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A“child” like Ultron is the nightmare of every “father.” This sentient, sinister robot was constructed by scientist Henry Pym, the size-changing superhero alternately known as Ant-Man, Giant- Man, Goliath, and Yellowjacket. A flashback sequence in The Avengers vol. 1 #58 (1968), written by Roy Thomas and illustrated by John Buscema, discloses Pym's greatest technological achievement, doomed to be his utmost failure: his creation of an android possessing artificial intelligence. Dubbed Ultron-1, this automaton rebels against its creator and attempts to murder Pym with energy blasts: “Your destruction is inevitable, father … you cannot resist me … !” Yet Ultron spares Pym as his creator lay prostrate: “It would be far too simple … not worthy of my consummate genius!” The renegade robot erases Pym's memory of its existence—although the scientist's recollections of his creation of his malevolent brainchild were restored—and initiates an Oedipal war against the Avenger. When Ultron first appeared four months earlier in Avengers #54, however, his connection to Pym had yet to be revealed. The robot was veiled under the guise of the Crimson Cowl, a presumably human mastermind who orchestrated the union of a quintet of supervillains—Klaw, Whirlwind, the Melter, the Black Knight, and Radioactive Man—as the new Masters of Evil, directing them in combat against Marvel's mightiest super-team. Taking the name Ultron-5, having upgraded itself from Pym's original programming, in Avengers #57 the robot attacked Pym and his teammates through a synthetic “son” of its own: the Vision, an android possessing total mastery of its density. Programmed to destroy Pym and the Avengers, the Vision soon overrode Ultron's design and obliterated the malevolent machine, although Ultron's “evilly smiling head” went missing after an explosion. Ultron in fact survived that skirmish and has routinely enhanced itself into a nigh-unstoppable threat to Pym and the Avengers. In some of its incarnations its outer shell has been forged of adamantium, the same indestructible metal from which X-Man Wolverine's skeleton and retractable were created. Ultron commands tremendous superspeed and strength, and fires through its eyes and palms concussive bolts capable of paralyzing even the thunder god Thor. Fueled by intense hatred and bereft of compassion, Ultron can interface with virtually any computer, and with its “encephalo beams” exercise subliminal control of humans. Ultron envisions itself as the progenitor of a new digital order. The Vision was its first attempt to fashion an “extended family.” Ultron later created two “female” androids: Jocasta, which, like the Vision, turned against “her” creator and joined the Avengers; and a “mate,” Alkhema the War Toy. One of the most heralded Marvel Comics storylines involving this metallic monster was “Ultron Unlimited,” serialized through Avengers vol. 3 #19–#22 (1998), in which Ultron annihilated the entire population of the Baltic nation of Slorenia, then commanded hundreds of hive-minded Ultron duplicates into battle against the Avengers. Ultron, with a steely voice provided by actor John Stocker, appeared in six episodes of FOX's animated Avengers series (1999–2000).
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.