Tag Archives: Marvel

Complete Mary Jane Watson Marvel Variant Covers

Face it tiger you just hit the jackpot.  We’ve had Gwen Stacy Variant Covers but now Spider-man’s lady in red is getting her own set of variant covers.  This June (2017) Marvel is releasing 22 variant covers featuring Mary Jane Watson.  See the complete list and images below.

  1. All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #3 by Kris Anka
  2. All-New Wolverine #21 by David Lopez
  3. Avengers #8 by Mike Allred
  4. Black Bolt #2 by Ryan Stegman
  5. Captain America: Steve Rogers #18 by Paolo Rivera
  6. Champions #9 by Helen Chen
  7. Daredevil #21 by Humberto Ramos
  8. Deadpool #32 by Elizabeth Torque
  9. Doctor Strange #22 by Francisco Herrera
  10. Gwenpool, The Unbelievable #17 by David Nakayama
  11. Hulk #7 by Rahzzah
  12. I Am Groot #2 by Julian Totino Tedesco
  13. Invincible Iron Man #8 by Marco Checchetto
  14. Iron Fist #4 by Stephanie Hans
  15. Mighty Thor #20 by Patrick Brown
  16. Secret Warriors #3 by Javier Rodriguez
  17. Spider-Gwen #21 by Kevin Wada
  18. The Mighty Captain Marvel #6 by Chris Samnee
  19. The Punisher #13 by Dave Williams
  20. Venom #151 by Francesco Mattina
  21. X-Men Blue #5 by Emanuela Lupacchino
  22. X-Men Gold #5 by Anthony Piper

As an extra bonus here are four more variant covers with Mary Jane as member of the Avengers drawn by J. Scott Campbell


Generation X (1996)

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As if my weekly television didn’t consist of enough comic book properties on February 8th FX is premiering a new show called Legion which centers around David Haller, aka Legion, aka Professor Xavier’s son.  I am pretty excited, the previews so far have been pretty awesome (check out the trailer here) and I’ve always been a big fan of the X-Men.  Which brings us to the matter at hand!  Legion is considered the first live action adaptation of X-Men to come to television but that is wrong.  Back in the dark times before the internet (1996) the X-Men appeared on TV in one of the most epic trainwrecks of all time, Generation X.

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Generation X the movie is based on Generation X the comic which was first published in 1994.  Generation X (Comic) was a spin off of the main X-Men series created by writer Scott Lobdell and artist Chris Bachalo.  It centers around the teenage students of the Xavier School, Chamber (Jonothon “Jono” Starsmore), Husk (Paige Guthrie), Jubilee (Jubilation Lee), M (Monet St. Croix), Mondo, Gaia, Penance, Skin (Angelo Espinosa), and Synch (Everett Thomas).  Some of which were mutants from other series and a handful of new mutants created for the series.  They are mentored by teachers at the Xavier School Banshee (Sean Cassidy) and Emma Frost (The White Queen).

In casting aspect Generation X (movie) was actually kind of faithful to the comics.  Banshee and Emma Frost are the teachers at the school in the comics as they were in the movie.  Jubilee, M, Skin, and Mondo are also in both the movie and comics, while they added two new mutants Kurt Pastorius and Arlee Hicks.  Kurt doesn’t appear in any comics, he seems to have powers simlar to cyclops but it is fairly unclear what they really are.  Alree has super strength powers which cause her to be really buff.

Movie Summary

The movie starts off with our villain Russel Tresh moments away from cutting the brain out of an unsuspecting mutant.  At the last minute steps in Emma Frost with some cops to shut him down.  However, after saving the mutant, he is immediately apprehended by the cops for being unregistered and Tresh goes away free.  Smash cut to an arcade.  A young Jubilee is playing Virtual Fighter which is also laced with subliminal messaging to keep the teenages playing.  In a trance Jubliee accidentally uses her powers which destroy the machine and cause her to be arrested.  Cut to Emma Stone waking up in a four post bed being all super sexy.  She Banshee go to pick up another mutant (Skin) and stop off to get Jubilee on the way.  They convince Jubliee’s parents to let her go to the Xavier school where she will learn to control her powers.  They then get Skin who we learn has stretchy limbs powers similar to Mr. Fantastic (except they seem to hurt him).

