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.
Luke Cage and She-
Writer Brian Michael Bendis opens up about writing Luke Cage's last heroic act and what it was like writing She-
Marvel.com: Onto the last two, Luke Cage and She-
Brian Michael Bendis: My feeling is that if Luke Cage's hair is grown in, it's really bad. Something really bad is going to happen. He doesn't have time to shave his head. That's how you know that [expletive] is real. That's my version of the Watcher showing up. With every other writer, when the Watcher shows up, that's when you know that this [expletive] is real. Mine is Luke Cage's hair is grown in.
Marvel.com: What was it like writing his big final hero moment?
Brian Michael Bendis: Well, I enjoyed it of course; it's me not playing favorites. You get accused of having the character you like never get hurt, [but that didn't happen with Luke Cage]. Luke went out with the biggest hail Mary pass of the whole thing because he's lost everything and has nothing left to lose. And then with his dying breath, [he] gives the heroes what they need to go forward.
Marvel.com: Captain America, usually the strongest-willed character on any team, was slumped in a heap in the corner before they get the plan. What kept Luke Cage going after the death of his wife and child?
Brian Michael Bendis: Again using real life experience, you notice at a funeral that everyone deals with it in their own way, man. Some people get real busy, some people are just comatose, [and] some people are just cracking jokes and drinking. Everybody handles crazy [expletive] their own way. And this is the super hero version of it. I mean, I know it's one of those things where everyone has their own feeling about such things and immediately puts their own "this is how I would respond." And, yeah, that's good for you but you know that others respond differently. It's a tragedy.
You know, I'll never forget, I remember I saw "Schindler's List" with some friends a few months before it actually made it to theaters. So we had no preconception of what this movie was going to be. So imagine how devastating it [was]. There were a lot of Jewish people at the screening, and there was one guy in the audience who was giggling for like 40 minutes with no awareness that he was giggling. And then finally somebody said, "what are you laughing at?!' and he turned around and was like, "oh [expletive], I had no idea I was giggling." He didn't say another word. But that sticks with me, like that was how he was dealing with this, you know what I mean?
I mean, that's just how Luke is going to deal. This is how Luke is going to deal with it, and then when all the horror is over, then he'll cry.
Marvel.com: When it comes to She-
Brian Michael Bendis: A couple bits. I mean, everyone's thrilled with how I had her go crazy in "
Marvel.com: I like that you chose to include her in AGE OF ULTRON and gave her a lot to do.
Brian Michael Bendis: Oh yeah. I like her a lot. Her and Monica Rambeau are two characters that people were happy to see. I'll tell you, [Monica Rambeau] is another character I like a lot that I have never gotten to do more than a little bit with here and there. Yeah, these are characters that I'm quite fond of. Again, using Ultron's mindset he would take out as many aimless Avengers as possible. And not leaving these guys for nothing, but they certainly wouldn't be his first wave [to attack], but they're just as good as the first wave characters.
Marvel.com: Yeah, they can rise to the occasion.
Brian Michael Bendis: Yeah absolutely. There's nothing Thor can do that She-
Marvel.com: Do you kind of wish that you had gotten to write She-
Brian Michael Bendis: You know I'm still under contract. I've always wanted to do that Jennifer Walters vs. Matt Murdock courtroom drama. But my Daredevil run—certainly DAREDEVIL: END OF DAYS—didn't bring that about. Then I think of every courtroom comedy and go, "no that's not funny."
Marvel.com: Any final thoughts about AGE OF ULTRON before the second half begins?
Brian Michael Bendis: In any event you do, there are things that people are very critical of. They're very worried about what's going to happen, particularly when the thing is shifting so fast, and [expletive] is hitting the fan so hard. There's a lot of worry, and a lot of "is my favorite character going to make it?" or all of these things. And I know that it [can] be stressful or tense for some readers, particularly when we're opening with half the characters already dead. So I do want to thank everybody who decided to follow this series. A lot of people were all-in right away, so that's very cool. And I just want to thank everyone for supporting the book.
Although the first five issues have felt a certain way, I think it's safe to say, even from the little bits and pieces you've seen from solicitations and stuff, the next five issues are going to be bonkers and completely different from the first five. That ending that you've heard a little taste of with [the announcement that] Angela [will be joining the Marvel Universe], that is just one little end of the other endings that are coming. There's a lot coming out of AGE OF ULTRON. You'll see a lot of fun stuff for a lot of characters, no matter what books you read.