pym's robotic "son" is back again, and apparently smart enough to take over New York City and transform it into a dystopian dictatorship. The first issue arrived on Wednesday, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Bryan Hitch, Paul Neary and Paul Mounts, the same creative team who created that 12.1 issue -- and the same writer who teased it in an issue of Avengers back in 2010.

So was it worth the wait? Here are a few opinions from the web who thought so or thought no, as the case may be:

Iann Robinson, Crave Online: "You have to give it to Brian Michael Bendis. He starts off Age Of Ultron with a swift kick to our comic book loving balls (it’s a metaphor, so girls are included). This first of a 10-issue series doesn’t ease us into a story – it throws us into the deep end, all the while screaming 'sink or swim!' This is about as unpleasant a first issue as I’ve read in many years. I don’t say that negatively, I say it with great admiration that Bendis would go right for the jugular." (9/10)

Doug Zawisza, Comic Book Resources: "I'm certain Bendis will get to the 'why' of Ultron being a threat in due time, but it isn't delivered in this issue. There is no legitimate cause behind the squalor populating the pages of Age of Ultron #1, just lots of speculation and guessing as Age of Ultron #1 presents samples of humanity at its worst. Bendis opens the adventure in the middle and works to construct the ends around it, but draws the reader to Hawkeye instead of Ultron. This installment is a study in Hawkeye's legitimacy as a hero more than anything else and provides a quick long-range synopsis of what the world looks like." (2.5/5)

Brian Salvatore, Multiversity Comics: "And yet, this feels familiar to the hilt. From the drab color scheme to the predictable tropes, everything about this comic has been done, both better and worse, before. One of the joys of Marvel NOW! has been that many of the more successful books feel like a totally new take on classic characters. FF, New Avengers, even the sub-par Superior Spider-Man all feel like fresh takes on familiar ideas. This feels like a retread of a retread of a retread. Plus, it is boring! Bendis takes forever to illustrate points you get a few pages in, and there is precious little to chew on after you’re done reading it." (3.1/10)

Matt D. Wilson, ComicsAlliance: "Once the story focuses in on the people in this brave new world, there's a distinct sense that this is not a superhero event as we know it. If anything, it feels like the darker edges of sci-fi and crime cinema from the the late '70s and '80s. I'm particularly reminded of John Carpenter's Escape from New York once a much more grizzled Hawkeye than the one we've been seeing in his own book shows up to violently save a teenage prostitute from some creeps, and growl Snake Plisskenesque anti-hero dialogue as he moves on to a bigger goal."

Martin Gray, Too Dangerous for a Girl: "It's been a while since we've seen the widescreen stylings of Bryan Hitch in a Marvel title, and it's good to have him back. This is a big story demanding big images, which is precisely what we get over the first few pages. And while normally I'd have a wee whine about using up so much room, Marvel give us 29 story pages, plus metallic effect embossed cardboard cover, for $3.99. It's refreshing, and will hopefully entice more people to try this opener. It's certainly worth looking at for Hitch's pencils, inked by the sorely underrated Paul Neary and coloured by the rightly lauded Paul Mounts. The three men combine talents to present a dark, desperate world, eerily illuminated by blue bolts of lightning and the ray blasts of Ultron's elite. The panels are so packed with detail it's almost wrong, but it makes for a rich visual experience. There's some especially fine 'eye-work,' showing us what the characters are feeling without need for thought bubbles."

Matt Price, Nerdage: "Some may question where this fits in the overall world of Marvel NOW, but I’m willing to wait and see. Everything doesn’t have to be spelled out in the first issue, nor every question answered. For me, Age of Ultron has set up an intriguing beginning with the Avengers at a low point. I’m willing to stay on board to see where it goes."

Garrett Martin, Paste Magazine: "And all that’s done in under 15 minutes. It took almost as long to download on that weak fast food Wi-Fi as it did for me to read. Even Ultron‘s short length would be fine if the story felt like a full experience, a full chapter in a longer tale, and not just the first scene of the first act. Instead, it’s a fight scene and then a brief glimpse at the heroes’ harried underground existence. Instead of being intrigued for the next issue, I’m just sort of frustrated."

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