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Submit or Perish - The Age of Ultron Reading Order

SUMMARY PAGE: THE AGE OF ULTRON EVENT
Beginning Date: March 6th, 2013
End Date: June 2013

What happens when an artificial intelligence destroys the world, most of our inhabitants, and puts the superheroes on the wanted list? Well it's happened, true believers! Signing up with writer Brian Michael Bendis, Marvel Comics has brought back Ultron, one of their greatest super-villains, to put teams like The Avengers, Fantastic Four, and X-Men on notice. Called Age of Ultron, this major event has crossovers and tie-ins that will last for four months.

Premise: The villain wins. It's the day after - Ultron waged a surprise attack and takes over. The heroes - what's left of them - are surviving underground. Spider-Man and Hawkeye in New York City, Black Widow and Moon Knight in San Francisco, and Black Panther and Red Hulk in Chicago. The Invisible Woman and Wolverine are also working together as bands of heroes come together to survive the nightmare. The question now does a superhero do? How does he or she act with this level of oppression and psychological despair?

Greetings, This is the Reading and Summary Page for Age of Ultron. It will contain a Reading Order, Checklist, Summaries, and a limited scope of artword surrounding the event. It's built in a news-tiered format so that the further you go, the more details you're going to get. So spoil yourself as needed.


The Age of Ultron Reading Order
Final Edition

Age of Ultron: Prelude
Check Summary Notes for Detailed Explanations

P001 Marvel Point One (November 2011)
P002 Avengers Age of Ultron Point One FCBD 2012 (May 2012)

Age of Ultron: Main Event
001 Age of Ultron #1
002 Avengers Assemble #14AU
003 Avengers Assemble #15AU
004 Age of Ultron #2
005 Fantastic Four #5AU
006 Superior Spider-Man #6AU
007 Age of Ultron #3
008 Age of Ultron #4
009 Ultron #1AU
010 Age of Ultron #5
011 Age of Ultron #6
012 Wolverine and The X-Men #27AU
013 Age of Ultron #7
014 Age of Ultron #8
015 Uncanny Avengers #8AU
016 Fearless Defenders #4AU
017 Age of Ultron #9
018 Age of Ultron #10


Disclaimer: The Reading Order is now final.

10/12/2013 - Dang it! I missed the finalization to the Reading Order itself. Thanks to juank-pipoca and Pocketsnb for fixing my FUZZY logic. You guys hooked me up! Thanks again!

09/10/2013 - Greetings Everybody! This event has concluded. Due to some unfortunate circumstances, I let some of the reading order slip, but I came back today to finish it up and make things right! Sorry for the inconvenience.
06/05/2013 - This week's issue is installed.
05/23/2013 - Two issues released this week; they account for events in the newly Pym-killed era. They have been implemented.
05/16/2013 - One issue released this week. It's been implemented into the list.
05/09/2013 - Updated this week's release. This issue, Avengers Assemble #15AU is best after issue #14; it also shows some of the immediate aftermath and response.
05/02/2013 - Updated this week's release. The Reading Order is holding firm.
04/18/2013 - Updated the issues for this week, noting that the Reading Order doesn't follow the recommended order in the issue. That's because of spoilers. If you read Wolverine and The X-Men #27AU, it won't make sense. You have to read Age of Ultron #6 to understand why those events took place.
04/12/2013 - I've implemented Avengers Assemble #14AU to the Reading Order today, but I've been a little skeptical on where to place it. It's actually the first issue, chronologically, but you have to give Age of Ultron #1 precedence because it sets the tone of the event. So here goes; hope you like it!
04/11/2013 - Added the two issues for this week. Anything else I say now will spoil the intentions of "future me", who is controlling me in the present.
04/04/2013 - This week is updated and you should be aware that the Marvel has already released a spoiler for the ending (Avengers A.I.) which will consist of a hero-robotic superteam. That said, I'm surprised that AU is only affecting a few titles and such a small event. Obviously, there's going to be a time-traveling component - meaning nothing actually happened - but elsewhere in the Marvel Universe, it's business as usual.
03/28/2013 - Implemented the issues for this week. It's still kinda weird that two of the issues are also part of the Marvel NOW! event. It won't mess up this Reading Order, but it'll play games with that one. It will also be interesting to see how this plays out. Someone will probably go back in time...
03/14/2013 - The second issue comes out, fleshing the plot. Well worth the read. Implemented it into the Reading and Summaries today.
03/07/2013 - I know people were pretty excited about AU and it was worth it. I've updated this week's release and will do a few write-ups at the website. Everything is running smoothly. Also, it's important to note that this doesn't appear to be coordinating with Marvel NOW!.
03/04/2013 - Created this Summary and Landing Page for the event. And now it's ready to rock and roll.


