In this feature, I count down, well, top fives. a href="https://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2006/06/17/archive-of-top-fives/">Here is an archive of all the past top five lists!
Today we'll take a look at the top five best Ultron vs. Avengers stories!
Vision's debut in #57-58 is awesome and it is technically an Ultron story, but so much of the story revolves around Vision's own personal issues (something like seven pages out of the 44 pages in the two issues actually deal with fighting Ultron) that I'd feel weird including it on an Ultron list, although it DOES have the famous Ozymandias page at he end of #57.
If you really think that this should count as an Ultron story, just consider it #2 on the list and then bump the other four stories up one spot.
Similarly, while TITLED Age of Ultron, that mini-series was really more about what the world was like POST Ultron and less about the Avengers actually fighting Ultron (they only fight him in part of the final issue of the series) so I would also eliminate that one from contention although I thought it was a good story overall.
There were two really good Ultron stories in the West Coast Avengers. First, Steve Englehart did one of the first in-depth examinations about how Wonder Man, Ultron and the Vision are all sort of kind of family in a really messed up way. Later, Roy and Dann Thomas wrote a fun story where Ultron creates another female robot, this time based on Mockingbird.
EDITED TO ADD: Since initially writing this piece, there was a new Ultron story in the recent Rage of Ultron Graphic Novel by Rick Remender, Jerome Opena and Pepe Larraz. I fond that graphic novel was strong for roughly 95% of the comic, but I really did not like the ending. I didn't mind it in the abstract (as a plot development) but as a way to wrap the story up, I don't think it really worked and I think writer Rick Remender really should have just held that plot development for a future run where he had more time to let it breathe. It's clearly something he's been wanting to write for some time now (all the way back to his Secret Avengers days) but I think he should have let it be its own thing and not as an ending to this graphic novel, as it overshadows the whole story (and not in a good way). But for the rest of the story, it was a rollicking good time, complete with some interesting questions of the ethics of robotics in the Marvel Universe and some fantastic artwork and cool moments, like this one...
5. "The Ultron Imperative" Avengers: The Ultron Imperative #1
Kurt Busiek teamed up with Ultron's creator, Roy Thomas, as well an all-star roster of artists (John Paul Leon, Jerry Ordway, Tom Grummett and much, much more!) to tell a fascinating story that examines the nature of free will when you're talking about a robot. The Avengers come across a plot by Alkhema to create a civilization based on the brain patterns that she recovered from Ultron's defeat during the Ultron Unlimited storyline (Ultron had taken brain patterns from Wonder Man, Scarlet Witch, Hank Pym, Vision, Grim Reaper and the Wasp). However, she unwittingly was just doing Ultron's dirty work for him. Meanwhile, Hawkeye has to deal with facing off against Alkhema, who is based on his (then thought to be) dead wife, Mockingbird. It's an epic tale with a lot of great insights into the personalities of the Avengers as well as Ultron and his ilk.
4. "We Stand at Armageddon" Avengers #66-68
The cover artist of the previous story, Barry Windsor-Smith, was the interior artist on the first two parts of this classic which introduced the world to adamantium. Roy Thomas wrote the whole thing and Sal Buscema then drew the final part of this storyline which opened with the introduction of adamantium and then followed by the Vision being controlled by his creator, Ultron, to steal the adamantium so that Ultron can be remade in an entirely adamantium body! How do you defeat a bad guy made up entirely of adamantium? That's the problem facing the Avengers and they face their challenge in style, as Smith's two issues are absolutely GORGEOUS, filled with stunning full-page spreads, like the end of Avengers #66...
and towards the beginning of #67...
Read on for the top three!