Tonight, Avengers: Age of Ultron finally arrives in the US. Are you all caught up? Rewatched the Phase Two movies for the 100th time? Check. Caught Agents of SHIELD on Tuesday? Check. Read the prequel comic? Wait, prequel comic?
There’s an Age of Ultron Prequel?
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, don’t worry. Basically, since Iron Man 2, Marvel has been publishing official Cinematic Universe tie-in comics (yes, comics based on movies based on comics). There’s been about a dozen so far, but if this is the first you’re hearing about them, it’s not your fault, they really don’t get a lot of publicity (mostly because they’re not particularly great).
That being said, they’re still technically canon, and if you’re a story completionist like me, that makes all the difference.
So if you don’t have time to run to the comic store to pick up the Age of Ultron Prelude comic, but you still want to know what happens, read on for a summary.
Avengers: Age of Ultron Prelude – The Scepter’d Isle
The comic opens with a recap of The Avengers, showing Iron Man and the Hulk giving Loki the ol’ what for, while Black Widow and Dr. Selvig close the Chitauri portal with Loki’s scepter.
It then cuts to a SHIELD base codenamed the STATION (Scientific Training and Tactical Intelligence Operations Network, 90% of SHIELD’s budget goes to acronym development). After the Battle of New York, Loki’s scepter was transferred to STATION, where it’s being studied by two SHIELD scientists: Agent Nicholas Cooper and Agent Mark Smith.
The scientists note that during the Battle of New York, when Black Widow was closing the portal, the Tesseract and Loki’s scepter seemed to be reacting to each other, as if there was some kind of connection between them. This is probably the closest SHIELD has come to discovering the existence of Infinity Stones.
While this is going on, Agent Smith is bitching about how he was assigned to lab duty after Maria Hill made him take a psych eval, which deemed him “unfit for assignment.” A HYDRA recruiter is listening in on their conversation, and Agent Smith is personally poached by none other than Baron Strucker himself later that day.
Smith joins of course, because evil or something, and helps HYDRA kill his research partner (who’s just figured out why the two artifacts have a connection) and steal Loki’s scepter. Smith accompanies a HYDRA agent by the name of Mark Basso (whose likeness is based on a Marvel assistant editor of the same name) to deliver the scepter to Sokovia.
Sokovia is in the midst of political turmoil, and HYDRA has used the chaos as a cover to set up a secret base in the region. There, HYDRA scientists manage to use the scepter to power Chitauri weapons, possibly kickstarting a new wave of arms development. Baron Strucker isn’t happy with that level of progress though, as he’s way more interested in harnessing the power for more… biological experiments.
HYDRA recruits from the disenfranchised protesters in Sokovia, promising them the means to take back their country from their oppressive government. While HYDRA manages to find a number of volunteers, only two survive: twins by the name of Wanda and Pietro Maximoff.
Meanwhile, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is going down, and it’s here the comic catches up to where we saw the twins last, ushering in the age of “Miracles.”