This ain’t your Disney Avengers. Avengers: Ultron Forever #1 combines members of the Avengers from various time periods and in their different incarnations. United by a very unlikely ally, they must end Ultron’s rule in a future that cannot be while also maintaining the delicate balance of time. Naturally, Ultron is not their only foe. They must also defeat evil versions of themselves as well.
But not upsetting several timelines isn’t the only balance this miniseries must uphold: This clearly sets out to introduce new comic fans to Ultron (presumably for a certain movie), while also appeasing longtime fans. Personally, I fall into the former. For a long time, I shied away from the Big Two simply because I found their extended universes too overwhelming.
That said, I took the plunge here and I think Al Ewing did an excellent job in writing a story that is newbie-friendly. It does result in some over-explaining dialogue, but his choices are either that or lengthy captions explaining who each person is. This may appeal to very old-school fans, because it certainly had a vintage feel.
Penciler Alan Davis and inker Mark Farmer deliver some solid interiors. They particularly shined on the larger panels. Meanwhile, Rachelle Rosenberg really makes the heroes pop against a dreary post apocalyptic background. My only criticism art-wise were the death scenes. I felt the shock was lost a bit because it was so hidden. A character was beheaded and yet not a drop of blood spilled. Now, I realize this issue is rated for teens, but I have definitely seen some gore in similarly rated books.
I instantly found myself drawn to Danielle Cage, Captain America. I mean, what’s not to love about her? It is such a relief to see a physically strong female character without the svelte build of, say, Black Widow. That said, Widow is a far more aerobic fighter and so her build makes sense for her fighting style. The added bonus of Danielle being a character of color sans obviously white features was an added bonus and really made her feel real to me. However, she was probably the most guilty of over-explaining and slightly cliched dialogue.
Ultimately, it was Vision that won me over as my personal favorite. His dialogue felt much more modern and thus natural while also in keeping with his characterization. For a machine, he was surprisingly human, expressing a range of emotions and showing more depth than some of his fellows. In his opening scene, he and Black Widow have a very interesting discussion in which he really blurs the boundaries between program and humanity. Also, props to VC’s Travis Lanham, who gives Vision speech balloons that really add to that blurred line as the shape really echoes the usual radio balloons.
Furthermore, Vision is not a part of the Avengers and thus was not intended to go time traveling. And yet, he willingly goes along for some thrilling heroics. This made him feel like a bit of an underdog for me, especially since he’s ultimately rebelling against his creator, so I rooted for him throughout the issue.
Overall, I think this issue does a great service to fans both old and new. If you’re a longtime fan, this is a great throwback. If you’re a new fan, it’s a fantastic introduction to Avengers: Age of Ultron, a movie I’m sure all fans plan on seeing!