During the events of Age of Ultron, Wolverine’s brutal attempt to save the world ended up creating a WILD version of the Marvel Universe.
There are some concrete rules in the Marvel Universe that always lead to devastating effects when they’re broken. One such event occurred in Brian Michael Bendis and Bryan Hitch’s Age of Ultron when Wolverine ended up trying to change the past only to end up creating a world with radically different heroes, villains, and events.
Now, we’re taking a closer look at the Defenders created by the events of Age of Ultron and how their broken reality a true worst-case scenario for the Avengers.
Age of Ultron opens with the titular robotic threat attacking the Marvel Universe with a massive army — leading to the deaths of millions, including much of the hero community. With no options left, Wolverine and Invisible Woman ignore the orders of Captain America and use a time-traveling device to warp back before Hank Pym ever constructed Ultron. In an effort to change the future once and for all, Wolverine murdered Pym. But in the process, he created a radically altered Marvel Universe
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Upon returning to the present, however, Wolverine and Invisible Woman are shocked to discover how radically different the Marvel Universe has become. Without Hank Pym, ripple effects through time have resulted in numerous changes. The Avengers have been supplanted by the Defenders, made up of a rag-tag band of the few remaining heroes. Led by an eye-patch wearing Colonel America, the Defenders consist of Hulk, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel (in this reality Janet Van Dyne instead of Carol Danvers), Star-Lord, Wolverine, Cyclops (now going by Cable) and a cracked Thing. Quickly capturing the two, the Defenders soon turn their attention to their ally, Iron Man, who has effectively taken over much of this world.
Tony reveals that the death of Hank Pym — which went unsolved and was blamed on Skrulls — was the impetus for the Avengers breaking up. Because the team wasn’t united against the various threats of the world, major events played out in far more destructive ways. The Kree/Skrull War was far more costly, with remnants of the alien armadas filling the Savage Land. Morgana Le Fey used the opening to attack the world, setting off the Latveria/Asgard Wars. This in turn resulted in many of the surviving heroes being maimed or killed in some way — including Iron Man, who almost died in the conflict and only survived thanks to his armor. The wars drove all Asgardians, including Thor, away from Earth, leaving Iron Man to become a technological commander in the endless war against Morgana Le Fey.
Replacing S.H.I.E.L.D. with the Starkguard, Tony effectively takes control of North America and most of the world while still fighting against Le Fay and her Doom-inspired forces. Before an enraged Stark can kill Invisible Woman and Wolverine for the unintended damage they’ve done to the world, Le Fay actually attacks — leading to the deaths of the Defenders and the defeat of Stark. Luckily, Wolverine is able to make his way back just in time to try and change the past again but spare Pym’s life — but this time allowing Pym to build a backdoor into Ultron’s programming, thus preventing the Age of Ultron from ever even occurring.
This alternate reality seems like a worst-case scenario for much of the Marvel Universe. Even Doctor Doom has seemingly been supplanted, with Doombots now serving at the behest of Le Fay. Without its heroes and with the younger generation of heroes (like the Young Avengers) more or less prevented from existing thanks to the absence of Pym — and by extension, other heroes like Scott Lang and the Vision — this version of the Marvel Universe fell apart long before the two heroes ever realized the full damage they’d done to the world.
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