The Ultimate Marvel Universe

I was a fan of comic books in my prepubescent years in the late eighties and nineties but haven’t picked one up to seriously read since '93 or so but tonight, while I was at Border’s, I checked out the comic book section and saw a few titles that had Xtreme (X-treme? Extreme? I can’t remember exactly) in the title and when I picked up the X-Men comic (they were always my favorite), it was just a bit … different.

When did Collossus become an ex Russian mobster? When was he ever a Russian mobster? When did Jean Grey go back to being Marvel Girl? And when did she develop an attitude? And what’s up with the hellfire that flares out of Nightcrawler’s nostrils?

There was also something about Storm being involved with someone (Havok?) that had recently been killed. That didn’t ring a bell either.

And what the fuck is with Mr. Sinister being a tattooed Brooklyn ruffian that talks to himself!?

Have the X-Men (and Spidey and the F4 who also had Xtreme titles) been retconned? Is this some alternate world? How long has it been running? Is it here to stay?

It was pretty interesting but a little bit disconcerting.

I think you’re thinking of the “Ultimate” Marvel universe.

And yes, it’s an “alternate” universe that Marvel started up a coupla years ago, with a more modern feel. But don’t worry, the normal Marvel universe still exists, and is still being published. Ultimate is just a little number on the side.

Oops. Is there aan extreme X-Men by any chance? I picked up about five different X issues but the Ultimate one is the only one I read.

Can anyone (Candid?) give me the Straight Dope on the differences between the universes?

Thou hast invoked my name, and I have come.

First, Marvel’s core ‘universe’ is hopelessly discontinuous. You can’t expect events in one book to reflect things from another unless they’re in explicit crossover mode.

And there are all kinds of “side” titles - For example, there’s the Fantastic Four, the Marvel Knights Fantastic Four, Marvel Age Fantastic Four, and Ultimate Fantastic Four, and as far as I can tell, none of them have anything to do with the others.

The Ultimate Marvel Universe is different. In a good way. There is cross-book continuity. They launched the Ultimate MU several years ago with X-Men and Spider-Man. Since then, we’ve have The Ultimates (The Avengers) and Ultimate FF, and there was also an ‘Ultimate Unlimited’ title briefly, primarily focusing on an Ultimate version of Nighthawk.

Basically, it’s a streamlined universe with fewer books; the modern heroic age begins with the late 90’s as opposed to whenever-the-hell the Fantastic Four’s ‘origin’ date is supposed to be now in the main MU.

Other questions?

At the OP’s request, I have renamed this from “Xtreme” to “Ultimate”

For what it’s worth, the comics vary in quality, but basically… let’s see.

Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimate X-Men launched the line.

Spider-Man is a very darn good example of how to tell comics. It’s brilliant stuff. Barnes and Noble has a $50 collection of the first… fifty-fifty four issues, hardbound. It rung up as $38 for me… no, I don’t have one of their cards. I strongly reccomend picking up the first three volumes (One trade paperback… they originally bound the comic into units of three issues, then rebound the comic into three units of the three units. Er. Nine comics. It doesn’t have to make sense.)

Er. Heck with it. Go here. and read Ultimate Spider-Man 1, 2, and 3. You’ll love it.

Marvel Age is just a retelling of the old comics.

Ultimate X-Men never really hooked me. Too ‘realistic’. Piotr a russian mobster? Storm a teenage girl? Bleh.

The Ultimates are the Avengers rewritten for the Authority crowd. The sort of anti-JLA. You like it, you like it. I can appreciate it, but I can’t stand any of them but Thor… who I find a fascinating reconcept.

There was also a short run of Ultimate Daredevil & Electra.

Speaking of which, I gotta mention this. I ordered The Ultimates 1-13 off of eBay ($22), and they arrived yesterday. The guy who sold them had them in perfect condition, boxed them up, spent more on shipping than he charged me, and threw in Ultimate War 1-4 for free. Superman/Batman #3-4 also arrived, bent, cracked, and crappy.

Yes. What’s the main differences between the universes? Has anything integral changed? The appearances and attitudes of some of the heroes have, obviously, but overall, it looks and reads similarly enough to what I’m used to but just different enough to disorient me. Have any powers or orgins changed? Allegiances?

How many TPBs of this universe are there? I’m not interested in getting back into comics but I admit I’m curious enough that, if they have them and they’re not too steep, I would be interested in picking up some of the trade paperbacks.

Well, the main difference is the time-shift factor - starting in the late 90’s.

Spider-Man’s largely the same as he was before, with regard to powers and attitude and origins.

I don’t read Ultimate X-Men, but I am to understand some origins got shifted there. (Nightcrawler as a product of the Weapon X program, I believe)

The Fantastic Four’s powers are the same, but the group dynamic is different, as they’re starting as teenagers - plus the origin was completely changed.

The Ultimates - Hm. Captain America and Iron Man and Hank Pym are largely unchanged… The Wasp is a Mutant… Thor - It’s not exactly clear what his deal is, yet.

