Warning: full spoilers ahead!
Avengers of the Wastelands is a five-part mini-series that takes place in the future, post-apocalyptic world of Old Man Logan. Most heroes are long dead, hunted down and killed by all of Marvel’s villains who finally got organized enough to overthrow the good guys and take over the world. After Logan killed the Red Skull, things got marginally better, with several legacy characters picking up the mantles of old heroes to help pave the way for a better future. But it wasn’t long before a new threat rose in the form of Doctor Doom, who in this first chapter has been leading his army across the wastelands, wiping out entire settlements one at a time.
In a demonstration of just how bad Doom can be, we watch as Doom makes his way to a garage where Ultron-8 was working, insults him for losing his way, and violently stomps his metal boot through his mouth. Doom kicks in Ultron-8’s face so hard it separated his head from his body.
While not the original Ultron, Ultron-8 is one of his many copies and has all of his originator’s strengths and abilities. However, he gained a sense of humanity and became like a husband to Tonya Barton and a father to Ashley Barton. The world of Old Man Logan is essentially an exercise in just how bad things can get in the Marvel Universe without its heroes around, which is why the loss of Ultron-8 is especially upsetting for fans. He was a rare bright light in an otherwise dismal place, showing how even when evil is expected of you, you can make the choice to be something good instead.
The rest of the issue sees Doom continue his rampage in pursuit of the new Ant-Man, who unknowingly leads him to a secret settlement of heroes. However, the heroes are able to repel Doom’s forces, in large part thanks to Danielle Cage, daughter of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, who now wields Mjolnir and uses the power of the God of Thunder to smite his army. When she finally makes her way to Doom and smacks him in the head with her hammer, it’s revealed to be a robotic decoy Doombot, meaning the real Doctor Doom is somewhere else entirely — and probably up to no good. The issue closes with Captain America — inexplicably alive and well — showing up to help out.
It’s unclear how Cap was brought back to life after being killed by the Red Skull (as revealed in Old Man Logan), or even if it’s the real Steve Rogers, but it seems like he will be the one who assembles these new heroes to form the Avengers of the Wastelands — and hopefully avenge poor Ultron-8.
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