Today we are here to discuss the Maker, and no, I am not talking about Jesus. I’m talking about The Maker of Marvel Comics, the alter ego of Ultimate Reed Richards. Let’s take a minute to appreciate that sentence. Reed Richards is Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four. But this is not the normal canonical version of Reed Richards, this is the alternative Ultimate Universe version of Reed Richards. But this is not quite that version either, we are going to discuss the second wave of the Ultimate Universe, the Ultimate Comics version. The Reed Ricards which has a big metal helmet on his head and is known as The Maker.
So this story starts with Secret Wars Issue 4. This is the issue in which the Life Raft (the one with the good guys in it) and the Cabal (the one with the bad guys in it) confront Dr. Doom. When this happened I saw the Maker (Ultimate Reed Richards) for this first time and was very confused. Why does he have this thing on his head? Why was he on the ship with the villains and not the heroes? WHY DOES HE HAVE THE THING ON HIS HEAD?
My search started on where else but Wikipedia and Comic Vine which were surprisingly little help. Both mention that at some point Reed Richards becomes the Maker but no explanation of why or how. The Marvel Wikia had more information but again still didn’t explain why or how Reed became the Maker.
So this lead to part two of my search. I have a subscription to Marvel Comics Digital Unlimited and have access to every issue of the Ultimate Universe. So I started by looking through the entire Ultimate Fantastic Four run (2003-2009) with no luck. Not a single issue had the Maker on the cover and spot checking a few they all had the normal version of Reed Richards. No problem I think, there are a half dozen other Ultimate Fantastic Four Series, surely it is in one of those. I check Ultimate FF, Ultimate Fantastic Four / X-Men, Ultimate Fantastic Four MGC, and Ultimate Comics Doom. No such luck. At least a quick search through the covers all have the normal version of Reed Richards.
I’m stuck. I don’t know where to look and there is no great source of information on Ultimate Reed Richards / The Maker. Finally I have a breakthrough and realize the image that Marvel Wikia is using for the Maker is the cover of Issue 9 of Ultimate Comics Ultimates. I open up the series on Marvel Unlimited and decide spot check some issues and see if I can find where this transition happens. I open Issue 1, Page one and see the following image.
What the fuck! Issue one already has Reed Richards as the maker. This had to have taken place before Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates started. I go back to Wikipedia and look up Ultimate Comics Ultimates and have breakthrough number 2. Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates is the result of the events of Ultimate Comics Doomsday. Ah Ha I proclaim! I go back to Marvel Unlimited and open up Ultimate Comics Doom and immediately notice something is wrong. Issue 1 is in the middle of an action sequence and there is clearly something going on before this issue. I go back to Wikipedia and learn that Ultimate Comics Doomsday is actually the combination of the following Ultimate Enemy, Ultimate Mystery, and Ultimate Doom, each of which is 4 issues long. So I need to read these 12 issues before I can start the 30 issues of Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates which will explain to me how Reed Richards became the Maker.
This is why we can’t have nice things.
So if you want to learn about the Maker here is the full reading order
- Ultimate Comics: Enemy 1-4
- Ultimate Comics: Mystery 1-4
- Ultimate Comics: Doom 1-4
- Ultimate Comics The Ultimates 1-4 (The Republic is Burning), 5-6 (The World), 7-12 (Two Cities, Two Worlds)
It’s a little spread out but all together it makes one complete story. I would like to bitch about how it wasn’t worth it but the truth is that this whole arc is actually really great and something I would consider a must read. I’ve never been a huge fan of the Fantastic Four but this is hands down the best Fantastic Four story I’ve ever read. If you have access to Marvel Unlimited or find it on sale at Comixology you should definitely give it a read.
If you don’t want to read it and just want to know what happens here is a brief super spoilery summary.
You’ve been warned.
Ultimate Comics Enemy, Mystery, and Doom
Ultimate Doomsdsy starts with a mysterious alien worm thing that goes loose on New York City. At first it’s thought to be a Roxxon Corp experiment gone wrong but is quickly realized to be much bigger than Roxxon as it attacks the whole city. In the end the aliens behind the attack are caught and the worm thing is stopped. The worm thing causes a lot of damage including the entire Baxter Building. It also destroys the childhood home of Reed Richards (with Reed inside) and the home of Peter Parker.
Cut forward aliens are continuing to attack and various marvel heroes (Spider-man, Spider-woman, Captain Marvel, Nick Fury, the rest of the Fantastic Four) try to figure out who is behind it. Susan Storm gets further than most and is brutually attacked by the person behind it all who is… Reed Richards! It turns out Reed was behind it all and was using the attacks as distractions as he began to build a utopian society in the Negative Zone. A whole mass of Ultimates go to the Negative Zone and attack him and are able to stop Reed while Reed himself is lost in the destruction.
Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates
Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates takes place immediately following the events of Ultimate Comics Doom. We last saw Richard Reed floating in the abyss of the negative zone. In the first shots of this series we see Reed with his maker helmet on in the middle of no where Germany with a huge group of followers. He builds “the dome” which is a huge structure in which he is able to slow down the effects of time. So while only days passed in our world centuries passed under the dome which lead to the evolution of the human species. Just to keep up Richard Reeds had to expand his own brain capacity which is now in a freakishly large shape that fills his maker helmet. By the time the Ultimates come to investigate the Dome society is huge and more advanced technically and biologically than anything on earth. Reed continues to expand the size of the dome outside of just rural nowhere to destroying occupied cities nearby that were in the way. The Ultimates are literally powerless to stop Reed as all methods and technology they have are woefully out of date. Eventually Reed stops the growth of the Dome and declares a truce. He agrees not to expand in exchange for the outside world to leave him and his society alone.
Of course the Ultimates aren’t going to just let this stand. Now strap in because this is where things get really weird. Ultimate Tony Stark has a sentient Brain Tumor which takes the form of a 8 year old child version of Tony Stark. Tony has been talking to his tumor and realized the tumor has the ability to take over / hack machines. Tony infiltrates the Dome his tumor takes over the AI of the city and causes it to collapse in on it self. During this the Ultimates come in and wreck shop and are able to stop Reed this time for good (well for a while).
Evil Reed Richards! Utopian Society! Super advanced society from kind of the future! Tony Stark with a sentient brain tumor that has super powers. Guys this comic has it all and you absolutely have to check it out.