Age of Ultron #10 and the defeat of Ultron both answered and raised some questions, specifically regarding the Brian Michael Bendis/Alex Maleev Moon Knight series that supposedly acted as a lead-in of sorts for Age of Ultron. Well, what kind of Age of Ultron #10 obsessive if I didn’t try to provide some guidance on how I interpret these two books? A very poor one – and that’s just not me.
The big plot that consumes Moon Knight is the eponymous hero dealing with an Ultron head that he finds being sold on the black market and the man behind the whole thing, Count Nefaria. It’s never made clear where an Ultron head comes from, but that doesn’t really matter. It’s really about the superpowerless-yet-really-kind-of-crazy Moon Knight overcoming the insanely-superpowered Count Nefaria and proving his mettle as a hero. It’s also about how he’s got Wolverine, Captain America, and Spider-Man in his head. And how he gets Echo killed. But, there was the Ultron head and how it seemed to be part of the run-up to Age of Ultron, especially given the teaser on the final page of the series that specifically named Moon Knight’s involvement in the upcoming event.
In Age of Ultron #10, when Ultron is blown to pieces, his head prominently goes flying right towards the reader. This was immediately assumed to mean that the head in Moon Knight is this head. That would place Moon Knight as taking place after Avengers #12.1 and would mean that, instead of Moon Knight leading into Age of Ultron, it was actually a sequel of sorts (or does that make Age of Ultron a prequel?). (Funnily enough, when I was doing my big Bendis Avengers reread last summer, part of my goal was to put the comics in a definitive reading order and I already had Moon Knight placed after Avengers #12.1 and before Fear Itself. So, give Bendis some credit for crafting a story that seemed to naturally fall after that issue.) I don’t disagree with this view of events. After all, I’ve come to the conclusion that every comic released since Avengers #12.1 is part of the rewritten continuity of Age of Ultron #10. Moon Knight as we read it was what actually happened. If anything, the Moon Knight stuff we saw in Age of Ultron was what this series replaced, you could argue. Note the similar team-up situation in both books: Echo and Black Widow (and Black Widow even comes with a facial disfigurement!). The locations are both California, but different cities.
There is one lingering thing and that’s a panel in Age of Ultron #10 where Wolverine, after the defeat of Ultron, is seen striking at the ground with his claws, destroying something. Some have theorised that this is Ultron’s head. Given the way that it was blown off his body, it seems like it went flying pretty far, while Wolverine is clearly in roughly the same spot as when Ultron exploded – on the other side of the body from the direction that the head went flying. He’s probably just clawing at some other wreckage of the body out of anger.
While Moon Knight’s adventures did continue to Age of Ultron in a way (well, the Bendis-written adventures of Moon Knight), I would argue that that is actually the alternate version of the events of that series that we see. Of course, given my placement of Age of Ultron post-Fear Itself and pre-Avengers vs. X-Men, it doesn’t line up with my placing Moon Knight before Fear Itself. My only explanation: TIMEQUAKE.