All your favorite Marvel superheroes... only jerkier.
The idea behind The Avengers is that the Marvel Universe's biggest players all get together and fight all the biggest supervillains they can't defeat individually, whereas Ultimates 2 is an exploration of what happens when a bunch of ordinary people are turned into super-soldiers and being groomed to fight the real-life war on terror.
Marvel Comics reimagining of The Avengers as part of their new Ultimate Marvel continuity, courtesy of Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch. As the above quote says, this series is not merely a retelling of the classic crossover superhero team, but goes the extra mile and reimagines the Avengers in this reality as a superhuman strike force team founded by S.H.I.E.L.D. as an attempt to curb the rising threat of super terrorism and other Persons of Mass Destruction. The first two volumes were well received and their influence can be felt in Marvels Cinematic Universe. The Ultimates 3 was penned by Jeph Loeb and Joe Madureira and wasn't very well received and led to the universally reviled event known as Ultimatum. After that, the concept was rebooted into two series: Ultimate Avengers and New Ultimates. Ultimate Avengers, by Millar and various artists was told over the course of 3 six issue arcs, centering on the returned Ultimate Nick Fury, Hawkeye along with featuring new Ultimate versions of Marvel characters and original creations for the team of Black Ops super heroes. New Ultimates by Loeb and Frank Cho told the story of most of the remaining original Ultimate team, including Captain America as they faced off against another threat.The two teams would clash later on in the Ultimate Avengers vs New Ultimates crossover,which tied into the Ultimate line event "The Death of Spider-Man" leading to a line reboot that had The Ultimates get another series titled Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates, as well as giving Ultimate Hawkeye his own mini-series by Jonathan Hickman, until after issue 12, where Sam Humphries takes over as writer of the team. After issue 25, Joshua Hale Fialkov, writer of I, Vampire becomes the writer of the team.It has recently been announced that following Cataclysm, the title will be relaunched as part of the Marvel NOW! initiative with a brand new cast and creative team. Written by Michel Fiffe and drawn by Amilcar Pinna, the book will feature Spider-Man (Miles Morales), Cloak & Dagger, Kitty Pryde, Bombshell, and the newest Black Widow (Jessica Drew).The comic's main series was made up of the following series:
The Ultimates. 13 issues, from March, 2002 to April, 2004.
The Ultimates 2. 13 issues, from February, 2005 to February, 2007.
The Ultimates 3. 5 issues, from February to November, 2008.
Ultimate Comics: Avengers. 18 issues (over 3 numbered mini series), August 2009 to January 2011.
New Ultimates. 5 issues, from March 2010 to February 2011.
Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates. 31 issues, from August 2011 to November 2013.
Cataclysm: The Ultimates. 3 issues, from November 2013 to January 2014.
All-New Ultimates. Ongoing series beginning April 2014.
Alas, Poor Villain: The Red Skull, of all the people, gets this in his send-off. It turns out all he wanted was to use the Cosmic Cube be go back in time, prevent Cap from freezing, and then his parents (Steve and his then sweetheart, Gail) could marry and raise him themselves (since he utterly loathed his life as a Tykebomb. To his credit, he knew the evils he had committed, but by then, it was too late for him.
America Saves the Day: Deconstructed. The team is American, but other countries start worrying about the Ultimates being used in their countries, whether they like it or not. There's also several European Super-Soldier initiatives including Thor, who is really a Norwegian nutjob who stole the prototype tech for his country's hero. Except in the end he really isn't.
Anti-Hero: Most of the Ultimates members. The Avengers team in particular is a black-ops team meant to handle jobs the Ultimates won't take. They've recruited The Punisher into their ranks...
Anti-Hero Substitute: The Ultimate Avengers are a team of anti-hero substitutes for the, er... anti-heroes of the Ultimates.
Anti-Villain: Frank Simpson (Knonwn in the 616 as Nuke) has shades of this. Made as Captain America's replacement for The Vietnam War he was exposed to the less than glorious part of the war, with Agent Orange, killing children and women not just soldiers. He turned rogue for a reason.
The Colonel, who, despite being the leader of the villainous Liberators, is arguably one of the most sympathetic characters in the entire series. His death is surprisingly respectful and almost touching.
Anyone Can Die: Especially after the Creator Breakdown that led to Ultimatum. And in the new series, they killed the whole government sans one minister, who happened to stay away at the time of assassination.
As of Ultimates Disassembled, Pietro Maximoff is also dead.
Buttmonkey: Hank Pym. To be fair, he did discover the formula for how to make himself and others grow several stories high which SHIELD later uses to make several giant soldiers. Other than that however, He gets needlessly jealous of Captain America after the Hulk incident makes the Ultimates rockstars! (The Hulk easily took Pym and knocked him out despite the difference in height!)
