By Brett White
The world lies in ruins, crushed beneath the adamantium heel of Ultron. Every city has become a warzone with robotic sentries destroying every living thing that comes across their dispassionate gaze.
And what about Earth’s Mightiest Heroes? They’ve already been defeated. With their ranks thinned a distressing amount, the heroic stragglers have banded together to plan one, final assault to end the Age of Ultron.
When AGE OF ULTRON #1 opened, Hawkeye appeared as the first hero on the scene risking his life to rescue the badly beaten Spider-Man. While
AGE OF ULTRON writer Brian Michael Bendis explains just how Hawkeye has survived this long, as well as the nuances of super hero hair.
Marvel.com: Hawkeye has had quite a high profile for the past year and he's also the first person we see in AGE OF ULTRON. Was that done deliberately?
Brian Michael Bendis: Well, it wasn't a profile thing. It was more about picking a character who would not thrive, but do well in this situation. We imagined that [Hawkeye] was exactly the kind of character that Ultron wouldn't give two damns about from a mathematical point of view. Like, if you do the math you get rid of Hulk, Thor, Thing—you know what I mean, you go down the list of powerhouses. And Hawkeye would not be on that list, but then again if the world came to an end, and I would say if New York looked like a third world country, that's something that Hawkeye may be able to do well in. We imagine he's been in parts of the world that looked that bad before and thrived, so that was my thinking there.
Marvel.com: What kind of skill set does he have that sets him apart from those bigger guns?
Brian Michael Bendis: It's precision, but there's also handling the rotting horror around you and just focusing on the job at hand. That's a mindset more than a power. And he does have that.
Marvel.com: Hawkeye is kind of known for being somewhat flippant. He's usually played as the sarcastic Han Solo-type. Has that outlook helped him to survive at?
Brian Michael Bendis: Yeah, you know it's kind of like a homicide detective or a surgeon. A lot of them have this gallows humor where they're making jokes where normal people wouldn't, or you're just trying to get through it. And that's the way I see him and a couple other characters too.
Brian Michael Bendis: One of the cool things I like about [Age of Ultron], and one of the reasons I chose this route, was there's a baton being passed, kind of like a relay race, where they hand off the baton. So the story is the baton and we are handing it off from character to character. Here we are with Hawkeye, and then there's the big Moon Knight part, Red Hulk part, and then here comes the Savage Land elements and there will be people there, and the last half, not only does the entire story tone shift, and the arc shifts, but the character focus shifts as well.
So it's a unique way to do a Marvel Universe storyline and there're a couple ways to do them. One is you have all of them in a room fighting the other half that are all in the room, which has been done. But I thought it'd be interesting, like the story keeps on moving and the readers [move] with the story, but the character that is taking us through the story keeps changing.
And there will be some interaction, some back and forth and some repeat business. It's very purposeful and, I thought, unique when thinking about these events and going out of your way to give the audience something they haven't seen before that doesn't follow the formula that they've seen. Even when we were doing House of M there wasn't a formula that people were used too. But once we got to Civil War, there people could kind of see a formula. And then you want to go, "well let's never do that formula again, let's do other things." Some will be interesting and successful, some will be not, but at least it's an attempt to always give you something different. And this is my attempt to give you something different.
On top of that, literally the entire event is a third act. The horrible has happened. The first act has already happened. We're not getting to it, we're not flashing back to it. That I thought was a nice, unique way to dive into this thing. I know that that is an element that is frustrating for some readers who are not used to that but there are others that love it. So, the response has been, "I love that we're just there" and other people are like, "how did we get there?"
And another thing: "What's with She-Hulk's hair?" Like they don't even care that Ultron blew up the world, they want to know how She-Hulk cut her hair and when and why. I swear that's one hundred percent true. Literally my e-mail has been filled with [questions about] Star-Lord's hair, She-Hulk's hair, Magneto's hair—there are a lot of hair emails. I don't even know what to say to this.
Marvel.com: People get haircuts.
Brian Michael Bendis: Yeah, I mean, people have life-changing things and they cut their hair. "Why is Star-Lord's hair blond?" "What happened here? Are you Magneto?" That's another one. That I'm Magneto and I represent all bald people.
[There are] these elaborate vistas of destruction that Bryan Hitch has laid out in from of us, page after page, and then all we get back is, "hey what's with She-Hulk?"