When the title for the “Avengers” sequel was announced at San Diego Comic-Con, “The Avengers: Age of Ultron,” in July the villain for the movie was revealed. Now that villain has been cast. On August 29, 2013 on Marvel.com James Spader was announced as the actor who will play the villain Ultron in the sequel to be released in 2015. But who or what is Ultron?
Created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema, the artificial life form that is Ultron has been menacing the Avengers since he debuted in the pages of “Avengers” #54 (July 1968). What makes this super villain all the more deadly is his ability to evolve. Through the years the Ultron has upgraded himself constantly returning to torment the Avengers and one Avenger in particular, Ant-Man aka Hank Pym.
One of the Avengers’, and humanity’s, deadliest enemies was created by one of the founding members of the Avengers. Doctor Henry “Hank” Pym is a brilliant bio-chemist who decided he knew enough about science to create an artificial life form. This robotic intelligence had “daddy issues” from the get go. Attacking his creator and wiping the memory of his creation from his father’s mind. By the time he first attacked the Avengers Ultron had evolved into Ultron-5 and his hatred for his father was only eclipsed by his hatred for organic life as a whole.
Since his creation 45 years ago the threat of Ultron has grown exponentially. The villain has destroyed countries, subjugated the galaxy, and conquered the time-space continuum. All the while he has followed in his father’s footsteps creating more artificial life to help him in his cause.
Who knows how James Spader will fill the role of the Avengers’ deadliest villain. Hank Pym has yet to be introduced into the Marvel Comics movie universe.
The Hollywood Comic Books Examiner has compiled a list of Ultron’s greatest attacks on the Avengers and the Marvel Comics Universe.
When Ultron first attacks the Avengers he disguises himself as the Crimson Cowl the leader of the new Masters of Evil in “Avengers” #54 (July 1968). By hypnotizing the Avengers butler Jarvis Ultron-5 had gained unrivaled access to Avengers Mansion and would have conquered the heroes if not for the timely intervention of the Black Knight in “Avengers” #55 (August 1968).
The menace that is Ultron had been revealed.
The son of Ultron
For his next assault on the Avengers, Ultron created a new form of life in the synthezoid known as the Vision in “Avengers” #57 (October 1968). Ultron sends the Vision to attack his father’s team and the Vision runs across the Wasp, Hank Pym’s girlfriend soon to be wife, who names the Vision for his ghostly appearance.
Ultron’s programming did not go deep enough and the Vision revolts against his father much the same way Ultron had revolted against his own father. The Vision became one of the greatest Avengers of all time and one of two positive contributions to the world Ultron created.
On a cover at last
Ultron did not appear on the cover to a comic book until “Avengers” #67 (August 1969) by this time the robot had evolved into Ultron-6. In the previous issue, Ultron had taken over the mind of the Vision and made his son steal the indestructible metal known as adamantium (which would later be used in the X-Man Wolverine’s skeleton). Ultron applied the metal to his body and became indestructible. This was a day the Avengers could not win as Ultron escaped.
The wedding crasher
As he evolved into Ultron-8 in the pages of “Avengers” #127 and “Fantastic Four” #150 (both September 1974) the robot became a wedding crasher. Maximus the Mad the evil Inhuman had sought to disrupt the marriage between Avenger Quicksilver and Fantastic Four member/Inhuman Crystal by unleashing Ultron on the wedding ceremony. The combined forces of the Avengers, Fantastic Four and the Inhumans were enough to thwart the evil robot’s assault.
A bride for Ultron
Ultron-8 must have been so moved by the nuptials of Quicksilver and Crystal in his previous appearance that when he returned as Ultron-9 in “Avengers” #161 (July 1977) he went about creating his own bride, Jocasta. This Ultron had an Oedipus complex as he patterned the brain waves of his bride after the brain waves of his father’s wife, the Wasp.
Much like the Vision, Jocasta wants nothing to do with her creator. She becomes an ally of the Avengers but never stuck around for long.
Two evolutions but not much else
Ultron returned as Ultron-9 in “Avengers” #202 (December 1980) and then as Ultron-10 in “Marvel Two-In-One” #92 (October 1982).
In the two part “Avengers” story Ultron-9, Ultron had hypnotized Iron Man to recreate his form. He battles the Wasp, Iron Man and Jocasta and then the rest of the Avengers and ultimately loses.
But that is okay because in “Marvel Two-In-One” Ultron-10 is born. Ultron fights the Thing, Jocasta and Machine Man. Ultron loses again but Jocasta finds love with Machine Man.
