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Since the Ultimate Marvel universe is gone, we might as well talk about its legacy.
What gets me is that the continuity was not the best in those books, even through their lineup was never really big. Was it a case of having a bad editor?
edited 29th Apr '16 7:03:49 AM by DS9guy
I've come to pay my respects and I'm not sure.
I think what happened was Marvel didn't actually know what they wanted to do with Ultimate Marvel after a decade. They became sick of publishing retellings and reimaginings of classic stories and decided that they wanted to make new stories, which is reasonable. They would take characters and stories into radically different directions then what was previously established, the tone of the universe would become noticeably darker, despite the universe already dark to begin with.
However I don't think those stories ever got traction. They weren't what many readers were initially buying books for, and as such the stories went from being stagnant and very predictable to being too far removed from what people believed was the original concept of the Ultimate Universe. Many people did read the Ultimate Universe because it was an updated retelling, that is what brought them to that imprint, that's what most of the appeal was. Ultimatum definitely didn't help. I mean you can't have the most important story in your entire imprints history be one of the worst written and plotted superhero books of the last 3 decades, because that story polluted every story that occurred afterwards simply because you could not read a story without even subtly being reminded of the event.
I probably read almost every Ultimate Title with exception to some of the later books, near the end of the imprints life.
Ultimate Spider-man was the success story of the Ultimate Universe, and it's probably no coincidence that it was all handled by one person so there was real consolidation of creative vision. Bendis has written more issues of Spider-man then too my knowledge anyone else, having the longest run since Lee, though this might not still be true, Dan Slott might have passed him, however even if that is the case, Bendis and Bagley still hold the record for longest run with the same writer and artist. I can't remember a time where Ultimate Spider-man was bad, maybe a bit trite, but never outright bad. It's very rare that you can find a 100+ issue run that bottoms out at being "Okay". This book managed to make lemonade out of lemons after ultimatum, adding the then not being used characters of Iceman and Human Torch who would be mainstays in the story, also one of the few books continuing from that story where changes occurred organically. Where you'd read the story and think, "Huh, I suppose that makes sense for that character to undergo that change in response to this awful event."
Ultimate X-men was fine up till after Mark Millar left in the 40s and it suffered from the Ultimate Stagnation I spoke about earlier. Then nothing of note really happens, and I say nothing of note happens after that because almost all developments from that point are undone when Ultimatum occurs, and kills most of that cast, forcing the writers to create new characters, that sadly, weren't that interesting and no one cared about them as a result. This book was a great example of change that didn't occur naturally, because the change came from a foundation that wasn't solid to begin with. It seems like Ultimate X didn't do well and not much changed, Kitty Pryde became the focus of the book and would eventually become the voice for Mutants ala the late Professor Xavier.
The Ultimates while it wasn't the Flagship title of the Ultimate Universe, the book definitely dictated the direction of the entire universe. It was an important book. This wasn't a bad book most of the time, though personally I preferred when it was widescreen style comic with black borders, heavy shading and Bryan Hitch's art as opposed to the wild super stylized comic book it was briefly under Joe Mad and Jeph Loeb. Bryan Hickman did good work too, but I remember people being quite upset with how he resolved his arc regarding Maker.
And finally Ultimate Fantastic Four which wasn't a bad book, in fact it was quite intriguing at times but it was also a Fantastic Four book and the Fantastic Four aren't the most popular team anymore, and haven't been since the 70s. The changes felt in this book were the most severe even more so then X-men with Reed becoming Maker for reasons that didn't occur organically I felt, however, I will say that unlike Utlimate X the stories that came from this change were always intriguing at the very least and the Maker besides Spider-man became the breakout character of the Ultimate Universe, one of the few things that carried over to the mainstream marvel universe.
I think Secret Wars did the Ultimate Universe a huge favor by ending it, and will say that it probably should have ended 8 years earlier then it did, because that's when the quality began to waver and I'd rather have a imprint end on a high note then the languishing state it was in when it did.
I think part of the problem is that they fell into the "Grimdark = Mature Stories" trap, including thinking that somehow blowing everything up multiple times in a row was a good way to keep shaking up the status quo.
A perfect example of that would be the original Ultimate Galactus trilogy vs Hunger which also featured Galactus.
The Ultimate Galactus trilogy was very understated, with events that are easy to miss slowly building and resolution that seems more appropriate for an episode of Star Trek then any comic book I've ever read. Where in the original story, Gal Lak Tus never makes Earthfall, in fact the closest it ever gets to Earth is around just off of Saturn. The book does have fighting in it, but the threat isn't eliminated by that means. It's defeated by Reed and Xavier both using their heads, Reed having to make a very sketchy moral choice to do so, and even then they don't eliminate it, they just scare it away.