After said incident with Banner, Pym beats Wasp to within an inch of her life after a heated argument turns into a domestic fight with superpowers. Thankfully Cap hears about what happened and righteously kicks Pym's sorry ass from which afterwards Pym is banned from the Ultimates
Canon Immigrant: Combined with Affirmative Action Legacy—the Nick Fury of the Ultimate Universe who was based on actor Samuel L. Jackson was played by Jackson in the movies and had a Expy introduced into the classic Marvel Universe as the original Nick Fury's black son.
Captain Patriotic: The EU's superheroes are all called Captain Britain, Captain France, Captain Italy, etcetera.
Chosen Conception Partner: Hela propositions Thor to impregnate her with a son in exchange for being allowed to leave the land of the dead. He agrees.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: A lot of these, due to the high writer turnover in the relaunched volume. Scott Lang joined the team at the end of Millar's Avengers vs. New Ultimates series, but was quickly forgotten about. The Falcon, Captain Britain II, and Spider-Woman all joined during Hickman's run, and again, were forgotten about. Then Stature joined during Humphries' run and you guessed it, was forgotten about. The Falcon and Stature did however resurface as part of Fury's Howling Commandos.
Comic Book Fantasy Casting: As mentioned elsewhere on this page, Nick Fury was deliberately modeled after Samuel Jackson and Nick Fury says in comic that Hollywood would most likely cast Jackson to play him. Six years later, Jackson plays Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In-Universe, the "Ultimate Avengers" are this to the Ultimates. The Ultimates are the Ultimate Marvel equivalent of The Avengers; the Ultimate Avengers, meanwhile, are a governmental black ops and assassination team.
As Curt Connors put it, "half the Ultimates group seem vaguely out of their minds", and even that's putting it lightly.
Enemy Mine: The Ultimates try to pull this with Xorn and Zorn on the City. It doesn't work, Xorn extends them an olive branch. Reed burns that bridge, and incurs the wrath of Zorn, who attacks him with a black hole.
Evil Counterpart: Everybody in the Liberators in Ultimates 2 is a parallel to one of the Ultimates.
Expy: Ultimate Thor is somewhat reminiscent of Technoviking.
Face-Heel Turn: Black Widow (Natasha), Nerd Hulk (via vampirism), Gregory Stark and Reed Richards.
Fantastic Racism: Deconstructed. If it is possible, humanity is more harsh with mutants in the Ultimate Universe, than in the original 616. So, when a new country emerges as a mutant haven, almost every mutant from the United States leaves for their own good. Even if the government suddenly realizes, that a few more superhuman individuals would be handy against the imposing threat of the City.
Flanderization: In some ways, the Ultimates are the original Avengers with each of their most noted personality aspects amplified to eleven though Millar managed to keep them interesting. The trope was fully unleashed, however, when Loeb took over.
The Ultimate Punisher may be even crazier than his mainstream counterpart. It takes a certain kind of mind to hear the words "keep up the good work" from the Ultimate version of Ghost Rider, who in this setting is explicitly a man sent back from Hell by Satan to claim the souls of sinners, and think "this is a message from my family/God himself".
From Bad to Worse: In the 2011 Hickman series. Hoo, boy. Asgard has been destroyed by Reed Richards and the City, with all the souls of the gods now existing solely in Thor's head. The S.E.A.R. has been taken over by the superhuman Celestials and Eternals. Germany has been completely absorbed by the City. A nuclear crisis is brewing in South America. Nick Fury just cannot catch a break.
Gambit Pileup: Fury pretty much says flat out in the first Annual that that's the way his world is.
Heroic Sacrifice: Ultimate Spider-Man, Peter Parker takes a bullet meant for Captain America. He possibly could have survived had he not had to then go face off against a group of his own rogues that were attacking his family.
Professor Leonard Williams aka "Tyrone Cash" is just as bad, if not worse. Banner in Hulk's mind at least vaguely cares about being a hero. Professor Williams, previously Banner's mentor and predecessor in taking a Hulk making serum, tore his way out of the lab after transforming, leaving behind his wife and son to ultimately become a brutal gangboss/warlord in Africa and Asia for the hell of it; he has to be blackmailed into joining the Avengers, and keeps up his illegal empire on the side.
Hope Spot: Fury says Banner is acquitted of 852 counts of murder as the Hulk, since the other Ultimates testified on his behalf about how he saved the world. Fury gives him champagne so they can celebrate. Bruce blacks out from the drugged champagne, and they take him and put him on an abandoned aircraft carrier next to a one-megaton nuclear bomb...