Jubilee and Skin are brought to the Xavier school where they are processed and meet the other students.  They join in a pick up game of football where they are hazed a little but seem to fall in with the rest of the kids.  There is a montage of the kids living together and all of them standing in line for the one bathroom in the school (seriously? just one?) where we learn that there is something weird with Arlee’s body and she wears baggy clothes to hide it.  We then see the kids at class where they learn to hone their telepathic powers which apparently all mutants have in this world.  Skin finds out that there is a machine locked away that lets you enter people’s dreams and shows Jubilee (this will come in to play later).  The kids then convince Banshee to let them take the car and go to town where Skin meets a pretty blonde but her jock friends pour food on him.

While all this is happening our villain is creating the same dream machine that Emma has for a super shady corporation.  He tells them it will be to sell products to kids while they sleep subliminally but he is really just wants revenge on Emma Frost.  After a disastrous presentation to the companies board of directors he is fired.  Tresh however is plugged in to the dream machine when they come to get him, pulling the plug and locking him in the dreamworld.  Tresh gets revenge killing his boss by making him jump out of a building while he is asleep.

Skin and Jubilee use Emma’s dream machine which Tresh is able to find them and freak them out.  Tresh then blackmails Skin in to helping him by threatening to harm his little sister.  Once Tresh is saved from the dream world by Skin, he turns on Skin and wants to cut out his brain so he can have mutant powers as well.  Jubliee discovers Skin is missing and alerts Emma.  The school goes to Tresh’s lab and defeat him.  The movie ends with the students getting suits.

Stray Observations

While this movie actually films at the same mansion that is used in the 2000’s X-Men movie there are literally no other mutants in the mansion.  Besides the 6 students and 2 teachers the school is empty.

Even though there are X’s everywhere and the school is the Xaiver school there is no mention of the X-Men or Charles Xavier outside the name of the school.

I’m still uncertain what was wrong with Arlee’s body.  There is a scene where Jubilee accidentally walks in on her in a dressing room and you see a sort of buff back for a half a second but it is still unclear.

Tresh is super annoying.  He has a Jim Carey Riddler vibe going on and his motivations are super unclear.  He focuses most of the movie around getting this technology built to go into the dreamworld but really seems to want to cut open a mutants brain to get telepathic powers.

If you thought you’d see a badass fight with mutants using their powers, too bad!  Almost all the action takes place in the dream world which is super murky and unclear what it is.  For a movie about mutants they spend a ton of time dealing with this weird dream world.

The version of the movie I watched happened to be the UK version which has a few differences.

  1. Jubilee has to talk her clothes off when she gets to the mansion for a full body scan.  There isn’t actual nudity but it was weird and doesn’t play out to anything (see the 18:45 mark).
  2. Jubliee goes on a weird F-bomb run after they first go into the dream world.  This is when I realized this version was different.  It’s only at this part of the movie that there is any swearing and its really weird (see the 52:13 mark).
  3. When Tresh threatens Skin he says he will rape Skin’s sister.  It’s really creepy and dark (see the 1:11:12 mark).

Final Thoughts

Generation X was better than I thought while still being weird and a disaster.  I was surprised they actually had a decent amount of big name mutants from the Generation X comics.  However they managed to barely have them use their mutant powers at all.  I get it.  The technology wasn’t there and on a TV budget they just couldn’t afford to have them use their powers and make it look good.  But still they had to no it was an issue going in to it and using this weird dream world was a huge mistake.  Anyways you don’t have to take my word for it, the entire movie is posted on YouTube for free!  God bless you internets.

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Character Profile on The Maker

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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.

Secret Wars 4

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.

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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

  1. Ultimate Comics: Enemy 1-4
  2. Ultimate Comics: Mystery 1-4
  3. Ultimate Comics: Doom 1-4
  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.

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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.

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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.


Spider-Gwen Sale on Comixology!

Spider-Gwen Sale

Today only there is a one day sale on the first volume of Spider-Gwen which you can get all five issues for $0.99 each ($4.95 for all five).  As of now each issue is still currently selling at $3.99 and the MSRP for the trade paperback is $16.99, so this by far the cheapest option available.  The five issues of Edge of Spider-verse are on sale as well, also for $0.99 each.  Not only that but the first seven issues of Silk are on sale for $0.99 each.  This sale is only valid for today so act fast.

