For the last couple of days, rumor has spread like wildfire across the Intardwebz that Marvel is considering a big crossover between the 616 Universe and the Ultimate Universe (Universe 1610), with the ultimate outcome (see what I did there) being the closure/end of the Ultimate line of print comics.  Brian Michael Bendis, the guy that has been helming the U-Universe, and doing a dang find job of it (save for that horrible Loeb debacle), says this isn’t what is happening.  But that got us wondering anyway…


Should Marvel end the Ultimate Universe?

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The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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  1. Praion
    February 19, 2013 at 12:32 pm — Reply

    There is stuff going on there that could not happen in the normal 616.

    I think X-Men is really interesting over there right now and gives us settings and stuff we can’t see somewehre else.
    Everyone has found what the Marvel UU means now and stuff is happening. It’s wild and crazy and over the top but it’s okay.

    Evil Reed by Hickman was extremly cool.

  2. Cat Halo
    February 19, 2013 at 12:57 pm — Reply

    Honestly, I don’t particularly care. I’m more of a DC guy, always have been. In fact, I’ve never actually read an Ultimate title.
    Although, ironically, a friend just gave me The Ultimates Vol 1, so I’ll be reading that this week…

  3. February 19, 2013 at 1:24 pm — Reply

    I dont see why they should?
    Its sort of at huge “What if” og “Elseworld” playground where they can try new stuff, try to refresh old stuff and make those famous movie tie-ins.
    I dont buy the books anymore myself, but I dont see a reason to cancel the whole UU.

  4. Frank
    February 19, 2013 at 1:28 pm — Reply

    I would rather Marvel keep the Ultimate line. They have made some fairly interesting changes like killing off characters and making others EVIL. It’s not the 80’s era status quo that that 616 is.

  5. Jots Books
    February 19, 2013 at 1:32 pm — Reply

    The whole Ultimate Universe as a whole, I couldn’t care less. However, I love to see characters grow, and answer the question “so what happens next?” I enjoy reading Miles Morales and Wolverine, Jr., and part of their appeal is that they have to define their legacy without their predecessor available to guide them.

  6. Ryan 'Halite' King
    February 19, 2013 at 1:33 pm — Reply

    I don’t think there is enough reason to end it, sales are not horrible. As for it’s justification, the smaller number of titles allows someone to follow all of them and never feel out of the loop (see Valiant).

    I also think it’s a good breeding ground for new ideas (which lots have been incorporated into recent movies), and new writers and artists.

    The success that DC has had with the Earth One GNs shows that there is plenty of appetite for existing characters to have reinventions.

  7. February 19, 2013 at 1:36 pm — Reply


    Initially, the Ultimate universe was a refreshing breath of fresh air. Writers were able to tell stories in a more modern setting and not be encumbered by the weight of past continuity.
    If they wanted to tweak a character’s back story or power set in order to make the character less silly/more awesome then great.
    However, I feel that the Ultimate universe is now feeling the weight of their own past continuity. It is starting to present a barrier to new readers.

    CONCLUSION: Marvel editorial should pick one universe and concentrate all of their budget and quality there.

  8. Dave
    February 19, 2013 at 1:41 pm — Reply

    Even if you took everything else out of the picture, it would be a tragedy to close down the Ultimate U solely for the loss of Miles Morales.

  9. morpheus11
    February 19, 2013 at 1:55 pm — Reply

    I don’t want them to cancel the Ultimate Universe. I have really enjoyed the X-men title and the Spider-man title. I am sure for a comics historian this universe is boring and predictable, but I have enjoyed what has come out after the Ultimatium event.

    With that said I really hope that they don’t do a cross-over with the 616 universe unless it is something small and a side note like the Spider-men mini-series that came out. I am afraid if they try to make a full scale crossover it will be really bad and really confusing.

  10. Rome
    February 19, 2013 at 2:05 pm — Reply

    Yes, they should end the Ult U.

    Marvel should have the courage to tell the really interesting stories and new takes in the main Marvel U. Morales should be the real Spider-man right now (and hopefully he will be someday, post Superior.) Instead he’s a second class spidey in a second class universe.

