Ultimate Comics: X-Men was an ongoing monthly comic-book series published by Marvel Comics. It made its debut in September 2011 as part of the second re-launch of "Ultimate Marvel", though was canceled in 2013. Through the "Ultimate Universe Reborn" tagline following the "Death of Spider-Man", and written by Nick Spencer with art by Paco Medina, the series serves as a continuation of earlier titles such as Ultimate X-Men, Ultimate Comics: X, and the Ultimate Comics: Fallout mini-series. This title also exists alongside other relaunched Ultimate Marvel works, including Ultimate Comics: Spid ...
ⓘ Ultimate X-Men
Ultimate X-Men is a superhero comic book series, which was published by Marvel Comics, from 2001 to 2009. The series is a modernized re-imagining of Marvels long-running X-Men comic book franchise as part of the Ultimate Marvel imprint. The Ultimate X-Men exist alongside other revamped Marvel characters in Ultimate Marvel titles including Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate Fantastic Four and The Ultimates.
The protagonists are the X-Men, a group of teen-aged mutants: a subspecies of the human race, who possess latent super-human abilities from birth, due to the presence of the mysterious "X-Gene" within their genetic codes, which set them apart from the rest of humanity and despite being feared and distrusted by the general public and authorities, use their super-powers to prevent and stop unnatural threats to both the human and mutant race, while being mentored by Professor Charles Xavier, The X-Mens founder, a world-renowned expert on genetics and the worlds most powerful telepath. The series features many characters and storylines similar to those of the original X-Men series. Ultimate X-Men almost completely ignores supernatural or mystical elements as plot devices, and the X-Men have no secret identities, and mutants are mistrusted and hunted down. The series began in 2001 under writer Mark Millar and artists Adam Kubert and Andy Kubert, while the final issues of the series were written by Aron Coleite and penciled by Mark Brooks. Ultimate X-Men was met with commercial success, even outselling most of the other X-Men comic titles at the time and received a generally favorable response from critics and readers, who praised the art-work by various artists, the writing runs of Millar, Bendis, Vaughan, Kirkman and Coleite, the character development and progression of the titular superheroes throughout the series and the unique and interesting twists on conventional X-Men themes and concepts, along with the fresh and distinctively modernized re-imagining of the classic X-Men mythos, while the uneven quality of the writing, the somewhat edgy and unnecessarily adult-oriented tone and direction of the comics and some of the changes and deviations from the original X-Men comics were singled out for criticism.
A quasi-sequel/spinoff titled Ultimate Comics: X began in February 2010, but only lasted for 5 issues. The series focused on Wolverines secret son Jimmy Hudson, Jean Grey, and several other mutants dealing with the aftermath of Ultimatum.
Ultimate X-Men was later relaunched by Nick Spencer and Paco Medina, with the title now called Ultimate Comics: X-Men.
1. Publishing history
Upon its debut in February 2001, Ultimate X-Men was the second comic of the Ultimate Marvel line, preceded a few months by its sister title Ultimate Spider-Man. The heads of the Ultimate Universe line, Bill Jemas and Joe Quesada, originally tried to hire Brian Michael Bendis to write the title, but he declined. Marvel hired Scottish writer Mark Millar, who was best known at the time for his run on The Authority and was largely ignorant of the X-Men franchise. With the 2000 X-Men film as his only reference, Millar reinvented the X-Men. As a result, Millars original X-Men consisted of telepath Professor X, Cyclops, whose eyes shoot concussive beams, telepathic and telekinetic Jean Grey, weather-manipulating Storm, simian genius Beast, metal-skinned Colossus, and cryokinetic Iceman.
Common to the Millar period was an edgy tone, featuring quick action-driven plots and less moral X-Men. For instance, Wolverine tries to kill Cyclops in "Return of the King" because he is envious of Jeans love. In an interview with Sequential Tart, Millar commented, "Youre not competing with Cartoon Network on these books; youre competing with Buffy.Superhero comics arent adult, but they shouldnt be written for five-year-olds either." Millar shaped Ultimate X-Men into a commercial hit, consistently outselling its sister titles, X-Treme X-Men and Uncanny X-Men and staying just behind Grant Morrisons experimental and popular New X-Men run.
