Comics
Published July 10, 2024

Everything You Need to Know About the New Ultimate Universe

Here's what you need to know about the new Ultimate Universe, from Spider-Man's marriage to Black Panther's reign to the new Ultimates team and everything in between.

In the new Ultimate Universe, Marvel's greatest champions never got a chance to be heroes. To build his perfect society, the Maker—a cruel alternate reality version of Reed Richards—traveled to this young world and meddled in the origins of numerous heroes to prevent them from interfering with his plans for worldwide domination. However, that's all changing thanks to this world's Iron Man and a teenage Tony Stark, who aims to kickstart a generation of heroes. 

Across the Ultimate Universe, familiar heroes forge new destinies as they embrace their powers and roles. While a married Peter Parker balances his new role as Spider-Man with his family life, Captain America adjusts to a world where his country hasn't existed in decades; elsewhere, Storm emerges a freedom fighter continents away from the X-Men. Now, let's take a look back at what's happened in the new Ultimate Universe so far and how its heroes are starting to fight back against the Maker and his allies.

ULTIMATE INVASION

Although he started out as a hero in the original Ultimate Universe, the Maker evolved into a Multiversal villain who eventually found himself imprisoned in the main Marvel Universe. After stealing details about the origins of the Marvel Universe's heroes in ULTIMATE INVASION (2023) #1 by Jonathan Hickman and Bryan Hitch, the Maker escaped prison and traveled to another reality, where he used a time machine called the Immortus Engine to prevent or alter the rise of various heroes. 

From his high-tech headquarters in Latveria, the Maker saw the world divided into seven major territories. To maintain complete control over global society, the leaders of these regions sit together on the Maker's Council and coordinate international politics, even selecting one region to act as an aggressor to unite the rest of the world in opposition. 

At one of his Council meetings, the Maker came under attack by the forces of Kang, whose army was modeled after the heroes who were erased from history. Obidiah Stane—a leader of the North American Union through his control of Stane/Stark Industries—was killed in this attack, so the Maker brought Howard Stark, this world's Iron Man, deeper into the Council. 

Although he was horrified by the Maker's Council, Stark helped the injured Maker build a new Immortus Engine with this world's Reed Richards, the mask-wearing Doom. Ultimately, Stark trapped Kang and his army with the Maker by setting up an energy field that would last for two years. With the help of Doom, Stark's son Tony vowed to continue the fight against the Maker's allies and restore the world's lost heroes as Iron Lad.

THE ULTIMATE UNIVERSE BEGINS

Iron Lad and Doom started assembling their world's heroes in ULTIMATE UNIVERSE (2023) #1 by Jonathan Hickman and Stefano Caselli. With a second Immortus Engine, they traveled back in time and secured Captain America while he was still frozen in Arctic ice after World War II. Then, Stark and Richards traveled to Asgard, where Thor was a prisoner under Loki's rule. Once he summoned his hammer, Thor joined the heroes alongside Lady Sif, who had been tasked to watch over him. 

As Stark and his allies tried to reclaim several items the Maker had stolen, they were attacked by Henri Duggary, the leader of the European Coalition and this world's Captain Britain. When Duggary seriously wounded Thor, Iron Lad responded by blasting out one of his eyes. 

In the absence of the Maker, North America languished without any leaders, so Duggary and the rest of the Council launched a silent war and split the territory between themselves. Then, after the heroes' fight with Duggary, the Council hijacked a Stane/Stark space station and fired it directly at Stark Tower. 

When that attack left scores of civilians dead, the Council framed Stark as a dead terrorist. However, Iron Lad secretly sent his building six months into the future, so the Ultimates could continue their mission to wake up a generation of heroes.

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN

In a world where a radioactive spider never bit him, Peter Parker married Mary Jane, and the couple had two kids, Richard and May, as revealed in ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN (2024) #1 by Jonathan Hickman and Marco Checchetto. By age 35, Parker worked for The Daily Bugle, where his Uncle Ben was an editor with publisher J. Jonah Jameson. 

After Aunt May died in the Council's attack on Manhattan, Iron Lad sent a radioactive spider and a suit to a discontented Peter from six months in the future. In his early days as Spider-Man, Peter accidentally revealed his secret identity to his daughter, May. He also began fighting crime with Harry Osborn, who had inherited Oscorp after his father Norman died in the Council's attack. Harry went on to purchase Stane/Stark and use their technology to become the Green Goblin with help from Otto Octavius. 

