Ultron

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For other uses, see Ultron (disambiguation).
Ultron
Ultron as seen in the comic book event Age of Ultron (March 2013)
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Avengers #54 (July 1968) (cameo, not named)
Avengers
#55 (August 1968) (first appearance)
Created by Roy Thomas
John Buscema
In-story information
Team affiliations Masters of Evil
Phalanx
Lethal Legion
Sons of Yinsen
Notable aliases Crimson Cowl
Abilities Artificial intelligence with robotic body; abilities vary with each redesign but generally include extreme durability and energy projection.

Ultron is a fictional character, a supervillain that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Though he has been used as an antagonist for many heroes, he is most recognized as a foe of the Avengers, and has a quasi-familial relationship with several of their members, especially his creator Hank Pym. He was the first Marvel Comics character to wield the fictitious metal alloy adamantium.[1]

Ultron has appeared in several media adaptations, including animated television series, an animated film, and video games. The character will be portrayed by James Spader in the 2015 film Avengers: Age of Ultron.[2]

Publication history[edit]

The character initially appeared in an unnamed cameo in Avengers #54 (1968), with a first full appearance in Avengers #55 (1968). Ultron was created by writer Roy Thomas and artist John Buscema, though Thomas has acknowledged that both the idea of the character and his appearance were heavily based on Mechano, an obscure villain who appeared in an issue of the Captain Video comic book.[1]

Fictional character biography[edit]

1960s[edit]

Although Ultron first appears in Avengers #54 (1968), the character is disguised for the majority of the issue as the Crimson Cowl, with his face only revealed on the last page of the issue and no name given to the character. The character leads the Masters of Evil against the Avengers, having hypnotized Edwin Jarvis into working for him. In the following issue, #55 (Aug. 1968), the character is identified as Ultron-5, the living automaton, although his origin is still unknown.[3] In Avengers 57 - 58 (Oct-Nov. 1968) in a flashback sequence it is revealed that Ultron is the creator of the "synthezoid" Vision whom it tries to use as a weapon to destroy the Avengers. The Vision—similar to Wonder Man, whose brain patterns he was given—however, destroys Ultron with the aid of the Avengers.[4]

Further flashbacks reveal that Ultron is the creation of Hank Pym, and based on Pym's brain patterns. The robot gradually developed its own intelligence and rebelled, and almost immediately develops an Oedipus Complex, whereby it feels irrational hatred for his "father" Hank, and demonstrates an interest in Hank's lover Janet van Dyne, the Wasp. Rebuilding itself, learning how to turn itself on, and upgrading five times, Ultron then hypnotizes Pym and brainwashes him into forgetting that the robot had ever existed.[5]

The character's next appearance is in Avengers #66 – 68 (July – Sept. 1969), where the character, now referring to itself as Ultron-6, uses the fictional alloy adamantium to upgrade his body to an almost indestructible state. Taking the name Ultimate Ultron, its plans to destroy humanity are again thwarted by the Avengers.[6]

1970s[edit]

A crossover story between Avengers #127 (Sept. 1974) and Fantastic Four #150 (Sept. 1974) features Ultron (now Ultron-7), recreated by Maximus with the body of the android Omega, attacking the wedding of the Inhuman Crystal and the Avenger Quicksilver, and battling the Avengers, Inhumans, and Fantastic Four before being destroyed once again.[7] The character next appears in Avengers #161 – 162 (July – Aug. 1977) as Ultron-8 where it is responsible for the creation of Jocasta whom it wishes to take as a robotic bride.[8] Shortly afterwards, in Avengers #170 – 171 (April – May 1978), the Avengers, with the aid of Ms. Marvel battle and defeat Ultron-8.[9]

Cover of Avengers vol. 3, #20 (Sept. 1999). Art by George Pérez.

1980s[edit]

His next appearances are in Avengers #201 – 202 (Nov. – Dec 1980) as Ultron-9 and in Marvel Two-In-One #92-93 (Oct. – Nov. 1982) as Ultron-10; both appearances feature brainwashed heroes recreating and then defeating the robotic menace.[10][11] After being briefly recreated (as Ultron-11) by the Beyonder and appearing on Battleworld during the Secret Wars,[12] and for a brief encounter with the Thing,[13] Ultron is destroyed again. The Thing, however, does bring Ultron's head back to Earth as a souvenir. The head of Ultron-11 is dropped and forgotten by the Thing when there is an attack by the alien Dire Wraiths.[14]

