Ultron (First Appearance ‘Avengers’ #54, 1968)
Created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema in the late 60s, Ultron (or Ultron-5, the living automaton) was originally the invention-gone-awry of Hank Pym aka Ant-Man. Driven by an intense hatred of his creator, Ultron becomes a regular menace for the Avengers throughout the late 60s. He is also the creator of the android Vision. However, ironically, Vision also rebels against his creator and joins the Avengers Ultron.
In the 1970s Ultron returned once more, reconstructed by the villainous genius Maximus of the Inhumans. Ultron (now upgraded to Ultron-8) creates a robot bride named Jocasta, who is endowed with the brain patterns of Hank Pym’s wife Janet Van Dyne aka The Wasp. However, realizing that her life will cause Janet’s death, Jocasta also rebels against Ultron and allows the Avengers to reverse the process.
After a brief appearance during Marvel’s crossover event ‘Secret Wars’ in the 80s, a new Ultron appears calling himself Ultron Mark 12. This new Ultron befriends Hank Pym and ultimately defends Pym against the evil Ultron 11 with his life.
Later on in the 90s, Ultron 14 is once again looking for love in all the wrong places and builds himself a new robot companion, Alkhema, built with the brain patterns of Barbara Barton aka Mockingbird, Hawkeye’s wife. Sadly, Ultron is once more betrayed by the one he loves and Alkhema joins with the Avengers to thwart his nefarious plans.
By the turn of the millennium, Ultron resurfaces and infects Tony Stark, Iron Man’s armor taking control over the hero. Hank Pym, however, is able to wipe the virus from Stark’s suit, flinging Ultron’s consciousness into space. While in space, Ultron encounters the techno race known as the Phalanx and takes command over them. This leads to the major crossover event Annihilation: Conquest.
Most recently Ultron showed up in the time traveling crossover event Age of Ultron. Age of Ultron reveals an Ultron who is working from the future to impose his techno-organic domination over the Earth. Pushed to extreme measures, the Avengers decide that the only way to stop him is to go back into the past and kill Hank Pym before he can create him, creating an even worse butterfly effect they have to solve.
And there you have it, over 5 decades of comic book history wrapped for you in under 500 words. With Avengers 2: Age of Ultron coming out May 1st, we’ll get a chance to see just how much of Ultron’s history plays into the film. Whatever else happens, I’m sure we’ll see some Oedipal complex and plans for world domination, maybe even the creation of the Vision if we’re lucky.