The Brewer Report: Ultron
Tuesday, November 2, 2010 - 15:46
THE BREWER REPORT: ULTRON
Machine or Holocaust:
The Now and Future Ultron
By Byron Brewer, Managing Editor
Arguably the greatest and certainly the most horrific creation of one of my favorite characters Hank Pym, Ultron is a criminally insane rogue sentient robot dedicated to conquest and the extermination of humanity.
In his first arc of The Avengers, Brian Michael Bendis sewed together an outstanding time travel story with theads heading in and out of the 616-Reality. At the heart of this time storm was an eternal war between Ultron and Kang the Conquerer. By ceding to the modern day Avengers’ request to lose that war to Kang, Ultron showed its superior intellect and perhaps a bit of humanity that heretofore has been missing from the machine.
But now futurist Tony Stark must prepare for the coming of an “Ultron Holocaust,” as warned by his future self. No matter the victory in the future, Old Tony said to Today Tony in Avengers #6, “eventually Ultron will come. And he will wipe out everything and everyone … You must stop it. No matter what.”
What is this menace that may soon bring armageddon to our world? Well, years ago, inspired by his studies of Professor Gregson Gilbert's synthetic Dragon Man, Pym began experimenting with artificial intelligence. Building a structurally crude robot (a torso on tank treads with spindly arms), Pym endowed it with consciousness, using a copy of his own brain patterns as the basis for the robot's programming; however, the robot inherited not only Pym's great intellect, but also Pym's inherent mental instability, only without a human conscience.
To Pym's surprise, the robot developed an advanced intellect within moments of its activation, and an unexpected capacity for emotion; most notably, it was filled with irrational hatred for its "father" Pym and the human race Pym represented. Overpowering and mesmerizing Pym, the robot (which soon dubbed itself Ultron) hypnotically commanded Pym to forget its existence and abandon the New Jersey lab where it was created. Pym did as commanded, and after the lab was closed up, Ultron returned. Using the lab's equipment, Ultron rebuilt himself completely four times, making improvements and modifications each time. Rechristening himself Ultron-5, he now felt ready to make war on humanity -- and in particular the Avengers!
Following Pym's example as a creator, Ultron sought to create an artificial being of his own. Acquiring the inert form of the android Human Torch from the Mad Thinker, Ultron radically modified its appearance and abilities and programmed it with a personality based on the recorded brain patterns of the Grim Reaper's seemingly deceased brother, Simon Williams (Wonder Man). This android, later dubbed the Vision by the Wasp, attacked the Avengers on Ultron's behalf, but the Vision had the human conscience Ultron lacked and he turned on his creator, destroying Ultron and joining the Avengers. In the process, Pym regained his memories of creating Ultron, which became a source of tremendous guilt and anguish for him over the years, and a major factor in Pym's subsequent mental problems.
A ninth incarnation of Ultron arose when Tony Stark rebuilt the robot, acting on a post-hypnotic command Ultron had given him long before, but the Avengers fought the robot and Hawkeye knocked Ultron into a vat of molten adamantium, which cooled into an unbreakable prison. Cybernetically manipulating Jocasta, Ultron compelled her to rebuild him as the tenth Ultron, after which he began creating more Ultron models to serve as worker drones and backup bodies for himself. He was opposed by the Thing, Jocasta and her new robotic admirer, Machine Man. During the fight, Jocasta sacrificed herself trying to destroy Ultron, but it was Machine Man who finally deactivated Ultron by reaching down his throat and wrecking his internal mechanisms.
Reactivating in one of his spare bodies, the eleventh incarnation of Ultron began working on his next upgrade, but before he could complete this new model, he was among the many super-criminals abducted to the planet Battleworld by the near-omnipotent Beyonder and forced to fight Earth's superheroes in the Secret War. During this conflict, Ultron was deactivated by Galactus, reactivated as a robotic enforcer serving Dr. Doom, deactivated again by the Human Torch, restored by a Beyonder-possessed Klaw, and deactivated yet again in battle with the Hulk and the Wasp. Left behind on Battleworld after the Secret War ended and most of the combatants had returned to Earth, Ultron tried to conquer Battleworld's remaining inhabitants but found himself re-reduced to a disembodied head as a result of a conflict between the Thing and his rogue human counterpart, Grimm. When the Thing returned to Earth, he took Ultron's head with him, but misplaced it during a fight.
After the fallout of the superhero civil war, a new group of Avengers emerged and so did Ultron by taking over Iron Man's armor once again; only this time, he altered the physical structure of not only the armor but Stark’s body into a female form modeled after Janet Van Dyne.
While battling these “mighty” Avengers, Ultron was driven off into the cosmos. The humans had believed that they had destroyed him; however, the Phalanx Babel receptors attracted his disembodied consciousness into its singular consciousness. Ultron was able to become one with the Phalanx by giving them direction. He swore to teach them as a father would teach his children; Ultron was able to commandeer control of the Phalanx by sheer force of will. During his conquest of the Kree galaxy, Ultron used a form of the Technarchy transmode virus to create a team of super-soldiers, known as the Phalanx Select. This group consisted of cosmic heavyweights such as Blastaar, Daystar, Drax, Gamora, Super-Adaptoid, Shatterax, Korath the Pursuer and Xemnu. The Select were allowed to retain a measure of personal freedom. They became leaders, motivators and commanders for the Phalanx. It was thought that they would bring a degree of individual insight and response that would make the Phalanx unstoppable.
Korath revealed to Ultron that the High Evolutionary was covertly working on a long term project for the Supreme Intelligence. The project was the organic evolution of the Kree race, by design not chance. This project intrigued Ultron. He sent Korath to secure the Evolutionary's test subject for him. While in the secret laboratory of the High Evolutionary, Ultron took the life of the telepath known as Moondragon while she was in the form of a dragon.
Seeking the perfect body for himself, Ultron contracted the Evolutionary to transfer his consciousness into the body of Adam Warlock, the supposed perfect organic life-form. Despite the constant objections and interruptions of Phyla-Vell, the Evolutionary was able to complete the transformation, although he was left confused by Ultron's wishes, since he has always openly despised organic life-forms. Ultron/Warlock revealed that it was only the imperfection of naturally evolved organic forms that he despised. He believed that a flesh being was a mechanism just like any machine.
Ultron revealed that before his banishment from Earth, he had fused with Stark and that the fusion revealed the ultimate possibilities of techno-organic design. He saw hope in blending organics and technology to produce artificial life that exceeded the limitation of both forms. The only obstacle in the way of his original plan was that Stark was a flawed imperfect specimen. He needed exemplary genetic material that matched his technological perfection. That is what he had been searching for since he first started his conquest of the Kree. The pact with the Evolutionary was honored after he completed the assignment by the Supreme Intelligence, to design a Kree warrior program for genetic purity. The Evolutionary was to elevate the Phalanx by creating an army of Adam Warlocks, which Ultron planned to unleash on his father and the humans of Earth. Ultorn's plan was foiled by the arrival of Nova, the Technarchy mutant Warlock and his apprentice Tyro.
These are only a few of Ultron’s many exploits. But you can bet your toy robots that, like any bad penny, Hank Pym’s “son” will rear his ugly head again. And then all the world may pay a tremendous price … unless Tony Stark -- and the Avengers -- are prepared!
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