The modern-day Avengers in Marvel’s new Ultimate Universe face real-world anxieties, sparking new power fantasies for readers.
The Ultimates series reflects a nagging sense of a world gone wrong, offering readers hope through collective action.
The new Ultimates tackle societal distrust, contrasting with the original series’ government loyalty dynamic.

Marvel’s Ultimate Universe asks what its heroes would look like in a recognizable modern day, and the new roster of Avengers promises to tap into very modern existential anxieties. Readers might often feel that the real world is wrong, but this team lives in a world where there are ways to deal with that feeling. It’s a new take on the classic Ultimate Marvel formula, and one that is strikingly relevant to today.

In an interview with Comicbook.com, Deniz Camp, the writer of the upcoming Ultimates (2024) series, explains the mood and themes of anxiety that he hopes to convey in his book. The original Ultimate Universe was a reflection of its time, and Camp says that the new Ultimates series will stay true to that spirit. “To me that means fresh storytelling and channeling the anxieties and energies of the time,” Camp says. Camp continues:

[The new Ultimates series] is addressed to that nagging sense that everything’s gone wrong somehow, that things were supposed to be better than this. In that way the two
will feel very different, but I think (hope) ours is true to the spirit and the ambition of the original.

Ultimates (2024)
is written by Camp and illustrated by Juan Frigiri

Readers are living in a time when it feels like the world is slipping away. Whether it be dissatisfaction with the political order or the advent of environmental disaster, it can feel like nothing one does matters. The Ultimates are then playing into an understandable modern power fantasy, one where people can actually fix things and change the world for the better. All that’s needed is a little collective action.

This book, and the entire new Ultimate Universe (aka Earth-6160), is expressing this idea in a very superhero fashion. Thanks to the meddling of the supervillainous Maker almost all recognizable Marvel heroes never got their powers, and the world is secretly ruled by a council of supervillains. The world was supposed to be better than this, but the Maker broke it. Now, it’s the job of the Ultimates to fix what was broken. This has been foreshadowed in the recent Ultimate Spider-Man (2024), which uses Spidey as one example of a hero who’s only now coming into his own.

Ultimate Spider-Man (2024)
is written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Marco Checchetto, colored by Matthew Wilson and lettered by VC’s Cory Petit.

How Do Marvel’s New Ultimates Compare To The Originals?

As Camp articulates, this core idea is both similar and different to the mood of the original Ultimates series that launched in 2002. Satirizing the George W. Bush-era American politics of the then-contemporary early 2000s, the original Ultimates were concerned with national security and super-terrorism. Rather than coming together to fight an alien threat, the team was originally brought together by Ultimate Nick Fury to protect America from supervillainous terrorism. As Camp says in the interview, “That Ultimates was channeling post-9/11 paranoia.” The sense of everything going wrong is, in some ways, the modern equivalent of this paranoid mood. It’s the same feeling of lacking stability, that the world isn’t right, but broader and less specific than in the 2000s.

(vol 1) was written by Mark Millar, penciled by Bryan Hitch, inked by Andrew Currie and Paul Neary, colored by Paul Mounts and lettered by Chris Eliopoulos. That series was set in a different universe from this one (Earth-1610).

The original Ultimates were agents of the status quo, literally working for the government. This new team couldn’t be more different, working as outlaws against the Maker’s regime while hunted by the government. If the core conceit of both Ultimate Universes is that they need to feel modern, then there’s nothing more emblematic of the shift from the early 2000s to today than the increasing lack of trust in institutions and the government as an apparatus. In that way, the Ultimate Universe’s new Avengers truly represent the mood of the time.

Ulltimates (2024) #1
will be available June 5 from Marvel Comics.

Source: Comicbook.com

Ultimate Marvel

Created in 2000, the Ultimate Marvel imprint redesigned the entire Marvel Comics universe with a new set of origin stories and relationships. The reboot reinterpreted Marvel continuity from scratch in an attempt to simplify and update the company’s 60-year history for modern audiences. With famous comic book writers such as Brian Michael Bendis, Warren Ellis, and Mark Millar at the helm, the Ultimate universe (named Earth-1610 within the Marvel multiverse) lasted 15 years and provided plenty of inspiration for the MCU.

“}]] Avengers have existential anxiety, just like us.  Read More