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.
With AGE OF ULTRON being divided up into phases and the main narrative thrust passing from hero to hero, the second issue turned the spotlight on two new protagonists: Black Widow and Moon Knight. The tenuous partnership formed by these two survivors has enabled them to cling to life in hazardous San Francisco. The discovery of one of Nick Fury's strongholds improved their situation greatly.
The mind behind AGE OF ULTRON, Brian Michael Bendis, tells us just what happened to Black Widow's eye and gives a look at what's going on inside Moon Knight's fractured psyche.
Marvel.com: The baton gets passed onto Black Widow and Moon Knight in AGE OF ULTRON #2. They're both similar to Hawkeye in that they don't have superhuman powers. How'd they end up together?
Brian Michael Bendis: What my purpose in my head was that the Secret
So you have Moon Knight and Black Widow who were off doing something in San Francisco and the world came to an end. It doesn't matter what they were doing. They're both survivalists. You have a soldier of fortune who has survived every horrible thing that ever happened in the desert, including dying. And Black Widow, who we know can survive through anything including Chernobyl-like horrors.
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Marvel.com: Do you know why Black Widow has that scar?
Brian Michael Bendis: Not only do I have it in my head, but I have it all written out. I've laid it out. I've [written] all the stuff down and then decided it was unnecessary to the story I want to tell. I personally want to know why this happened and, literally, her escaping a fiery-Ultron death and losing an eye in the process. What you see is the end result.
This woman escaped by the skin of her teeth. She is wounded, and that corrosion around her eye, she may be dying, like she may have a week to live. Who knows what horrible, cancerous [expletive] is in the air? I mean that's why we spend so much effort on these wide shots of the city. The air is pea soup green. There's something like poison in the air. So you know, even though she's not superhuman, she does have elements to her that are a little more than human. She's surviving a little bit better. But she's not going to survive much longer.
Marvel.com: Is Moon Knight's recent history with Ultron in his most recent series going to be viewed as a prequel to this story?
Brian Michael Bendis: What I would love for it to be is a gentle prequel. All of that was written with this completely in mind. There is a connection. I even wrote in the script which Ultron head is the head that they were chasing around [in MOON KNIGHT]. It's in the script, but just for people who would want to connect the dots. That head is the head from the MOON KNIGHT series. You do not need that series to enjoy it, but for those who did, a reward for you, yes.
Marvel.com: What is Moon Knight's mental status in AGE OF ULTRON? He doesn't seem to be switching identities here.
Brian Michael Bendis: Well, he's actually in the full Captain America persona and with his kind of illness the one that needs to come out comes out. Like in the [MOON KNIGHT] series, when he needed to be Wolverine he was Wolverine and nobody else. At the end of the series his mood personalities were Echo and a couple others. So he has those personalities more than others. And also, when [expletive] hits the fan like that, it's always interesting how crazy doesn't need to act so crazy.
Like, have you ever seen a crazy person in real life when they're hungry? As long as they're fed they're fine. [It's] that kind of thing. You'll be crazy later. You don't need to be crazy now. Also I think subconsciously he knows that when he starts acting crazy, Black Widow will just kill him and move on. She'll need to just shut that down.