Avengers: Age of Utlron first look
Credit: Entertainment Weekly/Marvel Studios
Credit: Entertainment Weekly/Marvel Studios

Entertainment Weekly is giving fans their first look at Ultron - as well as new costumes for Iron Man and Captain America for 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron - on the cover of their new Comic-Con-centric issue this week.

In a composited photograph supplied to EW by Marvel, we see the longtime Avengers arch-enemy in his familiar armored attire - albeit without a large gaping mouth - along with five accompanying robots of similar design. The lead Ultron seems most differentiated from the others due to a red glow emanating from within, while the others glow a light blue.

EW also provides the first insight into the plot of Age of Ultron.

Following-up on Iron Man 3 and the post-S.H.I.E.L.D Captain America: The Winter Soldier Marvel world, Tony Stark “devises a plan” to keep him out of the Iron Man armor and takes the pressure off his Avengers teammates from being the Earth’s last line of defense.

But that turns out to be their undoing. According to EW’s  Anthony Breznican is “There’s no abdicating heroism.”

“What you said about abdication is apt, but I think it’s also about recognizing limitations,” Robert Downey Jr. told Breznican. “The downside of self-sacrifice is that if you make it back, you’ve been out there on the spit and you’ve been turned a couple times and you feel a little burned and traumatized.”

Stark’s solution is Ultron, a “self-aware, self-teaching, artificial intelligence designed to help assess threats, and direct Stark’s Iron Legion of drones to battle evildoers instead.”

But as comic book fans know, Ultron (played by James Spader via performance-capture technology) winds up with a mind of his own, and determines human beings are the biggest threat to peace on Earth.

“Ultron sees the big picture and he goes, ‘Okay, we need radical change, which will be violent and appalling, in order to make everything better’. He’s not just going ‘Muhaha, soon I’ll rule!’" writer-director Joss Whedon told EW.  “He’s on a mission. He wants to save us.”

As the multiple Ultrons on the cover suggests, the problem is just like in the comic books, he’s not just a robot, he’s a program capable of “uploading himself and disappearing not into the clouds but the Cloud. And he has a bad habit of rebuilding himself into stronger and more fearsome physical forms.”

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