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Avengers Assemble #15AU - Age of Ultron; Submit, Britannia!

3

Keep Calm and ASSEMBLE!

The Good

We're hopping across the pond for this issue of AVENGERS ASSEMBLE -- in case you weren't sure, there's a Doctor Who reference right away. But Captain Marvel is in a bit of a bind (she can't fly without risking some serious peril) and she's not in the mood for daleks -- or Ultron. Oh yeah, this is an Age of Ultron tie-in book, and that Ultron threat has gotten pretty serious. Britain-taken-in-eight-minutes serious.

Anglophiles will approve of the fun little easter eggs Al Ewing has scattered throughout the issue. Marvelphiles will dig the appearance of Captain Britain (or is it Captain Brian?). Captain Marvelphiles will enjoy another appearance of the ever-badass Carol in this series, even if she's not being penned by Kelly Sue DeConnick in this particular issue.

Along with the fun Britishisms, we get some new characters. I'm digging Computer Graham. He's a little bit cheesy, but I was one of those kids that wrote their own games, so he's my kind of hero. (And if his name is a reference to Paul Graham? So many bonus points.) I'm not sure if we'll ever see him (or Magic Boots Mel) again, but Graham was a charming reluctant hero.

Jackson Guice shows off some flexibility on pencils -- he switches over to pixelated retro video-game style like he's having fun with it, and he lays waste to London's landmarks in a spectacular way. He also uses some clever layouts and well-timed frame-breaking to charge this issue with action.

The Bad

The Age of Ultron event is interesting, but tie-in issues like this have the potential to be weird distractions from a series. Since only issues #14 and #15 of AVENGERS ASSEMBLE have that AU designation, there are two consequences: (1) we're not going to see the resolution of the event in this book, and have to seek out the main AGE OF ULTRON title for that, and (2) it means that readers could effectively just drop this title for two issues and come back after the crossover. Particularly since this issue ended with the bulk of our assembled British team in perilous limbo (Dead? Vanished? Submitted to Ultron?), I worry that readers of just this title are going to be left with questions. The solicit for issue #16 hints that we're running into yet another crossover (The Enemy Within), and as interesting as that might be, I'm just holding out hope that these crossovers will wrap and we'll get a cool storyline for this title that isn't dependent on other books.

The Verdict

Caveats abound, although I can't blame the creative team -- this issue is the victim of tie-in-itis. If you're loving the Age of Ultron stuff, this is another action-packed issue that fleshes out (er…robots out?) the event and takes it on a destructive romp through London. It's well-paced, it's loaded with Brit culture references, and we get to meet some interesting new characters. All good things. But if you're just reading AVENGERS ASSEMBLE? Get ready for some confusion. I can't see how this story will wrap within the same series, so if you're not on board with all of the AU books, it's a pass.