Ultimate Universe
Visible characters: Captain America, Iron Lad, and Thor from the Ultimates. In shadows, Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Armor.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
Title(s)
  • Ultimate Spider-Man
  • Ultimate Black Panther
  • Ultimate X-Men
  • The Ultimates
Genre
Publication dateJune 2023

The Ultimate Universe is an imprint of comic books published by Marvel Comics beginning in 2023. Featuring several reimagines of characters in a new fictional universe, this new Ultimate Universe, designated as Earth-6160, emerged following the events of Ultimate Invasion by Jonathan Hickman and Bryan Hitch, after being created by The Maker. It shares its name with the earlier Ultimate Marvel imprint that ran from 2000 to 2015, but is not a direct reboot; while Ultimate Marvel presented a back-to-basics reboot narrative of the original Marvel Universe, the Ultimate Universe features wholly new interpretations of Marvel characters.

Publication history

The original Ultimate Marvel imprint ceased to be published in 2015, and was destroyed in-story in the Secret Wars crossover, with Maker being transferred to the main fictional universe. Writer Donny Cates used the character during his run in the Venom comic book, with the character trying to restore and return to his original universe. At the end of the story arc, Maker returns to a devastated Ultimate universe, and later hinted he was planning an invasion of the main Marvel Universe.[1] However, Cates had to pull out of writing Ultimate Invasion because of a car accident that left him with six months worth of memory loss, with the project given to Jonathan Hickman instead.[2] Hickman had worked with the Maker character in the original Ultimate imprint and wrote the aforementioned Secret Wars crossover.

Hickman started the project with Ultimate Invasion which he took on another path, which ignores both the original Ultimate universe and the plots in Venom, and shows instead Maker moving to a new alternate universe called Earth-6160 and changing it with extensive time travel to prevent the existence of most superheroes and make himself its unquestionable leader. By the end of the story, Maker is defeated and trapped inside The City with Iron Man / Howard Stark and a variation of Kang the Conqueror with The City scheduled to open up in three months. His group that manages international relations in a "power behind the throne" style remains a threat as the new comics that follow are set within such background. Howard's son Tony Stark continues his work to take the world back while taking on the name of Iron Lad.

The first comic was Ultimate Universe #1, a one-shot from Hickman and Stefano Caselli that further developed the context in which the comics of the line will take place. The flagship comic of the line is Ultimate Spider-Man, by Hickman and Marco Checchetto. In contrast with the original Ultimate Spider-Man comic, it stars an adult Peter Parker who is married to Mary Jane Watson and has two kids before he becomes Spider-Man. Hickman said that he was inspired by the version of the character seen in the film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.[3]

Writer Bryan Hill, who had previously worked on Blade, will write Ultimate Black Panther with Caselli. The comic will be about Black Panther defending the continent of Africa from Lord Khonshu and Lord Ra. Hill said "I was invigorated by this opportunity because in addition to my immense respect for Johnathan Hickman's detailed storytelling, the idea of shepherding this bold new take on Black Panther in this event gives me a platform to do the kind of broad, epic, storytelling I've always wanted to do in comics. My influences range from the history of Black Panther comics, to Ryan Coogler's incredible work with the recent films, to Frank Herbert's world-building capacity of Dune. This is something people won't expect, in the best of ways, and full credit to Marvel and editors Wil Moss and Michelle Marchese for bringing this creative possibility to me."[3]

Peach Momoko, from Demon Days: X-Men, will write and illustrate the new Ultimate X-Men comics. Armor will be the main character, and the X-Men will be tied to folklore and magic. Momoko said "I am very honored to be a part of the new Ultimate Universe. I am very careful in delivering the unique X-Men mutant elements while still being true to my vision and voice. I am also very proud (and surprised) that I was given enough freedom from C.B. Cebulski and Jonathan Hickman to create a brand-new X-Men character. It might not be the normal portrayal of a superhero... but, just like with my Momoko-verse stories, I am excited to introduce everyone to this new world."[3]

In February 2024, it was announced that Deniz Camp and Juan Frigeri would write and illustrate The Ultimates, which will follow Iron Lad, Doctor Doom, Thor, Sif, Ant-Man, and the Wasp as they band together to fight back against the Maker's council and take back their world. Camp said "The new Ultimates line is the most exciting super hero comics event in years, and it’s humbling to be a part of it! We are reinventing these classic characters and archetypes to be as surprising and vital as when they were first introduced. Our Ultimates is an evolution not just of the Avengers, but of the whole super hero team concept; from the grand and operatic to the small and personal, THE ULTIMATES will feel like no Avengers or Ultimates comic ever before! That's our ambition, anyway; tune in to find out if we succeed.“[4]

About Earth-6160

Issue #3 of "Ultimate Invasion" showed a map detailing Earth-6160 and its locations ever since Maker remade it into his own image:[5]

There are also undiscovered territories.

Publications

Ongoing series

Title Writer Artist Colourist Debut date
Ultimate Spider-Man Jonathan Hickman Marco Checchetto Matt Wilson January 10, 2024[6]
Ultimate Black Panther Bryan Hill Stefano Caselli David Curiel February 7, 2024[7]
Ultimate X-Men Peach Momoko March 6, 2024[8]
The Ultimates Deniz Camp Juan Frigeri TBA June 5, 2024[4]

Limited series

Title Issues Writer Artist Colourist Debut date Conclusion date
Ultimate Invasion #1–4 Jonathan Hickman Bryan Hitch Alex Sinclair June 21, 2023[9] September 27, 2023[10]

One-shots

Title Writer Artist Colourist Debut date
Ultimate Universe Jonathan Hickman Stefano Caselli David Curiel November 1, 2023[11]
Free Comic Book Day 2024: Ultimate Universe / Spider-Man #1 Deniz Camp Juan Frigeri TBA May 4, 2024[12]

Release order

Collected editions

Title Material collected Publication date ISBN
Ultimate Invasion Ultimate Invasion #1–4 March 26, 2024 978-0785194736
Ultimate Spider-Man, Volume 1: Married with Children Ultimate Spider-Man #1–6 September 10, 2024 978-1302957292
Ultimate Black Panther, Volume 1: Peace and War Ultimate Black Panther #1–4 October 1, 2024 978-1302957308
Ultimate X-Men, Volume 1: Hates and Fears Ultimate X-Men #1–4 November 5, 2024 978-1302957315

References

  1. ^ Stone, Sam (June 18, 2021). "Venom Teases the Marvel Universe's Next Major Invasion". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved February 22, 2023.
  2. ^ Rich Johnston (August 2, 2023). "Donny Cates, Missing Six Months Of His Life, After Car Accident". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved October 19, 2023.
  3. ^ a b c JESSE SCHEDEEN (October 16, 2023). "Marvel Comics Reveals the New Ultimate Universe - New York Comic-Con 2023". IGN. Retrieved October 19, 2023.
  4. ^ a b "The Ultimate Universe's Mightiest Heroes Assemble in 'Ultimates' #1". Marvel Comics. February 22, 2024. Retrieved February 22, 2024.
  5. ^ Ultimate Invasion #3. Marvel Comics.
  6. ^ Ultimate Spider-Man #1
  7. ^ Ultimate Black Panther #1
  8. ^ Ultimate X-Men #1
  9. ^ Ultimate Invasion #1
  10. ^ Ultimate Invasion #4
  11. ^ Ultimate Universe #1
  12. ^ "Marvel's 2024 Free Comic Book Day Titles Present the First Post-Krakoa X-Men Story, the Opening Kill of 'Blood Hunt,' and More". Marvel Comics. January 5, 2024. Retrieved January 27, 2024.