YMMV / The Ultimates

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Is Red Skull lying about wanting a better life? Is he just trying to screw with Fury? Is he deluding himself? Is he just trying to justify his actions?
    • Given that this version of Captain America has the same origin as his 616 counterpartnote , one has to wonder if his abrasive personality and Jerk Ass tendencies is a case of the bullied becoming The Bully. Especially with his treatment of Abdul al-Rahman, who went on to be the Colonel, Iran's answer to Captain America.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: To say that Marvel had absolutely no faith in the Avengers is an understatement, as they wouldn't even allow Mark Millar to actually call the team "Avengers." Their reasoning? Ultimate Marvel was not only a relaunch to cater to the 21st century, but also a collection of story pitches for major movie studios to pick and choose material from easily. Needless to say, Millar's revamp of the team was somewhat influential.
  • Ass Pull: Tony's brain tumor was actually an Infinity Gem. How that makes sense is anyone's guess.
  • Awesome Art: Bryan Hitch's knack for realism and talent for "widescreen" panels make the reader feel like he/she is watching a big budget action movie on in a comic book. Coupled with Mark Millar's gritty and cynical deconstruction style of writing, is it any wonder the first two volumes are so fondly remembered?
  • Broken Base: This being a reimagining of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, you can't win them all.
    • Ultimate Captain America: a more realistic portrayal of what would happen if someone like him woke up several decades into the future to a technologically advanced but far more crass and vulgar society, or an overly jingoistic joke of a beloved character? His infamous "You think this letter on my head stands for France!?" line he gives to Herr Kleiser certainly dind't help matters.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: During Jeph Loeb's run, the series seemed more concerned with just making it Darker and Edgier, without any good reason or paying any respect to the canon.
  • Even Better Sequel: The first series is generally considered great, but Ultimates II is considered better by many for its more complex story, stronger action scenes, and more charismatic villains.
  • Franchise Original Sin: Jeph Loeb's run started the downfall of the Ultimate line, but even the early stuff by Mark Millar has started to be criticized for the same reasons the later stuff has been, including making the protagonists into very dark antiheroes, and his characterizations of the Hulk being a cannibal and Hank Pym an unrepentant abusive husband.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: After the third volume, Quicksilver questioning Wanda if she was flirting with one of Hank Pym's robots turned from just a little Mythology Gag regarding her relationship with Vision into this for two reasons: the first being that the robot fell in love with her, resulting in it becoming Ultimate Ultron and murdering her, alongside the realization that that comment might have been Quicksilver being jealous.
  • Fridge Logic: The DNA-specific bullet. Ultron calls this whole thing a crime of passion, and he apparently only shot Scarlet Witch the moment he saw that she and Pietro were lovers. Yet he'd been carrying a bullet coded to her DNA around all this time?
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In The Ultimates 3, the Blob says to Wasp "[He's] going to eat [her] up." Come Ultimatum, he makes good on this.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Nick Fury gives us this little gem: "This nose has been smashed more often than Robert Downey Jr."
    • While on the subject, when the Ultimates and Fury are sitting around discussing who would play them in a potential movie adaptation of their exploits, Nick Fury is quick to say that he would want to have none other than Samuel L. Jackson cast as him and only him with no exceptions. Six years later, who else but the most famous most baddest of mofos would approach Tony Stark (played by RDJ) to discuss the Avenger Initiative? Though of course, Fury was already drawn to resemble Jackson on the condition that he could play Fury in movies.
    • Ultimate Hawkeye is a violent sociopath with the ability to turn any thrown object into a deadly weapon, making him an Expy of Daredevil antagonist Bullseye. Years later during Dark Reign, Norman Osborn has several villains take on the identities of the Avengers; guess who Bullseye disguises himself as?
    • A minor example, but the introduction for the hardcover collection of the first series happens to be written by Joss Whedon.
    • According to Mark Millar, Marvel considered the Avengers so much of a Franchise Zombie that they did not want to have an Ultimate version of it, and when they finally accepted, they asked that the team was renamed. Yes, the same Avengers that became a worldwide film juggernaut by adapting Millar's take on them.
  • Jerkass Woobie: A lot in this series since even the heroes are hardly the nicest people.
    • Captain America has a big chip on his shoulder and very dated views but we're frequently shown that deep down, he is a good guy lost in a world that doesn't make sense to him. Immediately after being unfrozen, he learns his girlfriend moved on, he has outlived at least one of his brother's children, and almost everyone he knew from before is dead.
    • Iron Man is even more arrogant and sleazy than his mainstream counterpart. He's fallen into alcoholism due to the constant pain of an inoperable tumor.
    • Bruce Banner after becoming a villain. It comes after a lot of getting pushed around.
    • Hawkeye's a Psycho for Hire and a Jerk Ass but he was a genuinely loving family man. After their deaths, he's not so secretly suicidal.
