Ultimate Universe #1 coverIn Ultimate Universe #1, the dawn of Earth-6160 brings with it a whole new world of opportunities — and not all of them good.

First introduced in 2000, the original Ultimate Universe was a (mostly) beloved reinterpretation of the Marvel world, offering new and modernized versions of familiar characters for younger, hipper readers. Without decades of continuity to catch up on and understand, the effort paid off tremendously… until it amassed quite a history of its own, creating its own sense of lockout. Although it supposedly ended in 2015 as part of the Secret Wars crossover event, Marvel eventually brought it back to some degree in the years since, but they’ve never quite reaffirmed its place in the multiverse in a committal way. So it was obviously a pretty big deal when the company announced Jonathan Hickman —fresh off revitalizing the X-Men line— would be doing the same for the Ultimate Universe. And true to form, Hickman didn’t just relaunch the universe but completely rebooted it, giving it a new designation of Earth-6160 and incorporating some elements from its predecessor but otherwise starting from the ground up. The recent Ultimate Invasion limited series depicts these developments, and now it’s time for the new Ultimate Universe to establish itself. 

There’s a lot to dig into here —almost too much, actually— but here’s a quick refresher on previous events. The Maker (Reed Richards of Earth-1610; evil) escaped from his prison on Earth-616 to create an entirely new universe of his own, completely free of any potential challengers to his rule by either eliminating threats before they could become threats (i.e. preventing Peter Parker from being bitten by the spider) or ensuring these figures were under his thumb from the start (e.g. the Reed Richards of Earth-6160, this universe’s Doctor Doom). Although the Maker is seemingly defeated, or at least temporarily so, there are still unsavory forces in this new world and thus a generation of heroes must rise to fight them.

It should be stated that Ultimate Universe #1 is probably not the best place to start if you’re looking to get into this new setting; Ultimate Invasion is required reading, saying nothing of a lot of the previous Ultimate comics and the aforementioned Secret Wars. This issue expects you to have already read them and thus does very little explaining or contextualizing. Whether or not that’s a good thing is up to you, but as with pretty much every Hickman-penned comic, it can be a very rewarding experience if you approach it with the assumed knowledge. Hickman’s plotting itself can also be a detriment depending on personal taste. If you didn’t like what he did with the X-Men on Krakoa, there’s probably not much for you here either. 

Personally, I’m always a fan of alternate universes and seeing what twists are imposed on familiar characters, so Ultimate Universe #1 is like catnip to me even if I don’t totally understand what’s happening just yet or where Hickman is taking the narrative. One of my favorite aspects of Earth-1610 so far is this universe’s young Tony Stark, currently operating as Iron Lad rather than Iron Man. (Why? Because his presumed dead father Howard was the original Iron Man and he thinks he hasn’t earned the title yet, obviously.) But I’m also very intrigued with this world’s alternate history, composed of various different nations and global entities that seem to form some kind of morally dubious cabal. Sure that won’t play a major role in any events moving forward! (Which, by the way, do include exciting new takes on Spider-Man, X-Men, and Black Panther, and those are just the ones we know about.) And even if you’re not sold on this new setting or you don’t particularly enjoy Hickman’s writing, you should definitely come just for Stefano Caselli’s gorgeous art, which he will carry over into the upcoming Ultimate Black Panther.

Ultimate Universe #1











  • Writer: Jonathan Hickman
  • Artist: Stefano Caselli
  • Color Artist: David Curiel
  • Letterer: VC's Joe Caramanga
  • Cover Artist: Bryan Hitch & Alex Sinclair

Credits (cont)

  • Editor: Wil Moss
  • Publisher: Marvel Entertainment
Nico Sprezzatura
Nico Frank Sprezzatura, middle name optional. 24. Schrödinger's writer.

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