As you might imagine, Marvel Comics has published a boatload of Ultron stories over the years, many collected in book form. Not all Ultron stories are the same, of course, that’s why I’m here. I read them so you don’t have to.
Age of Ultron, by Brian Michael Bendis and a number of artists — chief among them Bryan Hitch, Brandon Peterson and Carlos Pacheco — was published in 2013 and bares practically no resemblance to the movie that stole its name.
This is a time-travel story in which Ultron has taken over the world and made life miserable for humans. Wolverine (yes, that Wolverine) decides to go back in time to kill Hitler — I mean Hank Pym, before Pym can create Ultron.
Time-travel stories are often confusing and disappointing but I rather enjoyed this one. The art unfortunately goes downhill once Hitch leaves after five issues.
Don’t confuse “Age of Ultron” with Rage of Ultron (see what they did there?), an original graphic novel that came out earlier this year by Rick Remender. The first half isn’t bad and features sweet art by Jerome Opena and a classic Avengers lineup. But it all falls apart in the second half with a lot of talk and a ridiculous ending.
Mighty Avengers: The Ultron Initiative is probably the strangest Ultron story ever told. In it Ultron appears as a woman for no apparent reason other than cheesecake artist Frank Cho is doing the illustration. It’s a pretty silly story but did I mention Frank Cho did the art? Any comic where Cho does the art is at least worth looking at.
Lots of folks like Ultron Unlimited by Kurt Busiek and George Perez from their late ’90s run on “The Avengers.” I think it’s overrated but I’ll toss it on the pile since it turns up high on a lot of “Best of Ultron” lists. My favorite Ultron stories were from the late ’70s run by Jim Shooter and George Perez. One story can be found in the Bride of Ultron collection (#162) but it doesn’t feature the follow-up story from #171. You can find that issue as part of The Korvac Saga, which is also a good story but it has nothing to do with Ultron.
I guess I should recommend some good Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch stories but I can’t think of any. That sounds harsh, I know, but it’s true. There’s a new book out that collects several Scarlet Witch stories but they’re all plagued by bad art and the kind of wordy, incomprehensible gobblety-gook that always goes with stories about magic.
If you’d like some good Silver Age Vision and Ultron stories, check out Avengers Epic Collection: Behold…The Vision. It features the first appearances of Ultie and Vish and several stories that make up the high water mark of the Roy Thomas run.