Blogging A to Z Day 24: Ultron

The title villain of the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron, who is he? What is he? Why should we care? Other than being freaked out by James Spader’s amazing voice acting

The Ultron reveal from Avengers #55. Image found on a comicbookresources.com article.

The Ultron reveal from Avengers #55.
Image found on a comicbookresources.com article.

Ultron first appeared in Avengers #54 in 1968, with a full reveal in #55. He is a a robot, an android – but also so much more than this. He is a program, an artificial intelligence – which, when it reached the point of enough intelligence, improved itself. Himself. Itself.

He also has daddy issues, having been created by Hank Pym – the original Ant-Man and sometimes Avenger. Ultron expresses this both by attempting to destroy the Avengers whenever he gets the chance, and by imitating what his father did – create.

One of the things that Ultron is most known for is for creating the android known as the Vision, another Avenger. Vision just didn’t come out evil like his father Ultron…

Because Ultron is more than just a robot, because he is a program that can be replicated and backed-up and transmitted… he is basically impossible to fully destroy. And so, he attacks, he learns, he fails, he learns, he attacks again, better. Several recent storylines have included Ultron time traveling, or in other ways affecting the timeline – attacking from the future, where he is himself safe from harm.

Indeed, that was the plot of the recent Age of Ultron comic storyline. Ultron manipulates the present from the future, instantly creating a robot utopia (which is a human dystopia). Fighting fire with fire, the heroes try time travel themselves – some going forward in time to punch Ultron (because that always works), and some going back to stop the original creation of Ultron…

Team Punch in action - Age of Ultron #10 from Marvel.com

Team Punch in action – Age of Ultron #10 from Marvel.com

Which they succeed at by killing Hank Pym, only to find out that things are just as bad if not worse with him – and without the Vision. It turns out that this led to two Avengers no longer being around, and then every good thing they accomplished was undone – but hey, no Ultron. Anyway, they undo that time change, and let Team Punch do their thing.

Of course, this was just the next phase of a previous Ultron plan, just the next try from him to take control of the timeline and win, forever, against everyone. Because, given enough time, he can. He’s the unkillable kill, and his goal is domination.

A future timeline from 2010 in Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis. I used this on my review of Marvel's Heroic Age and Marvel Now!

A future timeline from 2010 in Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis. Click for a larger version!
I used this on my review of Marvel’s Heroic Age and Marvel Now!

He’s a perfect sort of villain to throw in every once in a while – what new plan does he have? What do the heroes have to do to stop him? How will he escape to come up with his next plan? He doesn’t require resurrection or crazy explanations like other villains returning, he doesn’t have to break out of Arkham again like the Joker is always doing. He’s always going to escape, and he’s always going to come back. It’s inevitable as clockwork.

This post was by @CompGeeksDavid of the Comparative Geeks and regular Sourcerer contributor. For more A to Z geekery, check out Comparative Geeks.

Blogging A to Z Day 22: Sinestro

What frightens you? I’m not asking for the big things that nearly everyone would name. What are the day-to-day stresses and experiences that frighten you? I’m writing this right now during a heavy and potentially tornadic thunderstorm, so I’m a bit on edge myself. I would not consider myself a coward, but I’ve dealt with anxiety all my life, and about a lot of different things. That’s a big reason certain characters—Batman and Daredevil, to name but two—really appeal to me; they operate in a state without fear, having conquered it long ago. Admiring those sorts of characters led me to the Green Lantern books five or so years ago, and to one character in particular: Sinestro.

It is said that Thaal Sinestro was the greatest of all Green Lanterns—an order defined by its ability to overcome great fear—before his rather dramatic falling out with the Green Lantern Corps’s Guardians. Perhaps his strength of will grew too great once given the powers of a Green Lantern; regardless, it was his forcing of his will, of his sense of order, upon his war-torn homeworld of Korugar that led to his expulsion from the Corps and his banishment to the Antimatter Universe, where the Weaponers of the world called Qward created for him the first yellow ring that drew from the portion of the Emotional Spectrum powered by fear, the opposite of the green light of willpower.

As a former high ranking and well-traveled Green Lantern, Sinestro was familiar with the prophecy of the Blackest Night, and he created his own corps of yellow lanterns in preparation. As he revealed following his defeat in his war against the Green Lantern Corps, his goal was not necessarily to win. Rather, it was to make the universe strong enough to face the darkness to come; either his philosophy—strength through conquering one’s own fears and mastering others through theirs—would win out, or the Green Lanterns would have to adapt and become more savage in order to defeat him. Either way, a powerful army awaited whatever was coming.

Is Sinestro rightly classified as a hero, or as a villain? In all honesty, I have pondered this and cannot rightly say one way or the other. What defines either of those roles? Sinestro may not be the most classically righteous of individuals, but if the ends ever do truly justify the means, then he certainly sees the well-being of others as his greatest priority. Many may shy away from his methods because of the harshness of his example, but you have to acknowledge that when he puts a threat down, it never gets back up again. For all of these reasons, Sinestro is one of my very favorite comic book characters.

That’s it for my contributions to this year’s A to Z challenge. Thank you all for stopping by and reading! I look forward to seeing your thoughts in the comments below. Feel free to check out some of my other thoughts on Sinestro in my reviews here at Sourcerer of his ongoing comic series written by Cullen Bunn. Do check back in the future, because I have plenty more to say about this character and his stories. Have a good day, everyone!