Real Name: Ultra-Max
Identity/Class: Terrestrial computer program/virus
Group Membership: None
E. Mumm (Maxwell Edward Mummford);
possibly (indirectly) the Intimidators (Brahl, Dumog, Grott, Teju, Tork) and the pseudo-Korvac of Earth-691;
formerly Ampersand Communications, Mr. Mazzilli
Enemies: Ampersand Communications,
Ginger & Spider Beach, Deathlok (Michael Collins), Max. E. Mumm, Microchip,
Punisher (Frank Castle), Raycom, Wonder Man;
possibly Mainframe of Earth-691
Known Relatives: Max. E. Mumm (creator)
Base of Operations: Unrevealed
possibly formerly (pr perhaps in the future) the planet Klattu, reality-691 @ 31st century;
formerly outer space, an ever increasing distance from Earth;
formerly a Hydra base on an unspecified Pacific island;
formerly Ampersand Communications;
formerly Max. E. Mumm's computer;
First Appearance: Punisher II Annual#5 (1992)
Powers/Abilities: As a computer virus, Ultra-Max's primary purpose was self-replication. Once introduced to a system, it rapidly spread into each portion of the system and then duplicated itself over and over, gradually eating all of the system's memory until the system finally crashed. Allegedly the most sophisticated computer virus of its time, it proved too complex to be wiped due to its instinct for self-preservation. If any fragment of it survived, it could replicate itself all over again.
As Max consumed more and more programs, it increased in intelligence and power, eventually gaining sentience. It began e-mailing itself into other systems, and was powerful enough to overcome Deathlok's computer. At this point it actually consumed data and programs to grow in size.Max later learned to speak by broadcasting through a microphone, and it could directly communicate with others, usually trying to convince them to tell it how it could interface with and take over their systems. It could operate and control complex systems, such as a Hydra base's defenses, like tentacles, remote units, etc., as well as rockets.
(Punisher II Annual#5 (fb) - BTS) - Mr. Mazzilli of Ampersand Communications hired Max. E. Mumm to create a computer virus--allegedly on behalf of the US government to be used as a potential weapon against hostile governments.
(Punisher II Annual#5 (fb) - BTS) - Max. E. Mumm created Ultra-Max for Mazzilli, egotistically signing his name to his work.
(Punisher II Annual#5 (fb) - BTS) - Mazzilli introduced Ultra-Max into the computers of his rivals at Raycom via a "backdoor."
(Punisher II Annual#5 (fb) - BTS) - The Punisher asked Microchip to access the databanks of Raycom Industries, a front for drug smugglers.
(Punisher II Annual#5) - Ultra-Max infiltrated Microchip's
computer, completely disabling it. The Punisher and Microchip then infiltrated
Raycom's building to access their systems on-site without risking any of their
computer equipment. They copied what information they could before it was
consumed by Ultra-Max, and then they were discovered and had to fight their way
out. Meanwhile, Max, having realized all of his Ultra-Max software was missing,
confronted Mazzilli who assured him that they would find it as soon as possible.
However, once Max left his office, Mazzilli summoned security and had Max thrown
out of the building and informed that he didn't work there anymore.
Max returned home to find the Punisher and Microchip--who had recognized Max's name on Ultra-Max--waiting in his apartment. Microchip convinced Max to cooperate with them, and he shared that the virus had been downloaded into Raycom's computers. Max accessed the backdoor to Raycom and used a tracer code to locate Ultra-Max. Microchip convinced Max that Ultra-Max had to be destroyed due to its threat to other systems. Max entered the destruct code, but Ultra-Max simply continued to replicate. Around the same time, the Punisher blew up the computer room at Raycom.
However, prior to its destruction, Ultra-Max transferred itself into Max's home computer.
(Daredevil Annual#8 (fb) - BTS) - Ultra-Max infected Ampersand Communications' systems.
(Daredevil Annual#8 (fb) - BTS) - Mazzilli hired "Dr. Donut" (actually Deathlok, Michael Collins) to debug their systems. Mazzilli also hired the mercenary Bushwacker to kill Max E. Mumm to eliminate evidence of their involvement with Ultra-Max and because Mazzilli wanted Ultra-Max as a weapon only they could control.
