Brian Michael Bendis and Axel Alonso address Age of Ultron‘s place in Marvel NOW!:
Alonso: And in terms of how it fits in the publishing plan, it fits like a glove. The events of Ultron happen immediately in the here and now. One day our heroes wake up, and Ultron has won. How they get through and back from it will be the best part of the journey.
Bendis: I remember you getting very excited about adding this on at the tail end of Marvel NOW! to reinforce the idea that we’re in a place where anything can happen. Marvel NOW! is full of these “I have no idea what’s going to happen in the next issue” moments, and this added to that feel. We were ready for that the whole time.
I really like the idea of “anything can happen in the next issue,” when it comes to superhero stories; all too often, we as readers are expecting the magic reset button during any kind of big shift in the status quo. The problem with mentioning the idea in conjunction with Age of Ultron is that we already know that time travel is part of the story thanks to solicitations; doesn’t that somewhat underscore the reset potential of the whole thing…? Even the changes stemming from it are more likely to be Flashpoint-level at most, which are more… random, and less “consequence of someone’s actions,” when it comes down to it. Aren’t those different things altogether?