P001 Marvel Point One 2011 (Released 2011 November. As we moved into 2012 we were in the midst of waiting for the Avengers vs. X-Men event and the return of The Phoenix. This issue, comprised of a series of short stories, showed us one glimpse of Age of Ultron.)

Comprised of a series of short stories where a meditating Watcher is encountered in his resting chambers, the observers belong to a group called "The Unseen" see multiple upcoming futures. One of them involves the Age of Ultron, showing Spider-Man and Hawkeye attempting to survive in New York City as Ultron robots surround them.

This issue, in total, represents seven short stories - future glimpses, of what Marvel had prepared by late 2011.
1. "Behold The Watcher", which framed the entire stories and includes a plot by an unknown villainous group.
2. "Harbinger", showing us the return of Nova, the coming of The Phoenix Force, and the prelude to Avengers vs. X-Men event.
3. "The Myth of Man", introducing us to the alternate universe Age of Apocalypse.
4. "The Scarlet Thread", introducing us to The Scarlet Spider and his new title series.
5. "Yin & Yang", introducing us to two new super-powers humans, Coldmoon and Dragonfire.
6. "The Shaman of Greenwich Village", reintroducing Doctor Strange, The Defenders, and their plot.
7. "Age of Ultron", a prelude look at the major Marvel upcoming event.

P002 Avengers Age Of Ultron Point One FCBD 2012 (May 2012.The first Saturday of May is always Free Comic Book Day, or FCBD. In 2012, Marvel released this issue, giving us an idea to when, and how, Ultron returns to earth.)

Jessica Drew aka Spider-Woman had disappeared after following the trail of an alien energy signature. It turned out to be the body of a deceased SpaceKnight already captured by a super-villainous group of geniuses called "The Intelligencia". Capturing Spider-Woman, The Avengers head to her location, meet the bad guys, and start beating them up. Once they find the SpaceKnight, though, it mysteriously activates and turns into Ultron! A sentient Artificial Intelligence, it realizes it is not ready and teleports itself away from the battle. The team is confused by Ultron's latest appearance, but Tony Stark tells them to prepare for Apocalypse, because Ultron will come back and destroy mankind in a future he has already seen.


Age of Ultron: Main Event
Detailed Summaries

Analysis: Although the details are sketchy at first, the starting point begins with earth having been decimated by Ultron's attack. There are survivors, but it's a kill or be killed psychology that keeps you alive. Hiding and avoiding detection is a primary skill. This is no longer about simple good guys and bad guys; their morals are the only thing dividing them...and those are questionable as you'll soon see.

