By Marc Strom
Do you know your history?
Beginning June 4, ULTIMATE ORIGINS will shed light on the mysterious past of the Ultimate Universe, revealing connections and secrets that have boiled beneath the surface for nearly eight years courtesy of writer-and one of the original Ultimate architects-Brian Michael Bendis and artist Butch Guice.
Before the big event hits, though, find out what you might have missed the first time around with this handy study guide we here at Marvel.com have carefully crafted, complete with footnotes courtesy of Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited
So, without further ado, let the history lesson begin!
Super Soldier Secrets
The Super Soldier formula, first developed in World War II and administered to a frail young washout named Steve Rogers after weeks of surgeries and steroid treatments, transformed the young patriot into Captain America, a peak example of human strength and intelligence.
The formula's origins, however, have remained shrouded in mystery, as has the question of why it only worked on Rogers.
In the recent past, S.H.I.E.L.D. employed Dr. Bruce Banner to develop his own form of the serum, but not without some...side effects.
And by side effects, we of course mean Banner transformed into the Hulk and destroyed large swaths of New York City.
Back when Banner first encountered Spider-Man, though, he warned our friendly neighborhood web-slinger that everything had a connection: the Hulk, Spidey...and who knows what else?
Preview art by
But considering Peter Parker first gained his powers after being exposed to some of Norman Osborn's Oz formula-the same formula that turned Osborn and his son, Harry, into the Green Goblin and Hobgoblin, respectively-which Osborn started developing for S.H.I.E.L.D. as another attempt to create the Super Soldier formula...well, there are some dots there that need connecting.
Footnotes: ULTIMATES #1
, ULTIMATE MARVEL TEAM-UP #3
Weapon X: Armed and Ready...But for What?
Sure, we all know the X-Men's resident Canucklehead, Wolverine, came out of Weapon X, but what else did the shadow organization have cooking before the Children of the Atom shut them down?
Through his fragmented memories, Wolverine remembers the tests Weapon X and one of its chief officers, Dr. Cornelius, performed on him, including grafting adamantium to his skeleton. What Wolvie-and readers-don't know, however, is just why these experiments were conducted in the first place. And to top it all off, Dr. Cornelius remains at large, with his present whereabouts and intentions unknown.
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When the X-Men first encountered Weapon X, the shadowy organization's covert army of mutants included the likes of Nightcrawler and Rogue. But what else the program did with these mutants, what tests they might have conducted or advances they may have made, have never been made public.
Oh, and the kicker? The organization got its start courtesy of S.H.I.E.L.D. The same organization that now has its hands on all of Weapon X's files and tests. And, yes, the same organization that has been valiantly trying to duplicate the Super Soldier formula for longer than anyone can remember.
Footnote: ULTIMATE X-MEN #7
With Friends Like These...
Professor Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr used to share a dream, together building a sanctuary for mutants in the hidden Savage Land, somewhere they could come to and live without the fear of being hunted down and killed in the streets.
But then, just before their dream reached fruition...something happened.
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Lehnsherr used his magnetic abilities to paralyze Xavier, and donned the identity of Magneto. Xavier, for his part, left for Westchester County, where he established his School for Gifted Youngsters and assembled his X-Men.
The rest, as they say, is history. Except for the question of just why two friends turned into such bitter enemies. While an ideological rift clearly arose between them, the exact events of their falling out remain unknown.
What this has to do with the larger story of the Ultimate Universe has yet to be seen, but with all the other connections slowly becoming more apparent, could the sudden explosion of mutants alongside an exponentially increasing super human population merely be a coincidence?
Footnote: ULTIMATE X-MEN #1
ULTIMATE ORIGINS #1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Butch Guice ships June 4