The conclusion to the Hydra arc, United We Stand has the final issue open this way. Cap reads a speech he wrote, and Tony scoffs saying it's a good thing he didn't have to read the downer speech because they won. Peter Parker then asks what is wrong, in a room filled with Scarlet Witch and Giant Man (And others) and Cap replies "No. This isn't what we fought for." and it bursts.
Human Weapon: Ultimates 2 has the rest of the world fearing that the US Government would start utilizing them in politically-motivated conflicts after Cap saved some hostages in the Middle East.
I'm a Humanitarian: Well, not human, but Hulk eats Kleiser. And the poop is collected by SHIELD just in case.
He'll eat humans too. One early issue, after a black out, has a character mention that when the power dropped, Bruce hulked out and he ate several of the doctors and nurses. He also eats a number of people in Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk as well. All There in the Manual says that it's just part of the Hulk's rebellion against the limits Bruce Banner sets — Banner refuses to eat meat at all, the Hulk pushes this beyond the bursting point by eating human beings.
Intangible Man: The Ghost, just like his 616 counterpart. Except He's got Iron Man armour.
Jerk Ass: On a team consisting mostly of jerks strongly aggressive personalities, Henry Pym stands out.
The second miniseries seemed to be trying to turn him into a Jerkass Woobie. He's basically kicked off the Ultimates, replaced with guys who can grow even bigger than he did (and it took him decades to get that big), the Wasp finalizes his divorce, Fury won't even take his ideas for free, he ends up on the D-list superteam The Defenders, and the only friend he can make is Bruce Banner, who is permanently imprisoned for his crimes as the Hulk. And then killed. He survives, though.
Masquerade: The Chitauri, Captain Marvel Mahr Vehl.
Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The series began with an unclear origin for the powers of Thor. Is he a real God from Asgard, attacked by a rival god with reality-warping powers? Or just a madman with delusions of grandeur, who stole high-tech weapons produced in Europe? In the first two story arcs, both options seemed plausible to the reader. The final answer only came at the end of the second arc.
He seemingly later uses it under the guise of Scorpio to work for Hydra. The name Scorpio itself being a nod to the original Nick Fury's sometimes evil twin brother using that title several times.
The Movie: The Direct to DVD Ultimate Avengers and its sequel were based off this series. One snarky fan pointed out that there had been more Ultimates Movies put out in a year than actual issues of the series.
Near Villain Victory: Repeatedly. The Ultimates always seem to manage to snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat.
Nuke 'em: The way the government tries to kill off the Hulk
Also, they send everything they've got against the city it gets all politicians killed. ALL.
Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Monica Chang, aka Black Widow II, taking on a Giant-Man squad after getting pinned underneath one's hand, next time we see her she is standing on on of them before leaping into the battle with the remaining troops sent against her by SHIELD.
Piggybacking on Hitler: Herr Kleiser was Captain America's chief nemesis during the Second World War, but was actually an alien known as a Chitauri (aka a Skrull) that ate the real Kleiser and impersonated him, backing Hitler by giving the Nazis advanced weaponry. Really, this was just a scheme to soften the Earth up for a full-scale invasion.
Reconstruction: After having been deconstructed for so many books, the arc United We Stand is followed by one called Reconstruction, trying to make the Ultimates more heroic than they've been in the past.
Redemption Equals Death: Quicksilver is killed by Kang after he realizes how monstrous her plan really is and tries to stop her.
Redshirt Army: 20,000 SHIELD elite troops go into the bag when the Chitauri nuke their own base in Micronesia. Also, most of the Ultimate Reserves are killed in the beginning of the Liberators attack.
Reed Richards Is Useless: Deconstructed. Plus points, that they did it with the Trope Namer itself. Because what happens, when you are the most brilliant mind in the planet, full of well intention, and the world just would not change, if you play according to the rules? You will go nuts, that is what happens. You definitely go nuts, buddy!
Replacement Goldfish: After Jarvis Gets shot, Tony replaces him with a new guy who's name he quickly forgets and calls Jarvis. Later still he's replaced (without noted reason) by an half-Asian woman. Whom he also names Jarvis.
Retcanon: Around the time Iron Man 3, Tony started dressing up like Iron Patriot. The Iron Patriot armor was later destroyed, allowing him to return to the Iron Man identity.
Slave to PR: The team itself. As a government supersoldier program with a tremendous budget they were constantly threatened by public scrutiny and for a while had to justify their budget in spite of the lack of an immediate threat. This lead to a major plot point that stretched through two volumes when Bruce Banner hulked out and the ultimates stopped him, SHIELD covered up the connection between Banner and Hulk turning a story about the team cleaning up it's own mess into their first public success.
