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Three Comic Book Cliches in The Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer

The first Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer premiered this week and it's pretty good. I'm exicted. Although it's not really like it  was a tough sell to me. I've been looking forward to this movie for a while. Now that I've seen how awesome Ultron looks and how somber a tone they're setting for it, I'm all the more ready for it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmeOjFno6Do However, after careful viewing, the comic book fans out there will notice a few well-worn cliches found in most comic book events. It makes sense, Joss Whedon is a huge comic book fan and seems keen on recreating that kind of magic on screen (he is, after all, creating the Avengers line up from when he was a kid). So of course you're going to get some old favorites back again. Anyway, for the uninitiated here's a list of all the familiar comic book cliches you may have missed: [caption id="attachment_61756" align="aligncenter" width="567"]Screen shot 2014-10-26 at 6.17.36 PM Bruce and Tony's ballet school for one[/caption]

In-Fighting Once Again

This shouldn't have surprised anyone. Yes, you probably understand that at the beginning of every superhero team-up story, the heroes have to fight each other over a misunderstanding. That's just how it goes, right? Well if you assumed it stopped there, oh child no. "Who could beat who in a fight" is an argument that most comics are built on. It's the blood that pumps through its veins. The best to settle those arguments is through fights in the comics, and so we have them all the time. You see, in the first movie we saw an Iron Man versus Thor fight, but that was a meager pittance. In Age of Ultron (the movie, not the comic) we have at least an Iron Man versus Hulk fight. If you count each of those Ultron robots as having the same capability of Iron Man, then it's kind of like a whole lot of Iron Man versus everyone fights. We're not getting just physical fights either. We're seeing some obligatory character arguing. These guys never got along but now Thor is choking Tony, everyone is ignoring each other's presence, and a dower Cap have taken it to a whole new level. This is also pretty common in comics, especially since Civil War. Characters slinging one liners, telling each other off, and getting in each other's face is most of the reason to have these events. Screen shot 2014-10-26 at 6.19.30 PM I'm sure they'll fit in the reasons somehow. I assume Hulk gets out of control and that most of them hate Tony for building Ultron. However, I do wish that it wasn't such a major part of it. I mean, there's definitely going to be robot fights, right? Like a bunch? Yet in the trailer it was mostly The Avengers fighting amongst themselves. I guess it's because the audience is more emotionally invested in that then destroying robots, but I'd rather see more of them battle against insurmountable odds than inter-office relations.

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream

Maybe this is a cliche in fiction in general, but there's a real tradition in comics to show how damaging and gritty an event is by having main characters scream. It doesn't even matter if it's an event in a single book or if it's a crossover. Screams are to be had. Don't just take it from me: This screaming tradition has transferred nicely over to Avengers: Age of Ultron. In this trailer alone, I'm counting three instances of a main character screaming out in anguish/anger. Main characters, mind you, not the many other shots of civilians screaming out in fear. Let me show you what I'm talking about. We have Scarlett Witch: Screen shot 2014-10-26 at 5.39.57 PM Bathing Thor: Screen shot 2014-10-26 at 5.42.24 PM And Quicksliver-but-not-the-one-from-that-X-men-movie: Screen shot 2014-10-26 at 5.45.33 PM And, hey, I know what you're saying. These aren't just screams to scream! These are screams of mental issues/physical pain/effort. Of course they are. However, this trailer choses to highlight these moments as a way to convey how dramatically dangerous and dark this story is. It's the same thing for comic book covers, which are, as much as anything else, highlights of the tone of the story. Same deal. However, screams are a flawed system to tell what the tone of the story is going to be. If you want something more accurate...

Broken Shield = Serious Times

In the trailer we get a bunch of shots of The Avenger's symbols taken out of power. We see a blanketed Bruce Banner shaking and vulnerable, we see an Iron Man drone crushed, we see Thor drop his hammer, and we see Black Widow look exasperated. Most important of all, however, is at the end when we see a destroyed Captain America shield: Screen shot 2014-10-26 at 5.53.30 PM Destroying Captain America's shield is one of the most time honored traditions in comics. It's the perfect symbol. A broken unbreakable object. The unthinkable has literally happened. It's a true, complete defeat. It's used to illustrate a serious event, something earth shattering. It's been seen in everything from the Infinity Gauntlet saga to Civil War. Does having it happen over and over again dilute the effect at all? Yeah a little bit. It's become more of a marker for "hold on there friends, this is some serious business" then a full on tragedy. Take a look for yourself: And so, finally, here we are with a movie version of it. If Cap's broken shield isn't on at least one version of a movie poster, I'll be disappointed. It's such a seminal, if cliche comic book image that it'd be a betrayal of the source material not to advertise it. After all, if you're going to go cliche, at least go in full force with it. But what do you think? Was there a comic book cliche I missed? Let me know in the comments below.


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