Ultimate X-Men
X-Men (Ultimate Marvel characters).jpg
Cover art for Ultimate X-Men #65, by Stuart Immonen.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
ScheduleMonthly
Publication dateFebruary 2001 – February 2009
No. of issues101
Main character(s)
Creative team
Created byBill Jemas
Joe Quesada
Mark Millar
Adam Kubert
Andy Kubert
(based upon the original characters by Stan Lee, Chris Claremont and Jack Kirby)
Written byMark Millar (#1-12, 15-33, Ultimate War #1-4)
Chuck Austen (#13-14)
Geoff Johns (#1/2)
Brian Michael Bendis (#34-45)
Brian K. Vaughan (#46-65, Annual #1)
Mike Carey (Ultimate X4 #1-2)
Robert Kirkman (#66-93, Annual #2)
Aron Eli Coleite (#94-100, X-Men/FF Annual #1-2, Ultimate Requiem)
Penciller(s)Adam Kubert (#1-4, 7-8, 10-12, 15-17, 20-22, 25, 29, 31-33)
Andy Kubert (#5-6, 50-53)
Tom Raney (#9, 66-68, 72-74, Annual #1)
Tom Derenick (#12)
Esad Ribić (#13-14)
Aaron Lopresti (#1/2)
Chris Bachalo (#18-19, Ultimate War #1-4)
Kaare Andrews (#23-24)
Ben and Ray Lai (#26)
David Finch (#27-28, 30, 34-45)
Brandon Peterson (#46-49, X-Men/FF Annual #2)
Stuart Immonen (#54-57, 59-65)
Steve Dillon (#58)
Pasqual Ferry (Ultimate X4 #1-2)
Leinil Francis Yu (Ultimate X4 #2)
Ben Oliver (#69-71, 75-76, 78, 81, Ultimate Requiem)
Salvador Larroca (Annual #2, 88-92)
Yanick Paquette (#77, 79-80, 84-88)
Pascal Alixe (#82-83)
Harvey Tolibao (#93)
Mark Brooks (#94-100, X-Men/FF Annual #1)

Ultimate X-Men is a superhero comic book series, which was published by Marvel Comics, from 2001 to 2009. The series is a modernized re-imagining of Marvel's long-running X-Men comic book franchise as part of the Ultimate Marvel imprint.[1] The Ultimate X-Men exist alongside other revamped Marvel characters in Ultimate Marvel titles including Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate Fantastic Four and The Ultimates.

The protagonists are the X-Men, a group of teen-aged mutants: a subspecies of the human race, who possess latent super-human abilities from birth, due to the presence of the mysterious "X-Gene" within their genetic codes. It sets them apart from the rest of humanity and despite being feared and distrusted by the general public and authorities, they use their super-powers to prevent and stop unnatural threats to both the human and mutant race, while being mentored by Professor Charles Xavier, The X-Men's founder and a world-renowned expert on genetics and the world's most powerful telepath. The series features many characters and storylines similar to those of the original X-Men series. Ultimate X-Men almost completely ignores supernatural or mystical elements as plot devices, and the X-Men have no secret identities, and mutants are distrusted and hunted down. The series began in 2001 under writer Mark Millar and artists Adam Kubert and Andy Kubert, while the final issues of the series were written by Aron Coleite and penciled by Mark Brooks. Ultimate X-Men was met with considerable commercial success, even outselling most of the other X-Men comic titles and received a generally positive response from critics and readers, who praised the art-work by various artists, the writing runs of Millar, Bendis, Vaughan, Kirkman and Coleite, the character development and progression of the titular superheroes throughout the series and the unique and interesting twists on conventional X-Men themes and concepts, along with the fresh and distinctively modernized re-imagining of the classic X-Men mythos, while the uneven quality of the writing, the somewhat edgy and unnecessarily adult-oriented tone and direction of the comics and some of the changes and deviations from the original X-Men comics were singled out for criticism.

A quasi-sequel/spinoff titled Ultimate Comics: X began in February 2010, but only lasted for 5 issues. The series focused on Wolverine's secret son Jimmy Hudson, Jean Grey, and several other mutants dealing with the aftermath of Ultimatum.

Ultimate X-Men was later relaunched by Nick Spencer and Paco Medina, with the title now called Ultimate Comics: X-Men.

Publishing history

Main article: List of Ultimate X-Men story arcs

First issue of Ultimate X-Men. Cover by Adam Kubert.
First issue of Ultimate X-Men. Cover by Adam Kubert.

