By Ben Morse
ULTIMATES 3 #1
Heroes cover by
Joe Madureira &
In its nearly eight years of existence, Marvel's Ultimate Universe has set the standard for breaking new ground with revolutionary fresh takes on classic characters and stories.
This week, the creative dream team of writer Jeph Loeb and artists Joe Madureira and Christian Lichtner kicked off a new Ultimate era with ULTIMATES 3 #1—and with the "March On Ultimatum" in full force, it just might be the end of the road for the Ultimate Universe.
To commemorate this new beginning—and possible beginning of the end—Marvel.com caught up with the editors who have shaped the Ultimate Universe over the years, as well as ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR writer Mike Carey, to look back at their fondest memories of the imprint that changed comics.
Nick Lowe (former Ultimate editor):
My favorite moment of the past five years of Ultimate was the very end of ULTIMATES 2. Steve Rogers and his girlfriend Gail are walking home from a USO dance right before he goes off to war. It's a quiet scene, but it is one of the most real scenes I've ever read in a comic. Gail's self-consciousness coupled with Steve's blind courage just kills me. The beauty of young love juxtaposed with the knowledge that this is their last
happy moment together is palpable and I'm not going to lie—it brought tears to my eyes. Then I ate a big cheeseburger and punched some dude in a bar.
Mike Carey (writer of ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR):
My favorite moment—just for sheer, jaw-dropping coming-out-of-nowhere gut-punching surprise and scariness—is the conversation between Thor and Volstagg in the restaurant in ULTIMATES 2, where it turns out that Volstagg was never there. I mean, how cool is that?
Bill Rosemann (Ultimate editor):
For months leading up to the launch of ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #1, everyone and their Aunt May was dog-piling on the book, and the entire idea of the Ultimate line, before they had seen a single page. But anyone who had read Brian Michael Bendis' indie work knew he was a major talent—and everyone should have known how amazing Mark Bagley is. So when the first issue finally hit, it was quite fun to hear the response that roared in: "Hey…maybe these guys are on to something!"
John Barber (former Ultimate editor):
Getting the copies of ULTIMATES 2 #13 back from the printer and seeing nothing went wrong…the spread
was in the right place, it opened correctly, all the signatures lined up. That issue, despite the horrific delay, despite the amount of blood, sweat and tears everybody put into it, was the best single issue of anything I've ever been involved in, in whatever small role I played. And I didn't want to see some technical glitch screw it up. So that was my favorite moment, that sigh of relief, where I could just sit back and finally enjoy Mark, Bryan, Paul, Laura and Chris' finest hour…
At least their finest one up to that point. As always, the best is yet to come.
Lauren Sankovitch (Ultimate assistant editor):
Out of all of the crazy, wacked out, come-from-behind, come-out-of-nowhere, poignant and gosh-durned amazing moments in the Ultimate-verse, I gotta say that any moment with Millar's Hulk is a blast. My absolute favoritist moment, though, comes during the original ULTIMATES series in [issue #5], aptly titled "Hulk Does Manhattan," where Hulk hunts down Betty—and her hot date: Freddie Prinze, Jr.—and proceeds to lob beautifully foul-mouthed one-liners while scaling her building! Priceless.
Ralph Macchio (Ultimate executive editor):
Currently, I'm really enjoying the conclusion of ULTIMATE POWER. The fan in me just loves the idea of the two Squadron Supremes clashing—with the Ultimates thrown in for good measure. It's been a great ride and I think the story held together nicely even with three writers over nine issues. And Greg [Land's] art—absolutely stunning! I'm also having a terrific time with the return of Ultimate Thanos and his
The Ultimate FF
boys in ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR. Cosmic stories have always been a favorite of mine, and I really like the way this one is working out.
From the archives I'd pull out the first storyline in ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR as a favorite of mine. I think people were waiting for us to stumble after several successful Ultimate launches and we hit them with Bendis/Millar writing and Adam Kubert drawing. It was an incredible first storyline with our version of the Mole Man and a whole new take on the FF. It really cemented the Ultimate line as the place to go for top notch quality on every title.