Jul 122011


Well, Ultimate Peter Parker is dead. Ultimate Spider-Man is going to live on. However, Peter Parker’s premature demise is leading us into a relaunch of the entire Ultimate Marvel universe in August.

Warning: spoilers

This is actually the second relaunch. The first happened in 2009 when Marvel renamed the brand “Ultimate Comics.”

Ultimate Marvel is a universe featuring reimagined and updated versions of classic Marvel heroes and villains. It was created for new readers who were turned off by the 616 Universe — the main Marvel universe — because of the decades of backstory.

Two writers — Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Millar — were basically the creators of the Ultimate universe and have been heavily involved in it. However, some other fantastic writers such as Brian K. Vaughn, Orson Scott Card, Warren Ellis and Robert Kirkman have also been involved.

But like I said, Marvel is relaunching the universe because the once-hot brand has cooled down recently.

So far, four titles have been announced: Ultimate Comics: Ultimates, Ultimate Comics: Hawkeye, Ultimate Comics: X-Men and Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man.

Ultimates and Hawkeye will be out in August. X-Men and Spider-Man will premiere sometime this Fall.

The newest ‘big event’ in the Ultimate universe is the death of Peter Parker. I bring it up because in July, Marvel is going to have a mini-series called Fallout which is going to act as a bridge for the new titles and new creative teams. And Fallout is going to spin out directly from the death of Peter Parker.

Ultimates will be born from Fallout. The cast so far is Nick Fury, Iron Man, Thor, Spider-Woman, and Hulk. There will be no Captain America. Following Fallout, SHIELD has been stretched beyond its breaking point and that will be explored here.

Jonathan Hickman, who is writing the comic, wants the Ultimates to be ‘an event book’, and he knows what he’s doing for the next year. Also, he is going to try to get the comic out more than 12 times during its first year.

Ultimate Comics: Hawkeye will also be written by Hickman.

You don’t need to read Ultimates and Hawkeye together, but the conclusion of Hawkeye’s mission will help set up the new direction for the Ultimate Comics. The series will cover Hawkeye’s past, including his training and how he got recruited by Nick Fury.

Sometime this fall, Ultimate Comics: X-Men launches written by Nick Spencer.

The main cast: Kitty Pride, Iceman, Johnny Storm, Jimmy Hudson (Wolverine’s son), and Rogue. Karen Grant aka Jean Grey, Liz Allen, Storm, Colossus, and other characters from Ultimate X-Men will be involved.

The secret origin of the government creating mutants told in Ultimate Origins will be revealed at the start of the comic.

The story of the comic is going to be less about saving the world and more about a group of kids deciding to stick together and save each other.

Characters will be trying to step up to fill the leadership void left by Xavier and Magneto, but whether or not they succeed will be a big part of the story.

There will be a ‘major adversary’ popping up on the other side of the globe who represents a long-term threat and has a lot to do with the rejection of the idea that mutants are a lab experiment gone wrong.

There will definitely be crossovers between the Ultimates and the X-Men. And a lot of what happens in the Ultimates will be reflected in the X-Men.

Also out this fall is the last comic Marvel has announced Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man still being written by Brian Michael Bendis.

From the very first page people will see this is very different from what they’ve seen before. Not for shock value or cheap trick, but for new characters and a new landscape to explore. There are some elements of Spider-Man even more important than Peter Parker, and those will continue into the new series – Bendis.

There will be returning characters as well as new ones.

Spider-Man will have new powers in the new series.

There will be returning villains, new villains and Ultimate versions of classic villains not done yet. Mysterio will remain a major threat and new threats will come out of the X-Men book as well.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man will be shipping 12 times a year

Captain America will have a big emotional connection to the story

A lot of people make it clear that the Ultimate Universe was their way into comics or back into comics and that they have an emotional connection to these characters. I do too, and don’t take it for granted. I take the relationship readers have with Peter, Mary Jane, etc. seriously. Some scary stuff is coming up but ultimately, have no fear” – Bendis.

I, personally, am looking forward to this relaunch because Ultimate Marvel, in the beginning, was excellent and it got me back into comics. Recently I have started to lose interesting Ultimate Marvel because the stories have not been enthralling to me. With this new relaunch I’m hoping that Ultimate Comics will, once again, offer refreshing, entertaining stories and offer that exciting spark of energy it seemed to have when it first began.

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