Spoilers for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" follow!
Odds are if you saw "Avengers: Age of Ultron," you're already chomping at the bit to see it again -- and if you're a comic book fan you probably should, because boy was it dense. Seriously, how did they pack so much awesome stuff into two and a half hours?
Of course, writer/director Joss Whedon is on the record as saying that there weren't too many nods and winks towards fans of the series. But if you knew where to look, there were a lot of moments that tied into the comics, the other movies, and even the TV shows:
Space Whale!Marvel Comics
That giant carcass Baron Von Strucker has holed up in the Hydra base? Clearly the same leviathans that came out of the wormhole during the Chitauri invasion.
Helen ChoMarvel Comics
In "Age of Ultron" she's a renowned genetic biologist, but in the comics she's also the mother of Amadeus Cho (above), a super intelligent teenager who befriends the Hulk during "Civil War."
New York Loves FirefightersMarvel
Remember how Grand Central Station got torn to pieces during the Battle of New York? It's been rebuilt with a rad statue on top honoring the city's first responders. The end credits Avengers statue also evokes the same aesthetic.
Where The Hell Is Bucky?Marvel Studios
So how come Rhodey gets to come to the Avengers aid later in the movie, but Sam "Falcon" Wilson doesn't? Probably because he's too busy checking up on that "missing persons" for Steve Rogers -- which obviously means Bucky Barnes, a.k.a. The Winter Soldier, who skulked off into the sunset during the "Captain America" sequel. Oh well, at least they're both officially Avengers now.
"That's not a question I need answered."Marvel Comics
The fact that Natasha doesn't even want to bother trying to lift Thor's hammer is pretty funny, considering that in "What If? Age of Ultron #3" from 2014, she totally did and became Thor and everything. Too bad Ultron didn't do that, because it would have been cool to see him in a winged helmet in addition to the cape.
The Crimson CowlMarvel Comics
You know that red cloak Ultron is shrouding himself in when he first meets the Maximoff twins? That's a reference to how Ultron first presented himself in the comics, hidden behind the "Crimson Cowl" persona.
The Tony Stark Throat GrabMarvel Studios
Every time Stark shows up in an MCU movie, somebody goes for his jugular. "Age of Ultron" is no exception, in which Thor physically threatens Tony for meddling with forces beyond his understanding.
We won't get to see T'Challa himself until "Captain America: Civil War," but the Blank Panther's technologically advanced home nation of Wakanda got a namedrop in the movie's second act -- a very obvious one, considering how Banner trips on the pronunciation.
The "Star Wars" hand sliceMarvel Studios
As Kevin Feige pointed out recently, each movie in Phase 2 . "Age of Ultron" is no exception -- Ultron yanks of Ulysses Klaue's arm at the elbow (but don't worry, he's for sure gonna come back with a prosthetic the next time we see him).
But! Astute viewers will also notice that Iron Man loses a hand too -- specifically the one attached to his Hulkbuster armor. Which brings us to our next point...
Kinda. She appears in Captain America's Scarlet Witch vision at the Rivoli Ballroom in London, along with a band called the Roy Thomas Players -- who are named after Roy Thomas, the comic book creator who came up with the idea for Ultron and the Vision.
So's Heimdall!Getty Images
Again, not really, but boy did we like seeing him again foreshadowing the end of Asgard for "Thor 3: Ragnarok."
Did you see the giant truck marked "Crawford" that appeared during the scene where Hulk and Iron Man go at it? That's probably a reference to Bruce Banner's mentor, Dr. Gregory Crawford, who also becomes a giant green rage monster himself named Ravage. Basically, he's like the Hulk with a beard.
This is just a ridiculous Archie Comics joke: Bruce Banner loves Betty Ross, so Tony built a deterrent named after Betty's opposite... Veronica.
Alternately, in the comics, Veronica Benning is the name of a physical therapist who helps Tony Stark regain motor control in one of his hands – and as we just pointed out, Stark loses a piece of his Hulkbuster arm that gets repaired remotely by Veronica. So your choice!
Off-frame PunchesMarvel Studios
Whedon jokingly remarked that he liked "punching Norse gods out of frame" in the first "Avengers" movie, most notably with the help of the Hulk. This time around, the angry green giant gets a taste of his own medicine from the Hulkbuster.
Laura BurtonMarvel Comics
Believe it or not, Linda Cardellini is playing an already established character -- in the "Ultimates" universe, Clint does have a wife named Laura. Although, her story doesn't end so well in the comics, when the entire Barton family is murdered by a traitor within the Avengers. Yikes. Good thing "Ultron" doesn't go THAT far.
The comic book version of Black Widow has a long history with ballet -- she was originally trained at the Bolshoi before becoming an intelligence operative, except when it turned out that she'd actually been brainwashed by the Red Room the whole time. But the Black Widow training program has churned out other ballerinas too, like Dottie Underwood from "Agent Carter."
Speaking of which...
The Red Room Birth Control PlanABC
Okay, so Natasha's forcible hysterectomy doesn't have any connection to the comics. But remember back to this past season of "Agent Carter" when Black Widow operative Dottie Underwood acted oddly obsessive about the baby carriage she bought to stow weapons in towards the end of the season? Guess we know why, now -- because she can't have children either.
Banner's Baby FixationMarvel Studios
Banner and Natasha's talk about kids does kind of come out of the blue, but it's also an interesting nod to their first meeting in Calcutta, when Bruce absentmindedly plays with a crib in the room while telling Nat that he doesn't always get what he wants. Guess what he really wanted was the pitter patter of tiny green feet, huh?
Nathaniel Pietro BartonDisney/Marvel
His first name is a reference to family friend Natasha (fun fact! In the comics the baby is a girl, and she's named Nicole after Nick Fury), but his middle name comes from the Maximoff brother who saved Hawkeye's life near the end of the film.
Vision Saves Scarlet WitchMarvel
In the comics, Vision and Scarlet Witch are an item -- which made the part where he rescues her from the crumbling meteorite that once was Sokovia even more fascinating.
Infinity Gauntlet!Marvel Comics
Last time we saw that neato glove in the MCU, it was in the vault of big scary weapons in Asgard during "Thor 2: The Dark World." Now Thanos definitely has it in his posession. What'd he do to Heimdall, guys? I'm worried now.
"Avengers: Age Of Ultron" is in theaters now.