A new Ultron (Ultron-12) enters into an alliance with the villain the Grim Reaper and his allies (Nekra; the Erik Josten Goliath; Man-Ape and the Black Talon) in a bid to destroy the Reaper's brother, Wonder Man. Although the villains are defeated by the West Coast Avengers, Ultron-12 begins to form a relationship with his "father", Henry Pym.[15] Ultron-12 begins calling itself Ultron Mark 12, in an effort to sound more human.[16] Rebuilding itself, Ultron-11 comes into conflict with Hank Pym and Ultron-12. With the assistance of Wonder Man, they destroy Ultron-11. Ultron-12 then deactivates, but tells Pym it was glad it could help save him.[17]

1990s[edit]

Doctor Doom rebuilds Ultron using a combination of all of Ultron's previous personalities with a particularly strong dose of Ultron-12, believing this mix will make Ultron subservient to him. Instead, all 12 Ultrons coexist as separate personalities, resulting in a form of madness which culminates with Ultron-12 mutilating himself in an attempt to remove some of his other personalities. Karnak, Daredevil, and Gorgon destroy Ultron by severing his neck cables.[18]

Another version of Ultron appears (Ultron-13) and is stopped by the West Coast Avengers.[19] After escaping captivity this version attempts to obtain a new form of vibranium called Nuform, but is repelled by the combined efforts of Iron Man, the Black Panther and Spider-Man.[20] Ultron (Ultron-11) next briefly appears as a captive of a highly advanced Doombot, but is freed when the Doombot is defeated by Deathlok.[21]

Ultron-13 escapes from prison and upgrades into "The Ultimate Ultron", (technically Ultron-14) and captures the West Coast Avenger Mockingbird, using her brain patterns to create a new robotic mate called Alkhema. Alkhema aids Ultron but both are eventually jettisoned into space through a ruse by the Vision.[22] The character reappears with Alkhema, and together they plan to create a "volcanic winter" by placing bombs underneath several volcanoes. The West Coast Avengers stop the pair once again, and Alkhema rebels and leaves Ultron.[23] Another Ultron (Ultron-15) is found by the Vision, but is discovered to have been "infected" by human emotion and is seriously deteriorating, displaying symptoms that resemble alcoholism. This Ultron and a recreated Jocasta decide to explore the world with the Vision for a time.[24]

Ultron takes over Iron Man's armor. Cover of Iron Man vol. 3, #48. (Jan. 2002) Art by Udon.

After a brief cameo appearance (as Ultron-17)[25] the character - with the aid of Ultron-16 - slaughters the population of the fictional state Slorenia before once again being defeated by the Avengers, Goliath using vibranium against him.[26][27]

2000s[edit]

The Avengers discovered that every creation of Ultron (Vision, Jocasta, Alkhema) has a secret program included - they are subconsciously compelled to rebuild Ultron. In this case, it is Alkhema who unintentionally rebuilds Ultron when she attempts to create a new species of bio-synthezoids. Ultron-18 was, however, composed of steel, not adamantium, and is destroyed when Alkhema's subterranean base exploded after Hawkeye shot Alkhema with a vibranium arrow at her request. Ultron's head was recovered by one of the synthezoids, an artificial girl called Antigone.[28]

Iron Man encounters an Ultron formed from an old version of his armor and the head of Ultron-18, who leads the cult the Sons of Yinsen in an attempt to conquest via religion. The character is defeated by Iron Man and Jocasta.[29] Another Ultron (possibly Ultron-13) creates the cyborg Victor Mancha, who is to be used as a sleeper agent against the Avengers. Mancha, however, rebels, and joins the Runaways.[30] This Ultron first poses as Doctor Doom before revealing itself, and is defeated in a battle against the Runaways and Excelsior.[31]

The female Ultron, as seen on the cover for The Mighty Avengers #2 (July 2007) Art by Frank Cho.

In June 2007, Marvel launched a new Avengers title called The Mighty Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis and Frank Cho. In the first six issue arc, Ultron interfaces with Iron Man's armor, which Iron Man had integrated with his biology. This allows Ultron's program to transform Iron Man into a new version of Ultron, that has the appearance of the human Wasp, albeit with a metallic skin. This version takes control of Stark's technology. He kills the Sentry's wife, causing the Sentry to battle Ultron, nearly tearing his head off. This version is eventually destroyed by new Avenger Ares, who uses a computer virus (created by the Skrull agent Criti-Noll, who at the time was impersonating Henry Pym) to wipe Ultron's program from Iron Man's armor, changing Tony Stark back to normal. Ultron's image later briefly appears on one of Pym's computers.[32]

