Age of Ultron : A New Age for a Classic Villain

With Guardians of the Galaxy showcasing the villain for the next phase of the Marvel movie storyline, the all powerful Thanos Lord of Time and Space, it is time to look at the current phase and its upcoming threat, Ultron. First revealed at last year’s Comic-Con, Ultron will be the villain in the new Avengers film Age of Ultron, but who is Ultron? Why should we care about him and what does he bring to the table? To answer these questions, first we have to ask a simpler one; who were the first Avengers?
   Most of today’s audience may respond with Iron Man, Thor, maybe even Captain America, but the first Avengers were actually Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Ant-Man, and Wasp. No Hawkeye or Black Widow, and certainly no Nick Fury for awhile. While Captain America was still thawing, the Avengers were formed thanks to Ant-Man. While Ant-Man is getting his own movie next year alongside the Avengers 2 film, it is surprising that Marvel decided to have Ultron without Ant-Man in the film as a major role. In the 60s comic series, Ultron was literally built by Hank Pym(Ant-Man/Goliath/Yellowjacket). In the story, Hank realizes that his group of heroes cannot protect the world alone, so he constructs Ultron to protect and judge evil using his creator’s criteria. Now, a robot tasked with the judgement of human beings has never ever gone wrong. I’m pretty sure I Robot was all about how robots are awesome and everyone needs them and a pair of All Stars in their houses at all times. Sarcasm aside, he was overly brutal in his judgements and eventually rebelled against his creator.

After he rebels and turns against the Avengers, he forms the Second League of the Masters of Evil, a collection of villains that all wanted to see the fall of the Avengers, including Radioactive Man and Klaw. Ultron is defeated, but far from put down as he constantly upgrades himself into bigger and better versions to defeat the Avengers. Time and time again he is cut down, even with a new Adamantium frame, the same metal that forms Wolverine’s skeleton. He eventually begins to create an underling by the name of Vision. This robotic helper is tasked with the job of seeing out his vision of a perfect utopia. However, due to him having the brain patterns of Wonder Man as a base, he begins to see the error of his father’s ways and actually joins the Avengers to fight back. But what does all of this mean for the new movie?

This story is the comic version of Ultron. This is the Ultron that has been around for over 50 years and not been voiced by the excessively suave James Spader. This isn’t the movie Ultron. Joss Whedon has done something incredibly smart in changing Ultron’s origin story. He’s given himself some breathing room in how he wants to tell the story and will be able to use Ultron as he sees fit. When I first saw that Ant-Man wasn’t the creator of Ultron in the movie universe, I was incredibly upset and devastated that Whedon would ruin such a titular Avenger’s villain. Yet the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. This Ultron is a creation of Tony Stark’s, and it may very well be made for the express purpose of dishing out justice where the Avengers can’t be, but with 50 years of storytelling growth since his original run of destroying malt shops and theaters playing old Jack Lemmon movies, we can actually see a modern origin of Ultron. Also, the inclusion of J.A.R.V.I.S. as the new Vision is a very interesting turn in the mythos. While in the comics he takes on the brain of an otherwise write-offable character, we at least have some semblance of who he is in the movie. And with Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch joining the fray, I’m excited to see what this new Ultron can bring.

It’s a new age for the standard comic villain. Directors and writers are diverging from the stories they held so dear and are instead telling the stories they want to. Yes, large stories like The Infinity Gauntlet arc are played upon, but they are able to shape it how they want, not how the comics say it should go. With a modern Ultron, a Bronson Thanos, and three new Avengers to add to the roster, I, for one, am incredibly excited for the new age of villains, a new age of marvel. I’m ready for an Age of Ultron.