    As mentioned, most of the good Ultimate ideas (new Nick Fury, updated Avengers, a deconstructed X-men, etc.) are already being incorporated in the 616. There is no need for both.

  11. Jason De Luna
    February 19, 2013 at 2:23 pm — Reply


    It can focus talent onto one universe and give an honest-to-god ending to one of their stories. Imagine a death of captain marvel for an entire universe; some go out as heroes, some as villains. I would read that.

  12. February 19, 2013 at 2:28 pm — Reply

    No, I can’t think of a particular reason why it needs to go away. At the same time, I do not see any reason it really needs to stay.

  13. February 19, 2013 at 2:41 pm — Reply

    God no, just for the fact that Ultimate Spiderman is a ten times better book the Amazing/Superior Spiderman in every conceivable way!

  14. February 19, 2013 at 3:13 pm — Reply

    I voted no. Why? Because they killed Wolverine. Sure there’s another Wolverine, but he isn’t Logan and that makes him better. In fact, they should end the 616 universe and make Logan completely dead. Then Marvel will be better.

    This liquid I’m drinking make me feel funny… ;p

  15. Verse
    February 19, 2013 at 3:14 pm — Reply

    Yes. After Ultimatum, It seems that just don’t have a plan in mind. They are just grasping at straws. We kill Wolverine…to introduce his kid that has the same powers. At one point they were doing some good things, but Ultimatum killed it for me.

  16. February 19, 2013 at 3:26 pm — Reply

    I’ve decided to try and predict the answers that the MSP crew will give:

    Matthew will vote yes because he hates Ult. Captain America.
    Stephen will vote no because he liked Ult. Spiderman.
    Rodrigo will vote yes because there are no dinosaurs.
    Zack will vote no just because Matthew said yes. ;p

    Can’t wait for the podcast…

  17. kaptaran
    February 19, 2013 at 3:36 pm — Reply

    No, they aren’t going to end the ultimate line, they just have to get the cross-over out of the way so the regular line can continue to be the “movie” like universe and the Ultimate comics can be the other stories.

  18. N
    February 19, 2013 at 3:45 pm — Reply

    Cause it doesn’t matter…. jabroni….

  19. February 19, 2013 at 4:09 pm — Reply

    No. And here’s why. Stop the rebooting and retcons. Stop the merging of worlds. Here’s what we need:

    Let the stories be told according to the actual date and time released. Let the characters age with all of us. Let us see what happens to then when they get old.

    Let Peter and MJ be married, have a daughter named May who grows up to have her own adventures, while we watch Peter grow as well. Let Wolverine or Superman only age in experience, not body. See how that goes.

    And then.

    Start up another Universe. Current main Marvel one is 616. Why not every 10, 20 years, start up a new one. Marvel 212 or something. And begin anew. Tell the stories of the heroes people love but with a modern sensibility for younger, newer fans.

    Everyone gets what they want- you get to keep the timelines you love. The characters you love. Or not. If you want to start over, forget a retcon/reboot- switch to the new universe. The stories dont have to be the same. The origins dont have to match. What happens would be totally different and beloved by the people who read them.

  20. GeorgeDubya
    February 19, 2013 at 4:15 pm — Reply

    I voted no.

    I’m not a big reader of the Ultimate universe, but I like the idea that it is the one place where anyone’s deaths have actually stuck. The revolving door of death is a pet peeve of mine where comics are concerned, and the idea that people have actually died and stayed dead in that universe is refreshing.

  21. SpiderLover
    February 19, 2013 at 4:39 pm — Reply

    If there are sales and good sales then no. If they are making money off of it, then why not. So long as they aren’t losing money on it. Then it shows there is an audience, even if its not me.

  22. Christina
    February 19, 2013 at 5:05 pm — Reply

    I think that, after Ultimatum, most of the stuff that is going on is either rehashing old stories or characters dealing with the fallout of the Ultimatum storyline. I think Marvel should just wrap up the story lines with a nice bow. I will miss Jimmy Hudson (the “normal” son of Wolverine)

  23. February 19, 2013 at 5:32 pm — Reply

    No, I think they should keep it even if they end the bulk of titles existing there. The “physics” (for lack of a better term) of the Ultimate universe are different enough from 616 that I think it warrants a continuing existence, at least in one or two titles and maybe an occasional visit in a mini-series or such.