As The Daily Bugle began investigating the Council's attack, Wilson Fisk—the newspaper's owner and the Council's New York operative—squashed the story and urged the paper to focus on Spider-Man. In response, Uncle Ben and Jameson started their own publication with financial backing from Gwen Stacy, Harry's wife. As Spider-Man and Green Goblin targeted Fisk, they battled Shocker and the assassin Bullseye before suffering a brutal defeat by Fisk himself. When Spider-Man returned home with his injuries, he revealed his secret identity to Mary Jane and their son.

ULTIMATE BLACK PANTHER

The nation of Wakanda never fell under the control of the Maker's Council, and King T'Challa, the Black Panther, fought to keep it that way. Ultimate Wakanda sits near the Upper and Lower Kingdoms, a large territory ruled by Ra and Khonshu and their vicious Moon Knight military organization. 

Although T'Challa tried to keep Wakanda out of open war, Moon Knight assassins snuck into Wakanda and killed T'Chaka, the nation's former ruler and T'Challa's father, in ULTIMATE BLACK PANTHER (2024) #1 by Bryan Edward Hill and Stefano Caselli. After consulting a mystical branch of the Dora Milaje called the Vodu-Khan, T'Challa set out to personally investigate his enemies as the Black Panther, leaving Queen Okoye and Princess Shuri to preside over Wakanda's clashes with Moon Knight's forces. 

When T'Challa fell into an ambush, he was rescued by Killmonger and the mutant Wind-Rider, this world's Storm. Over several months, T'Challa stayed with the two freedom fighters and encountered the massive deposit of green ore that Ra and Khonshu desired. 

After saving Okoye from an assassin, T'Challa formed the Circle of Force with her, Shuri, Storm, and Killmonger to continue studying the mysterious properties of the green substance. He aims to keep its secrets safe from the rulers of the Upper and Lower Kingdoms. 

ULTIMATE X-MEN

Under the rule of Shiro Yoshida, the Sun Emperor, the Hi No Kuni territory is home to several young mutants who recently discovered their powers and found each other in ULTIMATE X-MEN (2024) by Peach Momoko. In Kirisaki City, Armor (Hisako Ichiki) manifested her energy shield powers when they emerged to protect her from an oncoming car. Around that same time, Hisako also encountered the Shadow, a dark entity that taunted her with images of her late friend Tsubasa and took vengeance on his bullies. 

During another one of the Shadow's attacks, Hisako was saved by Maystorm (Mei Igarashi), a young mutant with weather-controlling abilities that allow her to create rainstorms and summon lightning and gusts of wind. Just as they got to know each other, Nico Minoru—their classmate who reads fortunes with her ever-present magnifying glass—told them they were mutants. 

When the Shadow finally confronted Hisako, she used her powers to keep him away in front of her classmates. Surge (Noriko Ashida), another electricity-wielding young mutant, watched everything from afar with great interest. Although Mei tried to stop anyone from recording the incident, footage of Armor using her powers went viral online.

THE ULTIMATES

With help from Captain America, Thor, and Sif, Iron Lad and Doom awakened the heroes of the Ultimate Universe and invited them into the Ultimates. On one of their first outings, they traveled to a Damage Control facility where the remains and belongings of dead heroes like Black Bolt, Ka-Zar, and Sentry were being held in a FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2024: ULTIMATE UNIVERSE/SPIDER-MAN (2024) #1 story by Deniz Camp and Juan Frigeri. While searching for one of Captain America's old allies, the heroes encountered several H.A.N.D. agents who served the Maker. During the subsequent battle, Captain America found the android body of Jim Hammond, the original Human Toch, and reactivated him with a Molotov cocktail.

After his initial attempts to build the "Ultimate network" of heroes resulted in several rejections and accidental deaths, Stark and his allies started approaching the world's prospective heroes in person in ULTIMATES (2024) #1 by Camp and Frigeri. They contacted Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne, two married exterminators, and encouraged them to embrace their destinies as Giant-Man and Wasp. Despite some hesitation, both size-changing heroes embraced their powers and joined the Ultimates in battle against Captain Britain and his Black Crusade. After Giant-Man stepped on their enemies, his giant-size footprint announced the arrival of the Ultimates to the world.

Join Iron Lad's mission to restore the Ultimate Universe in ULTIMATES #2, on sale now!

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