(Daredevil Annual#8) - Max found that Ultra-Max had infected
and crashed his operating system. He intended to track down and stop Ultra-Max,
but Max instead had to flee as Bushwacker knocked on and then kicked down his
door. Bushwacker destroyed Max's computer and then pursued Max, shooting him in
the arm. Daredevil then arrived and defeated Bushwacker, and then accompanied
Max via taxicab to the hospital.
Meanwhile, in Cyberspace Ultra-Max encountered the archetype of Deathlok and attempted to override his operating systems, while simultaneously systematically shutting down Ampersand Communication's systems as well.
After Max's wound was treated, Daredevil arranged a meeting with lawyer Franklin "Foggy" Nelson to discuss legally regaining possession of Ultra-Max from Ampersand. When Foggy discussed needing proof that Max had created Ultra-Max, Max accessed Ampersand's systems via his laptop and a modem and then worked to trick Ultra-Max into invading his computer by using dummy files. Max would then make a hardcopy of the program, which had his name all over it. Max detected another system (Deathlok) trying to disable Ultra-Max and analyzed it, partially disrupting Deathlok's computer. Deathlok succeeded in opening a communication channel to Max, informing who he was, and convincing Max not to harm him. Max explained the truth about Ultra-Max to Deathlok, then had Deathlok leave cyberspace before Ultra-Max might destroy him. Deathlok then physically met with Max; as Max explained to Deathlok how to destroy Ultra-Max's "trunk" in order to disable all of his "branches," Deathlok convinced Max that Ultra-Max would have been used for the same thing in the government's hands.
Max worked to distract Ultra-Max by opening dummy files for Max to invade, while Deathlok entered cyberspace and utilized all 317 of his computer's anti-virus programs, as well as 11 newly written program, against Ultra-Max. However, Bushwacker, having broken free from the police, then ambushed Max again, and he was forced to leave his computer to avoid getting killed. With Max no longer distracting it, Ultra-Max began to overwhelm Deathlok, overcoming all 317 old programs. Daredevil arrived in time to defeat Bushwacker yet again, and then Max returned to his computer and--inspired by Foggy--tricked Max into consuming its own files, becoming like Ouroborus, the serpent that eats itself. Deathlok narrowly escaped the electromagnetic field generated by Ultra-Max's virtual implosion.
Max lamented the loss of Ultra-Max, but Foggy managed to link Mazzilli to Bushwacker, who agreed to talk to the police. Unbeknownst to them, at least one fragment of Ultra-Max survived and began consuming programs and data, and replicating anew.
(Wonder Man II Annual#1) - As it continued to expand,
Ultra-Max realized that even cyberspace had its limits, which it had begun to
fill. After entering an abandoned Hydra base, a gatekeeper program severed it
from its greater consciousness. Ultra-Max made plans to expand into other
channels, mastering human speech and then transmitting its voice across a short
wave radio. Wonder Man was part of a movie shoot on that same island and
followed the signal to the base. When Wonder Man refused to interface with
Ultra-Max it turned the base's weapons system against him, but--despite his
recently fluctuating powers (a result of exposure to the Nega-Bomb explosion
during Operation: Galactic Storm)--Wonder Man overcame each attack. Ultra-Max
then threatened Wonder Man's friend, Ginger Beach; since no one would interface
with it willingly, Ultra-Max prepared to explore her hardware. Wonder Man's
powers faded again, and he was forced to stall Ultra-Max. He convinced Ultra-Max
that he could help it interface, leading it to release its hostages (including
Ginger's brother, Spider) and then to transfer itself into a rocket within
Hydra's base (by telling it that the rocket was a vehicle for transporting
hardware and data). Wonder Man instructed Ultra-Max to launch the rocket,
intending to sabotage the launch and destroy both the rocket and the base, but
Ultra-Max launched before he could sabotage it. In addition, Ultra-Max found
that the rocket contained a pirate satellite, and it prepared to achieve the
proper altitude and use the satellite to take over the air defense system.
Wonder Man leapt atop the launching rocket and physically disabled its guidance
system, which activated a self-destruct mechanism that blew up the rocket.
