Ultron made his debut in the Marvel Universe in the pages of The Avengers #54 (1968). The concept of a sentient machine being one of the Avengers' biggest and baddest villains fascinated comic book readers and Ultron instantly became a fan favorite. The character went on to appear (and even be the focus of) numerous pivotal storylines throughout the years, such as "Age of Ultron", "Rage of Ultron" and "Annihilation: Conquest". Despite his prominence in the comic book genre, however, Ultron didn't gain mainstream popularity until 2015 with the release of Marvel Studios' Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The character had a one-off role in the film, but audiences connected with him, and he quickly became one of the MCU's most beloved villains. Still, while the character's popularity has risen in recent years, his comic book background remains largely unexplored by the general public. Throughout his decades-long existence, Ultron has developed a rich and fascinating history, and there are many things about him that casual superhero fans that only know him through his role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe probably aren't aware of. With that in mind, let's take a look at 15 facts that people who aren't familiar with the comics may not know about Ultron:
15 HE WAS ORIGINALLY A MYSTERY VILLAIN
Ultron had a very flashy debut in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Right after his creation, the baddie waged war on the Avengers and made it very clear that he intended to destroy them (as well as the rest of humanity). In the comics, the vicious villain played things a bit more subtly.
Shortly after his birth, Ultron went into hiding, disguised himself in a red cloak and called himself the "Crimson Cowl."
As the Crimson Cowl, the robot put together a new version of the Masters of Evil to attack the Avengers. He then brainwashed Tony Stark's trusty butler, Jarvis, to take the blame for his villainous activities and keep Earth's Mightiest Heroes unaware of his existence. Admittedly, Ultron's identity only remained a secret for one issue, but it was still great to see just how cunning he could be when he wanted to.
14 HE HAS HANK PYM'S BRAIN PATTERNS
The MCU's version of Ultron was born from the combined efforts of Bruce Banner and Tony Stark. In the comics, however, the murderous robot was created by Hank Pym, better known as the first Ant-Man. Being in need of a human mind to base Ultron off of, Pym opted to use his own brainwaves to craft the robot's personality. Hank using his mind as a template for Ultron's brain sparked a debate among the comic book fan community.
Given Hank's erratic behavior over the years, many readers wondered whether Ultron's nefarious nature had come from Pym's twisted personality. This was left ambiguous for years, but fans finally got an answer during the Rage of Ultron comic book run. In the story, Ultron revealed that he had scoured Hank Pym's memories and had realized that the hero secretly despised humanity. Well, that explains Ultron's constant efforts to eradicate life on Earth.
13 HE WAS IN LOVE WITH WASP
Ever since his first appearance, Ultron's life's mission has been to destroy the Avengers. Surprisingly, despite his nefarious intentions, the sentient robot fell madly in love with one member of the team: Janet van Dyne, aka the Wasp. Over the years, Ultron's feelings toward Wasp were shown to be quite strong, to the point where he was unable to harm her during battle.
At first, it may be easy to think Ultron's infatuation with Janet stemmed from his connection to Hank Pym.
In reality, though, his feelings stemmed from his Oedipus complex. For those unfamiliar with the concept, it essentially means that Ultron felt attracted to his mother, who in this case happened to be Wasp due to her romantic history with Hank Pym. Ultron's obsession with Jan became increasingly erratic as time went on, and he ultimately decided to build a girlfriend for himself based on her.
12 HE CREATED VISION AS AN AMALGAM OF TWO SUPERHEROES
In Age of Ultron, Vision was born after Tony Stark transferred Jarvis' consciousness into a vibranium body created by Ultron. It was an exciting take on Vision's creation, but it was also a considerable deviation from the source material. In the comics, Ultron set out to create a new android to have an ally in his fight against the Avengers. To accomplish this, he kidnapped Phineas Horton -- the creator of the original Human Torch -- and forced him to use the Torch's body as the structure for Vision.
Horton complied, but to Ultron's dismay, the scientist left the Torch's mind inside Vision's body hoping that he would destroy Ultron. The ruthless robot killed Horton and proceeded to base Vision's mind on the brainwaves of Simon Williams, aka Wonder Man. Given how intricate this backstory was, it's understandable that Marvel Studios decided to trim down Vision's origin for the MCU.