Temporal Paradox: The City that Reed Richards designs in the latest series is one big ball of paradox, while it exists in the present, within its walls generations pass while Reed was expanding it with the outer edges closer to normal time. While inside its walls, time moved at an accelerated rate the closer one got to the Core, so as one moved within the City's limits the further into the future it traveled until the City stopped expanding. Which it wound up taking out Germany and a good chunk of Europe when they reach its current size.
Tempting Fate: Goes hand in hand with Oh, Crap. Honestly, if someone tries to say that Thor isn't the god of thunder, and is instead a deranged scientist, they will proved wrong mere moments later.
Zorn and Xorn, twin super mutants who were created by the South East Asian Republic, S.E.A.R, as part of a project aimed at wiping out mutants and later took over the entire nation and turned it into a mutant haven for any that wish to join them.
Twincest: Quicksilver And The Scarlet Witch. Funnily enough, they're the happiest, most stable, reliable and least asshole-ish of the team members. All through the series, Quicksilver has been claiming to have been running around behind the scenes saving people's asses, while this has never been actually shown to be true. Ultimates 2 reveals that he really has been doing so, as he goes into an Unstoppable Rage at the threat to his friends posed by another Fragile Speedster.
Unpleasable Fanbase: In-Universe. During Ultimates 2, people are worried about the Ultimates intervening in the affairs of other nations, They are simultaneously pissed off about them spending their billions of dollars of taxpayer money saving people from fires. Basically, they only want the Avengers to fight only major superhero threats, operate only on American soil, and to do it on less money. Yes, they're actually more stupid than their 616 counterpart.
The 616 Avengers are funded by a non-profit charitable organization, which is likely the only reason the public hasn't raked them over the coals regarding expenses.
Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Bruce was already well on his way to losing it, but it was overhearing his colleagues mocking him that drove him to re-inject himself with the serum that turned him into the Hulk.
Beach Episode: Issue #4 has the female members of the team going to Coney Island.
Curb-Stomp Battle: The New Ultimates' first formal outing as a team was not a pleasant experience. Jessica was poisoned, Cloak was injured, and Bombshell was so scared that she might have died that her powers started acting wonky and she quit the team afterwards.
Even Evil Has Standards: Diamondback beats up two of her henchmen for trying to take advantage of a paralysed Bombshell and warms them not to touch her.
Miles Morales was just another average joe until getting bit by a similar genetically altered spider that bit Peter Parker. Unlike the latter, Miles didn't really take well to his gift until Peter's death which Miles felt he could have prevented given the two's similar power set if he were less timid and more accepting of his spider powers. After Losing his mother to Venom, Miles threw in the towel and tried to live a normal life which lasted for a full year until recent events such as Cloak and Dagger breaking out of Roxxon headquarters and learning where the Venom symbiote came from caused him to reconsider.
Jessica Drew in this reality was a female clone of Peter Parker and was royally fed up with SHIELD turning a blind eye to the atrocities Roxxon was committing i.e genetically tampering with people's DNA to give them superpowers against their will in an attempt to compete with the likes of Justin Hammer or Norman Osborn
Bombshell was born with her powers due to her mother being experimented on by Roxxon while pregnant. After a life of crime, Lana wanted to see what it felt like to do good for a change and what better way to do that then get even with the ones responsible for your not-normal life!
Cloak and Dagger were just two regular hard working teenagers who happened to meet by chance and fell in love with one another. After a car crash on prom night left them comatose, Roxxon kidnapped them, faked their deaths and used their unconscious bodies as an excuse to illegally experiment on them. Naturally, the duo don't take too kindly to learning that Roxxon turned their lives upside down and are eager for payback!
Kitty Pride was once a member of the X-Men until Ultimatum wiped out quite a number of them. In addition, she was Peter Parker's former girlfriend and quite upset with his untimely death at the hands of Norman Osborn. For a time, she led a group of surviving mutants in the mutant sanctioned piece of land known as Utopia until conflict with Jean Grey led her to step down.
Mob War: Pretty much the main point of emphasis for the New Ultimates as, unlike the previous iteration who dealt with terrorists and invasions, the new Ultimates are more street level and focus on super powered gangs.
Rage Quit: After a disappointing defeat with the Serpent Skulls and her losing control of her power during the battle, Bombshell quits the team in a rather angry fashion. She returns by the next issue.
Skilled, but Na´ve: The new team is not exactly sure how to work as a team in the beginning as they no longer have SHIELD or government backing since SHIELD was shut down. They have only worked together twice prior to becoming an official team and both situations pail in comparison to what they face as a formal team.
Vigilante Man: Scourge is killing off Serpent Skulls and other gang members in order to incite gang warfare.