|AGE OF ULTRON VS. MARVEL ZOMBIES No. 4, November 2015|
When at the start of this comic James Robinson writes about “the end of the world… terrors” which await those foolish enough to oppose “the iron will of... [Battleworld’s] god and master, Victor Von Doom” he probably never considered one of them, besides the Deadland’s living dead and Ultron’s automaton utopia Perfection, to actually be his script for Issue Four of “Age Of Ultron Vs. Marvel Zombies”. In fact the Manchester-born author probably felt he had done a thoroughly competent job of cramming this twenty-page periodical full of ‘brain-eating’ battle as the technologically enhanced zombie-cyborgs of Magneto finally break through Salvation’s Ionic Energy Shield and start hungrily eating its inhabitants.
Sadly however it is extremely doubtful whether any of this concluding instalment’s 31,220 readers garnered too much enjoyment out of a storyline woefully bogged down by the sort of technical gobbledegook that sees the Human Torch, Wonderman and the Vision merge themselves together into “a greater mind… that needs to be conducive to Ionic Energy” so as to ‘absorb the consciousness of both Ultron and the zombies'. Indeed Hank Pym’s straight-faced and supposedly tense explanation that Simon Williams’ “pixie dust” is at the heart of the problem, as well as the solution, is not only astoundingly surreal but heartbreakingly cringeworthy for a mini-series which initially sounded so very full of promise.
Equally as poorly handled is Robinson’s penmanship surrounding the fall of Salvation to “Ultrons-zombie-whatever –they-are’s”. Magneto’s excitement “about all the people I’m going to eat” disappointingly never fully manifests itself within the narrative despite the “combined meat ‘n’ metal… monstrosities” eventually breaking through the settlement's protective barrier and consuming any living flesh which they can get their grisly clawing hands on. For every time it seemingly appears that the plot is finally about to focus upon the carnage being caused by the living dead, such as a zombified Abomination chomping into a Hydra operative, the action is frustratingly replaced by close-ups of Ultron’s creator feverishly tinkering in his lab.
True Steve Pugh desperately tries to inject the proceedings with plenty of (un)life with his dynamic depictions of gruesome terror as the robotic ghouls munch their way through the human community’s population. But even these wonderfully animated double-splash offerings by the British artist are interspersed with tedious flashback sequences drawn by Paul Rivoche and John Rauch, or worse pitiful panels portraying the likes of Jim Hammond and the Vision sentimentally saying goodbye to their loved ones before they sacrifice themselves.
|Writer: James Robinson, Artist: Steve Pugh, and Colors: Jim Charalampidis|