Friday, September 15, 2017

This Evil Recycled

Other than the frightful visage of Ultron, you probably don't see any similarities between these two Avengers covers:

Ah, but on the inside, their stories may ring familiar, at least at first.

Since his last appearance in the mag, Ultron has not only returned from the "dead" but also made the rounds in a few other Marvel titles before finally ending up in a 1999 tale by Kurt Busiek and George Perez--the latter who, of course, has rendered Ultron's battles in several Avengers stories and knows his way around the metal monster's history. In fact, his memory may be a little too sharp when it comes to an Ultron tale. For instance, in the prior tale, the Avengers know that danger is afoot when an exhausted Wasp crashes through one of the windows at Avengers Mansion:

A method of entry which, nearly twenty years later, Perez obviously figures "if it ain't broke... er, break it again."

As is evident, both stories have disaster striking at Hank Pym's lab, though there is a change in venue. At first, Hank prefers to do his lab work at home, where a robot has broken in:

While in 1999, he's moved to Nugent Technologies--still in New Jersey, but definitely not in a district zoned as residential.  Fortunately, robots don't care either way.

We know that Jan had a distinguished stint as Avengers Chairwoman--but sometimes she can't make a decision to save her life. In this case, she's flying roughly the same distance (from New Jersey) to the mansion--and we have to figure that, due to the emergency, she was flying as fast as she could. Above, though, she's too frantic to use the mansion's door... but, previously, she chalks her haste up to exhaustion (though not too exhausted to generate a bio-electric blast powerful enough to smash open a large window).

Regardless, the fact remains that, even after over nineteen years have passed, Perez still draws one heck of an Avengers story--and certainly one heck of an Ultron story, with he and Busiek having perfect chemistry when it comes to this team of heroes. From the double-page spread of the splash page... the beautiful panels of the Avengers' battle with the second bride of Ultron, the deliciously evil Alkhema.

(For the confused among you who are wondering just what Captain America is using as both a defensive and offensive weapon, that would be his energy shield.)

Last time, the Scarlet Witch was cheated out of the opportunity to battle Ultron once more, and, unfortunately, no luck here, as well. But the cocky Alkhema will find that Wanda is eager to make up for lost time, regardless of what adamantium-constructed foe is challenging her.

And just for future reference, Alkhema--nobody likes a smart mouth.


Jared said...

The Busiek Avengers run is probably somewhat overrated. It is fun all the way through, but in the end it is very derivative of earlier writers. I think just about every classic Avengers villain got a turn in his long run (except the Masters of Evil, but he handled them brilliantly in Thunderbolts). I did always like that he manged to respect almost 40 years of continuity while always making the title accessible. He handled characters competently while rarely adding anything memorable.

This story is the exception. This might make Ultron as a character. Yes, it has a similar plot to other Ultron stories. But this story just seems to raise the stakes. While Ultron has always been portrayed as a threat to all life, this issue makes you feel the stakes. And this might contend for the best Avengers work of Perez.

Comicsfan said...

All excellent points, Jared.

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