caption=Cover to "Ultimates 2" #1 (December 2004) Art by
debut="Ultimates" #1 March 2002
Mark Millar Bryan Hitch
sortkey=Ultimates|The "Ultimates" are a fictional group of
superheroes that appear in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The team was created by writer Mark Millarand artist Bryan Hitch, and first appeared in "Ultimates" #1 (March 2002), as part of the company's Ultimate Marvelimprint. The team is a modern reimagining of the superhero team the "Avengers".cite web | last = Estrella | first = Ernie | url=http://www.popcultureshock.com/features.php?id=874 | title=Mark Millar Interview | publisher=popcultureshock.com | accessdate=2008-03-20]
The first volume of the "Ultimates", written by Millar and illustrated by Hitch, was published in limited series format and ran for twelve issues with production delays from March 2002 until April 2004. Hitch described the alternate-reality reimagining as one where, "You have to approach it as though nothing has happened before and tell the story fresh from the start.... We had to get to the core of who these people were and build outwards, so Cap [Captain America] was a soldier, Thor is either a nut case or a
messiah... Banner [the Hulk] an insecure genius, and [superspy Nick] Fury the king of cool".cite web | last = Evans | first = Sam | url=http://www.comicsbulletin.com/features/103008397674473.htm | title=Bryan Hitch: The Ultimates Visionary | publisher=Comics Bulletin.com | accessdate=2008-06-30]
A second series, also by Millar and Hitch and with similar production delays, [cite web | last = Frankenhoff | first = Brent | url=http://cbgxtra.com/Default.aspx?tabid=42&view=topic&forumid=17&postid=18951 | title="Ultimates 2" #13 delayed | publisher=
Comics Buyer's Guide| work=cbgextra.com | date=2007-01-03 | accessdate=2008-09-03] was released as "Ultimates 2" and ran for thirteen issues from December 2004 to May 2007.
In a December 2004 interview with PopCultureShock, Millar outlined the difference between the "Ultimates" and the Avengers: "The idea behind The Avengers is that the Marvel Universe's biggest players all get together and fight all the biggest supervillains they can't defeat individually, whereas "Ultimates 2" is an exploration of what happens when a bunch of ordinary people are turned into super-soldiers and being groomed to fight the real-life war on terror."
This was followed by the one-shot "Ultimate Saga" (Nov. 2007), a condensed retelling, by writers
C. B. Cebulskiand Mindy Owens and artist Travis Charest, of the events of "Ultimates" and "Ultimates 2". A third series, "Ultimates 3" (Dec. 2007 - Sept. 2008) is written by Jeph Loeband illustrated by Joe Madureira.
It was revealed at the 2008 at
San Diego Comic Conthat Mark Millar will write an ongoing series called "Ultimate Avengers" beginning in 2009. The series will be "event"-oriented, with a new major event every six issues, and a new artist illustrating each six-issue arc. [ [http://www.marvel.com/news/comicstories.4841.Millar_Launches_Ultimate_Avengers Kiel Phegley. "Millar Launches Ultimate Avengers" marvel.com. September 9, 2008] ]
General Nick Fury of
S.H.I.E.L.D.establishes a strike force of government-sponsored metahumans which includes Captain America; scientist couple Henry and Janet Pym (Giant-Man and the Wasp); Bruce Banner (the Hulk) and Tony Stark ( Iron Man). Together they are based at the S.H.I.E.L.D facility, the Triskelion. When Banner injects himself with the super-soldier serum and goes on a bloody rampage as the Hulk, he is eventually stopped by the other metahumans with the aid of Thor. The team then join forces with the mutants Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch and agents Hawkeye and Black Widow against the alien shape-shifters the Chitauri, who are defeated.
A year later public opinion has turned against the team when it is discovered that Bruce Banner is in fact the Hulk and was responsible for hundreds of deaths. The team is undermined further when Thor is accused of being an escaped mental patient and is incarcerated. This is the doing of his brother Loki, who also facilitates the creation of a new team of anti-American multi-nationals called the Liberators. With the aid of the Black Widow - who betrays the team to the Liberators - the Ultimates are captured, but eventually escape and battle the Liberators to the death. With the aid of Asgardian warriors, the Ultimates defeat both Loki and the Liberators.
Hank Pym is under house arrest at Tony Stark's mansion. One of Pym's Ultron robots drugs him and leaks a sex tape of Stark and the Black Widow to the
Internet. These distract from the robot's fatal shooting of the Scarlet Witch. Magneto abducts Wanda's corpse and retreats to the Savage Land, where he is confronted by the Ultimates. Pym and Wasp discover the truth about the Ultron robot, which has adopted the identity of Yellowjacket and uses the Ultimates' DNAto create a series of android duplicates. Although the true Ultimates destroy their android counterparts and Yellowjacket, Quicksilveris killed. The Wasp then invites Pym to return to the Ultimates, and he accepts. The mastermind behind the robot's plot is revealed to be Doctor Doom.
ales and reception
The first volume of "Ultimates" #1 ranked fourth among the top 300 comics sold for February 2002, based on Diamond Publisher's indexes, [ [http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/987.html Top 300 Comics for January 2002] ] with the next three issues ranked second, [ [http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/1080.html Top 300 Comics for February 2002] ] second, [ [http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/1174.html Top 300 Comics for March 2002] ] and third, [ [http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/1260.html Top 300 Comics for April 2002] ] respectively.
