With Iron Man finding himself stranded on an alien world, the Armored Avenger stumbles upon the origins of one of his oldest foes.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Iron Man #10, by Christopher Cantwell, CAFU, Frank D’Armata and VC’s Joe Caramagna, on sale now.
While Iron Man has faced many metallic enemies rivaling his own advanced technology, one of the oldest foes that Tony Stark encountered, Ultimo, wasn’t originally from Earth at all but rather from the unexplored corners of the Marvel Universe. And while Iron Man and Tony’s fellow Avengers have battled against Ultimo on multiple occasions, the Armored Avenger has never made a journey to Ultimo’s home planet until now. Tony is stranded on a faraway alien planet, injured and without any help from his usual friends and allies as he faces off against Ultimo on the looming villain’s home turf.
As Iron Man and his allies pursued the cosmic supervillain Korvac, with the enemy intent on hijacking Galactus’ spaceship and using the omnipotent Power Cosmic to transport all sentient life into a single collective subconscious he could control for himself, Tony was mysteriously whisked away to a different corner of the Marvel Universe. Stuck on the planet for nearly a full week and forced to stay in his Iron Man armor due to a broken neck he endured in his previous confrontation with Korvac, Tony stumbles across a village where he is able to recuperate and recharge his armor on a mysterious fallen robot. Before long, the settlement falls under attack from Ultimo.
Created by Stan Lee and Gene Colan in 1966’s Tales of Suspense #76, Ultimo was revealed as a sentient android constructed thousands of years ago to serve as a deterrent from a cosmic war from escalating. Instead, Ultimo was activated and let loose into outer space before cruising the Marvel Universe for millennia, destroying any civilizations that had the misfortune of crossing his path. In the 19th century, Ultimo crashed in a remote area of China and was uncovered by the Mandarin approximately a century later. Reprogrammed to assist the Mandarin, Ultimo eventually regained his sentience and has menaced Earth multiple times since, often pitted against Iron Man.
With the familiar, armored characters Stilt-Man and Avro-X both having taken up residence themselves in the planet’s village, Iron Man joins them to confront an activated Ultimo as he consumes villagers for the raw energy that they have absorbed from the planet. Avro-X speculates that Ultimo originated from the planet, with Stilt-Man going as far as to claim the Ultimos are a part of the planet’s natural ecosystem. And with the planet’s raw energies now powering his repaired Iron Man armor, Tony is able to fell the attacking Ultimo with a powerful blast from his Uni-Beam and mighty punch. The astonished Stilt-Man and Avro-X claim this is the first time they have witnessed an Ultimo destroyed since they both arrived on the planet.
Given the relative ease that Iron Man was able to singlehandedly take down an Ultimo, any other Ultimos on the planet may not stand a chance. More importantly, the power boost that Tony has displayed with his rudimentary upgrades and new power source shows that the Armored Avenger may stand a better chance in the inevitable rematch against Korvac once he devises a way to escape from the planet and return to his friends and new girlfriend Hellcat. Ultimo may be holding a home-field advantage on this backwater planet, but Iron Man still has plenty of tricks up his armored sleeve to give himself an edge.
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