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Comic Book / Ultimate Origins

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Everything starts here!
"What Ultimate Origin is going to do is sort of tell us how it all began. ... The Ultimate Universe isn't very old, so this isn't a cosmic story. You're not going to see the birth of a planet. What you'll see is how the superhero community was introduced into the human population. So you'll learn the importance of things like the Super Soldier program, which has been hinted at in Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimates 1 and 2. Now, Brian is going to connect the dots."

Ultimate Origins is a limited series by Brian Bendis and Butch Guice that tells the Meta Origin of Ultimate Marvel.

In the darkest hours of World War II, the American government seeks to create a supersoldier, to win their war against the Axis and their otherworldly allies. But their Project: Rebirth has so far had little to no success. Meanwhile, in the theatre of war, a pair of soldiers called Nick Fury and James Howlett are arrested for theft.

In the modern day, the Fantastic Four are called in to SHIELD's Project Pegasus, to examine a mysterious item that has been sitting in the vaults since World War II.

Secrets are about to come to light, dealing with Fury, and Howlett, the origins of Captain America, Magneto, and mutantkind as a whole. But what is the connection?


  • Been There, Shaped History: Inverted. It's Captain America's absence (as he fell in the Arctic and was presumed dead after stopping a Nazi / Chitauri rocket) which led the US, in the lack of their supersoldier, to use the atomic bomb against Japan.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: Steve Rogers is surprised to learn that the army already had a file on him. They have a file on everyone: the country is at war.
  • Call-Back:
    • The Fantastic Four meet Wendell Vaughn at Project: PEGASUS, having previously been there at the beginning Ultimate Power (possibly not coincidentally, during the part written by Brian Bendis).
    • The opening scene of issue 4 has a repeat of a scene from Mark Millar's run of Ultimate X-Men: Namely, Logan "rescuing" Nick Fury from a Talbian attack (the same attack that takes Fury's eye). Then we see what happened after.
    • The final flashback of issue 5 focuses of Magneto crippling Charles, also from Millar's run.
  • Call-Forward: Bruce Banner experiments on himself, turns into the Hulk, and people die as a result. He reverts back to human, tries to justify his actions, and gets a well deserved kick in the face for it. Yes, like the one from the first Ultimates arc.
  • Cassandra Truth: Magneto's mother tells him that he has a disease, and that they were working on a cure. He kills her. But it turns out that she wasn't saying it because of Fantastic Racism, being a mutant is an actual disease after all.
  • The Chooser of the One: The Watchers chose someone to help with the forthcoming disaster, giving them superpowers - it's Rick Jones.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The incident at the beginning of issue 1 with Hulk and Spider-Man comes from Ultimate Marvel Team-Up.
    • When Steve becomes Captain America, Duggan informs him that the Nazis are allied with aliens, which doesn't inform the rest of the story, but is a major part of the first series of The Ultimates.
  • Epic Fail: The first attempt at a super-soldier is just giving a soldier a gaudy costume, which just gives the Japanese troops something to aim at. Since he has no superpowers, and no bullet-proof shield, the soldier dies.
  • Figure It Out Yourself: Prisoner Nick Fury is selected by scientists to receive an injection. Nobody wants to tell him what it is all about (mainly because there's a very good chance he won't even live through it).
  • George Jetson Job Security: There's a brief view of the Daily Bugle. What can J. Jonah Jameson can be possibly doing? Of course, he's trying to fire his star journalist, Ben Urich.
  • Handicapped Badass: Franklin D. Roosevelt, as the real life one.
  • Heroic Willpower: It seems that all the chemicals were not enough, the Super Soldier serum also needs this from the recipient to work.
  • Historical Domain Character
    • The first issue features Franklin D. Roosevelt, ordering his scientists to start the "Project: Rebirth" program.
    • Steve Rogers sees Adolf Hitler in a newsreel in the local cinema. The newsreel also mentions then-vice president Harry S. Truman.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Magneto's father shot at him when he got his powers. He made the buller return to him, without knowing yet what was he doing.
  • I "Uh" You, Too: Before shipping out, Steve tells Gail "When I get back, I'd like to..." and leaves.
  • Improvised Weapon: A nazi spy tries to kill Rogers when the experiment is successful. He throws a piece of metal he found at the guy... yes, one shapèd as a circle.
  • Insufferable Genius: What does Henry Pym say when he meets Franklin Storm for the first time? "What's 3,424,235,235,345 x 2,352,532?"note 
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: When Nick Fury discovers the base that first created mutants, he order his troops to kill everybody and destroy everything. The conflict with mutants is too volatile as is, The World Is Not Ready for such information to be public knowledge.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Much snark is laid on how impractical and dangerous Project: Pegasus's plan of sticking every unknown object in one place is.
