It is rather disappointing that the Age of Ultron was shortchanged with a single movie; so much for an “Age,” which technically isn’t wrong with Ultron’s age being zero, but it is nevertheless very anticlimactic. Perhaps if Ultron ever gets rebuilt in the MCU, we might get a chance to see a real Age of Ultron post-apocalyptic story arc where Ultron does succeed in taking over the world. Stark is gone, but his original creator in the comics, Hank Pym, is still around; let him do the rebuilding. Chances are super low, but one can dream.
With Ultron’s short tenure as the current reality, here we will examine the resultant market behavior of his two key first appearance comic books.
After the Crimson Cowl forms a new Masters of Evil team, they fight the Avengers and emerge victorious. In a final twist, the Crimson Cowl (Ultron, who remained unnamed in this issue) made it look like Jarvis was the Crimson Cowl. This reveal at the end of the issue makes Avengers #54 the first cameo appearance of Ultron. The last eight years of sales for Avengers #54 is shown below; for the grades CGC 9.2/9.4 and 8.0/8.5, which represent a cross-section of the top 20.6/13.9% and 53.5/41.0%, respectively.
Following the title announcement of Age of Ultron at SDCC 2013, the sales prices for Avengers #54 immediately shot up. Surprisingly, the highs during this peak for the book graded CGC 8.0 and 8.5 were actually higher than the highs in the weeks surrounding the releases of the trailers and the movie itself. This the first instance of this I have seen; it’d be interesting to find another book where this has occurred. After the summer of 2015, sales prices across the examined fell rapidly, with the lower end leading the decline. The lower grades of 8.0 and 8.5 have been trading flat for the last four years.
Both good news and bad news is that sales prices at the lower end have since reverted to the pre-Age of Ultron hype, with the higher end selling just above it. The overall market for Avengers #54 should be nearing if not already at a bottom. The majority of the value loss fallout from Age of Ultron appears to have been realized.
Moving forward, the other significance of Avengers #54 being the first appearance of the new “Masters of Evil” offers little upside as the first appearance of the original “Masters of Evil” occurred years earlier in Avengers #6 (1964). Oddly, the minimal downside risk and minimal upside potential almost balance out. Almost.
With the Avengers captured by the Masters of Evil, the villainous Crimson Cowl reveals his true identity as Ultron-5; thus making this issue his first full appearance. The Masters of Evil’s victory is short-lived as the Black Knight rides in and saves the day. The graphs below show sales for Avengers #55 graded CGC 9.4 and 8.0, the top 15.1% and 52.8% of the census, respectively.
The market behavior of Avengers #55 mirrors that of the above Avengers #55; with one minor difference of Avengers #55’s lower grade being more closely aligned with the higher grade, with respect to timing. Again like the above book, the current price levels of Avengers #55’s are just above the prices seen before the Age of Ultron hype. For the last 3-4 years, Avengers #55 has been trending flat to slightly positive. With respect to Ultron’s 1st full appearance vs 1st appearance that is a cameo, it appears the market has chosen a preference for the full appearance in this case.
THE BOTTOM LINE
- Avengers #54 (1968) – REDUCE
- Avengers #55 (1968) – HOLD
“Innovation is the ultimate weapon.” – Ultron