By Eric Drumm
Since it's inception in 2001, Marvel's Ultimate Universe has been a place where some of the House of Idea's oldest characters were revamped and tweaked, breathing new life and establishing a continuity all its own. But what's a Marvel Universe without some shakeups? Worldwide, multimedia hotshot Jeph Loeb (FALLEN SON, WOLVERINE, "Lost," "Heroes") along with fan favorite artist David Finch (NEW AVENGERS, MOON KNIGHT), will be tearing up the Ultimate line with ULTIMATUM, a story that Loeb promises will change everything.
As a follow up to Brian Michael Bendis's ULTIMATE ORIGINS, ULTIMATUM is set to make some shocking changes in the Ultimate status quo. With six issues jumping between ULTIMATE X-MEN and ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR, the series will be jam-packed with universe -uining mayhem. Bendis has said that ORIGINS will reveal secrets about the history of the Ultimate Universe, and Loeb adds that ULTIMATUM will be what comes after those secrets are let out.
"If ORIGINS is the beginning of the Ultimate Universe, then ULTIMATUM would be the end," says Loeb.
Though spinning out of ULTIMATE ORIGINS, another one of Loeb's books is going to be a major impact on the events of ULTIMATUM, and that book would be the much-anticipated ULTIMATES 3. With elements of ORIGINS and ULTIMATES 3 combined, Loeb claims that there is a "flaw in the system" of the Ultimate Universe, and that things will go terribly, terribly wrong.
"There's an incident in ULTIMATES 3.1 that will essentially expose the flaw in the system and everything will start to unwind," he explains. "But by the time you get to ULTIMATES 3.5, which is the end of that volume, everything is going to hell in a handbag. And that's what goes into ULTIMATUM."
Ultimates 3 art
From the sound of it, ULTIMATUM could be as grim as its namesake. However, the question on everyone's lips is why such a shakeup? Why should everything that has been built up be suddenly torn down? Jeph Loeb has an answer: because it makes for great story-telling.
"What made the Ultimate Universe so shocking for the first couple of years was that anything could happen," he recalls. "And I think we've become a little complacent. We need to rev things back up again! It needs to become the place where the readers come to be like 'Wha? Oh my god! Did you see…wow!' and that's what it's about."
Rough times lay ahead, and things are going to get much darker than they have ever been in the Ultimate Universe. According to Loeb, some of the events will be hard pills to swallow, but he advises all fans to trust in the fact that there is hope out there.
"There are going to be stories in ULTIMATUM where people are just not going to understand what the hell we are doing, but they will once it's over," he confesses. "And they may not be happy about it, but it's for the greater good."
As the storm clouds roll in, the seeds are being sewn to have a climax five years in the making in the form of ULTIMATUM. Loeb left us with one warning that will have fans more antsy than ever.
"When it's all over, the universe will really never be the same ever again."
Spinning out of ULTIMATES 3 and ULTIMATE ORIGINS, Jeph Loeb's ULTIMATUM will be the final nail in the coffin of what you think is the Ultimate Universe. Look for it in 2008.