This week graphic novel Rage of Ultron — not to be confused with the upcoming indie darling Age of Ultron — hit store shelves, revealing a big change for the villainous robot Ultron and its creator, Hank Pym. But there’s one problem: Does any of it actually matter? Spoilers ahead.
(Seriously, big spoilers. If you haven’t read Rage of Ultron, turn back!)
So yes, Rage of Ultron has major comics blogs talking because of one climatic moment. In an attempt to defeat Ultron, who is understandably pissed at the Avengers for strapping him to a rocket and shooting him into space the last time they fought, former Ant-Man/current Giant Man Hank Pym and the Vision try to use Vision’s phasing powers to merge the android into Ultron. This phasing would make Ultron susceptible to a new virus made by Pym, defeating the robotic menace he created all those years ago once more. But the plan goes awry, ending with Pym being merged into Ultron, creating a Hank/Ultron hybrid, complete with hilarious Giant Man antenna and a nose.
Long story short, Pym-Tron is defeated by the power of love — yes really — and rockets back off into space to have a good think about what he’s become. Hank Pym is dead, and this new Ultron has become more human, complete with a literal beating heart:
Crazy stuff. So what does it mean? Well, it means that either Hank Pym is gone for good and is now merged with Ultron, or... no one actually knows what it means quite yet.
Herein lies the problem: Marvel have been decidedly mum about Rage of Ultron’s place in continuity, other than the fact that it is in continuity. If it takes place before the Secret Wars event that kicks off next month, it means that ultimately Hank Pym’s death or the creation of this Cyborg Pym/Ultron means nothing ahead of the Marvel Multiverse being reshuffled about to create a new continuity. It also raises questions as to when exactly Rage of Ultron is taking place, considering Hank is alive and well in the ongoing Uncanny Avengers.
But if it takes place after Secret Wars — which has not only not started yet, but won’t finish until December — is seems like an unnecessarily strange choice to have a single graphic novel out that actively spoils the future of several main Avengers’ fates, months ahead of the end of said event. Plus, would they really do away with Hank Pym and the more traditional version of Ultron with both characters making their way to the big screen this year? It would be a baffling choice. How are people supposed to care that a founding member of the Avengers has seemingly perished if they have no idea what this twist actually means?
No matter when Rage of Ultron lies in continuity, though, this change is either going to be pointlessly wiped out by the re-ordering/resetting of the Marvel Comics Universe, or it’ll be likely confounded or swept over by introducing another incarnation of Ultron or Hank Pym by the time Secret Wars is done and dusted. After all, death is rarely permanent for a superhero. Well, at least as much as being phased into your villainous robot son usually is considered “death.” Comic books!
You know, just saying “Comic books!” as a shorthand to sum up such lovely, frustrating weirdness and confusion shouldn’t be so simple, but it is. I love it.
[Images via Comic Book]