A controlled Ultron
For much of his existence Ultron made a habit of hypnotizing and controlling others to get his way. In the 12 issue “Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars” (May 1984 – April 1985), the tables were reversed. The entity known as the Beyonder has recreated Ultron as Ultron-11 to participate in his experiment to determine if good was more powerful than evil.
Ultron-11 was evil and attacked everything in sight until he was deactivated. Doctor Doom tinkered with the robot and brought him under his control. Ultron-11 served as a personal bodyguard for Doctor Doom until after the Secret Wars when the Thing destroyed Ultron and brought his head to Earth as a souvenir.
More daddy issues
Ultron-12 attacks the Avengers with the help of the Grim Reaper and the Lethal Legion to help celebrate the opening of the California branch of the Avengers in “West Coast Avengers” Volume 2 #1 (October 1985). After the Grim Reaper dies, Ultron-12 seems to find the error of his ways. This Ultron goes about trying to repair the history between him and his father. They become close and Ultron-12 wants to be called Mark, as in Ultron Mark-12.
Henry Pym had welcomed the reconciliation, but what neither expected was that Ultron-11, whose head the Thing had brought back from Secret Wars as a souvenir, had rebuilt himself and was disgusted that Ultron-12 could have feelings for his father. The two robots would battle with Ultron-11 being the loser and getting destroyed in “West Coast Avengers” Volume 2 #7 (April 1986). Ultron-12 deactivated himself.
These adventures can be found in the “West Coast Avengers Omnibus” Volume 1.
The Reaper and the Robot
Ultron-13 teams with the Grim Reaper to torment the Avengers in the four part story “The Reaper and the Robot” from “Avengers West Coast” #65-68 (December 1990 – March 1991). Their big plan is to turn humans into robots at the New Year’s Day Rose Parade in Los Angeles.
No more numbers
The next time Ultron appears (“Avengers West Coast” #89 December 1990) he has forgone his numbering system, declaring himself the Ultimate Ultron. What does the Ultimate Ultron do? He seeks to create another mate.
Ultron creates a new bride and this time he patterns her thoughts after the Avenger Mockingbird. He creates his War Toy, who does not turn good unlike Ultron’s other creations. This battle called upon Ultron’s son the Vision and his father Doctor Pym to tackle the threat of Ultron and destroy him.
Now he is truly evil
In “Ultron Unlimited” (“Avengers” Volume 3 #19-22 (August-October 1999)), Ultron returns for what is considered one of the greatest Avengers stories ever. From writer Kurt Busiek and artist George Perez this story portrays Ultron as the incarnation of evil as he destroys the European nation of Slorenia killing millions. Ultron has reactivated all of his past bodies and created quite a few more to wreak destruction and havoc upon the world.
Ultron is out to destroy his entire family and reveals the source of his own brain waves, his father Henry Pym. The stakes were greatly raised in this storyline and Ultron had to find out the hard way why they are called the Avengers.
Now Ultron is a she
When the robot returned in “Mighty Avengers” #1-6 (May 2007 – February 2008) by Brian Michael Bendis and Frank Cho the entity took control of Iron Man’s armor and reshaped it into the appearance of the Wasp. This Ultron battled the newly formed team of Avengers murdering the wife of the Sentry. Doctor Pym, as Ant-Man, introduces a virus into Ultron’s system that wipes the robot’s memory and returns Iron Man’s armor to normal.
Earth is not enough
The robotic consciousness was launched into space. When Ultron reforms he is joined by the Phalanx, a cybernetic species that share a hive mind. By taking over the hive mind Ultron seeks to assimilate the entire universe into the Phalanx and thus accomplishing his goal of total extermination of the organic life.
In “Annihilation Conquest” (January – June 2008) by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Tom Raney, Marvel Comics’ cosmic heroes united to take down Ultron and the Phalanx. This assembled squad of heroes would form the basis for the new Guardians of the Galaxy. Ultron was stopped again and his consciousness was hurled back to Earth.
Submit or perish
When the “Age of Ultron” (May – August 2013) by Brian Michael Bendis, Bryan Hitch, Carlos Pacheco and Brandon Peterson begins, Ultron has already won. The world is destroyed. The only choice is to submit to the will of Ultron or perish.
The few remaining heroes must band together to find some glimmer of hope, but there is none. Heroes go against everything they stand for to try to rid the world of Ultron and only succeed in making the world worse. The end of the story shakes up the space time continuum in the Marvel Universe.
The name of the story was taken for the “Avengers” sequel but what resemblance it will have to the comic book series will likely be minimal.