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Avengers #21: Review

Oct 1999
Kurt Busiek, George Perez

Story Name:

Ultron Unlimited Part Three: This Evil Unveiled

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Avengers #21 Review by (January 27, 2020)
Antarctic vibranium (from the Savage Land) is different from Wakandan vibranium. WV absorbs vibrations, AV destroys metals. That should give you a hint as to what solution Justice's investigations will come up with.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #21 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Last issue Ultron-16 and his robots invaded Slorenia, killing the population and wrecking the place. Now UN troops have been sent in to retake the country but they're getting slaughtered. Most of the things shooting at them are the bodies of the Slorenians cyborged and reanimated under the control of Ultron. Then Avengers Captain America, Firestar, Iron Man and Thor alongside ex-Avenger Black Panther take a hand, but Ultron's flying gunships attack *them*. Thor flies up to battle this new threat. Cap sends Panther to locate Ultron's command centre, with Firestar as air cover.

Ultron is in catacombs below what was the Parliament building. His drones and earlier Ultrons have over the past few issues captured Scarlet Witch, Vision, Wasp and Wonder Man along with Henry Pym and Eric Williams. He has them in shackles which stop them using their powers. But he's extra-worried about SW whose hex can disrupt the internal molecular rearranger which keeps his adamantium body from freezing up, so he's making sure she stays unconscious by repeated electric shocks.

Ultron says he's taken these 6 because he considers them family. And 'family' is important to him which his why he created a 'son' Vision and 2 successive 'wives' Jocasta and Alkhema, all of whom turned against him. This is also why he has repeatedly tried to wipe out humanity so he could replace them with his servant robots. But he has now realised this would be an empty victory - he wants companions not automated extensions of himself.

Recently (the past few issues) his 'father', his creator Hank Pym, has been working on a communications system based on that of hive insects - individuals but working together in an organised society. He intends to design his new 'children' that way. And he will create their minds based on the brain patterns of his 'family' here, mixing them 'genetically' to produce unique individuals. Of course once he's got their brain patterns he won't need their bodies any more so he'll kill them.

He explains the family connections. Some are obvious - Pym his father, Henry's (ex-)wife Wasp his mother and Vision his son. SW and WM are 'kin' to Vision - Wanda Maximoff is *his* ex-wife and he considers Simon Williams his 'brother'. Eric asks why *he* is included, he's only Simon's *real* brother. Ultron points out that Eric was the 1st human contact he made after escaping from his creator. He reveals to us that he supplied Eric as Grim Reaper with the coma-ray he used in his 1st app (#52 of our vol 1), and that it was this connection that led him to use Simon's brain patterns when he created Vision from the WWII android Human Torch (which is why WM and Vizh think of themselves as brothers). And we know that Ultron and GR worked together several times after that.

Then Ultron detects the approach of Firestar and Panther and goes to deal with them. He senses that the pair have defences against the encephalo-beam he used last issue so he surrounds himself with a flying platform with multiple blasters which bring FS down to Earth. But not before she fires off a flare to alert the other Avengers to Ultron's location. Cap, Iron Man and Thor head towards them.

Meanwhile a top security military prison in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia is invaded by robots here to rescue Alkhema. (She calls them her War Toys, which was the name she preferred for *herself* in her 1st app.)

Firestar is now subdued by a gas. BP leaps on to Ultron's flying platform but is blasted off it. The robot then shrugs off Thor's hammer and IM's repulsor blasts. Cap and FS join them in battering at the foe, but he laughs and blasts all 4 unconscious. But then Panther is on him again and stabs an energy dagger into his head to disrupt his electronic brain. Ultron is hurt but gets rid of the 5th Avenger too.

Back at Avengers Mansion the injured Justice has been going through the files on Ultron. He's reached a battle between Ultron-13 and Daredevil (DD#275-276) where the robot defeated himself because Dr Doom had created him with all his previous personalities mixed together (including U-12 which was a nice friendly version). U-13 had got it together when he worked with Grim Reaper in West Coast Avengers #65-68. Vance Astrovik forges on, ignoring the tea which Edwin Jarvis brings him. He finds another U-13 app (in a trio of 1991 Spider-Man Annuals guest-starring BP and IM) where Ulty stole some experimental synthetic vibranium, but it soon turned into Antarctic vibranium. Vance remembers that Antarctic vibranium was involved when the Avengers and New Warriors teamed up (#13), at the site of the later battle against Doomsday Man where his leg got broken (#17).

In Slorenia the Avengers put a prearranged plan into operation. Black Panther hurls a barrage of energy daggers which (according to Iron Man) knock Ultron's internal shielding slightly out of phase so that IM can get through with a mega-blast from his chest-unibeam. Firestar gets some microwave energy in too. Despite being hurt by this tactic Ultron blasts the 3 away but then Captain America converts his photonic shield into a staff and rams it in the robot's 'mouth'. But this is all a setup for the final blow as Thor calls down a massive lightning strike. Ultron-16 screams and his head bounces along the floor.

Iron Man doesn't believe it. He was only hoping to cause Ultron's internal systems to fail. All that shouldn't have been enough to break his adamantium body, unless for some reason he was made of the weaker secondary adamantium. But Panther leads them into tunnels where he can sense people, hopefully the missing Avengers. And there they are confronted by another Ultron - whose forehead proclaims him to be Ultron-17! And then another 1 appears behind them bearing the number 23. Firestar gasps and wonders just how many Ultrons there are?! As if in answer Ultron-458 shows himself. And they hear many metallic noises all around them.

George Perez
Al Vey
Tom Smith
George Perez (Cover Penciler)
George Perez (Cover Inker)
Tom Smith (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Richard Starkings.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: Bob Harras.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Edwin Jarvis)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)


(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Alkhema, Firestar (Angel Jones), Grim Reaper (Eric Williams), Henry Pym, Justice (Vance Astrovik).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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