Mark Millar's writing in the opening eight issues, stating the writer "is able to walk a very fine line of keeping the story measured yet entertaining". [cite web| last = Konczal| first = Michael | url=http://www.popmatters.com/comics/ultimates-1-8.shtml | title=THE ULTIMATES #1-8 | publisher=popmatters.com | accessdate=2008-03-20] Comics Bulletin, in a review of the "Homeland Security" story arc, states the artwork is "visual magnificence" yet is concerned about the dark writing of the characters stripped of their "super-heroic nobility" and was "disheartened by the book’s tone and cynicism". [cite web| last = Dallas| first = Keith| url=http://www.comicsbulletin.com/reviews/108445861133829.htm| title=The Ultimates Vol. 2: Homeland Security TPB| publisher=Comics Bulletin| accessdate=2008-03-20] Shakingthrough.net gave "Homeland Security" a 4.2 out of 5.0 stating it is an "engaging read, filled with intriguing and amusing modern takes on classic Marvel characters" whilst praising Bryan Hitch's artwork by saying it is "amazing, gorgeous artwork, which continues to set the standard for cinematic photo-realism." [cite web| last = Moreau| first = Kevin Forest| url=http://www.shakingthrough.net/comics/reviews/2004/ultimates_volume_2_2004.html| title=The Ultimates Vol. 2: Homeland Security TPB| publisher=Comics Bulletin| accessdate=2008-03-20]
"Ultimates 2" #1 ranked second among the top 300 comics sold for December 2004, [ [http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/6291.html Top 300 Comics Actual—December 2004] ] with the next three issues ranked second, [ [http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/6483.html Top 300 Comics for January 2005] ] fourth [ [http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/6620.html Top 300 Comics for February 2005] ] and sixth, [ [http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/6751.html Top 300 Comics for March 2005] ] respectively.
Reviewing "Ultimates 2", Curledup.com praised Millar's writing of the classic heroes and the "inclusion of current-day politics" improves the storyline. [cite web| last = Eaton| first = Lance| url=http://www.curledup.com/ulti2vo1.htm| title=Ultimates 2, Volume 1: Gods & Monsters| publisher=curledup.com| accessdate=2008-03-20] Comics Bulletin reviewed the final issue #13 but found it anti-climatic with the issue degenerating to a "slug fest". The artwork was praised with the reviewer stating that Bryan Hitch's "artwork has definitely been one of the main elements that will make this series memorable." [cite web| last = Powers| first = Kevin| url=http://www.comicsbulletin.com/reviews/117952616766620.htm| title=Ultimates 2 #13| publisher=Comics Bulletin| accessdate=2008-03-20] Denofgeek.com praised the artwork, with "Bryan Hitch doing some of the best work of his career", but was critical of Millar's writing stating it had "no substance". [cite web| last = Mclaughlin| first = Robert| url=http://www.denofgeek.com/comics/2060/ultimates_13_review.html| title=Ultimates 13: Review| publisher=denofgeek.com| accessdate=2008-03-20]
"Ultimates 3" #1 ranked first in December 2007's Top 300 comics with preorder sales of 131,401, [cite web| url=http://www.icv2.com/articles/home/11939.html| title=Top 300 Comics Actual—December 2007| publisher=icv2.com| accessdate=2008-03-07] Issue #2 ranked number seven with 105,070 preorders. [cite web| url=http://www.icv2.com/articles/home/12096.html| title=Top 300 Comics Actual—January 2008| publisher=icv2.com| accessdate=2008-03-20] Issue three ranked better than its predecessor, falling at number five, but had a smaller number of preorders, totaling at 97,210. [cite web| url=http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/12242.html| title=Top 300 Comics Actual—February 2008| publisher=icv2.com| accessdate=2008-03-20]
Reviewing "Ultimates 3",
IGNcalled the book a "reasonably decent experience" although the issue "falters on its own merits", [cite web| last = George| first = Richard| url=http://au.comics.ign.com/articles/839/839841p1.html| title=Ultimates Vol. 3 #1 Review| publisher= IGN| accessdate=2008-03-20] only to later state while reviewing the third issue that "Behind the theatrics and swagger, there's just nothing there to draw me in. These are the characters that I used to enjoy in name only, hollow shells of what they used to be." [cite web| last = Fuller| first = Kevin| url=http://uk.comics.ign.com/articles/853/853747p1.html| title=Ultimates Vol. 3 #3 Review| publisher=IGN.com| accessdate=2008-06-21]
* [http://www.ultimatecentral.com Ultimate Central]
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