A reimagination of the Marvel universe for the turn of the millennium, the Ultimate universe was often quite a different beast from its classic counterpart. Familiar faces were placed in different, more modern contexts, with many details about their characterizations changed.
RELATED:10 Ways Ultimate Marvel Is Completely Different From 616
One way these differences most manifested was theless sympathetic characterizations – the Dark Age of comics was still a fresh memory when theUltimateline debuted and its influencenot totally abated. Ultimate Marvel'scharacters were much less heroic than their mainline counterparts and evendownright villainous in some cases.
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10 UltimateDaredevil Is Arrogant And Incompetent
On Earth-616,Daredeviland Spider-Man have one of the closest working relationships among the superhero community. Not so in theUltimate Universe. InUltimate Spider-Man Special #1, Peter seeks out Daredevil for advice only for Matt to tell him he's too young for crime-fighting, threatening to hand him over to the police if he doesn't quit.
Apparently,Daredevil had second thoughts on child endangerment after that, since he later recruits Spider-Man into his "Knights" group of vigilantes to take down the Kingpin; the group fails and Fisk's Men bomb Matt's "Nelson & Murdock" law office. Daredevil then resorts to murderously threatening Fisk's comatose wife Vanessa to secure victory, something that mainstream Daredevil (a practicing Catholic) would never do.
9 UltimateHawkeye Is A Callous Assassin
Despite hisbrief turn as a super-villain and sardonic personality, Hawkeye is a reliable hero and leading member of the Avengers.UltimateHawkeye is still a member of his world's Avengers, renamed the "Ultimates," but calling him a "hero" would be giving him too much credit. Described openly byUltimates writer Mark Millar as a "Neocon," this Hawkeye is a career assassin all too comfortable with the violence of black ops. Between that and havingsuper-naturally good aim, he's closer to Bullseye than 616 Hawkeye.
8 UltimateQuicksilver & Scarlet Witch Are Evil By Choice
Like their 616 iterations, the Maximoff twins debuted as villains. Unlike their counterparts, theystayedon the side of evil afterwards.Originally, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witchwere blackmailed by Magneto into joining the Brotherhood of Mutants and left at the first opportunity to join the Avengers. In Ultimate X-Men, however, Pietro & Wanda arecommittedsoldiers in their father's war for mutant supremacy.
Even after joiningThe Ultimates, it's clear they haven't discarded the beliefs they clung to in the Brotherhood. Worse, writer Mark Millar begins to hint at an incestuous relationship between them, something Jeph Loeb would eventually confirm inUltimates3.Audiences wererightly disgusted by this revelation.
7 UltimateDoctor Doom Pales Compared To The Original
Doom is evil on both worlds, but Victor Van Damme pales in comparison to Victor Von Doom. Whereas Von Doom is the Marvel Universe's greatest villain, Van Damme barely registers compared to other Ultimatevillains like Magneto or Norman Osborn.
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In his introductory arc, Van Damme controls merely a tiny community of brainwashed vagrants in Copenhagen, unlike Doom who has transformed his native Latveria in a superpower. Van Damme evolves into a more traditional portrayal of Doom afterwards, but still feels like a pale shadow of the original. His pettiness outweighs his grandeur, unlike 616 Doom where it's the other way around, and his pretensions are just that – pretensions.
6 UltimateCaptain America Is A Pigheaded Reactionary
None of Mark Millar's dark reimaginations of Marvel characters are as infamous as his take on Captain America inThe Ultimates.TheUltimateversion of Steve Rogerscenters him as a"man out of time" and runs with an admittedly clever pitch; what if Captain America had the political values that a typical white man from 1940s America would have? The result: a casually-prejudiced and abrasive bully who abides by "might makes right."
Especially notorious is when a villain mockingly demands Cap's surrender, prompting Cap to deliver a beatdown and a rhetorical "Do you think this letter on my forehead stands for France?!" Soincendiary was this scene that Ed Brubaker essentially wrote a response to it in the 3rd issue of hisCaptain America run, where the mainstreamCap fondly remembers the bravery of the French resistance.
