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The Ultra-Humanite is a character, a supervillain appearing in stories published by DC Comics. The Ultra-Humanite first appeared in Action Comics #13 in 1939 and is one of the earlier comic-book supervillains.
The Ultra-Humanite is the first supervillain Superman faced. He was designed to be the polar opposite of Superman: while Superman is a hero with superhuman strength, Ultra-Humanite is a criminal mastermind who has a crippled body but a highly advanced intellect.
Superman first discovers Ultra-Humanite as the mastermind behind a series of crimes with criminals wielding advanced technological weapons. After a series of battles with Superman, the Ultra-Humanite is presumed killed. Superman later encounters the Ultra-Humanite alive in the body of actress Delores Winters. The Ultra-Humanite explains that he kidnapped Winters and replaced her brain with his own.
Siegel and Shuster replaced the Ultra-Humanite as Superman's archfoe when Lex Luthor was introduced into the Superman comic. Originally, Luthor was depicted as a mad scientist with a full head of red hair. An artist later mistakenly drew Luthor with a bald head and Siegel approved of Luthor's new look.Comics Should Be Good! » Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #79 Because Siegel and Shuster didn't need two bald mad scientists battling Superman, they dropped the Ultra-Humanite from Superman comics in favor of Luthor. The Ultra-Humanite made his last Superman appearance in Action Comics #21 (1940) and made no further comic book appearances for several decades.
Silver Age and the Multiverse
With the introduction of DC's multiverse system, the continuity of Golden Age Superman stories and the Ultra-Humanite were retroactively placed on Earth-Two, the Earth of DC's Golden Age characters. The Ultra-Humanite was reintroduced during the Silver Age as a recurring villain in the Mr. and Mrs. Superman feature in the Superman Family anthology comic. Mr. and Mrs. Superman consists of stories about the early years of the marriage between the Earth-Two Superman and Lois Lane, and features a number of Golden Age Superman villains of which the Ultra-Humanite is the most prominent. In the annual JLA/JSA teamup in Justice League of America #195-197, the Ultra-Humanite transfers his consciousness to an albino ape body and becomes a major super-villain of Earth-Two. Afterwards, the Ultra-Humanite regularly appears in DC comics fighting against the All-Star Squadron in the 1940s and against the Justice Society of America and Infinity, Inc. in the decades since World War II.
After the 1985-1986 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths, Superman's history was rewritten in The Man of Steel miniseries, and the Earth-Two Superman was removed from continuity. However, the Ultra-Humanite was excluded from Superman's reboot, and his post-Crisis history remained tied to the 1940s and to the Justice Society of America and All-Star Squadron. Previous appearances of the Ultra-Humanite fighting Golden Age Superman in the 1940s in Action Comics #13-21 and in All-Star Squadron were re-told for the sake of continuity (a technique known as retconning) to show him having fought other 1940s heroes.
The first three issues of Legends of the DC Universe feature the post-Crisis Superman, early in his career, battling a scientist named Morgan Wilde who, angered by the death of his wife, sworn revenge on Luthor and gains the ability to transfer his "life essence" (called "Under-Light") as the U.L.T.R.A. Humanite. The canonical status of this story is unclear. This may have been an attempt to retroactively place Ultra-Humanite into the Post-Crisis Superman's history.
The Ultra-Humanite's most ambitious scheme occurs in the "Stealing Thunder" JSA comic storyline, where, in the aged body of Johnny Thunder, he deceives Jakeem Thunder into handing over his magical pen. With the power of the omnipotent Thunderbolt, Ultra-Humanite first restores his body's youth, and then proceeded to take over the world. Under his rule, Earth is transformed into essentially a single mind, with nearly every metahuman becoming an extension of the Ultra-Humanite.
However, a select few heroes manage to escape the control of the Ultra-Humanite: Jakeem Thunder, Captain Marvel, Hourman, the third Crimson Avenger, Power Girl, Sand, and the second Icicle. Wildcat and Hector Hall are also free--Wildcat as an apparent side effect of his 'nine lives', and Hall so that he could summon the garb of Doctor Fate and thus provide the Ultra-Humanite with access to Nabu's power. However, both are held captive by the Ultra-Humanite. The Ultra-Humanite is killed by the Crimson Avenger (although the Icicle nearly beats her to it) as revenge for the death of the first Crimson Avenger, who dies earlier in an explosion triggered by the Ultra-Humanite.
One Year Later
Still later, the Delores Winters-version of Ultra-Humanite is rescued from a prison hospital by parties unknown and apparently brought to the future, where the villain was mentioned as attempting to acquire a Mento-helmet in Justice League of America vol. 2 #1. Later, her brain is removed and placed in the body of an albino ape born in Gorilla City, resuming the classic Ultra-Humanite appearance.'Justice League of America v2 #9. He is seen working with Per Degaton, Black Beetle, Despero. In Booster Gold #5, it is revealed that they are the ones behind Rex Hunter and Supernova's time-altering tactics, as members of the group calling themselves the "Time Stealers".
In the miniseries, The Golden Age, the Ultra-Humanite places his brain into the body of Tex Thomson, known as the "Americommando". He also arranges to place the brain of his ally, Adolf Hitler, into the body of Danny Dunbar, while simultaneously arranging to give Hitler (as Dunbar) super-powers.
In Superman & Batman: Generations, the Ultra-Humanite transfers his mind into Lex Luthor, a move that highlights the similarities between the two villains. Toward the conclusion of the story, he dies when he tries to steal Superman's body; although powerless, Superman manages to hit him with a shard of metal on the floor, which accidentally triggers an electric shock that kills the Ultra-Humanite.
The Ultra-Humanite, a mad scientist, in addition to his scientific genius, has the power to transfer his brain into another body. Various bodies occupied over the years include actress Delores Winters, a giant insect, a Tyrannosaurus rex, a mutated albino gorilla (his best-known and most frequently revisited form), Justice Society of America member Johnny Thunder, and a glass dome.
The Ultra-Humanite appears in his gorilla body form in three episodes of the Justice League animated series voiced by Ian Buchanan. In this version, he is depicted as a cultured intellectual criminal with a deep love for classical music. The animated series version is shown to be somewhat more benevolent than his comic counterpart, as he, in one way or another, always helped the primary protagonist in almost every episode he appeared in, albeit for his own reasons.
His appreciation of music becomes a major component of the denouement of the episode "Injustice For All", when Batman persuades the Ultra-Humanite to turn over Lex Luthor to the authorities in return for a large sum of money which is only described as being double what Luthor is paying him. Ultra-Humanite then donates the money to public broadcasting, specifically opera on television so it would play longer (and possibly louder) which annoyed Luthor, who is in the next cell. In "Comfort and Joy", he helps The Flash to repair a toy he had damaged in their battle, which The Flash was attempting to buy for some orphans. He reprograms the normally obnoxious talking toy to recite stories to the children.
The Ultra-Humanite's origin in the animated series is unknown since this world did not include an explicit JSA for him to fight, but a passing reference while talking to The Flash during the Christmas episode "Comfort and Joy" suggests he once had a more normal appearance.