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Issuing the Ultimatum

Who will bring about the end of the Ultimate Universe? ULTIMATUM writer Jeph Loeb offers some hints and teases

By Ben Morse It will take the Ultimate disaster to end the Ultimate Universe, but unfortunately for those who dwell there, their world has never been short on danger. ULTIMATUM, the five-part limited series by Jeph Loeb and David Finch that begins November 5, will provide the Ultimates, Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four with a threat even their combined might will not prove the equal of. But what malevolent force can possibly overcome those who have faced down the likes of Loki, Apocalypse, Thanos and the Green Goblin and lived to tell the tale? We lined up some of the key players and wild cards expected to play a role in creating chaos during ULTIMATUM and then had Loeb weigh in on what to expect from these potential harbingers of destruction.

MAGNETO We've learned all about Magneto's eye-opening past in the pages of ULTIMATE ORIGINS-a series Loeb notes will be "key" to ULTIMATUM-even as his present has come crashing down in ULTIMATES 3 with the deaths of his children, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, and his vow to make his perceived enemies pay "the ultimate price." While we know Magneto will begin ULTIMATUM as the central antagonist, what will be his final fate? "We're talking about a man who has lost both his children [and] the anger he has towards the world is unmatched," says Loeb of the Master of Magnetism. "But, as wonderfully a complex character as Magneto is, his plan goes beyond anything as simple as vengeance. And that's where ULTIMATUM comes in." In ULTIMATE ORIGINS, the now-fractured friendship between Magneto and Charles Xavier has been given more depth, and Loeb promises that this dynamic will also factor heavily into what's to come. "Magneto is a bit more the dreamer [in the Ultimate Universe]," he notes, contrasting the villain to his classic Marvel incarnation. "His entire relationship with Charles is front and center. Their fates after ULTIMATUM [will be very different]. I can't say anymore."

DR. DOOM While Magneto made his declaration of war at the conclusion of ULTIMATES 3, we learned only a page later that Dr. Doom in fact set into motion many of the events that plagued the Ultimates as well as the Brotherhood. What side Doom will ultimately fall on could be the key to ULTIMATUM. "What's wonderful about Doom is that his ego is what drives him," reflects Loeb. "In this case while he thinks of himself of the manipulator he may have bit off more than he can chew by pissing off Magneto." Again, in comparing Doom to his Marvel Universe counterpart, Loeb notes a key difference that could prove the Latverian's undoing: "[Ultimate] Doom is much younger. He's more apt to make mistakes."

NAMOR The Sub-Mariner of the Ultimate Universe has an even more checkered past than his Marvel Universe equivalent, having been imprisoned for 9,000 years by his Atlantean brethren for criminal behavior. Recently Namor has taken strides towards redemption, aiding the Fantastic Four against Salem's Seven-mostly out of his attraction to Sue Storm-and a future version of the Avenging Son had a place in the FF, but his loyalties remain in question heading into these pivotal times. "I think you'll be surprised," teases Loeb of Namor's role in ULTIMATUM. "There's a chance for Namor to be quite the hero-but can his damned anger allow it?"

THE HULK A divisive force of conflict in the Ultimate Universe, the Hulk has caused untold damage but also saved the day more than once. At one point, it took the entire Ultimates team to take down the Grey/Green Goliath, but recently, he has aided his former teammates against Loki and helped to save America from hostile takeover. Whose side will the Hulk choose in ULTIMATUM-or will it simply be his own? "My personal love of the Hulk will come shining through [in ULTIMATUM," confesses Loeb. "And where is this character headed? You won't believe. I can honestly say [what we're doing has] never been done before-and that includes creating a red Hulk!" ULTIMATUM #1 touches down on November 5, but you can get caught up with the MARCH ON ULTIMATUM SAGA right now on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited! Check out the official Marvel Shop for the best mighty Marvel merchandise!

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