In Hunger they just beat Galactus up and threw him into the Negative Zone.
edited 1st May '16 6:52:25 AM by SilentlyHonest
One thing I like about the Ultimate Universe is that it is a modern retelling of the classic Marvel Heroes and any change made to the characters story/origin is fine as it can't tie back to the classic universe.
However, it seems to really, really, REALLY like to make the super heroes outward jerks and making the setting dark just for the sake of darkness. The X-Men are self righteous douchebags who hardly act on what they are preaching making it harder for me to cheer them on, the Ultimates are shallow parodies to their Avengers counterparts and lack any redeeming qualities to call them heroes, Spider-Man though have the better books has been put through so many bullshit to the point where he literally died, and let's not go into the bullshit that is Ultimate Fantastic Four. And once Ultimatum came along, it showed the world everything wrong with the Ultimate Universe. With so many dark stuff happening in the comics it becomes very hard to sympathize with anybody in them.
I thought I liked the Ultimate Universe. Then I realized that I just liked Ultimate Spider-Man.
I revisited Ultimate X-Men recently and while it's not terrible and there are some good ideas, there are also a lot of choices I find to be staggeringly moronic nonsense. Like having the implication that Magneto would eat people.
How ironic that it finally died, jus as Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon came out.
To be honest, I have read that much of Ultimate comics. So, from what I'm hearing I should read only Ultimate Spider-Man and I can skip the rest?
The Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon doesn't even have anything to do with the comics, other than a couple of character designs. I have no idea why they decided to call it that.
Ultimate Spider-Man comics are stuff I definitely recommend, they're essentially a bunch of well-written "teenage Spider-man" stories. Just keep an open mind to certain villains being wildly different from their 616 counterparts.
I haven't really enjoyed any other Ultimate book, though. From Tony Stark's incredibly convoluted backstory to Steve Roger's jerk attitudes, it's like every time I tried, there was something to turn me off.
edited 3rd May '16 3:40:31 AM by JonnasN
I think it has most to do with the fact that each new cartoon doesn't want to use old title, so we're no longer getting just another X-men or Spider-Man or Batman. Its kinda make sense and is also kinda annoying. Plus name recognition draws attention. Besides they had Spidey switch brains with Wolverine, so it totes counts.
Ok, I tend to keep open mind to stuff like that, just a question: How do I read it? Just go from issues to issue of USM and then go for USM vol. 2 or are there like annuals or mini-series? Should I just follow wiki? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Ultimate_Spider-Man_story_arcs Should I then move onto Miles Morales?
I myself haven't read everything (for example, the Annuals), but I think you're safe going with just the main publication. And starting from the beginning makes sense, as the continuity is pretty consistent, so it's good to know how Peter and his supporting cast develop.
Not sure if Miles Morales is good as a jump-in point, though, as it keeps that strong continuity with Peter's time (it even starts with a "passing the torch" arc).
edited 3rd May '16 4:19:25 PM by JonnasN
Curt Connors is introduced in Ultimate Marvel Team-Up before he appears in the Venom arc, so check it out. I was a very confused young reader when he showed up and a flashback appeared to something I never read.
@Sunchet Yeah, just go with only Ultimate Spider-Man by order of its publication. Those stories are always consistent and leaves the readers satisfied. It even did a better Clone Saga than the 616 universe (in my opinion, but than again its Clone Saga we are talking about).
Unless for some reasons you are a bit curious in reading any of the other Ultimate Comics, here are some additional things to forewarn you about what you might get into:
- Ultimate X-Men: As mentioned previously in my rant the X-Men aren't as heroic as their main universe counterpart. Magneto lost most of his Noble Demon attribute and is otherwise a complete and total dick. A lot of the conflicts in the series could of easily been avoided. Both Professor X and Wolverine ended up as pedos by their interest in Jean (granted that happened in the main universe, for the former is completely dropped just like the fact the government fund the institute and the latter hit it off with her when she is over 18). And for trying to be a more realistic portrayal on the mythos, the blatant racism in this series it upped up instead of turned down to be more relateable to real life.
