Nothing stays dead forever. In a shocking announcement, first released by Entertainment Weekly, Marvel announced a new four issue series that will bring back major elements of the Ultimate universe written by Jonathan Hickman. Releasing in June 2023, with art from Bryan Hitch, Ultimate Invasion will not only return characters from the Ultimate universe, but can potentially see Marvel into their next blockbuster event.
What is the Ultimate Universe?
Created at the start of the new millennium, the Ultimate Universe is a separate world from Marvel’s 616. It hosts a wide range of the usual Marvel characters but with slightly, or sometimes drastically, altered backstories.
The Ultimate universe was once the home of beloved Spider-Man, Miles Morales. Though, not all characters in the Ultimate universe are seen as highly as Miles Morales. Many fans remember an incredibly creepy version of the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver— who had a very “Lannister” relationship. Gross, I know.
But the Ultimate Universe did serve as a pillar for what the MCU is today. Quite a few characters take inspiration from this reality, including Hawkeye and Nick Fury. The darker tone of Ultimate Hawkeye is much closer to Jeremy Renner’s character, as opposed to the goofball Clint Barton we see in the 616. As well as the one-for-one likeness of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.
The Ultimate Universe thrived for over a decade, until an incursion caused the events in Jonathan Hickman’s Secret Wars (2015). With the end of Secret Wars came the end of the Ultimate universe.
What does this mean?
While the Ultimate universe currently appears dead, the question lies on where this series can take us. This could just be the typical Marvel summer event. It is currently slated as a four issue series and can easily put things back in place in just four months.
However, one does not bring back Jonathan Hickman for something that isn’t massive. The gravitas feels like it will definitely be a much larger, universe altering change that could last several years.
It’s possible that we could see a full return of the Ultimate universe in Marvel Comics by the end of this series. With Miles Morales being the center focus of Ultimate Invasion, it is possible that Miles sees this as an opportunity to rebuild his once lost universe and save it for good.
Marvel has done a good job recently synergizing their comics and TV/movie releases. With the possible return of a full-fledged Ultimate universe, Marvel can coincide a grand finale that can time out with their most anticipated big screen project— Secret Wars.
A new Secret Wars coming our way?
If the Ultimate universe were to fully return in all its glory, it makes sense that the end result would be a new Secret Wars. The major twist here: There are already elements in play that would have beautiful synergy with the MCU, while also telling its own story.
Timeless released in the last week of 2022. The issue serves as a “what is to come” for the Marvel universe throughout the next year. As with 2021’s version of Timeless, Kang is the center point of the story. It is important to note the issue is written by Jed MacKay, the new writer of The Avengers series coming out in May. The announcement of the new Avengers run came with a note that Timeless “teased what is to come” in that story as well.
If you want to put two and two together, a new Secret Wars could potentially be on the way. But this time with Kang the Conqueror as its sole antagonist— synergy at its finest.