11 HE CREATED A GIRLFRIEND FOR HIMSELF
Due to his role as an Avengers' villain, Ultron usually found himself alone, entertained only by his various schemes to destroy humanity. Over time, the baddie's loneliness took a toll on his psyche, and he set out to create a robot girlfriend for himself, one that would love him no matter what. Given his obsession with his "mother," the Wasp, Ultron mind-controlled Hank Pym and convinced him to put Janet van Dyne's life essence into a metal body he created.
Pym obeyed and created Ultron a girlfriend named Jocasta.
Thankfully, Ultron's twisted relationship didn't last long. While inside her robotic body, Wasp managed to warn the Avengers about what was happening, and her mind was safely returned to her body. Ultron eventually rebuilt Jocasta but to his dismay, the android decided to leave him behind to join the Avengers.
10 HE'S CONSTANTLY BETRAYED BY HIS CREATIONS
Throughout the years, Ultron has built a number of robots to either aid him in his fight against humanity or simply keep him company. To the hyper-intelligent baddie's misfortune, however, most of his creations have ended up betraying him. It all started with Ultron's first creation, the Vision. In Avengers #57, Vision befriended Earth's Mightiest Heroes and helped them track down and subsequently defeat Ultron.
Ultron's betrayal streak continued with his girlfriend, Jocasta who, much like Vision, decided to leave her criminal life behind and become a superhero. Some time after that, Ultron built himself a new partner, Alkhema, who, as fate would have it, also turned on him. Unlike her siblings, though, Alkhema was evil -- she simply disagreed over Ultron's methods to destroy humanity. Looking at this track record, it's safe to say Ultron should stop building allies for himself.
9 HE ONCE BECAME A WOMAN
Not many fans may be aware of this, but back in 2007, Ultron was briefly turned into a woman. At the beginning of the "Ultron Initiative" storyline, the Avengers faced off against Mole Man and his monster army. During the fight, Iron Man's armor transformed into a woman who was identical to Janet van Dyne.
At first, the Avengers had no idea of what was happening, but they eventually learned that this was a new version of Ultron.
As it turned out, the villain managed to get into Tony Stark's armor and use it to create a new body for himself -- one that looked identical to his mother. This new version of Ultron proved to be incredibly powerful, as she effortlessly took down Ares and even the Sentry. Fortunately, the Avengers were eventually able to flush her out of Iron Man's armor, returning Tony back to normal in the process.
8 HE POSSESSED ADAM WARLOCK
Ultron may be known primarily as an Earth-based villain, but he's had his fair share of galactic adventures over the years. During one of those adventures, the sentient machine managed to merge with one of the Guardians of the Galaxy. At one point in the 2007 "Annihilation: Conquest" storyline, Ultron approached the dreaded High Evolutionary to help him gain control of Adam Warlock's body in an effort to recreate the power he achieved when he transformed into a metallic version of Wasp.
As you might imagine, Ultron in Adam Warlock's body was an extremely dangerous combination. Once again, however, Ultron's plans were thwarted, this time around by the combined efforts of Richard Rider, aka Nova, and Quasar. Ultron being inside the body of a god-like being is a pretty scary situation, so let's hope that doesn't happen again in the future.
7 HE HAS SUPER SPEED
Ultron is, without a doubt, one of the most dangerous villains in the Marvel Universe. This is mainly due to his large array of abilities. Most fans are aware of his basic power set, which includes super strength, durability, repulsor blasts and, of course, the ability to fly. What many readers probably don't know is that the tech-based villain also has superhuman speed. Curiously, Ultron rarely took advantage of this ability in the comics, and he never actually got to use it in the MCU.
Of course, it's important to keep in mind that, while Ultron's speed is quite impressive and undoubtedly makes him an even more dangerous adversary, he still isn't fast enough to beat speedsters like say, Quicksilver or The Flash in a race. For the sake of the entire Marvel Universe, let's hope Ultron never gets that kind of speed.
6 HE ONCE BONDED WITH HANK PYM
The 2015 Rage of Ultron comic book run presented a bold new take on Ultron and Hank Pym's relationship. Near the end of the storyline, Captain America, Hank Pym and Vision came face to face with Ultron. Following a violent battle, Ultron used Vision's phasing ability to phase into Pym and merge with him.
This resulted in a bizarre and terrifying Pym/Ultron hybrid controlled by the villainous robot.
