Age of Ultron

Upgrading Ultron 2.0

The history of the mechanical menace responsible for the Age of Ultron continues!

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By Jim Beard

The artificial evil known as Ultron stands as not only one of the greatest threats to the Avengers, but also to humanity at large.

Ultron’s true strength lies in his unnerving ability to rise from the ashes after each defeat and reinvent himself for further battles. His long history as the Avengers’ adversary proves this mechanical monstrosity will never stop until he destroys all life as we know it.

New Life, New Evil

Despite his defeat at the hands of the Avengers, Ultron found unholy life once more and upgraded himself into a new version: Ultron-9. After sending a menial robot lackey to steal an adamantium resin from his creator Hank Pym’s lab, Ultron then placed Iron Man under post-hypnotic command to abduct the Scarlet Witch and bring her to his lair for revenge. When the Avengers tracked their foe down, they ultimately defeated the seemingly-undefeatable construct by using liquid adamantium to seal him up tight.

Some time later, Ultron’s erstwhile bride Jocasta began to malfunction and ran to the Fantastic Four’s resident scientific genius Reed Richards for aid. The female robot then flew into a berserker’s rage and, against her will, resurrected her own creator, this time as Ultron-10. The Thing enlisted the robotic Machine Man for help in the matter, but when the rocky hero fell under Ultron’s control, it came down to Jocasta and Machine Man to fight the tyrannical villain themselves. Strangely, Ultron claimed to desire reconciliation with Jocasta and sway her to his side once more. Happily, she resisted.

To Space and Beyond

The nearly-omniscient and indefinable entity called the Beyonder placed Ultron-11 alongside a cadre of villains that he shanghaied with a group of heroes to a far-off planet known as Battleworld. Initially, Ultron’s solitary nature and hatred for all life prompted him to attack everyone around him on the journey to the stars, but the world-devourer Galactus drained the robot of his energies and quieted him for a time.

Later, Ultron came under the control of Doctor Doom and fought alongside the villains on Battleworld, even seemingly killing the mighty Thor at one point, but soon lost his head once again—literally. Ben Grimm, the Thing, recovered the head and eventually dragged it back to Earth when he returned there after a time of adventuring in space. Ultron’s head then became lost in the shuffle of a Dire Wraith attack on the Fantastic Four.

A new upgrade, Ultron-12, entered into a pact with the villains Nekra, Man-Ape and Goliath in a bid by the Grim Reaper to claim revenge against his brother, Wonder Man. In a surprising turn-around, this Ultron approached Hank Pym, then with the West Coast Avengers, in an effort to create a true father-son relationship and reform himself. Bewildered by the despotic robot’s suggestion at first, Pym warmed to the idea and began to feel as if he might find a kind of family with Ultron. Unfortunately, a former version, Ultron-11, broke up the happy scene, forcing Pym and Wonder Man to shut him down. A heavily-damaged Ultron-12 regretted leaving his “father” alone once more, but slipped away into “death.”

Acts of Vengeance

Ultron’s former controller Doctor Doom rebuilt the robot again to attack Daredevil, but with all of its older personalities and qualities merged into one. This created an unstable programming in the new Ultron, resulting in a version that saw itself as hopelessly flawed and ultimately insane. The Man Without Fear defended his friend, the strange girl called Number Nine, against the unwanted advances of this bizarre Ultron with the help of the Inhumans, but, in the end, Ultron’s own inner glitches brought about his undoing.

While Wonder Man dealt with a zombie Grim Reaper, the West Coast Avengers investigated the mystery of a series of robots appearing on farms to turn people into robots themselves. Soon, an unholy alliance between the Grim Reaper and the maestro behind the mystery, Ultron-13, rose up and commanded the heroes’ attention. After Ultron’s plan to spray his robot coating on the Rose Bowl’s attendees created chaos, the Grim Reaper sided with his brother Wonder Man to bring defeat to this latest upgrade.

To be continued…

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