Sandman Sale

If Spider-Gwen is not your thing there are some more sales going on this weekend as well.  There is a across the board sale on Sandman Comics.  Each of the 10 volumes is on sale for $5.99 each.  This also includes other Neil Gaiman series such as Death, The Dream Hunters, and Dead Boy Detectives.  All single issues of Sandman are also on sale for $0.99 each.  This sale will go on until 11/16/15.

The Sandman issues are also on sale on Kindle, Google Play, and iTunes if Comixology isn’t your jam.

Dark Horse Sale

There is also Dark Horse Sale with first volumes of Hellboy, BPRD, Conan and the Goon on sale.  They also have single issues of Buffy, the Strain, Fight Club 2, and The Massive for $0.99 each.  This sale goes on until 11/15.

Last thing, if you want to buy any of these issues and are new to Comixology you can use my referral code here and get a five dollar credit toward your first purchase.


Comic Block September 2015

Comic Block Web Clipping

I am aware that we are half way through October before I am getting this up but I as George Washington famously said, “shit happens”.

Comic Block September - Unboxing 3

First lets get the run down of all the goodies in this months box:

  • Deadpool Vs. Thanos 1 from Marvel Comics
  • Dangergirl 1 Exclusive Comic Block Variant from IDW
  • Mirror’s Edge: Exordium 1 from Dark Horse
  • Mad Max: Fury Road 1 Exclusive Nerd Block Variant from Veritgo
  • Saga T-Shirt with Prince Robot
  • Green Lantern light up ring

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Solid box top to bottom.  Not only did we get a Green Lantern Ring and awesome Saga T-shirt but we got four comics this month instead of our normal three!  I’ve mentioned this before but part of the promise of the Comic Block has been that we will occasionally get exclusive variant covers and graphic novels.  While we have gotten variant covers o’ plenty there has yet to be a single graphic novel.  Perhaps next month?  I did read all the comics in the box and below are is my rundown of each issue.

Mad Max: Fury Road 1

Comic Block September - Mad Max Fury Road 1 Nerd Block Exclusive Variant Stitch

Witness!  From the best I can bet this comic book takes place between Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome and Mad Max: Fury Road.  It starts with a couple page run down summarizing the events of the first three Mad Max movies which feels like way more information then we actually need.  It then has Max go to Gastown to participate in a Battle Royal style Thunderdome situation in hopes to win a V8 engine.  Max is victorious however killing of one of the members of the Buzzards gang attracts their attention.  The Buzzards find where Max has been hiding, steal his engine, stab him, and tie him to the ground to be left for dead.  Max passes out and a mysterious woman frees Max and bandages his wounds.  The comic ends when Max wakes up.  The mysterious woman enlists Max’s service for an unknown job in exchange for saving his life.

The comic was so-so.  It spends too much time recapping the old Mad Max movies and not enough time moving the plot forward.  Very little actually happens.  The art is really inconsistent.  At times it looks great and extremely detailed, but at other times the faces of people look like mushy blobs.  They also go to great links to make Max not look like Mel Gibson or Tom Hardy which is a weird choice and distracting.  This is only an issue 1 so it’s job is really just to set things up but I wished we had gotten a little more.  With so little happening I wasn’t able to form any strong ties to anyone or anything so don’t have a lot of motivation to find out what happens next.

Deadpool Vs. Thanos 1

Comic Block September - Deadpool vs. Thanos 1

Deadpool has been up against a lot.  He’s been up against X-Force, Hawkeye, Carnage, and now Thanos.  I’m a little unsure on the actual plot of what happened in this comic, there were a lot of moving parts.  There was some stuff about Death being kidnapped and so the dead on earth were unable to actually die.  There was a fight between Deadpool and Thanos for the affection of Death.  Thanos kind of killed Deadpool and then brought him back to life so they could team up and find Death.  It was a little confusing, but there were a lot of jokes, breaking the fourth wall and talking about tacos.

I have real mixed feelings about Deadpool.  I like him in theory but I find most of the fourth wall breaking and jokes to be more gimmicky than actually funny.  The comics I have read with Deadpool up to this point have been ok but because of all the jokes and such there never really feels like there are any stakes.  There were some genuinely funny parts in this comic but not funny enough to get me to buy more issues.

