By Eric Drumm Since its inception back in 2001, Marvel's Ultimate Universe has been a place for characters we know and love to be shown in a new light and get a fresh look. With literally any Marvel character having the possibility to pop up in an Ultimate book, it was only natural that Earth's Mightiest Heroes made an appearance. As the Ultimates, Mark Millar (CIVIL WAR) and superstar artist Bryan Hitch showed us an Avengers that were familiar but completely new at the same time. With ULTIMATES 3, Millar and Hitch are passing the torch to two of Marvel's MVPs–Jeph Loeb (FALLEN SON), Joe Madureira (UNCANNY X-MEN) and Chris Lichtner (X-MEN)! With Loeb on the pen and Joe Mad on the pencil, there's a storm coming that Loeb says will change everything.
A team made up of heroes that powerful are bound to make some waves. They've defended Earth from aliens, brought down a Manhattan-smashing Hulk and saved the world from an invading horde of demons. Pretty much, it's their world, we just live in it. With ULTIMATES 3, Loeb promises that the team is just getting started, and the events in the book will be just the shot in the arm he feels the Ultimate Universe needs.
"It's the next part of this huge story that [Brian Michael] Bendis and I have cooked up with Joe Quesada," he says. "It's so wild to be one of the voices in that world–checking in with Millar too–to really kick the Ultimate Universe into high gear."
Like the mainstream team, the Ultimates have a rotating roster. Allowing more heroes to breeze through their ranks certainly ups the awesome level, but provides some spotlight for different characters within the Ultimate Universe. According to Loeb, some new faces are getting a chance to kick it with the big dogs.
"I'd prefer to let some of the sneak artwork speak for itself," he says, referring to the preview images being shown at San Diego Comic Con (which you, unless you have been living under a rock, should know is happening RIGHT NOW). "As folks know, the Panther will be there–but there's a bit of a mystery about him too. NOTHING will be as it seems–so when folks are reading issue #1 I'm sure there will be very strong reactions–pro and con–and then it'll all get turned on it's head. We're having fun and Joe Madureira [and Chris Lichtner]'s artwork is just INSANE!" he delights.
Roster changes? Surely, that would indicate there could be some other surprise characters showing up in ULTIMATES 3.
"What would an Ultimate story be without shockers?" quips Loeb.
As ULTIMATES 3 rips apart the Ultimate Universe, one may want to pay close attention. Brian Michael Bendis's ULTIMATE ORIGINS may give us the history of the Ultimate Universe, but ULTIMATES 3 is going to tear it all down. If you think that's terrible, just wait! Loeb warns us that ULTIMATES 3 will tie into the other cosmos-smashing event he is writing, ULTIMATUM! Loeb says to follow these steps in order to have your mind fully blown.
"If I were you, I'd first get the last part of ULTIMATE POWER #7-#9 (because I KNOW you have #1-6 by Bendis and JMS!)," says Loeb, doing his best carnival barker impression. "Then over to ULTIMATE ORIGINS by Bendis and Butch Guice. Then to ULTIMATES 3 by me and Joe Mad and then–ULTIMATUM which will start in ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR and then cross into X-MEN for a total of six issues–with my new favorite artist guy David 'Dave' Finch. He RULES!" exclaims Loeb as he waits in line anxiously at Finch's signing at Comic Con.
For those of you keeping track, let's go over this Ultimate equation one more time, shall we?
ULTIMATE POWER + ORIGINS + ULTIMATES 3 + ULTIMATUM = TOTAL PANDEMONIUM.
Brace yourselves, true believers. Jeph Loeb, Joe Madureira and Chris Lichtner are going to mess up your world.