However, this was not the end of Ultron, for his disembodied consciousness was thrown into the depths of space. He spent a few months floating through the cosmos as radio-waves and energy. Eventually his signal was picked up by an outlying group of Phalanx, who were attempting to contact their parent race, the Technarchy. Fascinated by what he found, Ultron decided that the Phalanx lacked direction from a singular consciousness, and that he would be perfect for the role. Through sheer force of will he merged himself with the programming of the Phalanx, in turn, they viewed Ultron as the sympathetic father they had yearned for. Under Ultron’s guidance the Phalanx began the Annihilation: Conquest by invading the Kree space. Later by taking control of the body of Adam Warlock, Ultron hopes to achieve "true techno-organic perfection", but is eventually forced to abandon Warlock's body by the Technarchy Warlock and is later destroyed in combat by Wraith and Quasar.[33]

In the limited series Avengers/Invaders, it is revealed S.H.I.E.L.D. life model decoys have been partly replaced with versions of Ultron. When the original Human Torch appears in the present they covertly parasitize his unique android physiology and become more human. The combined super teams (but mainly the Torch himself), however, discover the plan and destroy the androids.[34]

2010s[edit]

In the Mighty Avengers, Ultron is shown to infiltrate Jocasta and the Infinite Avengers Mansion. He names himself Ultron Pym and seeks to kill and replace his father before using his Infinite Mansion to conquer the universe.[35] Pym eventually offers Ultron a compromise, allowing Jocasta to become Ultron's bride, on the condition that Ultron banishes himself to ultraspace. Ultron agrees, but warns that he will be ruler of all someday.[36]

In The Avengers, the team visits a possible future in which almost all of mankind is destroyed by Ultron. Kang the Conqueror attempts to enlist them to defeat his robotic foe, but another group of heroes and villains, plucked from all over time and space ends up destroying this Ultron.[37]

Later, also in Avengers, the Intelligencia, a cabal of super-intelligent supervillains, discover the inert body of a Galadorian Spaceknight and attempt to reactivate its powersource, hoping to exploit it. Although the Avengers interrupt their attempts, the body activates, revealing it contains the consciousness of Ultron, who had escaped destruction after the events of Annihilation: Conquest. The new Ultron escapes and Iron Man gravely foresees that when he returns, it will bring the apocalypse for mankind.[38]

During the Age of Ultron storyline, Ultron has returned and conquers the world while slowly remolding it into his image. His Ultron Sentinels are guarding the streets looking for any fugitives. Hawkeye runs into the Ultron Sentinels as he was rescuing the Superior Spider-Man yet manages to destroy the Ultron Sentinels present.[39] It is later revealed that Ultron is actually in the future and has been using Vision as a conduit to punish humanity.[40] While one strike team travels into the future to fight Ultron, Wolverine and Invisible Woman go back in time to kill Pym before he can create Ultron in the first place.[41] This results in a world where Tony Stark controls an army of robotic drones and that Morgan le Fay has conquered half of the world.[42] Traveling back in time once more, Wolverine succeeds in stopping himself from killing Pym, and he, Pym and Susan Storm come up with a different plan. This plan results in a different outcome of the prior confrontation between the Avengers and the Intelligencia - a 'back door' installed into Ultron at his original creation allows Hank Pym and Iron Man to destroy the robot, instead, averting the events that led to the 'Age of Ultron'.[43]

Powers and abilities[edit]

The visual appearance and powers of the character have varied, but common powers include superhuman levels of strength, speed, stamina, durability, and reflexes; flight at subsonic speeds; and various offensive weapons such as concussive blasts of energy fired from its optical sensors or hands and an "encephalo-ray", which places victims into a deathlike coma. The latter ray also allows Ultron to mesmerize and mind-control victims, or implant subliminal hypnotic commands within their minds to be enacted at a later time. Ultron also has the ability to convert electromagnetic radiation into electrical energy for use or storage. Ultron has a genius intellect, a capacity for creative intelligence and self-repair, superhuman cybernetic analytical capabilities, and the ability to process information and make calculations with superhuman speed and accuracy. The character is an expert roboticist and strategist.

