Comic Book / Ultimatum
I donít think anything quite sums it up like the fact that Ultimatum is a comic that doesnít have an ultimatum in it. Like the series itself, itís just something that someone thought sounded cool, and the more you think about it, the worse it gets.
Chris Sims, "Worst of the Worst"

It started off as a simple task. The Ultimate Marvel universe, originally created to appeal to new readers without fear of years of Back Story or Retcon, had begun to stagnate. Sales had lowered and some series, such as Ultimate X-Men and Ultimate Fantastic Four, had fallen into Seasonal Rot. So the powers behind Marvel came up with a plan to renew reader interest by means of a Crisis Crossover, a Wham Episode which would bring all the characters of the Ultimate Marvel universe and shake up the status quo to make a new jumping on point for new readers, written by Jeph Loeb.

It starts with Magneto stealing Thor's hammer, swearing to avenge his children's deaths at the hands of the Ultimates, and he uses its powers to flood New York and cause catastrophic natural disasters around the world. And then, well, things pretty much go downhill from there. The series lasted for 5 issues (January - September, 2009).

Ultimatum contains examples of:

  • Always Save the Girl: Subverted in the Fantastic Four section. Reed prioritizes stopping Doom over saving Sue, leaving Ben to help her. She is not happy once she's better.
  • Anyone Can Die: And we mean ANYONE. Although it turned out that Death Is Cheap in a handful of cases, most of the characters that died in this miniseries were permanently put down for the count. Here's a full list of deaths.
    • Apparently, the initial thought was that Ultimatum would serve as a reboot for the entire Ultimates universe. It turned out to not be the case, so the universe had to deal with with the aftermath.
  • Artistic License Ė Law: In the aftermath, the U.S. government creates and passes a law rendering just being a Mutant illegal, to the extent anyone found being a mutant is arrested without trial. In other words, a bill of attainder, which are meant to be forbidden.
  • Artistic License Ė Physics: Reed gives two explanations for how Magneto caused the tidal wave. Either he reversed the earth's magnetic poles (which wouldn't have much effect) or he reversed the axis (which he would have no power to do). Some have speculated that he could have caused the tectonic shifts necessary to create a tidal wave by moving large metal reserves in the earth's crust, but this is never stated in the story.
  • Crisis Crossover: The first major one for the entire Ultimate Marvel line.
  • Darker and Edgier: The violence in this series is cranked to an all-time high, and nobody comes out of the catastrophe unchanged.
  • Disney Death:
    • Spider-Man manages to survive his near-death experience, presumably because Bendis didn't want him killed off.
    • Valkyrie and Captain America too, being resurrected by Thor's sacrifice.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The reason why Magneto caused the apocalypse was to get back at the Ultimates for the deaths of his children. Bit of an overreaction there, dude. It should further be noted that he was horribly, horribly abusive to said children, to the point of crippling his son at one point just for siding against him, further adding to his hypocrisy.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: It probably isn't a coincidence that when Cyclops is killed, the only two X-Men arrested are the black woman and the gay Russian.
  • Downer Ending: Various heroes are dead, the X-Men (what's left of them) and Fantastic Four disband, Quicksilver is working for a mysterious evil individual, and Mutants are even more discriminated against than they previously were.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Just about everyone who dies.
  • Gorn: The comic is infamous for this: Blob devouring Wasp's ripped guts, Hank Pym getting blown up by suicide bomber Multiple Man, complete with flying guts and a skeleton being incinerated, Doctor Strange getting squeezed by his own cape until his head graphically explodes, etc.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Yellowjacket gathers the Madrox dupes suicide bombing the Triskellion and takes them out to sea to save the rest of the Ultimates.
  • Idiot Ball: Among the more glaring examples, the final issue has the X-Men going along with the U.S. government declaring mutants completely illegal, along with Jean and Rogue doing nothing to help Storm and Colossus when they're arrested.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: When Hawkeye finds Wasp's body, it's had a chunk bitten out of it by The Blob, who comments that it "tastes like chicken".
  • Infant Immortality: Notably, the mostly teenage cast of Ultimate Spider-Man survives untouched, as do the youngest members of the X-Men and all of the Fantastic Four.
  • Killed Off for Real: See directly below. But more specifically, Professor X, Wolverine, and Magneto are gone, among many other really big names.
  • Kill 'em All: No kidding.
  • Mood Whiplash: We go from the truly awesome moment of Cap and Thor fighting the hordes of the undead to the nauseating scene of the Blob cannibalizing the Wasp.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Magneto has this after learning the truth about mutants who in this universe are a result of genetic experimentation, leads to a brief Villainous Breakdown before Cyclops kills him with an optic blast.
  • Neck Snap: How Magneto kills Professor X.
  • Rasputinian Death:
    • Wolverine's; first almost all his soft tissue is blasted away, then his skeleton is torn apart, then the individual cells of his last remaining bones are destroyed.
    • Magneto, as well. His hand is cut off by Valkyrie, Wolverine goes to town on him, and finally Cyclops disintegrates his head.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: Could be the comic codifier. With the amount of ridiculous deaths, it starts to seem like someone at Marvel was using this as some sort of catharsis. note 
  • Selective Magnetism: Magneto is seen somehow treating a bleeding wound using magnetism. Probably the best explanation (in that it wouldn't work, but sounds almost possible if you don't know) is that he's controlling the iron in blood.
  • Shoot the Dog: At the end, after hearing Reed talk about how much of a threat Dr. Doom is, Ben quietly goes to Latveria, kills Doom, and leaves.
  • Tastes Like Chicken: The Blob says this exact line when he's eating the Wasp.
  • Team Killer: For some odd reason, Longshot, Forge, Detonator and Hard-Drive are among Magneto's victims despite being Brotherhood members. It can't even be excused as accidentally casualties in the wide-scale destruction as Mystique mentions having them captured and tortured in the Savage Lands.
  • Wham Episode: The entire exercise of the series was to shift everything around so much that the status quo could never return.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Hawkeye gets a damn justified one on Captain America when he makes a snarky comment about Hank Pym's Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Your Head A-Splode: Dr. Strange's death.