Avengers (various comic book titles, movies, tv shows, and video games 1968-now)
The Avenger’s biggest mistake, Ultron, makes it to #36. Ultron was originally a robotic artificial intelligence built by Hank Pym (AKA Ant-Man AKA Giant Man AKA a ton of other names) using his own brain patterns as a template for its own sentience. Although possessing a genius level intellect, Pym’s personality wasn’t always the greatest choice of character to implement into a self-aware robot (as seen with his unstable Yellowjacket persona). Intended to become an expendable and manufactured replacement for the Avengers (thus preventing humans from putting their lives on the line as heroes), Ultron quickly surmised that protecting the humanity from threats meant stopping humanity from developing the threats in the first place. Through Pym’s thought process backed by cold hard logic; saving humanity from itself by eradication was the best course of action from Ultron’s perspective.
There are many similarities between Ultron and the Sentinels that both exist in the Marvel Universe, but with one major difference. Ultron is basically Hank Pym’s consciousness unrestricted by emotion. Apart from having a robotic body, Ultron is practically a human being and is supposed to have the mentality of one of the “good guys,” which is a frightening thought. Over the years Ultron has upgraded himself or has been rebuilt by others. Before fighting the Avengers for the first time Ultron had upgraded himself five times and acquired an adamantium laced body thus making him indestructible (conventionally). Ultron’s one main emotional flaw is his disdain for his creator coupled with his Oedipus Complex-like infatuation for Pym’s wife, Janet AKA Wasp. Ultron’s earliest schemes revolved around creating other “synthezoids” (robots with human brain templates) like himself including the Vision, Jocasta, and Alkhema who all either ended up joining the Avengers or betraying him at some point. The Vision used the brain patterns of Wonder Man, Jocasta used the Wasp’s, and Alkhema used Mockingbird’s. Being that all these characters were based on Avengers members it’s no wonder why they decided to become heroes, although it further puts Hank Pym’s psyche into question as a result.
Dr. Doom once attempted to use Ultron as a subservient tool by combining Ultron’s (then) 12 different upgraded “personalities” but the robot ended up mutilating itself because of the strong presence of human emotion that existed within his latest “patch” which rendered him useless. In recent years, Ultron interfaced with Iron Man’s armor which was part of Tony Stark’s biology at the time and remolded Tony and himself into an identical mechanical copy of the Wasp’s female body (it was kinda weird but in this form he killed the Sentry’s wife). A virus was used on Ultron to disperse his electronic consciousness from Tony’s body/armor but was picked up and located in deep space by a techno-organic alien race called the Phalanx shortly after. As Ultron was integrated into the Phalanx collective, he forcibly remained his individual self while implementing his ideals as the new Phalanx directive. With his newfound techno-empire he invaded Kree space (Annihilation: Conquest) and began galactically wiping out all organics. This form was eventually destroyed by Wraith and Quasar but unfortunately another part of his consciousness was still tapped into a computer system on Earth.
Afterwards Marvel released an event mini-series called the Age of Ultron (not the movie!) which depicted a timeline that resulted in Ultron’s reign over Earth having successfully wiped out all of Earth’s inhabitants minus a few straggling Avengers. The story interestingly started off almost like something out of the Walking Dead (just replace zombies with killer robots) where the remaining Avengers were broken and forced into hiding for their lives. After finding a time machine, Wolverine theorized that killing Hank Pym before Ultron’s creation would certainly result in a better future for everyone. With this idea you’d have to wonder how profoundly changed the world would be if Hank Pym, a longtime Avenger and hero, had been taken out of the equation (I mean I know Ant-Man isn’t really THAT big of a deal to most people, but there have been story arcs that have seen Pym as the team savior from time to time). Ultimately by killing Pym, the timeline wasn’t that much better off and traded one pain in the ass for another so Wolverine and the Invisible Woman travelled back to stop Wolverine’s assassination attempt and figure out a better way. Pym ended up creating a shutdown program that he would surrender his knowledge of until the time came where Ultron made his play for world domination, therefore allowing the timeline to be unaltered until the right moment. PARADOX CITY, am I right!!??
The confirmed news about the upcoming Avengers film sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron, states that Iron Man will be Ultron’s inventor in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe as opposed to Hank Pym who has yet to be introduced. As a comic book reader with a unique perspective, this change doesn’t bother me and it even makes more sense to me while condensing the amount of super intelligent people running around. Hank Pym may be a genius but his scientific specialty is biochemistry, which may explain how he transferred brain patterns into a robot but doesn’t really explain how he could construct a walking talking machine man in the 1960’s. Tony Stark, however, specializes in engineering among other things which would be a more plausible explanation for Ultron’s design. Hardcore comic fans would argue Pym is the smarter of the two and is an all-around “renaissance man” when it comes to head-exploding-brain-powered science, but that’s exactly what the movies have made Stark out to be (why overcomplicate it? And heaven forbid anyone outshine Robert Downey Jr.). Aside from that it just makes more sense with Iron Man’s character after he decided to hesitantly “retire” being a hero at the end of Iron Man 3 for Pepper Potts’ (Gwenyth Paltrow) approval. Maybe Ultron will develop his Oedipus Complex for Pepper in turn? Could be interesting.