This post is part of my month-long "Blog of Tomorrow" celebration of the launch of Crushing Krisis's Patreon. Learn more or become a Patron today!
I’m excited to debut a very special comic guide project that I just finished in the wee hours of this morning thanks to Daylight Savings Time – The Marvel Ultimate Universe Definitive Collecting Guide!
This new guide is available exclusively to CK’s Crushing Comics Club Patrons until December 11th. Want early access? Visit CK on Patreon to learn more.
The new guide includes every single comic from Ultimate Marvel with links to their collected editions, plus an embedded reading order for Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man, Wolverine, and other major characters.
Ultimate Marvel started as an experiment in 2000 after years of bankruptcy and bad luck. Could Marvel attract new and lapsed readers to read X-Men and Spider-Man if they started them from scratch without a single piece of backstory to catch up on (while still publishing their main titles).
The answer from fans was a resounding “YES,” and Marvel soon added Fantastic Four and The Ultimates, a more grounded and cynical take on The Avengers. These four pillars of the Ultimate Universe would continue for 15 years, through the coming of Galactus, a flood of biblical proportions, the death of Spider-Man, and another coming of a different Galactus.
Along the way, Ultimate Marvel characters were allowed to grow and change in ways they haven’t done in more than fifty years at Marvel, with a new black and hispanic Spider-Man coming into his own, Kitty Pryde emerging as the leader of all mutants, and Susan Storm taking over for Reed in the FF while Johnny adventured with other teams. Plus, the Ultimate take on The Avengers become the blueprint for Marvel’s magical cinematic formula.
The entire Ultimate Marvel Universe was finally put to rest with Marvel’s 2015 event Secret Wars, though a few aspects moved over into the new main Marvel Universe. Vulture published an exhaustive history in 2015 to commemorate the close of this remarkable experiment.
Luckily, 100% of these comics are available in collected editions, as explained by the guide. For me, the more confusing part was the reading continuity. Which series happened when, and what lead into what else? Here’s a quick explainer (which, in the guide, acts as a table of contents):
- Ultimate Daredevil & Elektra > Ultimate Elektra (> Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #7-8)
- Ultimate Spider-Man (w/Ultimate Marvel Team-Up, Ultimate Six, Ultimate Power)
- Ultimate X-Men (w/Ultimate War, Ultimate Nightmare > Ultimate Extinction, Ultimate X/4, Ultimate Power)
- The Ultimates (w/Ultimate Adventures) > Ultimate War > Ultimate Six > Galactus Trilogy > Ultimates 2
- Ultimate Fantastic Four (w/Ultimate Secret > Ultimate Extinction, Ultimate X/4, Ultimate Power)
- Ultimate Galactus Trilogy: Ultimate Nightmare > Ultimate Secret > Ultimate Extinction (> Ultimate Vision)
- Ultimates 2 > Ultimate Power > Ultimate Human (AKA Iron Man vs. Hulk) > Ultimates 3 (w/Ultimate Hulk)
All roads lead to Ultimatum, which includes Ultimate Origin > March to Ultimatum > Ultimatum > Requiem
Post-Ultimatum to Fallout
- Ultimate Avengers 1, 2 (> Ultimate New Ultimates), 3 > Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates > Ultimate Fallout
- Ultimate New Ultimates > Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates > Ultimate Fallout
- Ultimate Spider-Man (> returns to legacy numbering with #150) >Ultimate Fallout
- Ultimate X >Ultimate Fallout
Post-Fallout to Cataclysm
- Ultimate Comics Spider-Man > Cataclysm
- Ultimate Comics X-Men (> Ultimate Comics Wolverine) > Cataclysm
- (Ultimate Hawkeye >) Ultimate Comics Ultimates (> Ultimate Comics Iron Man) > Cataclysm
Post-Cataclysm to Secret Wars
- All-New Ultimates > Secret Wars / Ultimate End
- Miles Morales: Ulimate Spider-Man > Secret Wars / Ultimate End
- Ultimate FF > Secret Wars / Ultimate End
- Ultimate Iron Man & Ultimate Iron Man II