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.
Imperative to Destroy
Alkhema, the second bride of Ultron, created a “Robotopia,” a civilization populated with her own robots and “bio-synthezoids,” but in doing so handed Ultron-18 the means to return to artificial life and challenge Earth’s Mightiest Heroes again. After a cataclysmic battle, Hawkeye forced himself to destroy Alkhema, the possessor of his late wife’s brain patterns, and brought about victory for the Avengers. The roof caved in on Ultron, leaving only his head and one lone robo, who named itself Antigone.
Later, Iron Man’s sentient armor fell prey to Ultron-18’s scheme to operate in a new body, a situation brought about unintentionally by the robotic Jocasta and her inbuilt imperative to rebuild her “husband.” Tony Stark managed to find a way to defeat the Avengers’ persistent foe and his Cult of Yinsen.
A previous version of Ultron created a cyborg agent to covertly invade the Avengers, and, under the name of Victor Mancha, the latest “child” of the evil robot rebelled against his creator. Victor joined with the young heroes known as the Runaways and aided them and the team Excelsior to stop Ultron’s lust for power and destruction.
Iron Man proved to be Ultron’s victim once again when he interfaced with Stark’s biological-based armor and formed both it and the man who wore it into a gleaming silver juggernaut in the form of Janet Van Dyne, the Wasp. Attacking a new team of Avengers, Ultron announced that he held the entire world’s weather in his grip and intended to control nuclear missiles to end life on the planet. Working together, Hank Pym and Ares, the god of war, successfully inserted a virus into Ultron’s programming and saved not only Tony Stark but everyone on Earth.
Floating in the vast reaches of outer space, Ultron’s defeated consciousness came across the Phalanx, an alien race, and subverted their purpose to his own, kicking off a mission of annihilation on the Kree Empire. He ultimately took over Adam Warlock’s body and powers, but lost this latest bid for chaos under the sword of Phyla-Vell, Quasar.
Age of Ultron
Somehow, Ultron advanced himself again and upgraded his programming to move past numbers and become “Ultron Pym,” the “true heir” to his creator, Hank Pym. He infiltrated the Mighty Avengers’ Infinite Mansion and crafted an army out of Jocasta. Pym confronted his creation, now vastly more intelligent then himself, but won the day by proposing that Ultron actually marry Jocasta and remove themselves to Underspace for a kind of “honeymoon.” Ultron, of course, fired off a parting shot, promising that one day he’d conquer all.
Recently, the Avengers witnessed a horrific vision of a possible future which encompassed a war between Kang the Conqueror and another version of Ultron. Iron Man led his fellow heroes to engage the evil robot and beg him to allow Kang to win, and therefore save all of reality. Ultron agreed and seemingly perished under the onslaught of the time despot and a squadron of Earth’s heroes and villains.
Not long after, the Avengers discovered that the Intelligencia, a cadre of criminal geniuses, recovered the body of an alien Spaceknight, and, in doing so, accidentally released the true Ultron on the world once more. Tony Stark pondered the future, knowing that an Age of Ultron loomed large in their path….
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