001 Age of Ultron #1 (Starts the event. As the issue opens up, we are in an apocalyptic United States where Hawkeye is trying to rescue Spider-Man from the clutches of Hammerhead and The Owl. The bad guys have captured Spidey to use him as a payment to Ultron. Hawkeye now is taking no prisoners; he's using his arrows to kill people who get in his way. Finally reaching Parker, who is bleeding and tied to a chair, both heroes and villains are caught off guard as Ultron forces surround the premises. Causing an explosion, the heroes manage to get away and head to a secret hideout. They're ambushed by Luke Cage and She-Hulk; it turns out that Hawkeye is an ally to them both, but left the lair against their warnings to rescue Spider-Man. Tony Stark comes forth in a unique signature outfit, presumably to hide him against detections, and scans the two intruders for Ultron virus intrusions. Clean, he allows them in the lair, where they argue about rescuing Parker, being followed, and surviving to another day. The discussion then goes to a plan, which at the end focuses on one man, Captain America. Brooding in a corner, we see the American patriot, disheveled and quiet.)
002 Avengers Assemble #14AU (Officially, this issue isn't released until Age of Ultron #5. For Reading Order purposes, it's placed here, after the initial shock of Age of Ultron #1, and perfect for story flow. This is the blockbuster issue of the event so far and actually happens before all other issues in this chronology. However, to place it first spoils the introduction to the event. Centering on The Black Widow; Natasha is in San Francisco when she becomes aware that Ultron is taking over the world. It starts with strange news, then everything goes black and scary. Soon, they're all fleeing like terrified rabbits. Anything with technology is being used by Ultron to locate human so he can kill them. Natasha flees into the sewers with survivors, but Ultron's also ready down there; he kills them with gas. Natasha flees, but not before her friend with a Stark prosthetic arm slashes her face, removing her eye. Now controlled by Ultron, he has to kill him too. She finally makes it to a SHIELD safehouse, finding Marc Spector, The Moon Knight. Ultron has won; now they have to figure out their next move.)
003 Avengers Assemble #15AU (Best placed here after Avengers Assemble #14AU. Carol Danvers aka Captain Marval, stars in this issue with Captain Britain and Faiza Hussein aka Excalibur. Trapped in London, Carol is unable to use her flying powers and teams up with Captain Britain and an 80s hero named Computer Graham. They head to St. Paul and take on Ultron as Graham goes into its program. In the battle, all the heroes fall, but Graham manages to cause a severe explosion which gives Excalibur and Black Knight - Britain's two remaining heroes who left behind - the ability to call on other resources and fight another day.)
004 Age of Ultron #2 (Continues from Age of Ultron #1. Starting with San Francisco, we learn that Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow and Marc Spector aka Moon Knight have survived. Somehow their Black Ops routine pulled them out of the harm. Now, they reside in one of Nick Fury's hideouts, off the grid from any technology. The story then cuts back to Peter Parker, explaining his story to the rest of the heroes in New York. He explains how he woke up to the city under attack. We also learn that DC has been destroyed and probably the entire planet has been taken over. The heroes question what Ultron would want with Spider-Man when termination is it's ultimate purpose. But by the end, Captain America rises and says he now has a plan.)
005 Fantastic Four #5AU (Continues from Age of Ultron #3 and Fantastic Four #5. In the future, Franklin and Valeria wake up to strangeness on their vessal. Everyone is gone. They venture down to a compartment and a message plays out with the members of the Fantastic Four leaving them messages. The story also cuts to flashbacks where the Fantastic Four get a call from The Black Panther to return. Once they get there, the Baxter Building has been leveled. Ultron robots immediately come after them and Johnny is killed while the rest escape. In sequence, Ben is killed hours later, then Reed. Sue is buried under rubble for three days and is rescued by She-Hulk. Back in the future, Valeria and Franklin now learn that they have to go on by themselves, but Franklin receives a special vision from his mother that everything will be alright and that she will return someday.)
006 Superior Spider-Man #6AU (Continues from Age of Ultron #3, before Luke and She-Hulk leave, but after Sue Richards is part of underground team. It's now official that this is the Doc Ock Superior Spider-Man in the Age of Ultron event. After examining the wreck of New York, he blames Parker for being so weak until he took over his body. Stark offer consolence, then tells him of a plan with Quicksilver where they can get Negative Zone tech from Horizon Labs. Spidey agrees to go, but once inside he tries his own "superior" plan, thinking he can gain control over all the Ultron tech. It works at first, until he learns that Ultron isn't controlling the tech and is actually secured somewhere else, externally. While exerting his technical controls, Spidey is attacked by Ultron's consciousness. He barely escapes and then tries to grab the Negative Zone tech. Unfortunately, the Ultron robots destroy it and he returns to Stark's hideout empty-handed.)
007 Age of Ultron #3 (Continues shortly after Age of Ultron #3, but officially occurs after Superior Spider-Man #6AU. Starting out, Luke Cage and She-Hulk are out in the city. He knocks her out, according to their "plan". Then the issue flashbacks where Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and others debate Cap's plan. They now know Ultron is bargaining for superheroes. Exploiting that weakness, they decide to send in She-Hulk with Cage as her seller. The story also cuts to Chicago where we see Red Hulk, The Black Panther, and Taskmaster, scouting through the wrecked city. Once they spot and Ultron, Red Hulk attacks and rips its head off. Unfortunatly, other Ultrons are nearby and begin attacking. Red Hulk throws the head to the other two and they run off, but before they can escape, Black Panther is killed. Taskmaster ultimately escapes with Ultron's metal cranium. In the last few shots, the surprise of the issue reveals who is making the deals. Instead of Luke Cage meeting Ultron, he's face to face with the torso of The Vision!)