After Mark Millars run, Ultimate Spider-Man writer Brian Michael Bendis took over for a year. Bendis stated that his run on the book would be more character-driven, especially concerning Wolverine, who had previously tried to kill his teammate Cyclops. Bendis run was marked by the relative absence of major villains and was also notorious for killing Beast, who was killed when a Sentinel attacked the White House during Emma Frosts public disclosure of her school. This made Beast the first dead Ultimate X-Man. As a side note, Ultimate X-Men #40 features what Marvel claims to be the first marriage proposal in a comic book letters column, which is answered in Ultimate X-Men #44 with a positive response.
The third Ultimate X-Men writer was Brian K. Vaughan, best known at the time for his work on Y: The Last Man. His run was marked by the relative absence of Wolverine as the main character and the re-imagining of second-string X-Men characters. He introduced Mr. Sinister as a mutant-killing scientist with hypnosis and stealth powers in "The Tempest" #46-49, German twins Fenris as mutant corporate criminals in "Cry Wolf" #50-53, as well as Mojo and Longshot as a corrupt TV producer and a mutant felon, respectively in "The Most Dangerous Game" #54-57. Both are of non-alien origin in this world and have the civilian names "Arthur Centino" and "Mojo Adams", a play on the names of their creators, writer Ann Nocenti and artist Art Adams. Further arcs were centered on Professor X #58 and Deathstrike in "Shock and Awe" #59–60. Lady Deathstrike possesses adamantium claws and regenerative powers. Vaughan also reintroduced Emma Frosts mutant team and Magneto, and established Ultimate Colossus to be homosexual.
Vaughns run was followed by Robert Kirkman, author of The Walking Dead and Invincible comic books. Kirkmans run was noted for adapting several major storyarcs from the regular X-Men series. These included Jean Greys transformation into Phoenix, the arrival of Cable and Bishop, and the appearance of Apocalypse. Kirkman reintroduced Wolverine as an important character, and played with issues of team loyalty. Under his authorship, major characters such as Nightcrawler and Colossus left the team. His tenure also featured Cyclops decision to turn Xaviers into a more traditional school and consequently disband the X-Men. When this was done an alternate team of X-Men was formed by Bishop as part of the upcoming fight against Apocalypse. After the Ultimatum storyline, nearly all of the X-Men were killed, and the team disbanded.
After the events in Ultimatum the book, along with Ultimate Fantastic Four, was canceled after its 100th issue. A follow-up one-shot, called Requiem, was released and concluded the series story. A new series, Ultimate Comics: X, debuted in early 2010 and featured Kitty Pryde, Wolverines son, Jimmy Hudson and Jean Grey.
Ultimate X-Men was then relaunched as Ultimate Comics: X-Men with writer Nick Spencer and artist Paco Medina. The series stars Jimmy Hudson, Kitty Pryde, Johnny Storm, Bobby Drake and Rogue.
1.1. Publishing history Commercial success
Ultimate X-Men quickly established itself as a hit comic, lauded by critics and popular with the fans. The following table shows the development of comic sales in comparison to the mainstream titles.
2.1. Characters X-Men
- Cyclops, Scott Summers, whose eyes emit concussive blasts, is the boy scout-like X-Men field leader. Initially shy and aloof, he learns to be an unrivaled leader and pursue his interests, notably the love of Jean Grey, an interest that has often puts him at odds with his teammate Wolverine. He revisits his dead parents in a dream world he calls "Corsair". After the "death" of Xavier, Cyclops disbands the X-Men to utilize the school as a safe haven and educational center for mutants. He is assassinated by Quicksilver at the end of the Ultimatum event.
- Psylocke, Betsy Braddock, first appeared in the "World Tour" arc, during which she was assigned to search for Xaviers son, David known in the mainstream Marvel universe as Legion. During the investigation, however, Betsy was possessed by David and he almost succeeded in killing Xavier and the X-Men. Betsy managed to overcome the possession for a brief moment and Colossus dropped a car on her, killing both Betsy and Proteus. Betsys consciousness survived, however, somehow moving into the comatose body of an Asian girl named Kwannon. She is a powerful telepath who can create "psychic blades". Bishop recruits her into his new X-Men.