The new Ultron briefly battled the Avengers but after being hit with the power of love (it's comics, don't think about it), he stopped fighting and flew off into space to conquer other galaxies. The Hank/Ultron hybrid resurfaced during Marvel's "All-New All-Different" run, and fought the Avengers once again, but he was sent flying straight into the sun (ouch). Hank survived, though, and he returned to Earth, where he played a part in both the "Secret Empire" and "Infinity Countdown" storylines.
5 HE IS A TELEPATH
Given his incessant need to evolve, Ultron is constantly adding new abilities to his already impressive arsenal. Arguably, one of his most dangerous (yet more obscure) powers is his telepathy. As strange as it may sound, Ultron actually gave himself a special form of telepathy, which allowed him to not only control others, but also implant traces of himself into people's minds to do his bidding at the time of his choosing.
Ultron's telepathic ability may not sound like much, but it's been shown to be quite deadly. In fact, it even allowed the baddie to take down the Fantastic Four, the Inhumans and the Avengers at the same time. His delayed mind-control also proved to be quite effective, as he was able to take over Vision and Jocasta in separate occasions. Hmm, who would have thought Ultron was such a powerful telepath?
4 HE ENDED ULTIMATE SCARLET WITCH
Back in 2005, Ultron made his debut in the Ultimate universe. Unlike his 616 counterpart -- who was obsessed with Janet van Dyne -- this version of the baddie fell in love with Wanda Lensherr, aka the Scarlet Witch. As time passed, the robot became more and more obsessed with the young hero.
Eventually, Ultron learned that Wanda was in a relationship with her twin brother, Pietro, which sent Ultron into a frenzy.
In Ultimates 3 #1, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch took a stroll through New York City to enjoy the snow. Unfortunately for them, Ultron followed them and right as they were chatting, he shot Wanda. Despite Quicksilver's best efforts to save his sister, Wanda died. There were plenty of sad moments in the Ultimate Universe, but Scarlet Witch's death was, without a doubt, one of the most heartbreaking ones.
3 HE HAS ROBOTIC TICKS
It may be hard to believe due to his dark nature, but Ultron has used some pretty outlandish tech over the years. In issue #89 of Avengers West Coast, for example, the villain introduced his dreaded robotic ticks. The issue opened with Ultron captive in a prison known as "The Vault," locked inside a specially-designed adamantium cage. Being the cunning villain we know him to be, Ultron mentally manipulated one of his guards to bring a portable video game console during his shift.
Ultron took control of the console and to the guard's surprise, millions of insect-like robots known as "robo-ticks" flew out of the device. After eating the guard alive, the robo-ticks proceeded to free their master from his adamantium cage. The whole concept of robo-ticks may sound ridiculous, but going by what was shown in their debut issue, they're probably one of the deadliest weapons in the Marvel Universe.
2 ULTIMATE ULTRON BECAME YELLOWJACKET
Shortly after murdering the Scarlet Witch, Ultimate Ultron built a group of androids and set them up as replacements for the Ultimates. Following in on the footsteps of his father, Ultron took on the identity of Yellowjacket. The fake Ultimates' first mission was to go up against Magneto, who was going on a rampage around the Savage Land to find Wanda's killer.
Yellowjacket and his team of heroes held their own for a while, but their good luck ended when the real Ultimates showed up.
Together, Captain America, Wasp, Giant Man, Iron Man and Thor fought off their imposters. Eventually, their conflict came to an end when Giant Man ripped off Yellowjacket's head, which caused all the other androids to malfunction and break down. Unlike his 616 counterpart, the Ultimate version of Ultron didn't come back from that defeat and stayed dead throughout the remainder of the Ultimate series.
1 HE HAS A POWERFUL FORCEFIELD AROUND HIM
Ever since his first appearance, one of Ultron's signature traits has been his constant need to evolve. Over the years, the baddie has made a number of enhancements to his body. One of the most notable ones came in the form of a powerful force field. Now, Ultron having a force field may feel a bit redundant to some fans, mainly because of his adamantium body. In reality, though, it's been a surprisingly useful tool for the baddie.
Ultron's protective barrier can withstand powerful attacks. It's also sturdy enough to block Human Torch's energy blasts, keep out Vision in his intangible form, and repel Magneto's metal-manipulation powers. This makes the villainous robot one of the few metal-based characters able to resist the Master of Magnetism's abilities. Well, no wonder Ultron has no problem going toe-to-toe with some of Marvel's most powerful players.