At first Ultimatum sounded like an awful idea – kill off as many characters in the Ultimate Universe in hopes of shaking things up and bringing readers back to the series that got people interested in Marvel again.Â To make matters worse, Marvel opted to go with someone other than Brian Michael Bendis to pen the epic disaster series, which was odd in itself as Bendis has done so much for the Ultimate Universe, it should have been up to him to bring it all crashing down around everyoneâ€™s head.Â With the final issue of the Ultimatum series, and all related tie-in issues out, Marvel indeed gets its wish in destroying what took nine years to build.
Shaking things up wasnâ€™t well met with critics, fans, and many running around the Intardwebz, but having finished the saga, I think this event is probably one of the best moves Marvel could have done to the Ultimate Universe.
Before you get too worked up, Dear Reader, consider this; the Ultimate Universe was created to bring new readers into the Marvel Universe, something it did very well.Â After nine years, the chances of getting new readers on board were slim to none.Â Those of us who did jump on the bandwagon oh so many years ago, did get drawn into everything Marvel. Iâ€™ve stated before that if it wasnâ€™t for Ultimate U, I would never have picked up a Marvel book to begin with.Â The other thing the Ultimate series did was give readers a chance to experience some of the major event stories.Â Ultimate Spider-Man in particular brought its take on everything from the introduction to Venom and Carnage to the Clone Saga, and even had the balls to bring Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends into the mix.
The bad thing about all of this, is many readers had seen it all before, and as previously mentioned, few new readers were being brought into the mix.Â Ultimatum allowed Marvel to change the status quo (for real this time) and opens up the door for another round of new readers to get on board without having to reboot the entire universe – something that has been done so many times in other titles and series, that it has become so tiring.
With things looking bleak, what is there to look forward to in Ultimate Comics?
1.Â Wiping the Slate Clean
Believe it or not, the major disaster allowed Marvel to wipe the slate clean and allows the writers to tell stories that are original to this universe, without falling back on the stories that have been told multiple times in the 616 universe. I canâ€™t wait to see what stories will unfold in a world that is trying to rebuild.Â Weâ€™re in brand new territory, and it is something I look forward to reading.
2.Â Spider-Man is still the cornerstone of the Ultimate Universe
The final panel of Ultimatum: Spider-Man: Requiem #2 did show Peter Parker waking up in the arms of Captain America, which does give hope that the teenage hero will return to help bring order to the world that needs his help to rebuild. Or perhaps there will be a new Spider-Man donning the tights, swinging through the city making smart remarks, all while fighting crime.Â Considering Peter used science for his web shooters in this series, it wouldnâ€™t be too hard to put someone else with super strength behind the mask and tell his (or her) adventures. Had Marvel wiped Peter from the face of the Earth, I doubt anyone would be interested in the tales yet to be told.Â The hope that he will be back is enough to get me to continue reading the Ultimate line for months to come.
3.Â Maybe we can avoid the whole Civil War, Planet Hulk, and Dark Reign retelling
The way things were heading, the Ultimate Universe was on target to start retelling the event stories from the 616 that occurred just a few years ago. The thought of having to read Ultimate Civil War, Ultimate Planet Hulk, and Ultimate Dark Reign was in no way appealing to me, so hereâ€™s hoping the jump in time that occurs when Ultimate Comics arrives will allow the writers to focus on rebuilding, reintroducing teams and characters, and hopefully looking more into the repercussions of the Mutant Registration Act that was forced into being after the world discovered Magneto caused the disaster.
4.Â Good riddance to bad rubbish
By series end, half the cast of the Ultimate Universe is dead including, but not limited to Professor X, Magneto, Cyclops, Beast, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Victor von Doom, Thor, and believe it or not – Wolverine.Â Yes, the one character everyone thought couldnâ€™t be brought down, was destroyed in a most ultimate way, with nary a living blood cell remaining to bring him back.Â Fortunately, Peter Parker lives, as does Mary Jane, Jean Grey, and a few other X-Men. But the Fantastic Four are no longer fantastic, nor are there four in the group, with Ben Grimm joining SHIELD following the murder of Doctor Doom.Â And letâ€™s not forget nearly half the population of the Earth following Magnetoâ€™s polar shifting skills that kicked this event off in the first place is also dead, missing, or lost in the confusion.
I think we can all agree that the Ultimate Universe had become too crowed, too gimmicky, and just downright too strange for many readers. The whole Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch relationship in the last round of Ultimate Avengers had many people dropping the series, and while the two still live following the big reveal in Ultimatum #5, other characters that had become too tired or simply in the way, were allowed to be moved out of the Ultimate Universe, hopefully for good.
5.Â Can you keep a good man down?
The biggest problem with Ultimatum, was in the killing of some major characters.Â Sure, the Ultimate Universe could probably survive without the likes of Doctor Strange or Daredevil, but can the Ultimate Universe survive without Wolverine?Â The character has appeared in nearly every Marvel title, and to suddenly have him not jumping from series to series, could put a big damper on any interest in any future Ultimate X-Men stories.Â Of course it also leaves the door open for a major arc where all the characters are reintroduced in such a way that totally changes what readers expect in their favorite characters.Â Or it could just return the Ultimate U back to the status quo.
While I didnâ€™t really care for the bloody, gory, in your face way Jeph Loeb brought down the Ultimate Universe, there are some good things that might come from it.Â Itâ€™s a lot to think about and a lot to look forward to, and while there may be some animosity toward Marvel for destroying something that was on a good roll, Ultimatum wasnâ€™t the end of the Ultimate Universe, but simply a way of jumping readers into the next generation of Ultimate storytelling.