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Friday, February 24, 2023 

Jonathan Hickman and Bryan Hitch prepare a new take on Marvel's Ultimate line

Once, Marvel launched a line during 2000 called Ultimate Marvel, for at least a decade, that was supposedly a way for new readers to get into new takes on old creations, even though the content was far more questionable in taste, and certainly not kid-friendly. Now, according to Entertainment Weekly, Hickmand and Hitch are reviving the concept with a book called Ultimate Invasion:
Ultimate Marvel changed everything. Launched in 2000, the comics imprint from the major superhero publisher reimagined iconic characters like Spider-Man and the X-Men as if they had been freshly invented at the dawn of the 21st century. The goal was to energize readers who might be intimidated by decades of publication history, and it succeeded. In particular, artist Bryan Hitch's work with writer Mark Millar on The Ultimates made the Avengers cool and provided a useful blueprint for the eventual Marvel Cinematic Universe (from inventing the Chitauri aliens to drawing Nick Fury to look like Samuel L. Jackson). More than a decade later, writer Jonathan Hickman brought the Ultimate Marvel universe to an end with Secret Wars.
Oh, how fascinating. So the Marvel movies coming in later years drew "inspiration" from a line of alternate universe comics which included a nasty moment in the Ultimates where an alternate take on Hank Pym was abusing Janet Van Dyne, in a remake of a 1981 storyline that was very controversial, and did more harm than good in retrospect? Gee, that's just peachy. And it didn't "energize" readers in the long run. Lack of sales receipts only compounds the disputability. What's annoying is how they lecture us about publication history, as though trade collections weren't being developed at the time, even though over a dozen years before the Ultimate line, Marvel was already producing the Masterworks archives, and DC had similar ones coming around that time too.
Now, EW can exclusively reveal that Hickman and Hitch are teaming up for a new comic series, Ultimate Invasion, which will feature elements from the Ultimate Marvel universe. The Maker (an alternate version of Reed Richards) and Miles Morales (perhaps Ultimate Marvel's most important original character, though he wasn't created by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli until 2011) are both set to play major roles in the story.
And the reason Morales is considered "important", and supposedly original, is because he was specially created for social justice pandering, even though it's painfully obvious some liberals seemed to think it's important for virtually every racial background to be put into the Spidey costume, which only amounts in the end to caring about the costume instead of the character. This is the sad and laughable direction we've been going in for a long time, and if they believe this literally makes him more important in every way than Peter Parker, rather than story merit, that only confirms what else is wrong here.
"I think it's fair to say that both Bryan and I have already put in our time doing Ultimate books, so when Marvel laid this project in front of us, we both knew there needed to be a good reason to revisit the idea of 'Ultimate Comics' beyond telling a cool story or just getting to work together, which is something we've been trying to do for years," Hickman tells EW. "So with that in mind, it couldn't be replicating or revisiting what Bryan did in the original Ultimates — creating a streamlined, modernized version that would eventually become the spine of the MCU — and it certainly couldn't be what I did, which was a final chapter of a pre-existing universe."

For his part, Hitch says, "It's been more than 20 years since I started work on The Ultimates, a project that would have a big impact on my own career and beyond, so when Marvel came to me with the idea of revisiting the Ultimate Universe with the man who so brilliantly and spectacularly destroyed the last one, I was both feet in! Jonathan is a terrific writer of big, sprawling epics and we've talked about working together more than once so for this new Ultimate Universe adventure to unite us is very exciting. I get to bring two decades of new experience as an artist and storyteller to this. It's new, different and familiar. It's big budget, high-concept, widescreen storytelling. I feel right at home."
The Ultimate line may not have long-range value, but what's so great about destroying it, rather than ending it quietly? Another serious error mainstream writers are making - they can't do this stuff without resorting to shock value.

And when Hitch speaks of storytelling in a way that alludes to blockbuster moviemaking, that contradicts what Hickman's allegedly arguing, which is supposedly about the need for merit, but in the end, even his statement is hazy at best, and doesn't make a clear case for merit's need. What they say reminds me of author Sean Howe's commentaries of the past decade (which have obviously been ignored by the mainstream ever since), when he argued that making comics resemble movies is a recipe for failure. One more reason why anybody understanding what went wrong with comicdom since should avoid both the old and new Ultimate stories. Whatever was so great about the original Ultimate line I'll never figure out.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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