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Take 10

Take 10: The Ultimates

Prepare for the next chapter in the Ultimate Universe by celebrating its exciting past

Every week, a secret cabal of Marvel staffers gathers to discuss the best of the best when it comes to the House of Ideas.

A new era dawned last week with the release of ULTIMATE COMICS NEW ULTIMATES #1, as Iron Man, Captain America and company attempt to hold the Ultimate Universe's premiere team together in a bleak post-Ultimatum world.

But before we head into tomorrow, the Secret Cabal takes a stroll down memory lane and the 10 greatest men and women to serve in the Ultimates' ranks.

For each character you get the quick rundown as well as a special spotlight comic courtesy of Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.

As always, these picks reflect the personal choices of the Secret Cabal, not the official opinion of Marvel or Marvel.com, and can be considered subjective at best. Enjoy!


First Appearance: ULTIMATES 2 #6 (2002)
Why She Makes the List: Given that our introduction to Valkyrie was as a teenage Thor fangirl in a very revealing costume, it's still quite jarring to see her as an Ultimate proper, but with a juiced up power set and commitment to doing the noble thing she's more than pulling her weight. With Thor currently MIA and the team looking to Val as one of their prime powerhouses, it should prove interesting to see how she lives up to her dream.
Spotlight Comic: ULTIMATES 3 #1-Valkyrie unleashed!

First Appearance: ULTIMATE X-MEN #1 (2001)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: Poor Pietro Maximoff could never really find his way in the Ultimate Universe. He became a terrorist to earn his father's blessing, then when he realized that wasn't forthcoming, he decided to try being a super hero. Quicksilver had a-pardon the pun-decent run as an Ultimate, even being the guy who took Thor down at one point, but you could see his heart was never in it. When the death of his beloved sister, The Scarlet Witch, sent him back into Magneto's fold, it was tough to tell how we should feel, but that fractured sense of self is a big part of what makes Pietro so compelling.
Spotlight Comic: ULTIMATE X-MEN #12-Quicksilver leads an unlikely cavalry to rescue the X-Men from Weapon X!

First Appearance: ULTIMATE MARVEL TEAM-UP #14 (2002)
Learn More About Her...here
Why She Makes the List: Alas, nasty little Natasha Romanov: the ultimate lady we love to hate. Once again demonstrating that anything can happen in the Ultimate Universe, the Widow lured us in to thinking she was a bad girl gone good like her tried and true Marvel U doppelganger, then turned on the Ultimates, tried to kill her lover, Tony Stark, and murdered Hawkeye's family for good measure. When Natasha was good, she was great, but when she was bad, she was downright horrific, and created incredible tension that had us on the edge of our seats.
Spotlight Comic: ULTIMATE MARVEL TEAM-UP #14-Spider-Man gets tangled in the Black Widow's web!

First Appearance: ULTIMATE MARVEL TEAM-UP #2 (2001)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: Ultimate Hulk has all the rage issues, destructive tendencies and incomparable strength of the emerald goliath we're all familiar with-but he also sometimes eats people. And he's got an insatiable sexual appetite. For real. Ultimate Bruce Banner has self-esteem issues by the truckload and we'd feel bad for the dude if watching him freak out and tear up prime real estate wasn't so darn entertaining. Also, you're not gonna find a better secret weapon, unstable and unreliable though he may be.
Spotlight Comic: ULTIMATE MARVEL TEAM-UP #2-The Hulk makes his smashing Ultimate debut!

First Appearance: ULTIMATES #2 (2002)
Learn More About Her...here
Why She Makes the List: One thing you can say about Janet Van Dyne of the Ultimate Universe is this: she never backed down from anybody. When her team took on The Hulk and she was hopelessly outmatched, she selected an unconventional method of attack-baring her "assets" as a distraction-but darn if it didn't work. When her lover Hank Pym struck her, she stung right back. When Captain America lectured her, she put him in his place. Before meeting her tragic end during ULTIMATUM, Janet Van Dyne left an impressive mark on some of the world's finest and most hardcore heroes.
Spotlight Comic: ULTIMATES #6-Giant-Man vs The Wasp!

First Appearance: ULTIMATES #7 (2002)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: In his classic Marvel incarnation, Hawkeye mixes the heart of a swashbuckler with the heart of a hopeless romantic-this is one case where the Ultimate version could not be more different. Ultimate Clint Barton retains his uncanny aim, but the lighthearted circus brat has been replaced by a bad ass black ops pro haunted by the death of his family at the hands of somebody he trusted. Hawkeye's brooding quest for redemption is a good example of the Ultimate Universe has no rules.
Spotlight Comic: ULTIMATES 3 #2-Hawkeye hunts Spider-Man!