Mirror’s Edge: Exordium 1

Comic Block September - Mirror's Edge Exordium 1

If you don’t already know Mirror’s Edge is based on a video game for PS3/Xbox360/PC that came out in 2007.  It was fairly groundbreaking at the time for being a first person shooter that involved little to no actual shooting.  It is based in a futuristic society which “runners” use parkour moves to navigate around the city delivering messages.  If I remember correctly the game sold ok but not stellar.  Everyone loved the aesthetic of the world but the game itself was painfully short (4-6 hours long) so people didn’t want to shell out 60 dollars for it.  I played it back in the day and remember liking it but also it giving me head aches from moving around so fast.  Also, if I can bitch for a moment I really hate when games allow you to have weapons but actively do things to discourage you from using them.  Either take the weapons out or make them usable don’t half ass it.

Anyway, they are finally making a sequel next year after being in some form of development over the last 7 years so this comic is most likely a tie-in or prequel.

The comic begins with Faith (our protagonist) on a mission.  She gets two guards to chase her in order to allow her team access into a building in order to steal data.  While running from the guards she accidentally interrupts some sort of deal between rival gangs and gun fire erupts.  Faith tries to get away but is captured by the gang working for the crime lord Dogen.  She is taken to Dogen who is impressed by her work and offers her a job.  She declines and leaves, trying to steal some of Dogens art on the way out.  Faith returns to her base of operations and their leader Noah is mad at her for the risk she took going on a rogue mission in the first place.  The comic ends with Faith going back to Dogen and accepting his employment.

This was a really great first issue of a comic.  A lot of things happen but they are presented in a controlled manner in which the reader can actually follow along.  They keep talking about this beatlink thing which apparently most of the advanced runners have and Faith does not.  Not having a beatlink is a slight to Faith and a cause of animosity between Noah and Faith.  Call me old, but I actually side with Noah in this when he is angry at Faith for her risky behavior.  He seems fairly reasonable and Faith just seems like a brat for not wanting to listen to him.  Overall I really liked the comic and will probably pick up more of the issues as they come in.  While I didn’t love the original Mirror’s Edge game, I did always like the world it created and liked revisiting it in this comic.

Sidenote I really liked that Dark Horse didn’t have any ads in this comic until the very end.  It was a real pleasant reading experience to be able to go through the story and not be distracted by ads every other page.

Danger Girl: Renegade 1

Comic Block September - Dangergirl 1 Comic Block Exclusive Variant

I don’t know about you but I find this comic is best read while playing Mystikal’s Danger (Been so Long).  So I know nothing about Danger Girl, and as if the comic was reading my mind, it was filled with exposition.  It even took a pause halfway through to explain exactly what the Danger Girls are.

Comic Block September - Dangergirl 1 Comic Block Exclusive Variant Pic 2

It starts off with Danger Girl Abbey Chase at age 12 running through the streets of Egypt.  This scene was amazingly over the top.  At one point she’s literally climbing a stack of woven baskets filled with snakes.

Comic Block September - Dangergirl 1 Comic Block Exclusive Variant Pic 1

Abbey and her handler David move to Norway where there some more exposition about her Dad being on some super secret mission.  The two are ambushed and David dies in the struggle.  Abbey manages to escape and the comic jumps 13 years to a 26 year old Abbey in the Amazon jungle.  Abbey is once again being Chased (see what I did there) and narrowly escapes a villainous woman with a snake eye (literally).  The comic ends with Abbey giving  more exposition and a glimpse of the weird emerald the Snake Lady was trying to steal from Abbey.

This comic was all well and good but nothing in it really grabbed my attention enough to want to read more.  The over the top villains and ominous dark family history was just so typical that it almost felt like a parody.  On the plus side the art was at least good and like Mirror’s Edge there weren’t ads in the interior of the book.


The Quips of A-Force Issue 5

If you aren’t reading the Secret Wars Tie-In, A-Force, you really should.  It’s worth for the banter in issue 5 alone (A-Force Issue 5 on Comixology).

A-Force 5 Quips


Marvel’s Ultimate Universe is Awesome

Ultimates Splash
When I first started really getting into comic books back in 2011 I was picking up a lot of titles but had pretty much written off the Ultimate Universe entirely.  The idea that this whole universe of comics was non-canon and thus “didn’t count” made me feel like it was a waste of time and something I shouldn’t bother with.  Now 2015, years wiser and stacks of comics later I realize just how wrong I was.