Upon its debut in February 2001, Ultimate X-Men was the second comic of the Ultimate Marvel line, preceded a few months by its sister title Ultimate Spider-Man. The heads of the Ultimate Universe line, Bill Jemas and Joe Quesada, originally tried to hire Brian Michael Bendis to write the title, but he declined.[dead link][2] Marvel hired Scottish writer Mark Millar, who was best known at the time for his run on The Authority and was largely ignorant of the X-Men franchise. With the 2000 X-Men film as his only reference, Millar reinvented the X-Men.[3] As a result, Millar's original X-Men consisted of telepath Professor X, Cyclops, whose eyes shoot concussive beams, telepathic and telekinetic Jean Grey, weather-manipulating Storm, simian genius Beast, metal-skinned Colossus, and cryokinetic Iceman. Millar's roster soon expanded to include teleporting Nightcrawler, intangible Kitty Pryde and power absorbing Rogue.

Common to the Millar period was an edgy tone, featuring quick action-driven plots and less moral X-Men. For instance, Wolverine tries to kill Cyclops in "Return of the King" because he is envious of Jean's love. In an interview with Sequential Tart, Millar commented, "You're not competing with Cartoon Network on these books; you're competing with 'Buffy'...Superhero comics aren't adult, but they shouldn't be written for five-year-olds either."[3] Millar shaped Ultimate X-Men into a commercial hit, consistently outselling its sister titles, X-Treme X-Men and Uncanny X-Men and staying just behind Grant Morrison's experimental and popular New X-Men run.[4]

After Mark Millar's run, Ultimate Spider-Man writer Brian Michael Bendis took over for a year. Bendis stated that his run on the book would be more character-driven, especially concerning Wolverine, who had previously tried to kill his teammate Cyclops.[2] Bendis' run was marked by the introductions of Angel and Dazzler to the team, relative absence of major villains and was also notorious for killing Beast, who was killed when a Sentinel attacked the White House during Emma Frost's public disclosure of her school. This made Beast the first dead Ultimate X-Man. As a side note, Ultimate X-Men #40 features what Marvel claims to be the first marriage proposal in a comic book letters column, which is answered in Ultimate X-Men #44 with a positive response.

The third Ultimate X-Men writer was Brian K. Vaughan, best known at the time for his work on Y: The Last Man. His run was marked by the relative absence of Wolverine as the main character and the re-imagining of second-string X-Men characters. He introduced Mr. Sinister as a mutant-killing scientist with hypnosis and stealth powers in "The Tempest" (#46-49), German twins Fenris as mutant corporate criminals in "Cry Wolf" (#50-53), as well as Mojo and Longshot as a corrupt TV producer and a mutant felon, respectively in "The Most Dangerous Game" (#54-57). Both are of non-alien origin in this world and have the civilian names "Arthur Centino" and "Mojo Adams", a play on the names of their creators, writer Ann Nocenti and artist Art Adams. Further arcs were centered on Professor X (#58) and Deathstrike in "Shock and Awe" (#59–60). Lady Deathstrike possesses adamantium claws and regenerative powers. Vaughan also reintroduced Emma Frost's mutant team and Magneto,[5] and established Ultimate Colossus to be homosexual.[5]

Vaughn's run was followed by Robert Kirkman, author of The Walking Dead and Invincible comic books. Kirkman's run was noted for adapting several major storyarcs from the regular X-Men series. These included Jean Grey's transformation into Phoenix, the arrival of Cable and Bishop, and the appearance of Apocalypse. Kirkman reintroduced Wolverine as an important character, and played with issues of team loyalty. Under his authorship, major characters such as Nightcrawler and Colossus left the team. His tenure also featured Cyclops' decision to turn Xavier's into a more traditional school and consequently disband the X-Men. When this was done an alternate team of X-Men was formed by Bishop as part of the upcoming fight against Apocalypse. After the Ultimatum storyline, nearly all of the X-Men were killed, and the team disbanded.

After the events in Ultimatum the book, along with Ultimate Fantastic Four, was canceled after its 100th issue.[6] A follow-up one-shot, called Requiem, was released and concluded the series' story. A new series, Ultimate Comics: X, debuted in early 2010 and featured Kitty Pryde, Wolverine's son, Jimmy Hudson and Jean Grey.