First Appearance: ULTIMATES #4 (2002)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: In just about any universe, Thor rocks pretty hard, but the Ultimate Thunder God certainly has a unique zest that rivals even his classic equivalent. Maybe it's the beard, maybe it's the array of hammers, or maybe it's just that his propensity for hardcore violence is pretty unmatched. However, whether he's touting eco-friendly causes and chugging mead or speaking Shakespearean and making time with Valkyrie, we'd very much like to party with Ultimate Thor.
Spotlight Comic: ULTIMATES 2 #5-Thor vs the Ultimates!

First Appearance: ULTIMATE MARVEL TEAM-UP #4 (2001)Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: He's a playboy, an egotist, and an unabashed drunk, but there's a twinkle in the eye of the Ultimate Universe's Tony Stark that still gets us every time. Underneath that armor, Iron Man's got a cancerous tumor chipping away the days of his brilliant life, but that he chooses to spend said days saving the world as opposed to moping speaks more to his character than the constant cocktails or rotating door of damsels. Our heart broke along with Tony's when his love affair with The Black Widow went beyond rotten, but we commend our boy's ability to get back on the horse and get on with living his life to the fullest-that's what he does.
Spotlight Comic: ULTIMATE IRON MAN #1-The origin of Iron Man!

First Appearance: ULTIMATES #1 (2002)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: The spark that ignited the Ultimates fire, Steve Rogers stepped out of the history books and into the modern world without missing a beat when his country came calling. Ultimate Cap is a no-nonsense, straight-shooting, and yes, old-fashioned soldier who won't compromise when it comes to defending liberty. And whether he's up against a rampaging Hulk or alien invasion, Captain America always finds a way to win, even if it's not always the cleanest victory. The world around him may have changed, but Steve Rogers' dedication and gritty brand of heroism has not, nor will it so long as he's slinging that shield.Spotlight Comic: ULTIMATES #1-Captain America sees action in World War II!

First Appearance: ULTIMATE MARVEL TEAM-UP #5 (2001)Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: For our money, the greatest Ultimate of them all doesn't even really have much in the way of super powers aside from the ability to get immortals, millionaires and super-soldiers on the same page plus the audaciousness to look a veritable space god in the proverbial eye and not blink. The Ultimates were Nick Fury's baby from the start, and he wasn't afraid to cross any line to make sure they were there to save the day when push came to shove. Fury manipulated his own people, concealed his true intentions and made deals under the table with the likes of Doctor Doom, but at the end of the day, he always served what he felt was the greater good and wouldn't take back a single backstab or double cross. We wouldn't want him necessarily investing our retirement funds or watching our kids, but if there's nobody we'd rather have on our side when the fate of the free world's on the line.
Spotlight Comic: ULTIMATES ANNUAL #1-A day in the life of Nick Fury!


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Ultimates is definitely worth picking up. I didn't get the trades I went and got back issues (including annuals) and started from the beginning. Stuff makes pretty good sense. The other Ultimate mini-series I picked up along the way was Ultimate Origins. Helped make sense of the whole thing. I don't think anyone will be disappointed by reading Ultimates.


Good to know. I'm actually thinking of picking up the Ultimate Avengers in trade. If I like that I might go back and pick up that Ultimates Omnibus. Does it all tie together in a linear story?


I'm here to say that Ultimate Comics after Ultimatum are just great. Don't get me wrong - they were really good even before Ultimatum. Ultimate Spidey is really interesting and now more than ever. Ultimate Avengers is really good because of the awesome team you have there. It is a little bit like Thunderbolts in Ultimate U. Then there you have New Ultimates. Great book I say and I know that many people don't like the work of Loeb but New Ultimates are great. Not to even mention Ultimate X which is just awesome. And Ultimate Enemy is good for every Ultimate U fan because it connects many Ultimate heroes and you see the world in Ultimate U post Ultimatum which is really important. So people I must say that Ultimate Universe rocks!


[quote@silentprocess I haven't read anything Ultimate.. And I'm not interested in the Spider Man whatsoever. But I am curious if The Ultimates is worth picking up? They have an Omnibus that includes both Ultimates 1 and 2 and I was thinking about getting that.. Is it worth it?[/quote] I'm not the biggest follower of the Ultimate imprint but I'd say it's worth picking up. What I have read was good. The completely different outlook on the Marvel/Avengers Universe is really interesting.


I haven't read anything Ultimate.. And I'm not interested in the Spider Man whatsoever. But I am curious if The Ultimates is worth picking up? They have an Omnibus that includes both Ultimates 1 and 2 and I was thinking about getting that.. Is it worth it?