…who should not be confused with Ultra, Ultra Boy, Ultragirl, Ultraman ( Japanese or American version), Captain Ultra, Ultra the Multi-Alien, the Ultra-Humanite, Gary Concord the Ultra-Man, Ultraforce, or Lords of the Ultra Realm.
Ultraa was the first superhero of Earth-Prime, which was the plane of existence where we readers dwelled in the days before Crisis of Infinite Earths did away with DC’s multiversal cosmology.
Ultraa was meta before it was cool, yo.
Ultraa was supposed to be our universe’s equivalent to Superman, if Superman’s spaceship crashed in a white American writer’s hazy approximation of an Australian Aboriginal community and the infant alien grew up to resemble a ‘roided-out Robin Gibb.
Ultraa’s decision to reveal himself to our world was complicated by “misunderstandings” with the Air Force, the Justice League, and a goofy alien invader who rode around in an inverse pyramid ship.
The Justice League was on Earth-Prime because they were accidentally summoned there by the psychic turbulence caused by “Who is Your Favorite League Member” poll in the letters page of their comic series. The stranded heroes were forced to seek out the help of DC editor Julius Schwartz, who offered to help them get home. (A quid pro quo lapdance from Black Canary was not mentioned, but could be inferred from the historical record.)
I am reminded of this sequence whenever some fanboy waxes nostalgic for the grandeur of the old school DC Multiverse.
Ultraa realized that Earth-Prime was not ready for superheroes and accompanied the League members back to Earth-1. Upon arriving in his new home, Ultraa embarked on a series of bad decisions.
First he tried to using an apathy generator to eliminate all superhumans from the world…
…then he teamed up with a shady lawyer who was actually an alien hivemind composed of sentient cotton candy that wanted to steal all earth’s hydrogen. (because SCIENCE has shown us that hydrogen is the rarest of substances and totally doesn’t constitute three-quarters of the universe’s total mass).
Ultraa truly hit the skids, however, when he hooked up with a petty criminal to rob Atlantic City’s casinos. This heinous (and pathetic) act caused the Justice League to unleash the most dire sanction in their arsenal…
…having a jilted, mopey Hawkman engage in a heart-to-heart rap with the morally confused transdimensional expat.
“You think you have it bad? My life is nothing but one doomed relaunch after another. I had to share a book with the Atom, for fuck’s sake. You’d think ‘dude with wings who punches shit’ would be easy enough to pull off, but noooooooooo — they keep adding more layers of stupid mysticism and sci-fi cliches to the package. Even Aquaman gets more respect.”
Ultraa promptly returned to the Outback to live his life among the broad caricatures of an ancient indigenous culture.
Though Ultraa’s Bronze Age adventures were retconned out of the post-Crisis DC Universe, a Chromium Age incarnation of the character eventually popped up in an issue of Justice League Quarterly as a would be suitor for Maxima, the horny Queen of Planet Hackey-sack.
The less said about that waking nightmare, the better.
Ultraa was the thinnest of characters sustained by the thinnest of concepts and some of the most mediocre, boilerplate stories the Bronze Age JLA had to offer. Even as a kid, I felt there was something horribly goofy and offputting about Ultraa — which had less to do with the precocious sophistication of an inveterate paste-eater than it does with the inecapable truth that the so-called “Ultimate Warrior” (no to be confused with this guy) was the very definition of Nobody’s Favorite.