Ultimate Thor

If you are completely unfamiliar with the Ultimate Universe lets get into its history briefly.  Back in 2000 Marvel realized they had a problem on their hands.  The vast majority of their comics were turning 40 years old and so the origins of their most popular heroes were vastly out of date and touch with the modern world.  Marvel can do tricks with de-aging its heroes and condensing history but the fact remained that you can only really tell an origin once.  Marvel was stuck with two choices.  Reboot their lines so their stars have clean histories and relatable origins, or create all new characters to replace fan favorites.

The Marvel New Universe

This isn’t a problem that was new to Marvel.  Since the 80’s they had been trying to find a way to simplify the years of incoherent back story and clean the slate with its most popular characters.  In the 80’s Editor in Chief Jim Shooter tried to do just that with the launch of the New Universe.  Rather than reboot characters like Spider-man, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men he decided to create a slew of new characters with the hopes they would replace the old characters and become the new foundation of Marvel.  The fact that kids don’t dress up like Mark Hazzard or Star Brand for Halloween can clue you in that this idea was a spectacular failure.  The lesson learned from the New Universe was that while fans want new and interesting stories fans also are also unwilling to abandon the characters they love.

So creating a world of new characters was out.  But how does Marvel reboot their comics?  If you throw out 40 years of canon you piss off and alienate fans who have spent their lives following these characters.  If you keep in 40 years of canon the characters become an incoherent mess and the story telling suffers and you lose fans.  Marvel was stuck in a real catch-22 which no answer that would please everyone.

Ultimate End

Their solution was a compromise and the creation of the Ultimate Universe.  The Ultimate Universe would be a complete reboot and have separate continuity of the main Marvel Universe.  Fans of Spider-man could continue reading Amazing Spider-man which contained the 40 years of history.  However, if fans wanted a new take on the character they could pick up Ultimate Spider-man and read it instead.

The big selling point on the Ultimate Universe was that the stories would have teeth.  If someone dies in Amazing Spider-man they would generally find their way to being alive again within 5 years.  In fact it became such a joke that the saying was “No one stays dead in comics except Bucky and Jason Todd” (who ironically have both been brought back to life in the last 10 years).  The promise was that if someone died in the Ultimate Universe they would stay dead.

Ultimate Comics Ultimates 1 Cover

The Ultimate Universe kicked off with Ultimate Spider-man in October of 2000 written by Brian Michael Bendis in October of 2000 which remains the only Ultimate title that was still ongoing prior to 2015 Secret Wars (which has temporarily suspended all titles for Marvel).  The next titles were Ultimate X-Men written by Mark Millar, The Ultimates (the ultimate universe version of the avengers) written by Mark Millar, and Ultimate Fantastic Four also written by Mark Millar.  There were more limited series, one shots, and ongoing series that came and went but these four are what I consider the pillars of the original Ultimate Universe.  These four titles represent the characters that were some of Marvel’s oldest and were most in need of a updated origin.

The Ultimates 1

I started my dip into the Ultimate Comics pool with reading Mark Millar’s Ultimates 1 and 2.  These are both limited series runs with Ultimates 1 having 13 issues and Ultimates 2 having 15 issues.  I have a subscription to Marvel Digital Unlimited so I figured what the hell, it doesn’t have a ton of issues I’ll give it a shot.  After reading the first arc (issues 1-6) I was hooked and finished out the series.

I don’t know if I can place my finger on what I like most about Millar’s Ultimates but overall its just a fun read.  It’s got some truly shocking moments (Ant-Man and Wasp) and just plain crazy stuff in there as well (Hulk).  Millar makes bold choices are gives a version of these characters that I have truly never seen before.  I never imagined a Hippie version of Thor, psycho version of Hulk, or a Black Widow / Iron Man romance but somehow Millar makes this work.  I really liked that Millar decided to take so many of these characters in different directions because if you are going to do something as big as create a whole new universe of Marvel characters you really should do something interesting with it.

Once I got hooked on the Ultimates I started looking for more titles under the Ultimate Comic brand to read.

