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Take 10

Ultimate Take 10

The Secret Cabal selects the ultimate top ten characters when it comes to Marvel's Ultimate Universe

By Ben Morse Every week, a secret cabal of Marvel staffers gathers to discuss the best of the best when it comes to the House of Ideas. This week, you can't throw a rock without hitting a rad new issue of one of Marvel's Ultimate titles-provided you're in a small room surrounded by multiple copies of the latest Ultimate books. And several rocks. But for realsies, ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN, ULTIMATE X-MEN, ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR, ULTIMATE IRON MAN II and ULTIMATE HUMAN all shipped this week! Crazy! To commemorate this most Ultimate of Wednesdays, the Secret Cabal has gotten together and picked the 10 characters they feel make the Ultimate Universe live up to its name. Their personal picks follow in their own words and for each selection, you also get 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!

10. THE GREEN GOBLIN First Appearance: ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #1 (2000) Learn More About Him... Here Why He Makes The List: "Boil down the Ultimate Universe's superhuman population to its key players and Norman Osborn definitely lands on the short list. Unlike the regular Marvel U's Green Goblin, Ultimate Goblin has been a Dr. Doom-level threat from the get-go. He's a top-notch scientist, a master manipulator and can tango with the Ultimates all on his own. Past all that, he's nuanced. He's a pretty bad dude, but he's a monster of his own making who's trying to do right in his own twisted way. No glider, no maniacal laughter, no mask, just sheer brutality." - Secret Cabal member Agent M Spotlight Comic: ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #7-Norman Osborn's horrific transformation into the Green Goblin has dire consequences for those close to him when he attacks Peter Parker's high school.

9. IRON MAN First Appearance: ULTIMATE MARVEL TEAM-UP #4 (2001) Learn More About Him... Here Why He Makes The List: "The concept of Iron Man-ridiculously rich guy in an amazing suit of armor-rocks pretty hard on its own, but the upped ante of Ultimate Iron Man takes it to 11 and then some. First Mark Millar really played up the 'billionaire playboy' angle in ULTIMATES to highly entertaining results, then Orson Scott Card succintly fleshed the character out in his excellent ULTIMATE IRON MAN limited series. The dichotomy of a genius so far above his peers on a mental level and a man equally untouchable on a physical level makes Ultimate Tony Stark a fascinating character study." - Secret Cabal member Annihilator882 Spotlight Comic: ULTIMATE IRON MAN #1-Revisit the earliest years of Tony Stark's life and witness the beginning of the boy who will be Iron Man.

8. LOKI First Appearance: ULTIMATES 2 #1 (2006) Learn More About Him... Here Why He Makes The List: "The pomp and circumstance of Asgardian tradition and presentation stands as a hallmark of the Marvel Universe's Norse gods. But Ultimate Loki shouldn't-nay-can't have a yellow and green costume with giant horns. Fortunately, Mark Millar and Brian Hitch created their God of Mischief to be a vicious, psychological manipulator of the highest order. Suave, calculating and terrifying in that Hannibal Lecter kind of way, you start to believe his lies, questioning Thor's very existence much like the rest of the Ultimates. Buttoned-down evil gods don't come much cooler than this." - Agent M Spotlight Comic: ULTIMATES 2 #8-Loki's machinations against the Ultimates reach a fever pitch as he frames a key team member for a heinous crime.

7. HAWKEYE First Appearance: THE ULTIMATES #7 (2002) Learn More About Him... Here Why He Makes The List: "He's always been a fun, cutting edge character, but Mark Millar & Bryan Hitch turned Hawkeye from the epitome of cool into the epitome of 'bad ass.' If that weren't enough, Hawkeye is put through a harrowing journey that adds a humanity and tragedy to his character like few others...and makes him the guy you wanna cheer on to vengeance. His is not only the story of how we define heroism in the modern world, but the price we must pay to embody those ideals." - Secret Cabal member OneManDynasty Spotlight Comic: THE ULTIMATES #7-Hawkeye and the rest of the Ultimates' black ops squad step out of the shadows and into the spotlight.

