Age of Ultron
"Age of Ultron" is a 2013 comic book fictional crossover storyline published by Marvel Comics that involved the conquest of the Earth by the sentient robot tyrant Ultron. The storyline consisted of an eponymous, 10-issue core miniseries, and a number of tie-in books.
The storyline was published between March and June 2013 and featured a storyline by Brian Michael Bendis. Artist Bryan Hitch provided the art for issues one through five, and Brandon Peterson for issues six through nine. Other artists who contributed to the series include Carlos Pacheco and Joe Quesada, the latter of whom drew part of the final issue.
Marvel stated that all art for the series was completed before it was solicited, ensuring deadlines were met and that there were no more than thirteen tie-ins to the four-month event.
This story takes place on two different Earths: the alternate Earth where Ultron annihilated humanity is referred to as Earth-61112, and the alternate reality where Morgan le Fay took over half the world is referred to as Earth-26111.
Publication historyIn mid-November, 2012, Marvel Comics released a cryptic teaser written "Age of Ultron" in binary code. Three days later the event was officially announced, although by this point it had been over a year since the event had been originally announced. Neil Gaiman's Angela character was introduced into the Marvel Universe in the last issue of the Age of Ultron miniseries, although the issue was shipped in a polybag to prevent other details of the story's ending from being publicized too early. An Age of Ultron #10 A.I. one-shot by writer Mark Waid and artist Andre Lima Araujo will delve into the repercussions of the storyline for Hank Pym. Following the conclusion of Age of Ultron, a new ongoing series titled Avengers A.I. by writer Sam Humphries and Andre Lima Araujo will launch in July. In addition, a miniseries originally solicited as Age of Ultron #10 U.C. but now titled The Hunger will round out the event, dealing with the implications of the changes in the Marvel Universe status quo. For example, The Hunger serves as a catalyst for the Cataclysm event in the Marvel Ultimate Comics universe, which involves its Universe's war against Galactus.
Main storyNew York is in ruins. Ultron has returned and has taken over. Ultron Sentinels are guarding the streets, looking for fugitives. After locating where Spider-Man is being held by the Owl and Hammerhead, Hawkeye attempts to rescue him. Ultron locates the two heroes and launches an assault to kill them. Hawkeye destroys the Ultron Sentinels, and the two make their way to an underground area beneath Central Park, where Iron Man, Emma Frost, She-Hulk, Luke Cage, Invisible Woman and Wolverine have taken refuge. Defending the rescue, Hawkeye states that at least he did not give up on the world. Iron Man responds that they have not as he shows Hawkeye a saddened Captain America sitting by his broken shield.
Sneaking around a decimated San Francisco, a disfigured Black Widow meets with Moon Knight in one of Nick Fury's old bases. Back in New York, Spider-Man recalls how he woke up and found the world under attack. As the heroes wonder why Ultron took over the world just to make deals with criminals like Owl and Hammerhead, Captain America declares that he has a plan.
He explains that if heroes can be offered to Ultron as Spider-Man was, they could offer up someone who can damage the inside of Ultron's fortress. Luke Cage and She-Hulk volunteer. Luke delivers She-Hulk to Ultron's forces. A group of Ultron Sentinels guide Luke Cage and She-Hulk through the fortress to make the deal. Cage is shocked when he discovers that they are to negotiate with the Vision instead of Ultron.
The Vision reveals that Ultron is using him as a conduit and is punishing humankind from the future. After learning this, She-Hulk is killed while trying to get Cage out of Ultron's lair. Cage survives a nuclear explosion while the other superheroes flee from Manhattan. In the San Francisco base, Black Widow and Moon Knight find Fury's fail-safe plans for different apocalyptic scenarios, including one involving Ultron taking over the Earth. Later, the heroes who had escaped from New York arrive in the Savage Land where they meet Ka-Zar, who leads them to a refuge area. The heroes arrive as Luke Cage dies from radiation poisoning after telling them what he has learned. Red Hulk, Moon Knight, and Black Widow arrive and reveal a plan made by Nick Fury to defeat Ultron.