Ultimate Spider-man

My next read was Ultimate Spider-man.  So far I’ve only read the Volume 1: Power and Responsibility which is a retelling of Spider-man’s origin.  Out of all the Ultimate stories I’ve read so far Bendis’s Spider-man is the most straightforward adaptation.  There aren’t a lot of frills here, just a update of the classic story.  The Ultimate Peter Parker is still bitten by a now “genetically enhanced” spider, uncle Ben still dies, Power and responsibility are learned.  I don’t want this to sound like Ultimate Spider-man is not a great read, because it really is.  If someone wants to read Spider-man and start from the beginning this is where they need to go.  It is a well told update of a classic story.  If anything Ultimate Spider-man proved that Stan Lee really nailed it with this story, in this case we don’t need a gimmick, just a little update.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man 1

These days if you hear the word Ultimate Spider-man it isn’t associated with Peter Parker at all but the new Ultimate Spider-Man Miles Morales.  In 2011 after 160 Ultimate Spider-man ended with the Death of Peter Parker and the introduction of Miles Morales in a new on going series Ultimate Comics Spider-man.

Ultimate X-Men 1

Next I read Ultimate X-Men.  Ultimate X-Men is much more liberal take on the origin of the X-Men.  It throws us right into the mix where the original X-Men are already at the Xavier Institute for Gifted Youngsters.  There is the establishment of Magneto and the Brotherhood of Evil mutants and the first arc is centered around that clash.  The series also distances it self from the regular Marvel universe and establishes complete different back stories for many of the characters.  Wolverine starts as an spy for Magneto and immediately begins a relationship with Jean Grey (who has not been in a relationship with Scott Summers).  Beast and Storm begin a relationship early on and Weapon X is a program started by SHIELD.

Ultimate X-Men

I enjoyed reading the first volume of Ultimate X-Men and continued reading it through the first 30 or so issues.  The downside to Ultimate X-men is that while it is an “update” of the X-Men origin story it is already beginning to feel aged being 15 years old now.  The first issue cover alone has a very “Lisa Frank” feel to it and the style of the whole thing screams early 2000’s.  If someone wanted to get into the X-Men with no prior history I would probably point them toward 2012’s All-New X-Men instead of Ultimate X-Men.  That being said I would definitely recommend the series to anyone.

Ultimate Fantastic Four

Most recently I have started reading Ultimate Fantastic Four.  This is actually the first Fantastic Four comic book series I’ve ever read.  Like most of the country I just don’t find the Fantastic Four appealing at all, and out of all the big Marvel properties it feels the most out of date.  If any series could use a fresh coat of paint and an updated origin it is Fantastic Four.  I started just reading Volume 1: The Fantastic and to my genuine surprise I loved it.  Changing the Baxter building to a sort of Hogwarts for super genius kids was a great change.  I thought the re-imagining of their origin made sense and was much more relatable than the original Stan Lee origin.  In fact I was actually really stoked to go see the new Fantastic Four film knowing they pulled a lot of the source material from the Ultimate universe.  That was of course, until the reviews starting coming in…  This is definitely a book I would recommend to anyone especially if they are new to the Fantastic Four.

Ultimate End Vol 1 1

Having this renewed interest in the Ultimate Universe it’s sad that the current Secret Wars mini-series currently in production is actually ending the Ultimate Universe altogether.  Fantastic Four and X-Men had a decent run but started falling off in the late 2000’s (both Ending in 2009).  Marvel tried to revive the line in 2011 with the new Ultimate Comics line with a new Ultimates, X-Men, and Spider-man but they winded up canceling most the titles by 2014.  Prior to Secret Wars the only ongoing Ultimate title left in production was Spider-man.  At the end of the day Spider-man has been the real break out title of the entire Ultimate line and the only title to continually release since it’s inception in 2001.  Miles Morales has been an extremely popular character and will be folded into the All-New All-Different Avengers main team following Secret Wars.

For the time being it looks like there will no longer be an Ultimate Universe and only one main Marvel Universe.  My thought is that in the next 5 years we will reach the 20th anniversary of the launch of the Ultimate Universe and that Marvel will look at it as a good time to reboot the franchise.  Until then I still have a decade worth of Ultimate material to keep my occupied.

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Now that I have you chomping at the bit to read some Ultimate Comics where can you buy them?  If print is your preferred method you can pick up trade paperbacks pretty much anywhere comics are sold.  You will also likely have good luck finding copies of these trade paper backs at used book stores or for cheap online.  If digital is your method you can get the majority of the Ultimate universe on kindle, comixology, google play, itunes, or where ever you buy digital books.  However, if you really want to dig into the Ultimate Universe I would suggest looking into getting a subscription to Marvel Digital Unlimited.  It is an all you can read Netflix style comic book service for Marvel Comics and they have literally every issue of every Marvel Ultimate comic for you to read until your eyes bleed.


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