6. NICK FURY First Appearance: ULTIMATE MARVEL TEAM-UP #5 (2001) Learn More About Him... Here Why He Makes The List: "Finding the right mix of what to keep and what to change about grizzled World War II hero/Cold War superspy Nick Fury couldn't have been easy for the original Ultimate braintrust. Seriously, Fury's cool, crazy and iconic enough as it is. But they made him younger, even cooler, more stylish and with more than a passing resemblance to Samuel L. Jackson-hence the cool and stylish angle-while keeping him as the one guy you just don't mess with. And it worked." - Agent M Spotlight Comic: THE ULTIMATES ANNUAL #1-Live a day in the life of the undercover world of Nick Fury and see what happens when an assassin goes after the head of S.H.I.E.L.D.

5. KITTY PRYDE First Appearance: ULTIMATE X-MEN #21 (2002) Learn More About Her... Here Why She Makes The List: "She's always been a great lens through which to view the X-Men, as her age and interests more closely match that of the readers, but what if she was the same age as the other X-Men? And dated Spider-Man? Well, you'd have one of the most compelling, endearing and multi-faceted female heroes in comics today." - OneManDynasty Spotlight Comic: ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1-Kitty goes on a first date with Spider-Man and ends up getting a lot more than she bargained for.

4. MARY JANE WATSON First Appearance: ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #1 (2000) Learn More About Her... Here Why She Makes The List: "While I have great affection for Marvel Universe proper Mary Jane-eat it, conspiracy theorists-Ultimate MJ is just such a perfect complement for Ultimate Peter Parker, in addition to being a girl you just can't help but fall in love with. She's the cute girl next door, a strong woman who can handle herself just fine in social situations and smart enough to give Pete a run for his money. She's a dream girl for Peter and probably a bit too good for him, but such a sweetheart that she'd never tell him that." - Annihilator882 Spotlight Comic: ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #22-When the Green Goblin returns to Spider-Man's life, Mary Jane finds herself in Norman Osborn's crosshairs.

3. THOR First Appearance: THE ULTIMATES #4 (2002) Learn More About Him... Here Why He Makes The List: "Thor has always been at his best as the Avengers chief ass kicker, the guy who brings down the curtain when the chips are down-in short, he's the guy you want on your side. With Ultimate Thor, Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch raised the bar, making him the dude you want to fight alongside and then go grab a beer or 20 with after, infusing him with a level of humanity while still keeping his primal and powerful appeal. The long-running question of whether or not the guy was really a god or just nuts also made for both powerful moments and hilarious hijinx. Bottom line: few Ultimate characters rock as hard on and off the field of battle as the God of Thunder. " - Annihilator882 Spotlight Comic: THE ULTIMATES #5-The cavalry thunders in as Thor comes to the Ultimates' aid against the Hulk, Mjolnir in hand and ready to rumble.

2. CAPTAIN AMERICA First Appearance: THE ULTIMATES #1 (2002) Learn More About Him... Here Why He Makes The List: "First, if Hitch's redesigned costume doesn't make you a fan, then I'm not sure anything else I'll say will make an impact because that thing is brilliant! Not only is it reminiscent of the original Captain America's costume, it also looks like something a soldier might wear. It's got a place for all the gear, doesn't have that thin spandex veneer and just looks cool. In a way, it epitomizes the best of the Ultimate Universe-appreciation of the past while moving boldly into the future. When it comes to the character, we get a Steve Rogers who really seems like he came out of the '40s, complete with perspective and values-both good and bad-representative of that era. But, most of all, he just kicks butt. He doesn't need to make speeches about justice, honor or the American dream-he just lives it with every action in ULTIMATES." -OneManDynasty Spotlight Comic: THE ULTIMATES #1-In the final days of World War II, Captain America leads his men in an assault on the enemy destined to change history forever.

1. SPIDER-MAN First Appearance: ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #1 (2000) Learn More About Him... Here Why He Makes The List: "Brian Bendis and Mark Bagley turned the comic book industry on its head with ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #1, wonderfully re-imagining the Spidey mythos while staying true to the core of the character. This wasn't just an homage to Spider-Man tales of the past, as some had predicted it would be. Instead, ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN remains a love letter to everything that makes the super hero genre beautiful and a shining symbol of how to update characters for a new generation. This character isn't just one of the most memorable Ultimate Universe characters, he's also one of the best-and most important-achievements in modern comic book history." - OneManDynasty Spotlight Comic: ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #1-Enter the world of young Peter Parker and watch the legend begin when a certain radioactive spider crashes the scene.

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