    Then again, I still miss MC2, so I may just be against change.

  24. February 19, 2013 at 6:16 pm — Reply

    My friend had a good idea – why not just forget about Nick Fury Jr. and just make Ultimate Nick Fury a member of the 616 Avengers? I thought this would be more compelling, as Ultimate Nick Fury adjusts to the subtle differences between universes.

  25. Ricco
    February 19, 2013 at 6:23 pm — Reply

    Yes, why you ask? With MARVEL NOW!!! NOW I SAY!!!! The main Marvel universe *is* the Ultimate Universe…

  26. February 19, 2013 at 7:33 pm — Reply

    I was with the Ultimate Universe from the beginning, which I enjoyed and disliked for various reasons. Like everything, It had its pluses and minuses. What I do like is that it has given a fresh start to many Marvel characters that have been locked into a roll, unable to evolve without the fan base wailing in agony. This universe while retelling familiar tales allowed us to see Parker as a believable teen again, a great spin on Thor, and much of the Marvel movieverse that we now know.
    Keep it going. While some do not like the ultimatum, is has mad for a direction that can not parallell 616. It DOES allow for character developement and direction unseen in the Marvel proper.

  27. slimeknight
    February 19, 2013 at 8:09 pm — Reply

    I say no because while I’ve only read the Ultimates (I am interested in Miles Morales) I like the idea of a different universe. I’ve always enjoyed else worlds tales.

  28. February 19, 2013 at 8:38 pm — Reply

    I am saying No to ending the ultimate universe because I have really gotten into it lately. Now I am kind of looking at it from a biased point of view being that I mostly read Ultimate Spider-man, which gets me in touch with Spiderman 2099.

    But I am really enjoying that they basically said forget the regular continuity and go with something completely different for a change. As Americans we have really gotten attached to the idea that all of our continuity has to be continuous; within the realm of a publisher continuity really doesn’t have to mean a danged thing. So I think Marvel has a good thing going here in having two totally separate continuities.

  29. LazorBeems
    February 19, 2013 at 9:16 pm — Reply

    It needs to end.

    The whole idea behind the Ultimate Universe was to create a series of comics that were not strangled by 50+ years of Marvel continuity. At this point, however, the Ultimate Universe has a much more convoluted continuity than the 616 Universe. It used to be a great place for people new to comics to jump into; however, at this point, newcomers will find themselves way more confused as to what’s happening in 1610 because a lot of what they have learned about Marvel through social osmosis is not true in 1610, or at best is just as confusing as it is in 616 (I certainly did when I got into comics about 3 years ago). Ultimately, the Ultimate Universe no longer fulfilling it’s role and thus needs to end.

    I like the idea of an alternate universe that compliments the 616 by breaking free of oppressive continuity, but in order for that to work, it can only last a finite amount of time or it will make worse the problem it is trying to solve.

  30. February 20, 2013 at 7:02 am — Reply

    Ultimate Spider-Man, even with its ups and downs, has been the most consistently entertaining books since its inception. These past 20 issues have been especially great. It would be a travesty to lose it now. I never want it to go away.

  31. mark
    February 20, 2013 at 9:14 am — Reply

    I liked it at the start now it’s such a mess of issues and order.
    then Jeff Leob Hit like an Ultimate hack writer and the setting never recovered.
    then the 616 started to be more like the Ultimate verse and it’s now pointless.

    If anything the movies do it’s job… is it wrong I like the “marvel Movie” heros far more than the comic book versions

  32. randoom42
    February 20, 2013 at 9:36 am — Reply

    Strike one down and another shall rise and take its place, so yes. Let a new sandbox be brought into existence.

  33. February 20, 2013 at 11:45 am — Reply

    Honestly, I’ve been a fan of Ultimate Spiderman for a long time, and Millar’s Ultimates was fantastic. But for as great as it is to see a playground/sandbox for different ideas, I think it need s a reboot at least. See the problem is too many bad ideas that didn’t work out are stuck in continuity, and its made for a trainwreck that is impossible to keep up with. Look at Ultimate Xmen, as a prime example.