The heroes find a hidden bunker in the Savage Land. They meet Nick Fury, who reveals his plan to use Doctor Doom's Time Platform to go into the future to defeat Ultron before he attacks the present. Tony Stark points out that Ultron will be ready for them. Wolverine suggests going back in time to kill Henry Pym before he creates Ultron, but others disagree with this idea. Valkyrie suggests going back to tell Pym to not build Ultron, but Wolverine points out that will just dare Pym to do it. Iron Man, Captain America, Nick Fury, Red Hulk, Storm, Quake and Quicksilver go into the future. After they leave, Wolverine plans to carry out his idea to travel back and kill Henry Pym so that Ultron's creation never comes to pass.
While the heroes travel to the future, Wolverine arrives in the past, only to learn that Invisible Woman has followed him. Despite her reluctance with his plan, she accompanies him when stealing a S.H.I.E.L.D. hovercar from a young Nick Fury to travel to New York. As the heroes in the future are overwhelmed by an army of Ultron Sentinels, Logan and Sue find Hank Pym analyzing Dragon Man. Sue protests to find another way and while Logan acknowledges the good Pym has done, he reminds her of what Ultron has done and will do, including killing her family and children, although Hank protests to Sue that he would never consciously endanger the world. Despite this, Logan goes through with killing him.
Logan and Sue return to the present only to find the Savage Land covered with crashed ships. Sue recognizes them as Kree and theorizes that in this new timeline, the Kree-Skrull War came to Earth. They then go to New York City, where there are multiple S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarriers. Their flying car is shot down and they are attacked by the Defenders. The Thing is surprised to see Susan is "back", but the rest believe that the two are Skrulls. A fight breaks out, with the time-traveling Wolverine putting down his double. The Defenders realize that they are not Skrulls and reluctantly realize they have to talk to "him." Suddenly, a cyborg Tony Stark flies in with a platoon of robots demanding to know what is going on.
Iron Man runs a psychic scan on Wolverine and the Invisible Woman, stunned to see the alternate reality. Stark believes Morgan le Fay planted them as spies. Iron Man meets the original timeline Wolverine and explains that his injuries are from a war between Latveria and Asgard in which Thor vanished and Morgana conquered half the world. Wolverine is shown the footage of Henry Pym's death while Iron Man recounts that the Avengers broke up afterward and magic overcame technology and "you broke the world." At the Helicarrier, the Defenders' Wolverine decides to talk to his other self and the others help him push past Emma Frost with the Thing wanting to help the Invisible Woman. Iron Man chastises Wolverine for simply killing Hank Pym saying he could have convinced Pym to develop a virus to stop Ultron instead. The Invisible Woman breaks free, leading Stark to believe this is all another of Morgan le Fey's tricks. At that moment, Morgan le Fey attacks with a swarm of Doombots. The Defenders fight them and Iron Man accuses le Fey for the time travelers. She claims innocence and then points out to Iron Man that a pair of Helicarriers are crashing into the heart of New York City.
The explosion kills most of the heroes present as Wolverine pulls himself from the wreckage. A dying Stark tells him he cannot simply go back and try to change this again, that time is a living organism that will break if ripped too much. In the past, the previous Wolverine is about to kill Henry Pym when the newer Wolverine comes to stop him. After convincing his double of who he is, the newer Wolverine warns that killing Goliath will only lead to disaster worse than Ultron. Hank states that he can prevent everything by simply not building Ultron, but Logan admits he must in order to allow history to continue. Pym says he can create a better A.I., and unlike before, install a fail-safe to destroy Ultron when the time comes. Sue arrives to tell him he must forget the situation as well, leaving Hank confused as to do so. The Invisible Woman and the two Wolverines return to the Savage Land. The two Wolverines enter a cave. The Logan from Ultron's future tells his double that he does not want to live with memories from his ruined future. The past Wolverine resolves to killing his future self, leaving Sue speechless and stunned. Back at his laboratory, Pym is putting together the first version of Ultron, who calls him "Daddy."
