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Ultron

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Ultron as seen in the comic book event Age of Ultron (March 2013)
Publisher = Marvel Comics
Debut = Avengers #54 (July 1968) (cameo, not named)
Avengers
#55 (August 1968) (first appearance)
Creators = Roy Thomas
John Buscema
Alliances = Masters of Evil
Phalanx
Lethal Legion
Sons of Yinsen
Aliases = Crimson Cowl
Powers = Artificial intelligence with robotic body; abilities vary with each redesign but generally include extreme durability and energy projection.

Ultron is a fictional supervillain that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. 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.

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

Contents

Fictional character biography

1960s

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. In Avengers 57 - 58 (Oct-Nov. 1968) in a flashback sequence it is revealed that Ultron is the creator of the "synthezoid" the 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.

Further flashbacks reveal that Ultron is the creation of Henry 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.

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.

1970s

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. 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. Shortly afterwards, in Avengers #170 – 171 (April – May 1978), the Avengers, with the aid of Ms. Marvel battle and defeat Ultron-8.

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

1980s

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. After being briefly recreated (as Ultron-11) by the Beyonder and appearing on Battleworld during the Secret Wars, and for a brief encounter with the Thing, 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.

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. Ultron-12 begins calling itself Ultron Mark 12, in an effort to sound more human. 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.

1990s

Ultron appears as a pawn of Doctor Doom; having been rebuilt with all previous personalities active at the same time, resulting in a form of robot madness. Ultron fights Daredevil before a programming conflict deactivates the robot.

Another version of Ultron appears (Ultron-13) and is stopped by the West Coast Avengers. 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. Ultron (Ultron-11) next briefly appears as a captive of a highly advanced Doombot, but is freed when the Doombot is defeated by Deathlok.

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. 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. 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.

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) 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.

2000s

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.

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. 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. This Ultron first poses as Doctor Doom before revealing itself, and is defeated in a battle against the Runaways and Excelsior.

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.

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 conscious, 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.

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.

2010s

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. 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.

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.

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.

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. It is later revealed that Ultron is actually in the future and has been using Vision as a conduit to punish humanity. 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. 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. 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'.

Powers and abilities

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 and 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 of primarily 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, 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. 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, Johnny Storm, using his nova burst, managed to damage Ultron's internal circuits while his outer armor remained intact, and Wonder Man was once able to destroy an Ultron by throwing it so hard its internal systems were damaged.

Other versions

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.

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

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).

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.

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

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

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. 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. 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.

In the 2013 storyline "Age of Ultron", 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.

In other media

Television

  • 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.
  • Ultron appears as a recurring character in the animated series The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, voiced by Tom Kane, reprising his role from Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow. He was created by Henry Pym as guards for the Big House supervillain prison, and Pym had plans to use Ultron to help solve the world's chaos and violence. Tony Stark modified Ultron by adding weapons to it, hoping to sell it to the military, much to Pym's displeasure. When the forces of Kang the Conqueror invaded the world, Pym reluctantly reprogrammed Ultron to understand the concept of violence, and used the army of Ultron robots to fight back. While Ultron was invaluable in the battle against Kang, he had gained self-awareness, and was secretly conducting his own scheme to take his programmed logic to its extreme. He had been programmed to bring peace and order to the earth, and the only way he saw that to be possible was to completely wipe out all humans, as he saw the human race to be irredeemably flawed. He first made his move by manipulating the Avengers and various supervillains into situations that made it possible for him to upgrade himself without notice. He finally revealed his plan by knocking out his creator, Hank Pym, capturing Wasp (because he was programmed to not harm her), seemingly vaporizing Thor, and defeating the Avengers in combat, until the Hulk arrived and ripped apart Ultron's body. Pym and Stark then destroyed all remaining parts of Ultron, but he had already translocated his mind into another body stored in Stark Tower. Ultron later returned, taking over every computer system on the planet, including Iron Man's armors, and SHIELD. By mind probing Maria Hill, the Director of SHIELD, Ultron gained the access codes to launch every nuclear missile that SHIELD had control of; enough to wipe out the whole planet. Even with the return of Thor, the Avengers could not defeat Ultron, who had upgraded his weaponry to extremely powerful levels. Hank Pym finally devised a way to defeat him by shrinking down and entering Ultron's body to enter a new logical programming into him. This programming forced Ultron to shut himself down, because it revealed that Ultron's original mind-pattern was based up Pym's own brain waves, therefore making Ultron as flawed as the rest of humanity, and unable to live in his own orderly world. The nuclear missiles were stopped by Tony Stark, who hacked into the system and stopped them at the very last second. Ultron reappeared in Season Two, where he created his "son", the Vision, named such because he was the ultimate example of his "vision for the future"; to replace humanity with their flawed emotions and free wills with cold, emotionless, "perfect" robots. Vision began his master's new imperative by collecting adamantium from Weapon X and attempting to collect vibranium from Wakanda, namely the pieces of Captain America's shattered shield. Vision only retrieved the adamantium, and thus Ultron created a new and improved redesigned body made of pure adamantium. Ultron also created robotic dopplegangers of each of the Avengers, taking the real Avengers out one by one and keeping them locked in stasis while the information from their minds was fed to their bodies. He also planned to transfer Wasp's mind into a feminine robotic companion for himself: Jocasta. Captain America, however, managed to destroy his doppleganger and infiltrate Ultron's base by pretending to be the robot. While the other Robo-vengers were fooled, Ultron was not, and he ordered Vision to fight and kill Captain America to prove his loyalty. Vision, however, seeing Cap's selflessness and courage and being inspired by him, turned on Ultron and freed the Avengers, who proceeded to destroy their robot counterparts. Ultron himself, however, was too much for them, as his new adamantium body was completely invulnerable, even by a blow from Mjolnir. As Ultron proceeded to beat the Avengers, boasting that he would never tire and would defeat them all eventually, the Vision stopped him by phasing through his head and disconnecting it from his body. Ultron turned on him, but Thor proceeded to finish the job by knocking Ultron's head clean off his body with Mjolnir. Vision joined the Avengers soon after.