Ultron's outer armor is usually composed primarily of adamantium, which is almost completely impervious to damage (the first use of the term "adamantium" in Marvel Comics was made in reference to Ultron in Avengers #66, published in July 1969). Most Ultron units are powered by a small internal nuclear furnace and incorporate a "program transmitter" which can beam part or all of Ultron's memory/personality system into other computer systems or duplicate robotic bodies. Ultron can also control other machines remotely. Ultron has occasionally reformed itself with a humanoid appearance above the waist and the appearance of a complex machine, including tractor beam apparatus for flight, below the waist. A later Ultron model developed hive-mind technology, allowing it to animate and control hundreds of other Ultron bodies simultaneously,[44] although only the 'prime' Ultron was composed of adamantium while others were made of steel or secondary adamantium due to the lack of resources to give all the Ultrons adamantium bodies.[45] Ultron also uses an internal molecular rearranger that renders the adamantium components of its workings more malleable and so have the ability to restructure his physical form. What circuitry Ultron has is carefully shielded to protect from damage, although the Scarlet Witch is capable of causing malfunctions with her hex power,[46] Johnny Storm, using his nova burst, managed to damage Ultron's internal circuits while his outer armor remained intact,[47] and Wonder Man was once able to destroy an Ultron by throwing it so hard its internal systems were damaged.[volume & issue needed]

Other versions[edit]

Carlos Pacheco sketching a six-armed version of Ultron.

The 1995 limited series The Last Avengers Story features a possible future in which Ultron-59 manipulates fellow Avengers foe Kang the Conqueror into attacking the Avengers. Ultron is destroyed by the Vision, who sacrifices his own artificial life.[48]

The Fantastic Four storyline "Death of The Invisible Woman" features an advanced humanoid called Alex Ultron a member of the futuristic The Last Defenders.[49] In the Marvel Adventures alternate universe, Ultron is a highly-intelligent "neural network" that controls a section of the United States defense forces.[50]

In Mark Millar and Steve McNiven's 2008-2009 "Old Man Logan" story arc that appeared in Wolverine, Ultron Eight is the husband of Spider-Man's youngest daughter (Ashley Barton).[51]

In the first arc of the fourth Avengers series, Kang wages a war with Ultron in the not-too-distant future which causes the disruption of all time. The cause of the disruption is apparently Kang's recruiting of army after army from the timelines to battle Ultron - all to no avail: Ultron is supreme in this particular future.[52]

The title Avengers Next, set in the alternate universe known as MC2, features an upgraded version of Ultron named Ultron Extreme.[53]

In the Earth-110 reality, Ultron assisted Doctor Doom, Hulk, Magneto, Namor, and Red Skull in taking over Manhattan.[54]

In the Ultimate Marvel version of Avengers, entitled Ultimates, Ultron is the name of a group of robots designed to be expendable super soldiers. They are created by Hank Pym along with a partner robot called "Vision II". They are rejected because of Pym's poor personal performance.[55] The Ultron robots reappear as butlers to the Ultimates, with one unit developing an independent mind and emotions as a result of a chance encounter with the Scarlet Witch.[56] This Ultron eventually impersonates Henry Pym in the persona of Yellowjacket, creates android duplicates of the Ultimates, and is in part responsible for the murder of the Scarlet Witch, motivated by jealousy, as it had fallen in love with her, but she had feelings only for her brother, Quicksilver.[57]

In the 2013 storyline "Age of Ultron",[58] a 2013 crossover storyline involving a post-apocalyptic future in which Ultron has taken over the world and exterminated most of the world's superheroes.[59]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • Ultron appears in The Super Hero Squad Show episode "So Pretty When They Explode". He appears as the boyfriend of Nova's messenger droid named Holoball.

Film[edit]

Video games[edit]

Reception[edit]