Months before Ultron's attack, Hank is working in his lab when he is given a package from a hidden Sue. It is a recording of himself from the past, which he has forgotten somehow. The recording explains a complicated algorithm to destroy Ultron. The Avengers attack the headquarters of the Intelligencia to rescue Spider-Woman, the event that led to Ultron's reactivation. Once Ultron promptly does this, Pym contacts Iron Man to supply him with his fail-safe and have them uploaded to Ultron. Ultron is jarred to realize he is defeated despite holding off the Avengers. The code is uploaded and the virus destroys him. Susan and Logan return to the present New York City which is back to normal. Before they can celebrate, a massive shockwave across time and space seemingly shatters reality before putting it back together. At Avengers Tower, Giant-Man, Iron Man and Beast theorize that Wolverine's time travel journeys caused too much stress to the space-time continuum and has created tears across the multiverse. In the Ultimate Marvel universe, Miles Morales is out as Spider-Man when a flash of light reveals Galactus. Pym talks to himself on what went wrong and suddenly realizes what he has to do. High above Earth, Angela appears vowing revenge on whoever has pulled her from her world.
Hank is reviewing the data that Wolverine has brought back and is starting to slip into insanity. Two apocalyptic timelines were in Logan's data and neither would have happened if he had acted differently. Depressed at the truth, he considers suicide. A sudden thought occurs: the other timeline was worse because he was gone. Not just as Hank Pym, the workaholic scientist, but as Ant-Man, the size-changing, adventuring superhero and Avenger. Hank remembers that despite his shortcomings, he has had a positive influence on the world, and can continue to do so by doing what he does best: superheroism with strong scientific flair.
Tie-in booksWhile traveling through time and space, the Fantastic Four are contacted by the Black Panther, who informs them that Ultron has taken over the Earth with an army of Ultron Sentinels. After returning to Earth, the team discovers that Manhattan is almost in ruins. While looking for survivors, they are attacked by the Ultron Sentinels. Mister Fantastic, the Human Torch, and the Thing seemingly die in the attack while the Invisible Woman escapes with She-Hulk where they join the resistance.
While visiting her old friends George Smith and Richard Fenster in San Francisco, Black Widow was spending the day with them. When a squadron of Ultron Sentinels start attacking San Francisco and killing people, Richard becomes one of the victims while Black Widow and George escape. Afterwards, George Smith's tech-prosthetic arm fell under Ultron's control and he started obeying Ultron. Black Widow was forced to kill George Smith and was partially disfigured in the process. Captain Marvel is vacationing in London when the Ultron Sentinels invade. She fights them alongside Captain Britain and MI-13. After Computer Graham and Magic Boots Mel are killed, Captain Marvel and Captain Britain sacrifice their lives to destroy Ultron's main forces in London.
Victor Mancha was bringing some children to one of the Runaways' old bases in Los Angeles. Victor believes that if he uses his machine abilities, he will help Ultron’s victory. He does not tell any of his new-found friends about his background because he is afraid they will not accept him. In a flashback, it is shown that his Runaways teammates were all killed by Ultron and that Victor has stored digital versions of them in his memory banks, but these files seem to be corrupted since they are telling him to become more machine and less human. The Ultron Sentinels find the hideout and start killing some of the kids whom Victor had saved. Victor decides to fight the Ultron Sentinels, deciding that if this is the end he will go down fighting.
After being rescued by Hawkeye, Otto Octavius reflects on how the world has gone bad following Ultron's invasion. Iron Man finds him and persuades him to assist the heroes. Octavius' work at Horizon Labs could be a key element in defeating Ultron. While the heroes are planning a way to get into Ultron's fortress, Iron Man reveals to Otto a device he had developed during the time when he was the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. The device in question can send a determined area through a portal into the Negative Zone, but lacks the Negative Zone tech to build the central device. The Baxter Building, which would have had the tech they needed, is gone, but Iron Man reveals that Max Modell has some of it at Horizon Labs. They plan to get inside Horizon so Otto can build the Central Device while Quicksilver places the remaining parts around Ultron's fortress. Otto and Quicksilver reach Horizon Labs, where Max Modell had died. Otto decides to prepare his own counter-plan instead of staying with Iron Man's plan. After activating his Spider-Bot and luring Ultron's minions to the lab, Otto uses his Spider-Bots to gain control over the Ultron Sentinels. He plans to use the Ultron Sentinels to infiltrate Ultron's fortress and defeat him. While reaching through what he believes is Ultron, Otto senses the pain and agony in the central unit is suffering. Otto suddenly realizes that it is not Ultron, but someone being manipulated by him. Ultron's defenses push Otto outside making him lose control of the Ultron Sentinels, forcing him to escape.