008 Age of Ultron #4 (Occurs almost immediately after Age of Ultron #3. Facing The Vision, once a member of The Avengers, Cage begins asking to see Ultron. That's when he's informed that the mastermind is controlling this world from the future. Almost seemingly in response, agony shoots through the android as he tells our hero. She-Hulk then jumps into action, hearing enough. She throws Cage clear of the lair and begins attacking. Shortly thereafter, though, she's killed. The Ultron robots go after Cage, but fortunately his unbreakable skin can take the damage. Being merciless automatons, they calculate this and unleash a nuclear blast on him. The story then skips around and then focuses on what's left of the heroes in Manhattan. Using Storm and Invisible Woman's skills, they fly over the city to The Savage Land. Once there, Ka-Zar finds them and takes them to a makeshift village. Cage is there, but dies within moments of their arrival. Using her telepathic abilities before his demise, Emma Frost finds out that Ultron is in the future and informs the rest of the group. At the end, Black Widow, Moon Knight, and Red Hulk also arrive in the city. The former two have been hiding in San Francisco...and they have a plan from Nick Fury that could save the human race.)
009 Ultron #1AU (There is no defined time in this issue, but we can see that Ultron has already struck and continues patrols to hunt for humans. Based on the release schedule, it's plausible here. This issue drives from the main plot and centers on Victor Mancha, son of Ultron, former member of The Runaways, and a cyborg. The last survivor of his team, his story takes him through Los Angeles. Ultron has already hit the area hard and Victor is attempting to help survivors the best he can. He's managed to create a hideaway for his small gang, but at the end, the Ultron patrols find it. Most of this is psychological, focusing on Victor's destiny to destroy the human race...and his defiance of that mandate.)
010 Age of Ultron #5 (Continues from Age of Ultron #4, after a short time period. The remaining heroes, now gathered in the Savage Land, trek to Fury's hideout and open it, finding the former Director of SHIELD within. After brief explanations, he reveals that he has a version of Dr. Doom's time machine and plans to send a team into the future to stop Ultron. The rest is...or will be, history. They split into two forces: one jumps into the future and the other stays to guard their location. Wolverine, though, takes matters into his own hand at the end: he tells those remaining to fire up the machine once more and send him back to the past where he can kill Hank Pym, Ultron's creator!)
011 Age of Ultron #6 (Technically, this continues from Wolverine and The X-Men #27AU. Reading that issue first, however, makes no sense. It's best after Age of Ultron #5. Now separated into two missions, Wolverine heads into the past to kill Pym and Nick Fury's team heads into the future to stop Ultron. Soon after, though, both realize Sue Richards deviated from the plan: she followed Logan. The Savage Land of the future is incredibly beautiful and Nick Fury's group heads towards the Eastern Seaboard; once there, they encounter an incredible and awesome technological landscape. Unfortunately, it's devoid of human life. As the heroes approach, bots begin attacking. They battle valiantly, but some - maybe all - of them appear to die; we're not sure yet. In the past, Logan and Sue find a SHIELD flying car and steal it off the past version of Fury. They take it to New York where Logan finds Pym, just as he's inspired for the Ultron invention. As Wolverine strikes, though, Susan stops him from the killing blow. He reminds her of all the deaths and she releases him. Pym is skewered and dies. One mission appears to fail and the other succeeds, the question now becomes "What awaits us in the present?".)
012 Wolverine and The X-Men #27AU (According the the information in the issue, this should be read before Age of Ultron #6. The problem, though, is that you'll never know why Sue Richards followed Wolverine into the past. That's why this is best placed here. While Sue and Logan travel to New York, their SHIELD flying car breaks down. They locate a SHIELD substation and stealthily make their way through, forewarned about messing up things in the past. They split up and things go bad. Wolverine sees an imprisoned creature and frees it. It turns out to a deadly Brood alien. It infects him, but he slices it out of his stomach. That's when the creature adapts and upgrades itself for future infestation. Meanwhile, Sue stumbles upon a spying station and notices that Reed is being watched. She speaks through an intercom and warns him. After getting a needed component, they meet back up and fly off to find Pym. The implications, now, are uncertain; each has secretly tampered with the past.)
013 Age of Ultron #7 (Continues from Wolverine and The X-Men #27AU. The assassination committed, Logan and Sue return to the future. The world is no longer Ultron-overwhelmed, but things are much different. When they arrive in New York, they are met by a force calling themselves The Defenders. Led by Dr. Strange and Colonel America, a strange Nick Fury-Captain America hybrid hero, they believe them to be Skrull Imposters and attack. Logan takes out his Wolverine counterpart, but they are eventually stopped and knocked out. And out of the sky comes the most surprising figure of this version of the present: Tony Stark. He's no longer the Iron Man we once knew.)
014 Age of Ultron #8 (Continues from Age of Ultron #7, immediately. After downloading and studying their memories, this era's version of Tony Stark realizes an alternate path has unfolded and he is amazed. A brief conversation with other operatives of SHIELD, Xavier and Frost, suggest to him that this is no trick, but absolute truth. Stark attempts to go through a list of alternatives with Logan, but it does no good. Meanwhile, also on the helicarrier, the Defenders are getting upset; The Thing wants to talk to Susan Richards and Wolverine wants to meet his alternate self. They decide to break past guards to Susan; turning invisible, she escapes while everyone is in turmoil. Suddenly, alarms go off; everyone is alerted: Morgan Le Fay is attacking in what could be this timeline's ultimate battle. The Defenders take to the battle, Stark included, but the invasion appears to be succeeding. In the last moments of the issue, one of the helicarriers crash into another.)
015 Uncanny Avengers #8AU (Continues in the new age created from Wolverine's assassination of Henry Pym, but belongs here to keep spoilers out. Following Kang and the Apocalypse Twins, he teaches them that they need to kill Colonel America to assure their victory. They encounter him as he is below ground attempting to negotiate with Havok and Rogue. The twins strike, but Captain America is quick to respond, he flees. As they attempt to track him, Havok and Rogue attempt to make them stand down. In return, the twins fight them and end up killing them. Before Rogue dies, she steals Uriel's memories and tells him of Kang's treachery. Colonel America has gotten away, but Kang considers it a learning experience anyhow. He shows the twins his trophy room and the weapon, Jarnbjorn which will be important later.)
016 Fearless Defenders #4AU (Continues in the new age created through Henry Pym's death, but belongs here so as to keep out spoilers. The Defenders inform Hippolyta that Doom was part of the death of the Amazons, causing her and Caroline Le Fey to travel to Latveria, where they appear to be captured. It's all part of their plan. In the War Pits, Doom has Misty Knight and scores of super-powered women attack, but before the battle can take further shape, she throws a dart as Doom's head and reveals a bot. Then Ares, her father comes out of the shadows and they fight. Hippolyta takes Ares down, but refuses to kill him. At the end, she commands all the woman to fight under her as the new Amazons.)
017 Age of Ultron #9 (Continues from Age of Ultron #8, but waits for post-Pym events to be revealed. With the destruction wrought by Morgan Le Fey, Wolverine is one of the only survivors of the crash. He slashes his way through enemy forces, finds the traveling device, and returns to the era where he is just about to kill Pym. Once there, he stops himself from killing Hank. They argue, but then it is decided to let him live. With the Susan Richards from that era, they incorporate a plan before returning to their original time; hopefully Pym will succeed in installing a virus code to activate at the moment of near-extinction. Both Wolverines, now in the present, represent a paradox. Determining which is better to remain, one kills the other.)
018 Age of Ultron #10 ( Continues in the alternate, newly-created timestream. Best placed here. Having identified a future of Ultron's control, Pym creates the virus and a video for himself, and is then conditioned to forget the whole incident with Wolverine and Susan Storm. At the beginning of this issue, it's a few month's back when the video appears on his doorstep. He plays it and learns the horrible truth. From there, he interferes in the events in Avengers: Age of Ultron FCBD (2012) by comm-linking in on the team and informing them on how to take out the killer robot. Stark activates a distracting back door Trojan Horse code, and while Ultron works on defeating it, the virus is triggered, shutting Ultron down and foiling his future plans.

