Many fans of Marvel Comics like bashing the Ultimate Marvel line of comics, and compare it disfavorably to the mainstream Marvel Universe, which they regard a better one, free of those problems. Some of the arguments used are:
- Many of the heroes are jerkasses. Not all, but many. But many Marvel comics characters are already jerkasses in their basic character definition: Wolverine, Punisher, Namor, Nick Fury, Jameson, Hulk, Odin, etc. Again: that's not all, but many (and that if we stick to big names, because there are several more lesser known jerkasses). In fact, Marvel's very first innovation in the Silver Age was The Thing, the first jerk-ass super hero.
- There were some awful comics in the line, such as Ultimates 3 and Ultimatum. But let's not even get started on the loads and loads of low moments and awful stories (many of them way worse than Ultimatum) that the X-Men and the Avengers had in their long editorial history.
- Mark Millar does not put things easy for the Ultimates. He does not place them in easy superhero battles against the villain of the week, but rather in situations where they have to do something bad because of a greater good. They are sometimes dismissed as designated heroes as a result, but situations without black & white morality options are hardly unheard of. In fact, in Jonathan Hickman's Avengers the Illumati were faced with the task of either destroying other worlds or letting Earth be destroyed.
- Magneto is a completely evil villain, without the shades of grey of the mainstream version. But fans who protest about this usually forgot that, when he was first created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Magneto was indeed a completely evil character, closer to Dr. Doom or Red Skull than to Malcolm X. Chris Claremont would not take the reins of the franchise until 12 years later, and even the first two times he used the character he was still the ruthless one he had always been. And, besides, Ultimate Magneto is not the single X-Men villain who would kill all humans and leave just the mutants.
- Henry Pym and Janet Van Dyne used to be one of the great superhero battle couples. But one day, in the 1970s, Pym slapped Jan. Their relation was ruined, they divorced, she ceased being his sidekick and started to have a name of her own. Pym became the ultimate example of Never Live It Down. So, when they were included in The Ultimates, Millar reimagined the whole scene. This led to fans complaining that Ultimate Pym was a wife beater, but who also try to bring excuses to justify mainstream Pym, such as "it was only once" or "he was not being himself". For the record, Ultimate Pym takes prozac.
- Hulk is a cannibal. Granted, cannibalism is comics is not a frequent thing, but it isn't unheard of either. Venom, in the Dark Avengers comic, was usually seen eating mooks.
- Wolverine and Spider-Man had a "Freaky Friday" Flip. At the end of the bizarre adventure, Mary Jane talks to Peter about his attempt to have sex (which was actually Wolverine in Peter's body, which she ignored). As Peter and MJ are teenagers there, it is taken as a form of sexual abuse. Just a single throwaway gag, which was never elaborated or mentioned again (not even in a later episode when they actually discussed having having sex or not), but yes, it happened. Then again, in X-Men #4 the X-Men were going to an adventure, and Jean (a teenager) told Xavier (a middle aged man) that he shouldn't worry. He thought "'Don't worry!' As though I could help worrying about the one I love! But I can never tell her! I have no right! Not while I'm the leader of the X-Men, and confined to this wheelchair!". And this got bought up again in the lead-up to Onslaught—by Onslaught/Charles himself to Jean to get her to join his side.
- Wolverine was also in a love triangle with Jean and Cyclops (which was not invented here, it has long been an important part of the X-Men mythos). Jean was of legal age but still much younger than Wolverine, so many coupled both things and considered him to be a pervert. But it wasn't the first time that the X-Men had creepy or disturbing love relations. Not by a long shot. Kitty Pryde, the Kid-Appeal Character, first had a relation with Colossus, which had to be shot down because she was a minor. Years later, she had another with Pete Wisdom, the Author Avatar of Warren Ellis, a canon Self-Insert Fic. Cyclops met Madelyne Pryor, who looks exactly like his deceased girlfriend Jean, marries her, and have a son with her... and, if that was not creepy enough, he abandoned them to go back with Jean when she resurrected. And he also cheated Jean with Emma Frost, to the point that he kissed Emma right in Jean's grave. And then there's mainstream Wolverine himself: as he is Really 700 Years Old, any relation he ever has can be creepy via Fridge Horror.
- Some of the comics of the line are too violent, or "edgy". Perhaps. Then again, if we speak about violence in comics, there's hardly something more violent than The Dark Age of Comic Books, courtesy of Marvel and DC comics.