I suggest only reading the first story arc of those books. It established the existence of mutants, the dangers of Magneto and serves as a true representation of X-Men
- Fantastic Four: You know everything wrong with the movie Fant4stic . . . . . yeah. Younger and Hipper cast. Insistence of wanting to be a grounded take on a series that takes place in a (pun intended) fantastical world. A Dr. Doom that is complete ass (prefer to call him Dr. Metal Goat Boy). Most of the retelling of the teams cast of characters and adventures are lame. And now that he is younger Reed is even more useless than he is previously. The only way to make them more interesting is by turning Reed evil and putting the other three members aside.
If you want to read it, just the first 3 arcs shall do. It produce an concrete interconnecting storyline (though 2 was the weakest for introducing Dr. MGB), it gives a pretty good update to the team's origin, and the third volume is my personal favorite story (seriously, Annihilus has always been my favorite villain and one of the reasons why Fant4stic failed).
- The Ultimates: Only good things are SHIELD's tie with the team and Iron Man's portrayal (which most certainly helps in creating the Iron Man we see in the movies). Other than that, don't expect to like the team as it comprise of Captain Douchebag (the Jingoistic, close minded and meat head version of Captain America), Thor the Might-Be (the delusional and self-rightgeous portrayal of Thor), Giant Wifebeater (bastardization/flanderized take on my favorite member Hank Pym), The Ditz (an even more bubbly, slutty, and uselessly version of the Wasp . . .this pissed me of a lot as she was a stronger character in Main Universe), Season One Arrow (the complete psycho take that is Hawkeye), Black Widow (the appropriately name version of Black Widow who is a major cunt in this world), the (Incest) Twins (Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are fucking each other, do I need to explain why this is wrong) and the Incredible Monster (the version of Hulk that pretty much justifies Ross reason to hunt and hound Banner . . . he would for real rape and kill a person in this universe). There is nothing for me to complain about the villains they face as they all are one note (and here I people complained about how generic the Cinematic Universe villains are).
If you are a fan of Avengers or want to read a good Avengers book or want to introduce yourself to the Avengers, do not read these comics. It left a bad taste in my mouth. The only likable character is the rich playboy drunk with the super armor. And please for the love of god DON'T read Volume 3, or else you're going to have a bad time.
If anything, just watch those Ultimate Avengers movies.
- Ultimate Galactus: Seriously, Fox needs to stop borrowing elements from the Ultimate Universe. The Three Parter series isn't that bad as it made the famous Galactus Trilogy into a major crossover event but unfortunately leaves a bad taste as it made Galactus into the cloud like being he is today (or rather a fleet of aliens) instead of the all powerful physical being we know and love.
- Ultimate Comics: Avengers: Same as Ultimates but even more darker . . . . . why?
- Ultimate Iron Man: . . . . . Just watch the cartoon Ironman Armored Adventures. That show is pretty much this comic minus all the bullshit.
So are there any other Ultimate Marvel characters still alive besides Miles, his supporting cast and Reed Richards/The Maker? Or did everyone else all die for good in Secret Wars 2015?
edited 26th May '16 7:10:34 PM by marston
Outside of that bunch, the only other things to make it outside of the Ultimate Universe were the Triskelion and Ultimate Thor's Mjolnir, though the latter has yet to make a reapparance outside of that Thors mini from last year.
I kinda hope the Ultimate Kate Bishop makes a reappearance if only cause I think her last scene was just fucking mean.
I've got Volume 3 of Ultimate Fantastic Four, I'll agree that it's a pretty great story.
I still find myself amused by the fact that Johnny Storm managed to get their interdimensional ship called the "Awesome".
I wanted to try reading me some Marvel comics. What I found was Captain Hydra and Red Skull voicing complains about refugees. So I said to myself "on second though, this is as good time to check Ultimate comics as any"
I've just finished Hobgoblin arc. I'm sure glad that they are all already released, because I bet waiting for anything to actually happen in this series must have gotten tiresome.
Man, I knew Stacy will die but I'm still sad.
Was Ultimate Marvel Team-Up any good? Cause there are occasional references to it with Lizard or Punisher, but I think I can follow plot without it.
I hardly think that comes anywhere close to being as bad as HYDRA Cap.
HYDRA Cap/Ultimate Black Widow OTP.
I also wonder what would Ultimate Red Skull's reaction to meeting HYDRA Cap be like...
Just to be clear, Red Skull speaking for people who have problems with violent refugees is from the same writer that made Hydra Cap?
I reached annual, btw. Bendis is good writer but his Kitty x Peter ship just feels kinda forced down my throat.
Also, number of people who know who's Spider-Man is absolutely ridiculous. You could make a drinking game out of it.
It's an old tactic of Skull's. He used to do the same thing targeting Afroamericans instead of immigrants.
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