When Did Marvel’s Ultimate line Stop being Ultimate?
Once upon a time, Marvel had two major universes struggling for control of Marvel Comics future. In an interview, Joe Quesada (EIC of Marvel) was asked if they would every end the regular Marvel Universe in favor of the Ultimate Marvel Universe. This was a time when Marvel fans actually had to worry about the Ultimate line taking over as the new continuum. This was at a time when Ultimate Spider-man usually held two of the top ten sales spots with Ultimate X-Men hogging another. Can you imagine, no more Universe 616? What if every story from Marvel was based in the Ultimate Universe? Why didn’t that happen? When did the Ultimate Universe stop being Ultimate?
At the beginning of the Ultimate line there were two writers and two artists: Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley on Ultimate Spider-man and Mark Millar and Adam Kubert on Ultimate X-Men. Essentially both titles were retcons (retroactive continuity) of their Marvel Universe counterparts, but so much more at the same time. The line grew with the addition of The Ultimates aka the Ultimate Avengers, then even further with Ultimate Fantastic Four. These books all have two things in common: Mark Millar and Brian Bendis, the godfathers of the Ultimate Universe. They created a modern retelling of everyone’s favorite Marvel characters. The beauty was the continuum. No longer messy with decades of old stories and mismatched timelines, everything was in the same world. It was new and interesting to see classic characters explained not by magic or by being in the wrong place at the right time. Everything was connected and affected everything in the world. It was so wonderfully crafted. The Hulk was created to replicate the super soldier serum that made Captain America. Mutants DNA was unlocked for the same reason and Wolverine became Mutant Zero. There was a logical explanation for everything.