by Spencer Irwin
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Dinosaur Ultron is a terrific villain, partially because it’s just so cool to see Ultron as a dinosaur, partially because artist Erica Henderson has come up with a design for him that’s equal parts menacing and adorable and because colorist Rico Renzi mines his red glowing highlights for some particularly effective scares, and partially because Ryan North has found a genuinely funny and unique voice for him. What seems most notable to me about Dinosaur Ultron, though, is that he came upon his hatred of all organic life independently of the original Ultron’s programming; if both versions of the AI came to the same conclusion despite wildly different lives and circumstances, did they ever really have a chance to be anything different? Could he still be?
It’s a question worth asking, if only because redemption (and making a choice to do the right thing) holds a vital, prominent role in Doreen’s arsenal — we even have Kraven the Hunter running around in the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 24‘s back-up story as if to remind us how capable she truly is at helping villains find a better way of life. What about Ultron, though? Even as his new dinosaur form plays him for laughs, he’s still one of the most genuinely chilling villains Doreen has faced, contemplating genocide with gleeful abandon and “killing” Antonio the Doombot in one of the more horrific moments this series has ever offered. He never even gives Doreen’s efforts to talk him down a moment’s thought; He’s determined to be evil.
But that doesn’t mean he’s destined to be. This arc’s “redemption” story instead continues to come via Stefan, the Latverian student (and Nancy’s crush) who is slowly learning to overcome the biases Doctor Doom has brainwashed him into believing.
If Stefan, who has at least in part been raised by a supervillain, can come around, then surely Ultron, who was created by a superhero and in this form has no memories of a life spent trying to wipe out humanity, could do the same. Thus we know that, if Doreen is indeed forced to destroy Ultron, at least she gave him the opportunity to stand down, and he had every opportunity and full ability to take it. Whatever happens to him next rests solely on his head.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?