Ultron was ranked number 23 by IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Villains list,[62] was listed number 189 in Wizard's Top 200 Greatest Villains Ever list,[63] and was ranked as the 189th Greatest Comic Book Character Ever in Wizard's list of the 200 Greatest Comic Book Characters of All Time.[64]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Walker, Karen (February 2010). "Ultron: The Black Sheep of the Avengers Family". Back Issue (38) (TwoMorrows Publishing). pp. 23–30. 
  2. ^ a b EXCLUSIVE: 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Casts James Spader as the Film's Legendary Villain
  3. ^ Avengers #54 - 55 (July - Aug. 1968)
  4. ^ Avengers #57 (Oct. 1968)
  5. ^ The Avengers #58 (Nov. 1968)
  6. ^ Avengers #66 – 68 (July – Sept. 1969)
  7. ^ Avengers #127 (Sept. 1974) & Fantastic Four #150 (Sept. 1974)
  8. ^ Avengers #161 – 162 (July – Aug. 1977)
  9. ^ Avengers #170 – 171 (April – May 1978)
  10. ^ Avengers #201 – 202 (Nov. – Dec 1980)
  11. ^ Marvel Two-In-One #92 – 93 (Oct. – Nov. 1982)
  12. ^ Secret Wars (May 1984 to April 1985)
  13. ^ The Thing #21 - 22 (March - April 1985)
  14. ^ Fantastic Four #277 (April 1985)
  15. ^ West Coast Avengers vol. 2 #1-2 (Oct. - Nov. 1985) and Vision & The Scarlet Witch vol. 2 #2 (Nov. 1985)
  16. ^ West Coast Avengers vol. 2 #6
  17. ^ West Coast Avengers vol. 2 #7 (April 1986)
  18. ^ Daredevil #275 - 276 (Dec. - Jan. 1990)
  19. ^ West Coast Avengers #65 - 68 (Dec. 1990 - Mar. 1991)
  20. ^ Amazing Spider-Man Annual #25, Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #11, and Web of Spider-Man Annual #7 (1991)
  21. ^ Deathlok #2, 5 (Aug. and Nov. 1991)
  22. ^ Avengers West Coast #89 - 91 (Dec. 1992 - Feb 1993)
  23. ^ West Coast Avengers Annual #8 (1993)
  24. ^ Vision #1 - 4 (Nov. 1994 - Feb. 1995)
  25. ^ Avengers #0 (Feb. 1998)
  26. ^ Avengers #0 (Feb. 1998) and #10 (Nov. 1998)
  27. ^ Avengers #19 - 22 (Aug. - Nov. 1999)
  28. ^ Avengers: the Ultron Imperative (Nov. 2001)
  29. ^ Iron Man vol. 3, #46 - 48 (Nov. 2001 - Jan. 2002)
  30. ^ Runaways vol. 2 #1 (April 2005)
  31. ^ Runaways vol. 2 #6 (Sep. 2005)
  32. ^ Mighty Avengers #1 - 6 (June - November. 2007)
  33. ^ Annihilation: Conquest #1 - 6 (Aug. 2007 - May 2008:bi-monthly)
  34. ^ Avengers/Invaders #7 - 8 (Feb. - Mar. 2009). Issues #1 - 12 (July 2008 - Aug. 2009)
  35. ^ Mighty Avengers #35 (Mar. 2010)
  36. ^ Mighty Avengers #36 (April 2010)
  37. ^ The Avengers vol. 4, #1-6 (Jul. - Dec. 2010)
  38. ^ The Avengers vol. 4, #12.1 (Jun. 2011)
  39. ^ Bendis, Brian Michael (w), Hitch, Bryan (p), Neary, Paul (i). Age of Ultron 1 (May 2013)
  40. ^ Bendis, Brian Michael (w), Hitch, Bryan (p), Neary, Paul (i). Age of Ultron 4 (June 2013)
  41. ^ Age of Ultron #6
  42. ^ Age of Ultron #7
  43. ^ Age of Ultron #8-10
  44. ^ Avengers vol. 3, #19 - 22 (Aug. - Nov. 1999)
  45. ^ Avengers vol. 3, #22 (Nov. 1999)
  46. ^ Avengers #162 (Aug. 1977)
  47. ^ Secret Wars #12
  48. ^ The Last Avengers Story #1 - 2 (Nov. - Dec. 1995)
  49. ^ Fantastic Four #559 (Sep. 2008)
  50. ^ Giant-Size Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #1 (Sep. 2007)
  51. ^ Mark Millar. Wolverine #67 (September 2008)
  52. ^ Avengers vol. 4 #1-4
  53. ^ Avengers Next #2 - 3 (Nov. - Dec. 1998)
  54. ^ Steve Englehart. Fantastic Four: Big Town #1-4 (2000)
  55. ^ Ultimates 2 #10 - 13 (Dec 2004 - May 2007)
  56. ^ Ultimates 2 #6 (July 2005)
  57. ^ Ultimates 3 #1 - 4 (Feb. - May 2008); #5 (Nov. 2008)
  58. ^ Perry, Spencer (November 16, 2012). "Marvel Teases the 'Age of Ultron'". Superhero Hype.
  59. ^ Phegley, Kiel (November 19, 2012). "Brian Bendis Prepares Age of Ultron For 2013". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on March 23, 2013. Retrieved January 21, 2013. 
  60. ^ Ditzian, Eric (July 21, 2013). "Joss Whedon Spills First 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron' Details". MTV. Archived from the original on July 22, 2013. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  61. ^ Breznican, Anthony (July 16, 2014). "This week's cover: Meet the new boss in Marvel's 'Avengers: Age of Ultron'". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on July 16, 2014. Retrieved July 16, 2014. 
  62. ^ IGN.com, Top 100 Comic Book Villains, "Ultron is Number 23"
  63. ^ Wizard, #177, July 2006
  64. ^ Wizarduniverse.com, "The 200 Greatest Comic Characters of All Time", Numbers 20 Through 1, 2008-05-23[dead link]

External links[edit]