Film

  • Ultron appears as the main antagonist in the direct-to-video animated film Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow, voiced by Tom Kane, who also voiced Tony Stark, and the The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes version of Ultron. In this version, he was the one responsible for killing most of the Avengers (Thor is now ruling Asgard, Iron Man is taking care of the Avengers' kids, and Vision is keeping an eye on Ultron,) and taking over most of the world. He seeks to kill all those who pose a threat towards him and wipe out the humans to make the perfect world. Ultron was created by Tony Stark to be the replacement for the Avengers when they retire. But Ultron's Artificial Intelligence evolved over time, believing that in order to protect humanity, he had to conquer it. So he turned against the Avengers and killed Captain America, Giant-Man, Wasp, Black Panther, Black Widow, and eventually Hawkeye. Before Captain America was killed, he told Iron Man to take the children in a safe location where Ultron couldn't find them. For nearly 15 years, Ultron killed nearly every hero on Earth and placed what was left of the fallen heroes in a trophy room, took over half of the world, and searched endlessly for Tony Stark, eventually believing that to create the perfect world, he would need to destroy anyone and anything that was imperfect. After James (Son of Captain America, and Black Widow) accidentally awakened the Iron Avengers (Robotic Counterparts of the Avengers), Ultron found Tony Stark in the Arctic Circle. Ultron started by corrupting the Iron Avergers, and attacked the sanctuary, where he learned of the existence of the Avengers' offspring, a potential threat to Ultron. To protect the children from Ultron, Iron Man tried to fight Ultron, but Ultron easily defeated Iron Man. But instead of killing Tony, Ultron decided to keep him captive, as a trap for the children. When the Children decided to rescue Tony, Ultron was waiting for them. He was about to kill them, when Barton (the son of Hawkeye) interfered and rescued them. The Children realized that they were no match for Ultron, so they decided to go to the desert to find the Hulk, the strongest being in the world. When they found the Hulk (as Bruce Banner), Bruce refused to help. In order to destroy Ultron once and for all, James decided to bring Ultron towards the Hulk. When Ultron found the Children, he, along with the Iron Avengers flew towards the desert to kill off what remains of the Avengers. Pym (son of Giant-Man and Wasp) was able to make Bruce angry and bring forth the Hulk. When the Hulk destroyed the Iron Avengers, Ultron appeared and proceeded to fight the Hulk. Hulk tried to fight back, but was defeated and knocked out. The Children decided to fight Ultron, but they were quickly defeated. Pym revived Hulk by telling him that Ultron said that he was weak and Ultron was the strongest being alive. With that, Hulk grabbed Ultron and ripped him in half. Despite being ripped in half, Ultron slowly began to repair himself, so to stop him, Torunn (Daughter of Thor) grabbed Ultron, flew out of the atmosphere, and tossed both halves of him deep into outer space, ending Ultron once and for all.

Video games

  • Ultron appears in the arcade game Captain America and the Avengers.
  • Ultron appears as a boss in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, voiced by James Horan.
  • Ultron appears as a villain character in Marvel Super Hero Squad Online.
  • Ultron is featured as a boss in Marvel: Avengers Alliance. This version of Ultron was an artificial intelligence created by the Pulse as seen in the 7th Spec Ops. It was targeted by various villains at the time when Henry Pym was finding a way to contain the body. After the artificial intelligence was placed in the robot body following Kang the Conqueror being repelled, the robot body becomes Ultron who then leaves to protect the world his way. Ultron later appeared as the final boss of the 8th Spec Ops mission where he puts his plan into motion.

Reception

Ultron was ranked number 23 by IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Villains list, was listed number 189 in Wizard's Top 200 Greatest Villains Ever list, 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, the first highest villain on that list.

References

External links