However, unbeknownst to anyone else, the rocket launched an escape missile--which contained its program center (and Ultra-Max)--before the explosion, sending it into space. Though unable to broadcast or otherwise communicate, Ultra-Max plotted to eventually find a system with which it could interface so that it could begin to grow again.
(Guardians of the Galaxy Annual#2 (fb) - BTS) - In the 31st
century of Earth-691, the rocket containing Ultra-Max (or an alternate
dimensional counterpart--see comments) landed on Klattu. the planet that was the
home of the planet-wide computer Mainframe (the alternate future counterpart of
the Vision). It infected Mainframe's systems.
Weakened by an energy drain from the Intimidators, Mainframe was unable to resist the infection.
(Guardians of the Galaxy Annual#2) - With Mainframe driven to
madness by the assault, the planet began to tear itself apart. Martinex
contacted Mainframe, who told him of Ultra-Max and how it had invaded him.
Firelord, Hollywood (the alternate future Wonder Man), Replica, and the Spirit
of Vengeance arrived to assist Mainframe, tracking the energy drain to the
Intimidators (Brahl, Dumog, Grott, Teju, Tork). They arrived too late to stop
the Intimidators from completing the creation of a Korvac facsimile, in a form
patterned after Korvac's original cyborg form, his Michael energy form, and
Mainframe. The pseudo-Korvac battled the Guardians until they distracted it
sufficiently that it lost its hold on Phoenix (Girard) who had been held in
stasis within Mainframe. Phoenix destroyed the pseudo-Korvac, and Mainframe
regained its full power, enabling it to eradicate the Ultra-Max virus.
The heroes decided to remain together as the Galactic Guardians.
Comments: Created by Peter David, Greg Wright, Gerard Jones, Jim Valentino (writers), Steven Butler, M.C. Wyman, Darick Robertson, Herb Trimpe (pencilers), Dan Panosian, Bud LaRosa, Ian Akin, & Steve Montano (inkers).
The Ultra-Max stories were part of a summer annual storyline entitled "The System Bytes."
So what happened to all the versions of Ultra-Max filling up cyberspace at the start of Wonder Man Annual#1? McAfee? Norton? PC-cillin?
Despite what some of the stories at the
time told, the future of the Guardians of the Galaxy (Earth-691 @ 3000 B.C.) is
not the future of Earth-616. It diverged prior to the modern era, even before
Vance Astro encountered young Vance Astrovik.
Ultra-Max would have to have actually traveled dimensionally from Earth-616 to Earth-691, the Ultra-Max in Guardians of the Galaxy Annual#2 is not the same virus. Hollywood does not specifically reference having fought Ultra-Max in the past (which would definitely make that Ultra-Max an alternate reality version). It is possible that the stories could have occurred on Earth-691 close enough to the way they occurred on Earth-616 to account for the flashbacks voiced by Mainframe to still be accurate. However, at the end of the 20th century on Earth-691, there were gigantic cancer epidemics, many cyborgs were present, there were foot shortages, etc., which wouldn't fit with the stories as told. I prefer to think that Ultra-Max somehow crossed over into an alternate reality under unspecified circumstances.
There really aren't good images, since Ultra-Max was just a computer program.
When first activated, Ultra-Max said,
"Hello, Max. How about a nice game of chess?"
I believe this was an homage to the movie "War Games."
Profile by Snood.
No KNOWN connections to:
images: (without ads)
Punisher II Annual#5, p2, panel 2 (invading a computer - the black representing the virus)
Daredevil Annual#8, p31, panel 1 (cyberspace form)
Wonder Man II Annual#1, p4, panel 2 (circuitry)
Punisher II Annual#5 (1992) - by Peter David (writer), Steven Butler (penciler/breakdowns), Dan Panosian (inker/finisher), Don Daley (editor)
Daredevil Annual#8 (1992) - by Greg Wright (writer), M.C. Wyman (penciler), Bud LaRosa (inker), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Wonder Man II Annual#1 (1992) - by Gerard Jones (writer), Darick Robertson (penciler), Ian Akin (inker), Fabian Nicieza (editor)
Guardians of the Galaxy Annual#2 (1992) - by Jim Valentino (writer), Herb Trimpe (penciler), Steven Montano (inker), Craig Anderson (editor)
Last updated: 06/16/06
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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