5 UltimateHank Pym Is An Abusive Husband
DuringAvengers#212 (by Jim Shooter and Bob Hall), Hank Pym, in the midst of a mental breakdown, strikes his wife Janet Van Dyne across the face, leaving her with a black eye and getting himself expelled from the Avengers.The eventisa black mark on Hank's record, without question, but it was also an isolated incident in the original comics.
Not so inThe Ultimates; Mark Millar extrapolated this episode andwroteHankas a textbook domestic abuser – he has charming periods to "balance" out the brutal ones, and when the switch flips, he blames his wife for "making" him hurt her. Likewise, after he nearly kills Jan with a swarm of fire ants inThe Ultimates' first volume, he's expelled from the team. Rather than accept the consequences and work to redeem himself as 616 Hank did,UltimatePym betrays the team to the villainous Liberators.
4 UltimateHulk IsA Monster
The debut issue ofThe Incredible Hulkasked "Is he man or monster or... is he both?"The Ultimates makesMark Millar's answer crystal clear.The Ultimate universe also has a more precise diagnosis of the Hulk's relationship to Banner – the monster is not merely the personification of his anger, but his Id and all the primal instincts, from hunger to lust.
In issue #4 ofThe UltimatesVolume 1, Bruce Banner, emasculated by both his ex-girlfriend and super-powered teammates, choosesto become the Hulk as a way of "feeling big." In the next chapter, he proceeds to rampage and cannibalize his way across NYC, killing 800+ people before barely being taken down by theUltimates.
3 UltimateMagneto Has None Of The Original's Depth
UltimateMagnetopossessesnoneof the depth that has made his 616 counterpart one of comics' greatest villains. For one, he lacks his counterpart's backstory of surviving the Holocaust, meaninghe has no motivation beyond ego. Fittingly,UltimateMagneto's goal is not mutant survival, but mutant supremacy. Most of his plans, including his downright genocidal destruction of NYC inUltimatum, center more so on conquering the human world rather than protecting mutants. In short, he's much closer to the Silver Age Magneto, rather than the revised & more popular take by Chris Claremont.
2 UltimateBlack Widow Is A Backstabbing Psychopath
In the classic Marvel continuity, NataliaRomanova debuted as a villainous Soviet spy, but has since become a hero, an agent of SHIELD, and an Avenger. Despite her aloofness, she's always a good person at her core.Earth 1610's Black Widow has the opposite character trajectory from her original counterpart.
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Introduced as a member of theUltimates, Black Widow is downright callous despite being a nominal good guy. She gets even worse in Volume 2, however, betraying the team to the Liberators and orchestrating the murder of her partner Hawkeye's family; Natalia even personally kills his son Callum. For her crimes, Clint puts an arrow between her eyes inUltimates 2's final chapter – hardly undeserved.
1 UltimateReed Richards Becomes His World's Worst Villain
Oh, the irony; theUltimateuniverse'sReed Richardsbecame a more successful Doctor Doom than Victor Van Damme.In the wake ofUltimatum, the Fantastic Four disbanded, Sue declined Reed's proposal and broke up with him, and the erstwhile Mister Fantastic is forced to move back in with his abusive parents. Snapping, Reed kills his family andbecomes the antagonist of theUltimate Doomsdaymeta-series (by Brian Michael Bendis & Rafa Sandoval).
Though scarred by Johnny Storm and trapped in the Negative Zone by that story's end, Reed returns for Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic'sUltimate Comics: Ultimates first arc; assuming the identity of "the Maker," Reed becomes leader of the futuristic, time-defying City. Under his leadership, the inhabitants destroy Asgard (Thor excepted) and conquer much of Europe. The Maker proved such a successful and popular villain that an attempt to reform him was swiftly undone, and afterwards he was imported to the main Marvel universeonce the Ultimateline was discontinued.
NEXT:Ultimate Reed Richards: 10 Worst Things The Maker Has Done, Ranked