In the final pages...
...Susan Storm and Wolverine meet and share a hug. Their gratefulness genuine until something...extremely wrong...occurs. The Space-Time Continuum is now, finally broken. Events are going awry, including the appearance of Angela.


Epilogue
A New Era Begins

019 Age of Ultron #10AI - (Follows on the heels of the events in Age of Ultron #10. This issue can unofficially be considered an Age of Ultron Aftermath title. Centered on the perspective on Henry Pym, he reexamines his entire life, showing us his origins and history from child to gifted scientist to original Avenger. Throughout the issue, Pym keeps telling himself his life wouldn't have make a difference, but after some thoughts, he realizes he is very wrong: life would have been apocalypse had he not existed. He now decides to continue his ways as a superhero, using his science to aid his powers and create an inspiring career. In the final pages of this issue, though, Henry recognizes that he is not done with the advancement of artificial intelligence. From one of his lab's holding cubes, he withdraws the functional head of a Doombot, preparing to reprogram it. "This" states Pym, will show the world that he means business.

To see the results of the Age of Ultron, you can go to The Age of Ultron Aftermath.

Greetings, and thank you for dropping by. This is the Age of Ultron Guestbook where you can talk about this page or anything related to the event. Please be courteous - no profanity, and tells us what you've seen or heard. Your opinion is valuable, including any discrepancies you've seen. Best of all, have fun and enjoy yourself while your here. If you just want to say "Hello", that's great!

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