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When Ultimo Lives, Iron Man Dies


Iron Man Villain #6: Ultimo

In the realm of Science Fiction, there's always one terrible plot that keeps us in suspense. It raises the hairs on the back of our necks and awakens our survival instincts. Ever drawing comic book readers, this happens when aliens, or threats of extra-terrestrial origin, invade our world seeking destruction.

To explain the next great Iron Man villain, therefore, we'll have to take you back to the 1950s. It was a time of the rise of great Sci-Fi classics where movies The Blob (1958), Invasion of The Body Snatchers (1956), and The War of The Worlds (1953) gained immediate popularity and fanbase. The alien creature was a figure of horror and mystery in all of them, but one movie in particular, The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951), where a giant robot called "Gort" goes on a destructive rampage, seemed to have inspired Marvel Comics in a very special way.

~Cover shot of Tales of Suspense #77 (1963), where Iron Man first fought Ultimo.

And this is where Ultimo, an ancient robot created a thousand years ago by an alien race, becomes the next awesome villain of Iron Man to enter the picture. Much like the Gort of that era, he's a 50 foot tall android world-killer with no other purpose than to extinguish life. Ultimo first appeared by visage in Tales of Suspense #76 (1963), and then was fully seen one issue later.

Virtually indestructible, Ultimo is like a battering ram. His energy reserves have caused the earth to crack and earthquakes to rumble across the continent. His strength is uncanny, having shattered Iron Man's armor and nearly killed Tony Stark multiple times. Having proved to be superior to our Golden Avenger in battle, most of the confrontations typically involved shutting the creature down or temporarily halting its movement.

Although he seemed to have no weakness and would have destroyed every living thing on the planet, Ultimo was restrained by one key element: programming. Being an android, mastermind-styled super-villains loved finding the robot and altering its directives for their own purposes. Even though this gave them temporary domination, it usually backfired; Ultimo is self-adapting and self-repairing, and therefore, would fix any coding errors, and turn on its user.

As of last note, Ultimo had been captured and disassembled, but its nano-technology components were turned into a sentient, weaponized virus that controlled people and gave them ultimo-like powers. Only through the efforts of James Rhodes aka War Machine and a Suzi Endo, a woman capable of controlling tech with her mind, did they neutralize it and erase its programming.

They may be tough, they may be rough, but boy do they hate Armored Superheroes! This is The Top 10 Villains of Iron Man, a Countdown of Stark's Greatest Foes provided by The Superheroes List, in tribute to the Iron Man 3 movie. Want to see who put him on the map? Read The List!

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