    The ultimate universe was created so that people walking out of the movie theatre could find modern takes on these characters without being weighed down by continuity. And for normal fans, it was a place where you could see something different, Like the death of peter parker.

    Now though, if say someone likes Xmen, they pickup a book and say, “Who is jimmy, and why does he have wolverine claws? Where’s wolverine? What do you mean he’s dead? What’s ultimatum? Magneto had thor’s hammer, wtf?!” Where’s jean grey, why is she going by a different name?”

    There is not a single xmen on the Ultimate Team that a causal fan would recognize, and the Ultimates, has just become a trainwreck of bad decisions. Cap becoming president was jumping the shark. I agree with Randoom42, start over.

  34. AllenBT
    February 20, 2013 at 3:05 pm — Reply

    No, they should instead re-boot it into the continuity it inspired in the Marvel Studios movies, with a heavy digital presence. Here’s my reasoning:

    1. Story/plot development: The production cadence of the Avengers Universe movies is running 6-12 months per release. Meanwhile the actors are aging so we have indisputable evidence that time is passing between releases. That leaves plenty of story time between installments that the Ultimates line of comic books could fill nicely.
    2. Production process: The Avengers family of movies is somewhat atypical in the Hollywood process in that individual directors and writers don’t appear to have the creative freedom they might normally enjoy. For example, you can’t write that Tony Stark has become fed up with the current Administration, and renounced his citizenship, decamping to Singapore. Not if you’re going to feature him in the DOD sponsored Avengers movie 12 months later. So to serve as a universe bible, transitional device for the movies and creative outlet, let the writers and directors you’re recruiting for the major features play around in the comic line. A lot of these talents already do the media cross over regularly anyway.
    3. Marketing: Presumably the vast majority of ticket buyers to Captain America, Thor, Ironman, Avengers, etc. are not regular or even casual comic book readers. A little basic math on the box office take vs. comic sales figures shows this. If you do a strong tie in, with a house ad or two in the trailer or after the post credit scenes, maybe you could interest 1-2 % of that audience to buy comic books. Which is a big increase in your circulation #’s. Maybe you add some links to Comixology on the websites for each movie, do few more what happened before features, maybe give away a couple issues of the comic books, etc. Maybe finally you can revitalize our dying hobby in the process.

  35. Declan s
    February 21, 2013 at 9:55 am — Reply

    The key thing that I think we need to see with the end of the ultimate universe is that as long as it goes out with a bang I will be satisfied

  36. February 21, 2013 at 11:12 am — Reply

    The Ultimate Universe was a great idea to begin with, but sales numbers have been slipping and the gritty feel of the Ultimate universe is now not that different from the 616. We now have a Sam Jackson Fury in the 616, and in the Ultimate line most characters people want to read about are dead. Brian Wood is a great writer and his Ultimate X-Men has been the best it has been for a long time, But I would love to see his talent focused on something more relevant. To sum it up, the idea of the realistic, gritty, hard edge Ultimate line is an idea of the early 2000’s. And the biggest reason it should end is sales. The Ultimate line is barely treading water, I say go out with a bang and move the elements that work to the 616.

  37. Oldcomicfan
    February 24, 2013 at 9:11 pm — Reply

    You know, it’s rarely a good idea to dilute your talent across too many titles. If your series “Joe the Jerk” isn’t selling as well as you like, coming up with an “Earth 2 Joe the Jerk” or an “Ultimate Joe the Jerk” book isn’t going to do you any good. Likewise, if “Joe the Jerk” is selling well, why would you want to diminish the original by putting out an alternate version? Given the collapse of the economy a few years back, and the fact that most people can no longer afford to buy sixty comics a month, perhaps the time to do away with Alternate Version comics has finally come. After all, if they really want to tell a Miles Morales story, they can alway put it in the back of the main Spiderman book they way they used to back in the old days, when it was common to get an “Imaginary Tale” in the back of the main book instead of as part of an alternate line of books. But then again, the idea of an “Imaginary Tale” in the back of a book that is, after all, nothing more than an “Imaginary Tale” in the first place is a bit like baking a donut-filled donut.

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