Ultimate X-Men was then relaunched as Ultimate Comics: X-Men with writer Nick Spencer and artist Paco Medina. The series stars Jimmy Hudson, Kitty Pryde, Johnny Storm, Bobby Drake and Rogue.[7][8]

Commercial success

Ultimate X-Men quickly established itself as a hit comic, lauded by critics and popular with the fans. The following table shows the development of comic sales in comparison to the mainstream titles.[9]

Date Ultimate X-Men Uncanny X-Men New X-Men X-Treme X-Men
March 2001 97,985 96,271 n/a n/a
November 2001 100,688 125,044 (400th issue) 116,782 84,326
March 2002 96,150 95,386 104,138 72,892
November 2002 89,390 83,581 97,023 55,043
March 2003 86,795 83,626 92,618 58,322
November 2003 105,737 90,764 102,591 61,574
March 2004 97,002 86,431 117,253 53,207
November 2004 92,133 92,051 (ended) (ended)
March 2005 83,835 86,365 (ended) (ended)
November 2005 74,264 82,825 (ended) (ended)
March 2006 72,765 79,789 (ended) (ended)

Characters

Main article: List of Ultimate X-Men characters

X-Men

Villains and supporting cast

Writer Mark Millar signing a copy of the first issue during an appearance at Midtown Comics in Manhattan.
Writer Mark Millar signing a copy of the first issue during an appearance at Midtown Comics in Manhattan.

Ultimate X-Men introduced revised versions of classic X-Men villains, such as mutant supremacist, would-be world conqueror, and evil genius mastermind Magneto. He heads the anti-human and genetic terrorist group Brotherhood of Mutants. The series also features the amoral, Mengele-like mutant super-weapon project Weapon X, the shady Hellfire Club and many more. In addition, the Academy of Tomorrow is the Ultimate Marvel version of a spin-off X-Men team called the New Mutants. In this world the group consists of: headmistress Emma Frost, who can turn her skin into organic diamond; Cyclops' older brother Havok (Alex Summers), who shoots concussive blasts from his hands; airborne Sam Guthrie, or Cannonball; mutant genius Doug Ramsey, also known as Cypher; Canadian speedster Jean-Paul Beaubier, or Northstar; Havok's girlfriend, Lorna Dane, the magnekinetic Polaris; Roberto da Costa, the Brazilian solar-powered Sunspot; and recently Angel. In addition, the Shi'ar are a religious movement, led by "Majestrix Lilandra". They worship the "Phoenix God", which they think is reincarnated in the X-Man Marvel Girl (Jean Grey). The Ultimate version of Cable is revealed to be a future version of Wolverine, who kidnaps Charles Xavier in an attempt to prevent the coming of Apocalypse.

"Syndicate" is the name of two mutants, psi-resistant conjoined twins named Luke and Matthew. They try to rob a bank to help their terminally ill sister, but are stopped by Professor X. Realizing their plight, he gives them a chance to redeem themselves by working as his private agents. Created by Brian K. Vaughan and Steve Dillon, they first appeared in Ultimate X-Men #58. The characters have an unusual heart which pumps out electromagnetic pulses with each beat; this disables almost any electrical system. Their interlinked brain matter also makes them immune to telepathic control, although they are still susceptible to mind readings.

In the shared universe of Ultimate Marvel, the X-Men have more than once crossed the paths of other superheroes: Peter Parker is a good friend of the X-Men and is Shadowcat's ex-boyfriend. The X-Men share a wary truce with Nick Fury and The Ultimates, who have been both their best benefactors ("New Mutants" arc) and as adversaries (Ultimate War) in the past. The Ultimate Fantastic Four have met the X-Men in Ultimate X4 and the teams are generally on positive terms.

Settings

In other media

The two incarnations of Wolverine, from X-Men: Evolution. On the left his look in seasons 1 and 2, inspired by his look at the beginning of the traditional X-Men comics, on the right his look in seasons 3 and 4, inspired by his later look in the Ultimate X-Men comic.
The two incarnations of Wolverine, from X-Men: Evolution. On the left his look in seasons 1 and 2, inspired by his look at the beginning of the traditional X-Men comics, on the right his look in seasons 3 and 4, inspired by his later look in the Ultimate X-Men comic.

Collected editions

Omnibus collections of Ultimate X-Men
Title Material collected Publication date ISBN
Ultimate X-Men Omnibus, Volume 1 Ultimate X-Men (2001) #1-33 and #1/2 and Ultimate War #1-4 July 2022 978-1302946357


Ultimate X-Men has been collected in the following trade paperbacks:

Title Material collected ISBN
Volume 1: The Tomorrow People Ultimate X-Men #1-6 ISBN 0-7851-0788-6
Volume 2: Return To Weapon X Ultimate X-Men #7-12 ISBN 0-7851-0868-8
Volume 3: World Tour Ultimate X-Men #13-20 ISBN 0-7851-0961-7
Volume 4: Hellfire & Brimstone Ultimate X-Men #21-25 ISBN 0-7851-1089-5
Volume 5: Ultimate War Ultimate War #1-4 ISBN 0-7851-1129-8
Volume 6: Return Of The King Ultimate X-Men #26-33 ISBN 0-7851-1091-7
Volume 7: Blockbuster Ultimate X-Men #34-39 ISBN 0-7851-1219-7
Volume 8: New Mutants Ultimate X-Men #40-45 ISBN 0-7851-1161-1
Volume 9: The Tempest Ultimate X-Men #46-49 ISBN 0-7851-1404-1
Volume 10: Cry Wolf Ultimate X-Men #50-53 ISBN 0-7851-1405-X
Volume 11: The Most Dangerous Game Ultimate X-Men #54-57 ISBN 0-7851-1659-1
Volume 12: Hard Lessons Ultimate X-Men #58-60;
Ultimate X-Men Annual #1
ISBN 0-7851-1801-2
Volume 13: Magnetic North Ultimate X-Men #61-65 ISBN 0-7851-1906-X
Volume 14: Phoenix? Ultimate X-Men #66-71 ISBN 0-7851-2019-X
Volume 15: Magical Ultimate X-Men #72-74;
Ultimate X-Men Annual #2
ISBN 0-7851-2020-3
Volume 16: Cable Ultimate X-Men #75-80 ISBN 0-7851-2548-5
Volume 17: Sentinels Ultimate X-Men #81-88 ISBN 0-7851-2549-3
Volume 18: Apocalypse Ultimate X-Men #89-93 ISBN 978-0-7851-2550-1
Volume 19: Absolute Power Ultimate X-Men #94-97 ISBN 978-0-7851-2944-8
Ultimatum: X-Men/Fantastic Four Ultimate X-Men #98-100;
Ultimate Fantastic Four #58-60
ISBN 0-7851-3433-6

Ultimate X-Men has also been collected in the following Ultimate Collections:

Vol. # Material collected Pages Publication Date ISBN
1 Ultimate X-Men #1-12 &1/2 336 April 2002 ISBN 0-7851-2187-0
2 Ultimate X-Men #13-25 336 August 2007 ISBN 0-7851-2856-5
3 Ultimate War #1-4;
Ultimate X-Men #26-33
304 September 2009 ISBN 0-7851-4187-1
4 Ultimate X-Men #34-45 304 October 2010 ISBN 0-7851-4923-6
5 Ultimate X-Men #46-57 312 March 2015 ISBN 0-7851-9292-1

Ultimate X-Men also has been collected in the following hardcovers:

Volume # Material collected ISBN
1 Ultimate X-Men #1-12
ISBN 0-7851-1008-9
2 Ultimate X-Men #13-25 ISBN 0-7851-1130-1
3 Ultimate X-Men #26-33;
Ultimate War #1-4
ISBN 0-7851-1131-X
4 Ultimate X-Men #34-45 ISBN 0-7851-1251-0
5 Ultimate X-Men #46-57 ISBN 0-7851-2103-X
6 Ultimate X-Men #58-65;
Ultimate X-Men Annual #1;
Ultimate X-Men #1/2
ISBN 0-7851-2104-8
7 Ultimate X-Men #66-74;
Ultimate X-Men Annual #2
ISBN 0-7851-2605-8
8 Ultimate X-Men #75-88 ISBN 0-7851-3080-2
9 Ultimate X-Men #89-97 ISBN 0-7851-3779-3
Ultimatum: X-Men/Fantastic Four Ultimate X-Men #98-100;
Ultimate Fantastic Four #58-60
ISBN 0-7851-3432-8

See also

References

  1. ^ Brevoort, Tom; DeFalco, Tom; Manning, Matthew K.; Sanderson, Peter; Wiacek, Win (2017). Marvel Year By Year: A Visual History. DK Publishing. p. 304. ISBN 978-1465455505.
  2. ^ a b Untitled Document Archived November 1, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b Sequential Tart: Mark Millar – Ultimate Writer (vol V/iss 3/March 2002)
  4. ^ ICv2News: ICv2's Top 300 Comics & Top 100 GN's Index
  5. ^ a b "Magnetic North" (Ultimate X-Men #61–65)
  6. ^ Mark Millar Summons The Ultimate Avengers
  7. ^ "Marvel Announces Jonathan Hickman on Ultimate Comics: Ultimates in August!", Hypergeek, May 2, 2011
  8. ^ Manning, Shaun. "Marvel's '-Men'", Comic Book Resources, May 3, 2011
  9. ^ "ICv2's Top 300 Comics & Top 300 GN's Index", ICv2, November 18, 2008
  10. ^ Ultimate X-Men #5

Interviews