March 10, 2008

Ultimate Universe No More?!

There have been lots of rumors over the past several months that Mavel Comics would be ending their "Ultimate" line of comics. Launched back in 2000 with Ultimate Spiderman (written by Brian Bendis, who is amazingly still on the title), the purpose of the Ultimate universe was to create books which shed all the weighty continuity of the mainstream Marvel U. as well as some of the more hooky facets of that world that crept up over the years. Sure, radioactive spiders (ok, *genetically modified spiders*!) still grant super spider-based powers but the idea was that the world was a bit more grounded than the 616 universe (that's the mainline universe where most Marvel books occur). In short, it was awesome. Well, Ultimate X-Men had some serious ups and downs, but there was lots of good stuff there. In the last couple years, however, the line appears to have lost some steam and most books are just relying on introducing "Ultimate" versions of old characters. In addition, several things which were signatures of the Ultimate U. have been transplanted back into the 616 (the recent reboot of Amazing Spidey is a lot like Ultimate Spidey, etc.).

Anyway, I think it's much more likely that, as this article says, Marvel is just going to shake things up drastically rather than kill off the line. By all accounts the lines sells very well, it's just stagnating a bit creatively. Hopefully this doesn't mean massive killings for characters, which is just the laziest way to grab people's attention, but I'm intrigued with where they could go. While the Ultimate U. was supposed to be more in tune with the "real" world, maybe they'll reinvision it instead as a world which actually moves forward, as opposed to the 616 which is pretty much trapped in sliding scale of a dozen years or so. Maybe "more real" doesn't have to mean "more like the real world" if it means "things happen, and they matter."

1 comment:

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