There’ve only been 13 issues of Ultimates, that’s 2 TPBs, I think… the crossover Ultimate War, which would be one TPB (if it’s out). Spidey’s verging on 10 TPBs, including one dedicated to the ‘Ultimate Six’ miniseries. I imagine the X-Men are at similar numbers. And Ultimate FF is on Issue 7, I think, and may have it’s first TPB out.

And you don’t necessarily need to read them all. Like I said, I don’t read the Ultimate X-Men.

Does that help?

I’m mostly just interested in the X-Men. They were always my favorite. The Ultimate War intrigues me though. What is it, exactly?

How much do TPBs typically cost?

One of the very nice things about the Ultimate Universe is it has no baggage of heavy-continuity events; it doesn’t have 30+ years of back issues to collect to get ‘the whole story’.

Peter Parker is a high-school student who got powers from a scientific accident involving a spider. The X-Men are a team of genetic mutants fighting for tolerance in a world that fears them. The Ultimates are the U.S. Govt’s back-pocket Superteam. The Fantastic Four are four teenagers granted strange powers when Victor Van Damme (Doom’s new moniker) tampered with an experiment of Reed’s, developed when they both were in a secret government “research camp” for teenagers.

And all this stuff has only recently happened.

Ultimate War centered around a conflict between the X-Men and the Ultimates.

The government regards genetic mutations as a security risk - inducing them is illegal, and possessing them means high government scrutiny. Spidey had a run-in or two with the Ultimates on this subject as well.

It’s been a while since I read it, but I believe the conflict centered around Magneto - Professor X was believed to be siding with Magneto because of the outcome of one of the X-Men’s scuffles with him, so the Ultimates regarding the X-Men as mutant terrorists.

TPBs go, on Amazon, for about $10-$13. I think the “base” price is more like $18-$20, typically.

Looks interesting. I’ll definitely have to look into getting some copies when I get some disposable income then.

Thanks for the replies. I don’t have any other questions except about things specifically related to the X-Men so unless someone else wanders in and is familiar with that title, I’m done.

Okeydoke. For what it’s worth, if you have the means, I’d recommend just picking up the first trade paperback and seeing how it strikes you.

Having just read Ultimate War last night, I can help out. There were 4 books, entitled “Ultimate War” that picked up after the X-Men defeated Magneto. He was assumed dead, as Xavier got into his head and smashed every loose piece of metal into a giant ball (with Magneto in the middle) on the lawn of the White House.

Turns out, Xavier just fooled the entire country into thinking he was dead, and shuttled him off into the background, switched some stuff around in his head to make Magneto think he was a teacher (I believe), and began his rehab.

Well, the secret got out to the Brotherhood, and they stole his helmet and got him back into the evil mastermind business. All of this backstory takes place in Ultimate X-Men. Ultimate War picks it up with an attack by Magneto on New York. The Ultimates figure out that Xavier fooled them, and that Magneto must be cahoots with them. The rest is in the books.

The crappy thing about it is that the actual “Ultimate War” books don’t conclude the story - it concludes in Ultimate X-Men (the entire story is collected in one of the Ult. X-Men TPBs).

Before investing in the 7 TPBs of Ult. X-Men, or the 9 TPBs of Ult. Spidey, I’d check out your library.

Wizard #154 has a decent “family tree” of the current Ultimate Universe (X-Men, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, etc.). Go into a bookstore and peruse it if you like, just to get an idea of who’s who, and what’s going on ([homer]Ant-Man is crazy[/homer]).

I’ve only read the first couple of issues of Ultimate X-Men (they’re all in my laptop, but I keep playing Rocket Mania!), but I like what I see so far. Magneto is extremely unpleasant, and it works. The artwork is top-notch.

On a somewhat related note, the FF movie that’s in the works is apparently going to draw heavily from the Ultimate MU, instead of the core MU. FYI.

Graphic novels and trade paperbacks can run anywhere from $10 or so up to $35. Recently encountered the entire run of “Bone” in one volume for $40. Median prices run from $12 to $20, with DC tending to run a bit higher than Marvel for some reason.

…and yes, Marvel Age is simply an issue-by-issue reworking of old silver age Marvels with pretty new artwork, using the same stories (and in some cases, the same scripts) as the old original comics.

I went back to Border’s tonight and found two Ultimate X-Men TPBs.

They dealt with the aftermath of the Ultimate War abd were pretty interesting reads although some of it really surprised me. Especially what Wolverine did to Cyclops.

I think I’ll definitely look into buying them when I get the chance.

As an aside for the OP, the relationship mentioned that Storm had with someone who died was with Beast/Hank McCoy. And yes, it did continue, to SOME extent in an on-again/off-again way, after he was turned furry.

Makes me wonder how the royalties get dealt out between Lee, Ditko, and Kirby. I imagine Stan gets a cut for the script reuse, but do the artists get screwed out of their share?