The second character revealed thus far from Avengers: Age of Ultron is none other than the big baddie who gives his name to the film: Ultron, portrayed in the movie by James Spader. Little or less is known, by now, about the movie version of the killer robot: judging from the very first teaser trailer, and by words on the streets, he’ll be created by Tony Stark (maybe in cooperation with Bruce Banner), but he’ll not be the nice robotic butler everyone expected, of course, nor a decent substitute for Iron Man. From both the set pics and the new image, we can guess he’ll soon learn to create copies of himself, so there actually will be an army of Ultrons haunting our poor little planet. Well, it looks like a job for the Avengers. In the meanwhile, let’s see who one of the most lethal villains ever is in the comics.
The best minds have quite a taste for becoming mad scientists, sooner or later: when one of the world’s most brilliant scientists, Hank Pym (also known as the Avenger Ant-Man), an expert in almost any field, decided to experiment in robotics, he ended up creating Ultron, an artificial intelligence programmed following his own brain patterns. The robot, at first just an ugly trashcan, soon became sentient, and used his great intelligence to learn how to turn himself on without the aid of his creator, and especially how to reprogram himself. He learnt to speak, started studying his nearby environment and then human culture and history through the data he managed to collect while Pym didn’t even realize his creation was acting on his own. Arriving to his fifth upgrade, Ultron developed some sort of robotic Oedipus Complex, and started hating his “father”, Pym, while he found himself somewhat attracted to his “mother”, Pym’s lover and future wife Janet Van Dyne, aka The Wasp. When he decided he was ready and he didn’t need Pym anymore, Ultron faced Pym, and using a newly acquired set of abilities, he hypnotized him, making him forget he had ever created an artificial intelligence. Finally free, Ultron kept upgrading himself and, as Ultron-5, he built on his own a humanoid body to transfer his mind to. Following his irrational hatred towards Pym, Ultron started plotting to kill him and his fellow Avengers: using the disguise of the Crimson Cowl, he gathered the second Black Knight (son of the original), Klaw, Melter, Radioactive Man and Whirlwind, forming the second incarnation of the Masters of Evil. With his new team of unaware pawns, Ultron-5 was ready to attack the Avengers.
The robot hypnotized the butler Edwin Jarvis to have him steal the Avengers Mansion blueprints, so that the Masters could launch a surprise attack on their enemies. The Avengers (composed at the time by Pym, going by the name Goliath, Wasp, Hawkeye and Black Panther), were caught off-guard and taken prisoners. Ultron revealed himself to Pym, but when he was about to strike down his hated father, the Black Knight, who had infiltrated the team just to prove himself to the Avengers, betrayed the Masters of Evil, freed the heroes and helped them defeat their enemies. Ultron escaped, and decided he would have never worked alongside weak and unreliable humans ever again. He upgraded once again into Ultron-6 (or Ultimate Ultron), by creating a new body made of indestructible adamantium, and swore he would have wiped out the plague known as human race from Earth, seeing himself as the new, perfect life form destined to inherit the planet. Remembering what had happened with his Masters, Ultron created an android on his own, using the original Human Torch‘s body and deceased Avenger Wonder Man‘s brain patterns: the first artificial intelligence created by another I.A., Ultron named his “son” The Vision, vision of a human-free future. He sent him to infiltrate the Avengers, gaining their trust and acting as a hero until the time would have been mature for stabbing them at their back. Unfortunately, his plan was foiled by the Vision himself, who was deeply influenced by both the Avengers’ positive attitude towards him, and by Wonder Man’s brain patterns that showed him what true heroism was. More and more embittered towards humanity, Ultron kept creating other androids (among which Jocasta and Alkhema), but everyone turned on him. Being alone made him only more resolute in his crusade against humans, and Ultron decided he would have pursued the path of genocide for all his many artificial lives.
Despite being an A.I., Ultron is far from being an impersonal calculating machine: a megalomaniac, genocidal monster, he feels a deep hatred towards any form of carbon-based life form, especially humans, who he sees as a pest to be eradicated from the planet. Egomaniac and ambitious, Ultron possesses a superhuman, ever-evolving intelligence, that makes him more and more dangerous after every new incarnation. His main ability is to transfer his mind into new bodies, a trait that makes him virtually immortal; his powers and abilities have varied from a version to another, he possessed a giant body as Ultron-7, while he was able to possess and control any mechanical body (Iron Man armors included) as Ultron-12. Also his personality varies, and sometimes he’s also been successfully reprogrammed (most notably by Dr. Doom) as a more-friendly robot or turned good on his own, he’s gone mad and has felt sad and lonely. Most of the times, however, Ultron is simply an unstoppable killing machine, an android that uses an indestructible adamantium body, powerful energy blasts, “mental” powers and several other weapons and abilities to annihilate the human race once and for all.