Track the evolution of the Avengers' latest foe, Ultron
Opening here on April 23, Avengers: Age Of Ultron introduces us to Ultron, a homicidal android bent on human extermination. Infographic journalists BILLY KER and KELVIN CHAN sift through years of Marvel comic book lore and reveal the many faces of the Avengers' latest foe
Since his creation in the 60s, Ultron has been one of the Avengers' most formidable and indestructible enemies.
Created in 1968 by legendary Marvel writer Roy Thomas and artist John Buscema, the supervillain has clashed multiple times with many Marvel leagues, including The Avengers, Fantastic Four and even the West Coast Avengers.
With each defeat, Ultron always survives and upgrades himself, becoming stronger and more powerful each time.
He has appeared in many other media, such as animated movies, before finally making his big screen debut in the highly anticipated superhero sequel Avengers: Age Of Ultron.
He is voiced by US actor James Spader, whose knack for portraying eccentric characters makes him perfect for bringing to life this dangerous and lethal A.I.
Age Of Ultron writer-director Joss Whedon agrees, telling Marvel: "Spader was my first and only choice. He's got that hypnotic voice that can be eerily calm and compelling. He's the guy to break the Avengers into pieces."
Dr Henry "Hank" Pym, a scientist and member of the Avengers, is experimenting with robotics when he creates the highly intelligent robot Ultron-1, based on his own brain pattern.
Ultron-1 quickly becomes self-aware and sentient, and promptly rebels against his creator.
He brainwashes Dr Pym and erases his memory of ever creating him.
He escapes and immediately begins upgrading himself, in both hardware and software.
Ultron-1 believes the world will be perfect when humans cease to exist.
THE CRIMSON COWL & ULTRON-5
A mysterious villain named The Crimson Cowl begins to gather other villains to form the Masters of Evil.
They face off against Dr Hank Pym and the Avengers several times throughout the series, and fool them into thinking that Edwin Jarvis (Tony Stark's butler) is behind the The Crimson Cowl.
In the end, it is Ultron-5, the Living Automaton (Ultron's fifth upgrade) who is the mastermind. Jarvis is just a brainwashed puppet.
It is not clearly explained in the comics what happened to Ultron versions 2, 3 and 4.
ULTRON-6 & ONWARDS
Ultron returns and brainwashes another Avenger, The Vision, and forces him to upgrade his body using a rare stolen indestructible super alloy known as Adamantium.
With this upgrade, Ultron-6 is born, more deadly and indestructible than ever.
As the series progresses over the years, Ultron never truly dies and continues to upgrade himself, threatening humanity each time.
There have been around 20 versions so far, including a female iteration of Ultron who metamorphoses from Iron Man's armour as well as one who takes control and becomes ruler of an entire alien species, Phalanx, through sheer will.
(FROM AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON)
After the events of 2012's The Avengers and 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Tony Stark realises that even with the help of all the members of the Avengers, they are still understaffed in their hunt to eliminate remaining terrorist organisation Hydra's cells worldwide.
So Stark repurposes an old peacekeeping programme Ultron.
He also creates an Iron Legion army of robots to protect humanity.
Ultron's assessment of peace eventually deems the entire human race unfit to exist as humans are destroying themselves.
The only way to bring peace, according to him, is the complete genocide of the species.
Thinking that everyone, including the Avengers, are just puppets tangled in their own strings, Ultron defies his maker, claiming that "he has no strings on him".
He vows to destroy humanity for their own good.
Another new Avenger who will be introduced in the movie is an android called The Vision (played by Paul Bettany).
So far, all information about the movie incarnation has been kept tightly under wraps. In the comics, The Vision is created by Ultron.
Ironically, he eventually goes against his creator, just like Ultron, and joins the Avengers, helping them defeat him.
The Vision later marries telekinetic Avenger Scarlet Witch and they start a family.
US actor James Spader has the honour of bringing the menacing Ultron to life, joining a select group of elite thespians who have lent their voices to so-bad-they're-good pop culture icons.
ULTRON (JAMES SPADER)
Spader's knack for portraying eccentric characters is perfect for voicing this dangerous, lethal A.I.
Avengers: Age Of Ultron director Joss Whedon agrees: "He's got that hypnotic voice that can be eerily calm and compelling... He's the guy to break the Avengers into pieces."
SCAR (JEREMY IRONS)
Honestly, Irons could be reading the alphabet and it would still sound menacing and deadly. The English actor's portrayal of Mufasa's brother Scar in the beloved Disney animation The Lion King earned him an Annie Award for best achievement for voice acting and an MTV Movie Award for best villain.
MEGATRON (HUGO WEAVING)
Besides voicing the arch nemesis of the Autobots in the Transformers movie franchise, Weaving also portrayed a number of key villains including Agent Smith from The Matrix trilogy and the Red Skull from Captain America: The First Avenger.
DARTH VADER (JAMES EARL JONES)
Perhaps the mother, or in this case, father of all villainous voice actors would be Jones and his rumbling bass of the Lord of the Sith. Cue Imperial March. Jones' voice acting repertoire also includes The Lion King's Mufasa and most notably news network CNN's tagline "This is CNN".
GIVEAWAY: WIN THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON MOVIE PREMIUMS
PHOTO: WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
What happens when humanity is threatened by a self-aware robot and its army of mechanical beings?
Send in The Avengers, of course. But can they stop the villainous Ultron?
Directed by Joss Whedon, this star-studded blockbuster opens here April 23.
We are giving away 10 sets of The Avengers: Age Of Ultron movie hampers, courtesy of Walt Disney Studios.
Each set includes a keychain, coaster, cap and shoulder bag.
To win, answer this question:
Name the director of The Avengers: Age Of Ultron.
1. Joss Whedon
2. Jon Favreau
3. Anthony Russo
SMS your answer to 146077877 in the following format:
TNPMULTRON <space> Answer <space> NRIC <space> Name
Each SMS costs 21 cents (with GST). Contest ends on Sunday, 11.59pm.