  • Little Green Men: When Rogers is informed about the aliens that work with the nazis, he asks if they were Little Green Men. Not exactly...
  • Matricide: Magneto kills his own mother, because she was searching a cure for mutants, and experimenting on people in the process.
  • Meta Origin: The main premise is to link several origin stories together.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Hulk attacks Richard and Mary Parker, only stopping when he sees their helpless infant son Peter, reverting back to Banner in shame.
  • Never My Fault: Initially, Nick Fury blames everyone for what happened to him in WWII. White people, German people, the president, Captain America, Albert Einstein, anyone. But eventually he realizes that none of that would have happened to him if he hadn't screwed things up during service and got himself arrested.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: As in the mainstream universe, most of the formula for the super soldier serum was kept by Erskine in his mind, and not written down. Thus, when he is killed, the formula is lost.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Fury hesitates on killing T'Challa, then outright saves him, because seeing what's done to him reminds Fury of his own origins.
  • Nuclear Option: Roosevelt did not start the war, but he's willing to end it by any means if it comes to that. He has the atomic bomb (an artistic licence), but using it would be a genocide. So, he prefers to rely on the sole super soldier available instead.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: When Rogers first gets his powers, security are ready to fire on him, thinking he would react violently, like Nick Fury before.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Uatu explains that the Watchers have tried to talk to mankind before, but they've somehow never been receptive to a mysterious pillar popping up out of nowhere, and never bothering to explain itself.
  • Professor Guinea Pig: Bruce Banner tries the Super Soldier serum on himself. As you probably suspected, it Goes Horribly Wrong.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The Watchers never show up themselves, and speak using these (in this story, Sue Storm). But they are polite: they asked for permission first.
  • Refusal of the Call: Nick Fury may have the super soldier serum in his veins, but he's not Captain America, and will never be. He thinks that Captain America is meant to be an icon, a symbol of the best American virtues, and he does not consider himself worthy of any of that.
  • Self-Made Orphan: When Erik's powers came out when he was thirteen, his father tried to kill him with a gun. After realizing what his parents were and had been doing, Erik killed his mother as well.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • Issue 3 depicts the Savage Land having dinosaurs in it when Charles and Erik first arrive, despite Ultimates 3 claiming they'd been created by Wanda using her powers.
    • The same issue establishes Magneto as the son of two Canadian Weapon X agents, and as having been a young man in the '80s, even though issue 5 of Ultimate X-Men had Magneto claim his entire family was killed in one of humanity's periodic genocides (with a background image of concentration camp prisoners in The Holocaust). Made more confusing by the fact that in issue 26, Magneto had claimed to be descended from a rich family he was no longer on speaking terms with.
  • Skewed Priorities: The president wants a real supersoldier, not just a good soldier in a visible suit. To get a military advantage over the enemy? No: because "this is a war of images".
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: Everyone who's a "guest" of Project: Rebirth and Weapon X, including Nick Fury, Logan, and T'Challa.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Fury's injection with the prototype super soldier serum seems to be going well, right up until everything starts exploding.
  • Super Soldier: This story documents the early attempts by the US to create one, and then to recreate the whole thing.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: Project Pegasus sent a distress call, and expected Nick Fury with the Ultimates. Instead, Vaughn gets Carol Danvers and the Fantastic Four. Fury is in another dimension since Ultimate Power, and the Fantastic Four are better suited for this because they feature two super geniuses.
  • Tempting Fate: SHIELD is dealing with the strange alien pole, and someone gives the phone to Danvers, because something important is going on. "What's more important than this?" Well, what about several alien poles appearing everywhere?
  • Too Dumb to Live: Before the existence of Captain America, an American soldier in World War II shows up on the battlefield with a patriotic uniform and a big flag, going to the front lines and urging soldiers to go on. The enemies simply and unceremoniously shoot him down.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Watchers begin popping up all over Earth. One lands right in front of Logan, and he doesn't even stop drinking his beer.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: The Watchers are here to watch some imminent devastation, which they know nothing about, other than it will happen.