After time-traveling to the past, and immediately after stealing Nick Fury's hovercar, Wolverine and Invisible Woman discuss the plan of confronting Henry Pym about his creation of Ultron, with Invisible Woman reminding Wolverine that they must keep their actions at a minimum or risk causing a massive butterfly effect. In the middle of the trip, their car breaks down, so they locate an underground S.H.I.E.L.D. base to find an energy cell for the car and return to their mission. Upon entering the base, they take separate paths with Wolverine heading for the energy cell while the Invisible Woman searches for Henry Pym's location. Wolverine bumps into a laboratory where a Brood creature was contained. Wolverine breaks it out of its confinement, but it attacks him and attempts to procreate inside his body. Wolverine fights the Brood creature and removes its offspring from his body. He then discovers that the other Brood creatures in the laboratory have started to evolve and adapt from the damage inflicted by Wolverine's attacks. Meanwhile, the Invisible Woman breaks into the surveillance room to find Henry Pym's location. She discovers that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been monitoring every location, including the Baxter Building. She then starts having doubts about crossing the line and wonders if she should tell the past version of Mister Fantastic that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been monitoring him. Once their work is done, they both leave the S.H.I.E.L.D. base and head off to search for Pym with the roles reversed: Logan attempting to reason with Pym and Sue determined to do whatever it takes.
During the Apocalypse Twins' adolescences, Kang the Conqueror brings them from concentration camps to his palace in the year A.D. 4145. They are then dispatched on a mission to murder Colonel America at the time when history was altered by Wolverine and the Invisible Woman. The Apocalypse Twins' mission fails but they succeed in killing that reality's Havok and Rogue, who were the first lives they ever took. As punishment for their failure, Kang sends the Twins back to the concentration camps.
In the divergent timeline created by Henry Pym's death, Morgana le Fey and her husband Doctor Doom conquer half the planet. Le Fey and Doom's daughter Caroline recruits Hippolyta to seek revenge for abandoning her as a child. In Latveria, Caroline and Hippolyta discover that Doctor Doom has died and has been replaced by Hippolyta's father Ares. Hippolyta defeats Ares and takes back command of the Amazons.
''What If?''There is a five-issue What If? miniseries centered on the Age of Ultron storyline, four issues looking at what would have happened if one of the other original five Avengers - counting Captain America rather than the Hulk as a founder - had died instead of Pym, and a fifth looking at a world where Pym is the last surviving human under Ultron's reign. It is collected in paperback.
''Secret Wars'' (2015)The Ultron portion of the Age of Ultron appeared in the 2015 Secret Wars storyline as part of the series Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies. The Age of Ultron's domain of Battleworld is called Perfection where it, the Deadlands, and New Xandar are separated from the other Battleworld domains by the Wall, which keeps them contained from the other realities due to the dangers of their worlds. It is later established that this is not the Age of Ultron seen in the original storyline, but another world in which Ultron killed Pym immediately after achieving sentience. It eliminated Dane Whitman when he tried to infiltrate the Masters of Evil and killed the Avengers before creating a drone army that overwhelmed the remaining heroes. Although the zombies and the Ultron drones eventually form an alliance by combining the two "species", a resistance to Ultron exists in the Deadlands, led by surviving heroes the Vision, Wonder Man, and Jim Hammond, who gather those exiled beyond the Wall into a secure city they have established. They eventually manage to rescue a version of Hank Pym exiled from a Wild-West-era zone. He is able to use his counterpart's notes to devise a means of shutting down the hive mind of Ultron's drones at the cost of sacrificing the Vision and Wonder Man. Wonder Man's android lover is reconfigured so that she can die in Hammond's place.
In other media
- On July 20, 2013, Joss Whedon and Marvel Studios announced at the San Diego Comic-Con International that the sequel to the 2012 film The Avengers would be titled and feature Ultron as the titular main antagonist but the film is not based on the comic book, simply borrowing its title. Nevertheless, the film does include a similarity from the comic, wherein the Avengers are driven underground by Ultron.