There was a time when the idea of the Ultimate universe seemed lunacy. Failed attempts at getting that wacky ‘reinvention/back-to-basics’ approach on Spider-Man failed miserably before with ‘Chapter One’ and restarting all these tiles with all new backgrounds and histories and stories, well… who wants to reread a bunch of stories that made their mark the first time?
And then we got the books. Reading Bendis’s very natural take on an updated Spider-Man and seeing a rather sexy and slick new X-Men stick to almost more ‘rational’ explinations of their origins and basic concepts silenced a lot of naysayers. The Ultimates and the breakneck storytelling that Mark Millar set the bar for has nerly become standard as to how the Avengers formed in both animated and possibly movie form. The Ultimate universe has been nothing but a playground of reinvention and creativity with the idea that the character’s truths were being told no matter how they deviated. Sure, Peter Parker was a webmaster for the Daily Bugle, but it’s the fact that he’s a kid working in the news business for J. Jonah is what counts. Sure, it was a ‘genetically engineered’ spider and not a radioactive one, but the lessons learned are just the same. we bought it enough for the House of Ideas to steal one of there own and had ‘classic’ Peter try out some organic webshooters for a time. The denizens of Marvel Universe are fantastic character studies as very few heroes (or villains for that matter) actively chase their destiny. Happenstance occurs, a quirk of genetics, fate Itself intervenes and its up to the person with the great power to accept their great responsiblity or turn towards something else.
It may be a change but it’s one that’s couched in familiarity and a certain amount of sincerity towards the original origins, so to speak. It was new and fresh but didn’t exactly move from the rock solid ideals we all loved about the Marvel U. The Ultimates line had just enough of this to keep the Marvel style and keep their individuality, while at the same time uniting them in the Mighty Marvel manner. Cautiously at first, the Ultimates and the Fantastic Four and the X-Men and Spider-Man all started to interact, share plotlines and team-ups.
You might have noticed I’m using a lot of ‘past tense’ verbs here. Today, Ultimate Origins #3 comes out and when Bendis said this was going to be huge, he was not joking. Ahead, we’ll look at a sudden turn in direction for Marvel’s Merry Mutants and what this could mean for Ultimatum and those rock solid ideals.
WARNING: Really, we’re talking about Ultimate Orgins #3, so go grab your copy and read along. Spoilers ahead.