    • Quicksilver is an incestuous murderer and an unapologetic terrorist but considering he was abandoned by his mother at a young age and left to be raised by an abusive monster of a father, it's almost lucky he isn't worse.
    • Red Wasp is a former terrorist, who has some truly horrific baggage, and it's all but outright stated she's being forced into performing wet-work for the U.S. government when she first appears.
    • Red Skull of all people is revealed to be one. In this series, he's not just a Monster, he's the ultimate walking talking Moral Event Horizon. But what was his goal? He wanted to go back in time and save his father from being frozen so that he could marry his mother and they could all be a family because he utterly hated his life as a Tyke Bomb. It doesn't help that his final scene is saying goodbye to his mother before reflecting on his complete mess of a life and how all he wanted was a happy ending to it all before being executed by Red Wasp. But then again, despite having his goal in hand, he still decided to use it to be a sadistic dick to the Avengers some more instead of immediately using it to make it so his actions never happened.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Captain America will regularly perform incredible combat strategies that are calculated within seconds, and stated outright that he seems to have "always winning" as an actual power. He will simultaneously sprout callous (from anybody else extremely arrogant sounding) Jerkass sentiments while performing them.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Millar used the story to advance his anti-war ideas, but some people simply took note that Captain America as a conservative asshole was so cool... Millar explains it best: "People would say, "I joined the army after reading The Ultimates because I wanted to make a difference in the Middle East," and I was like, "Well, I kinda meant the opposite of that! And I kinda like that, though, because I do quite like it being open to interpretation."
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Black Widow arranging for the deaths of Hawkeye's family.
    • For Hank Pym, there his attempt to kill the Wasp after the two have an argument, including spraying her with bug spray and siccing ants on her after she shrunk.
    • For Ultimate Reed Richards, if orchestrating the city consuming Germany was not be enough, then assassinating the president by blowing up Washington D.C. definitely counts.
    • The Red Skull, like his mainstream counterpart has plenty, but one of his worst is threatening to kill the child of the woman who's become Swarm/Red Wasp if she didn't kill her husband—only to kill the baby, anyway, and have have her gang-raped.
  • Narm:
    • From Ultimate Avengers: "I voted for the hot Alaskan chick." As a Bond One-Liner.
    • Joshua Hale Filkov's run is practically fueled by it.
    • Vol. 3 gets special accolades for the worst Bond One-Liner imaginable:
    Ant-Man: "If she's the mother... I'm the mother-fucker!"
    • From Vol 1 The Hulk gives us this immortal line:
    Hulk: HULK WANT FREDDIE PRINZE JR!
    • In fact a majority of Hulk's lines fall directly into Narm territory. Especially the time he creepily told Thor that being pummeled by Thor's hammer "only makes Hulk hornier".
    • The reason Black Widow II and Nick Fury got divorced? Over a period of few months, he somehow cheated on her with every single female relative and friend she had.
    • From Ultimate: Avengers, the story of Red Skull's origin describes how he managed to kill an entire base of soldiers, but the art ruins it by showing a small swarm of GIs charging an unarmed teenager and getting slaughtered en-masse, rather than, say, using their guns to shoot him, making it look like they were just Too Dumb to Live. (Never mind the logic of how a teenager managed to kill an entire base of soldiers by himself, even as a Super Soldier.)
  • Never Live It Down:
    • The 616 version of Hank Pym hit Janet once during a mental breakdown, and he's been paying for it since. This version of Hank meanwhile is a straight-up Domestic Abuser who nearly kills her during an argument. And since this series was incredibly popular, this has only made the Never Live It Down even worse for 616-Hank.
    • Captain America's infamous "You think this letter on my head stands for France?" line is something that is often brought up by his detractors to this day.
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: There's a reason why after Ultimates 3 and Ultimatum bombed, Mark Millar's return provided some relief to fans.
  • Rooting for the Empire: The Ultimates are not pure good guys, they are a military unit used by the United States to pursue its expansionist agenda. The Liberators, on the other hand, are villains from several oppressed countries, who organize a terrorist attack that seeks to stop American imperialism. Given the Gray and Gray Morality of the series, along with Mark Millars own political beliefs, it's possible that he intended to invoke this trope.
  • Strawman Political: From all sides of the bale.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • The idea to make Ultimate Captain America display Deliberate Values Dissonance attracted a lot of controversy even before they famously took it into hamhanded directions, since his mainstream counterpart is famously portrayed as being forward-thinking, idealistic and enlightened for whatever era he's in.
    • Utterly averted with Ultimate Reed Richards. Fans and Critics alike praised his descent into villainy.
      • This was played straight when Brian Michael Bendis and Josh Fialkov tried to redeem him. Once Reed was back in the hands of Jonathan Hickman, he returned to his evil glory, to the rejoicing of the fans.
    • The All-New Ultimates take on Jessica Drew, from the costume to the new alias. A lot of people aren't happy with the changes, which is even easier to notice since she was a big Ensemble Dark Horse before the series started.


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