For those that don’t know, the Ultimate imprint is Marvel’s attempt to redo their standard continuity (referred to as the 616 universe), most of which was set in place in the 60s, with a more up to date, modern, take on it’s heroes. When I first heard about the Ultimate universe I didn’t like it. Captain America was too angry, Iron Man was too willfully alcoholic and Galactus was too swarmy, and so for a while I had turned my back on the it for the standard continuity. It may not have been perfect, but it was what I was used to.
Then, in 2008, along came Ultimatum. It was a story arch that tied together all of the comics under the Utimates brand, and generated quite a lot of talk from fans and critics. Almost all of that talk was negative. Throughout the course of Ultimatum over 30 major characters were, unnecessarily most would agree, killed off. Some in ways that seemed to have only been put in for the gore factor Dr Strange being strangled and squeezed to death by his own robes, and Wasp being eaten by the Blob are two cases that spring to mind. If the point of Ultimatum was to increase attention through bad publicity then it worked for me, I read it and followed it with great interest. And since then I’ve been becoming more and more interested in the Ultimates universe , specifically in the ways it differs from the usual 616 continuity.