Hold onto your cosmic ray-infused hats, true believers, because we're about to unravel the Marvel-ous mystery of the new Ultimate Marvel Universe crafted by none other than Jonathan Hickman! But first, let's take a little stroll down memory lane to revisit the original Ultimate Comics line, courtesy of the comic wizard Brian Michael Bendis in the early 2000s.
Ultimate Universe 101
In the year 2000, Marvel Comics bestowed upon us a gift, the Ultimate Marvel Universe, often lovingly referred to as Earth-1610. This groundbreaking initiative was meant to be the ultimate (pun intended) entry point for new readers. Imagine it as the Marvel Universe, but with a fresh coat of paint and modern sensibilities.
Secret Wars and Ultimate Demise
Fast forward to 2015, and the whole universe-shattering Secret Wars event. Earth-1610, the original Ultimate Universe, seemed to have gone the way of the dodo, or in this case, the way of the cosmic event. But fear not, dear readers, because the story doesn't end there. Some beloved characters from Earth-1610 managed to hitch a ride to the main Marvel Universe, also known as Earth-616. One of these survivors was none other than Miles Morales, the Ultimate Spider-Man.
The Maker of Chaos
Now, let's get to the juicy part. The Maker, or the Ultimate Reed Richards, became a major player in the Marvel multiverse. He had a not-so-healthy obsession with power and knowledge, and he managed to escape from Earth-616 to a different universe. Armed with his extensive know-how of which superheroes were destined to rise on every Earth, he essentially played cosmic chef, whipping up a reality stew with flavors unlike any other dimension in the Marvel multiverse. This brave new world is known as Earth-6160, and oh boy, is it a wild ride!
Heroes Missing in Action
Thanks to the Maker's meddling, Earth-6160 took an alternate route to superhero stardom. Many of the classic heroes that fans know and love didn't quite follow their expected paths. For example, the spider that should've bitten Peter Parker got squished before it could bestow those iconic powers. Thor, imprisoned and without Mjolnir, never became the thunder god we know. And the Fantastic Four? They never got hit with cosmic rays, except for Reed Richards, who became the villainous Doctor Doom.
A Different Kind of Hulk and Iron Man
But it's not all doom and gloom (pun very much intended). The Hulk still exists in this universe, except he's traded in smashing for a more Zen lifestyle. This version of the Hulk is a master of his rage, leading a group of peaceful monks known as the Children of Eternal Light. Iron Man is around as well, but it's not Tony Stark. Instead, it's Howard Stark who dons the armor, giving us a unique take on the iconic character.
Earth-6160 isn't your run-of-the-mill Marvel Universe. It's been divvied up into eight territories, each ruled by the Maker. The Maker, along with his loyal superpowered followers, has a firm grip on this twisted realm. But not everything is as it seems, especially when your doppelganger forces you to rock a mask inspired by Doctor Doom!
Heroes Unite to Fix the Multiverse
With the Maker's influence running rampant, it's up to a ragtag team of heroes to fix what he's broken. Enter the likes of an empowered Bruce Banner, Lady Sif, and the thawed Captain America. Thanks to a nifty time machine built by Howard Stark, this unlikely crew aims to set the universe right and kick the Maker's can back to where it belongs.
The Ultimate Marvel Universe Series
As of November 2023, three new series set in the Ultimate Universe have been announced: Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate Black Panther, and Ultimate X-Men. These books promise to be a whirlwind of adventure and excitement, with Ultimate Spider-Man exploring an older Peter Parker, Ultimate Black Panther uncovering the secrets of Wakanda, and Ultimate X-Men following Hisako "Armor" Ichiki as she grapples with her newfound powers.
So, dear readers, strap in, because the new Ultimate Marvel Universe is about to take us on a wild ride through the multiverse, with all its quirky twists and turns. If you're itching to know more, you know where to find us—That! Comic Podcast from the vibrant city of Philadelphia, delivering the latest and greatest issues every Wednesday. Don't miss out on the comic adventure of a lifetime! Excelsior!