Reviews: “Age of Ultron vs Marvel Zombies” – Could’ve Been Better?

Posted: September 12, 2015 in Reviews
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WARNING: Spoilers will follow

Last Wednesday saw the release of the final issue of Age of Ultron vs Marvel Zombies, and overall, the series was okay at best. It had a neat look into some other places readers hadn’t yet seen on Battleworld, such as the old town of Timely (itself a cool throwback to the early days of Marvel), the writing was pretty good, and the end clash with the zombies and Ultron had a nice sense of urgency. That having been said, this four issue series definitely needed a lot more work before it was sent out to the shelves.

Plot Overview

When a version of Hank Pym from the old West is exiled by Emperor Doom into Ultron’s domain, help comes in the form of three individuals formerly touched by the evil robot’s influence: Jim Hammond (the Golden Age Human Torch), Simon Williams (Wonder Man), and the Vision. All three explain that Pym is needed to help find a way to stop Ultron, before it destroys the last vestige of humanity trapped on the wrong side of the SHIELD.

Unfortunately for them, Ultron also makes its own place, with the likes of the Marvel Zombies. Combining their strengths, the robots and the zombies converge on the humans with one goal: slaughter everyone! Can Pym help save his new society? Or will Ultron and the zombies finally achieve the deaths of everyone they can get their hands on?

My Thoughts

I had such high hopes for this series, I really did. Robots fighting zombies, possibly with some human casualties thrown in for good measure? What more could you want? Sadly, the answer turns out to be a head-scratchingly confused “a lot”.

First off, we barely see much of the Marvel Zombies (or Ultron, for that matter) through this series. That’s not to say they don’t show up, as we see both groups talking and planning things out. Not to mention, we have a large scale, good ol’ fashioned zombie horde invasion in issue 4. However, most of the focus is kept on Pym and the trio who rescue him. Not bad, but for a series with the words “Ultron” and “zombies” in it, I can’t help but expect a lot more Ultron and zombies.

Image taken from marvel.com

Speaking of the final issue’s horde battle, it felt so rushed. True, we finally have the zombies and robots attacking humanity, but then Pym easily defeats them with a machine he seems to have invented at the last second. That alone raises its own problems (how does a guy used to working with steam and gears figure out A.I. and ionic energy within a few months anyway?), but the fact that the enemy is cleaned up in a neat and tidy manner doesn’t sit well with me. Plus, how was this version of Pym able to think of this method of defeating Ultron, but nobody in the original Age of Ultron was able to?

Finally, looking past the horde issue, there’s really no sense of urgency or problems here. True, if the horde wins, then this one small section of Battleworld will be wiped out. But, as we’ve seen before, Doom has omnipotent power, as well as a legion of Thors to rain destruction from on high. At no point does the reader ever hope for the good guys to win, since it really wouldn’t matter what the horde does afterwards anyway. On top of that, we see in issue 2 that there might be a problem of trust between Ultron and the zombies. Yet, this potential problem is never looked at or referenced again, making the entire thing moot.

Aside from the story (easily the weakest point of this series), we have a couple other issues scattered throughout…well, the issues. Steve Pugh’s art generally doesn’t look too bad, although the design for the zombies seems a little off to me. Having enjoyed the original Marvel Zombies art by Sean Phillips, the zombies just seemed weird and gross instead of horrifying this time around. This is more of a personal preference though, so if you like it, more power to you. Also, James Robinson’s writing is really weak here. Notice everything I just mentioned above, and add in a lot of over explaining about literally every detail, and you have his work on this series in a nutshell.

Overall, I recommend staying away from this one if you haven’t picked up any of the issues yet. It’s mind-numbingly boring, the writing is basically swiss cheese, and the artwork isn’t that much better. You’d be better off saving your money and going with the other, currently on-going, side stories on Battleworld (like my favorites, Spider-Island and X-Men ’92).

COMIC GRADE: 3.5/10

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