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In an (entirely unnecessary) attempt to build interest in next year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron at San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel has been releasing two limited-edition posters per day, with each poster spotlighting a member of the team and combining to form a giant piece of concept art for the Joss Whedon-directed sequel. But what (if anything) can be learned about the movie from the posters?
Well, for one thing, there’re a lot of Ultrons in that image. For comic book fans, this might be taken as a hint that Whedon has taken some inspiration for his story from Kurt Busiek and George Perez’ late 1990s comic book storyline “Ultron Unlimited,” in which the Avengers famously faced off against an army of Ultron robots that had laid waste to an entire Eastern European country, committing an act of genocide that required Thunder Gods, Iron Men and Star-Spangled Sentinels of Liberty to stop. Sounds a little over the top, sure, but also a threat on a scale that feels right for the follow-up to a movie about New York getting invaded by aliens.
Meanwhile, on the images released to date — spotlighting Quicksilver, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Captain America, Iron Man and the Scarlet Witch; presumably the Hulk and Thor will follow in tomorrow’s posters ahead of the Marvel panel in Hall H — all of the team looks somewhat overwhelmed by sheer numbers.
There are two exceptions: Iron Man (who has his repulsor rays to defend himself) and the Scarlet Witch (whose magic seems to be melting the head of one of the killer robots). Again, this makes a certain amount of sense; the rest of the team are essentially just regular people with a special skill— and Quicksilver, who can run really fast — and regular punching, traditionally, doesn’t have much effect on a killer robot, never mind an entire army. (That Thor and the Hulk are the last characters to be revealed may be intentional; as the “heavy hitters” of the team, it’s possible that they’re having the greatest impact in the fight against the Ultrons — or, perhaps, they’re in the greatest danger.)
The most interesting thing about the concept art, however, is literally hidden in the background. Look at the character floating in the air above the fray in the newly-released Quicksilver image: That’s the first chance anyone has had to see the Vision, Paul Bettany’s new character in the movie. It’s not a good chance — his back is to the viewer, and he’s essentially in shadow, obscuring almost everything about the character — but even seeing the bright yellow cape of the comic book Vision is a surprise.
(Seeing that cape makes me hope that, even though we know that Hank Pym won’t be Ultron’s creator in the movies, we’ll still end up with the robot’s desire to procreate being the reason behind the Vision’s creation, leading to one single tear rolling down his cheek at some point in the film.)
Ultimately, there’s nothing in these images/the uber-image that comes as a surprise to the Marvel faithful already familiar with the comic book Ultron and Avengers stories, but that may be the point: that Age of Ultron will, instead, be exactly the Avengers vs. Ultron story that fans have always wanted to see on the big screen, done just the way they want to see it. Heroes against an unstoppable enemy and unbeatable odds, nonetheless finding a way to triumph. Isn’t that really all we needed to know to get excited?
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