- Bishop, time traveler Lucas Bishop traveled from the future to the present in an attempt to save Charles Xavier from Cable, but failed and became stuck in the past. Bishop then formed an alternate team of X-Men consisting of Storm, Pyro, Dazzler, Angel, Wolverine and Psylocke. Wolverine stabbed and killed Bishop after he stopped the X-Men from preventing Angels death.
- Beast, simian mutant and genius Henry "Hank" McCoy, is turned into a blue, furry beast by the insidious Weapon X project. He serves as the teams elite engineer, upgrading the Blackbird and Danger Room sequences. When chatting online to the Blob pretending to be an interested girl, he accidentally reveals Magneto survived Xaviers earlier attack. He has a troubled romance with Storm, until he is killed in a Sentinel attack. It is revealed that Hank has been alive all this time, secretly working for S.H.I.E.L.D. on the Legacy Virus, until he escapes to return to the X-Men and Storm. Beast eventually dies in the Ultimatum wave.
- Firestar: Firestar is seen with the X-Men beginning with issue #94. During a baseball game, they are attacked by the Ultimate version of Alpha Flight and Firestar is attacked and subdued by Sunfire. The character however is previously introduced as a classmate to Peter Parker in Ultimate Spider-Man.
- Iceman, Robert "Bobby" Drake, is a hot-headed youth with cold-based powers, who is in the throes of puberty but loyal to the X-Mens cause. He is very fickle, pursuing girls then losing interest and back to being interested again. He has a fear of Magneto and is often seen eating or playing video games. Recently, he rekindled his relationship with Rogue when her absorbing powers were halted after she absorbed Gambits powers for an extended period of time.
- Professor Charles Xavier, telepath and telekinetic, is the founder and patron of the X-Men. He is an idealist and a pacifist, but less saintly than his mainstream counterpart. The Professor possesses vast knowledge and acquires advanced surgical skills he gleans from reading surgeons minds The Tomorrow People. He is the ex-husband of Dr. Moira MacTaggert with whom he worked to help mutants, devising new therapies and surgical techniques for their unique patients, and had a son named David. Xavier has also been in relationships with Emma Frost and Mystique. He suffered a spinal injury at the hands of his old friend, Magneto during an escape from his increasingly militaristic island society, the Savage Land, an injury that left him a paraplegic and ultimately a wheelchair user. He has a business relationship with the mysterious Lilandra, the majestrix of the pagan Shiar cult. After Jean Grey is kidnapped by the time-traveling Cable, Professor Xavier reveals to Cyclops that he is in love with her. Professor X is seemingly killed when he dives to protect Cyclops from a bomb that Cable detonates. It is subsequently revealed that he did not die, but was transported to Cables future. He is, however, murdered by Magneto in the Ultimatum miniseries.
- Colossus, Piotr "Peter" Rasputin, can turn into organic steel and reluctantly works as an arms smuggler before joining the X-Men. Recently, Colossus has made peace with his former friend Nightcrawler. Colossus in Ultimate X-Men can transmute his entire body into organic steel, a form which gives him seeming invulnerability and superhuman strength.
- Toad is a deformed mutant who has bulging yellow eyes, green skin, and webbed hands and feet. Toad can jump great distances and height, is super-strong and agile, can spit a heavy mucous that can harden into a shell, and has a long prehensile tongue that he can use in addition to his four limbs. In the beginning, Toad was a member of the Brotherhood of Mutants. When Cyclops joined the Brotherhood for a time, he and Toad became friends. When Xavier disappeared, Toad came to the X-Mens school to be a gym teacher. Though Jean Grey disapproved, Cyclops defended Toad. Toad has helped the X-Men in several occasions since then and officially became an X-Man when Xavier returned from the future and Phoenix defeated Apocalypse. Toad now wears an X-Men bandanna much like the one Iceman used to wear.
- Nightcrawler, the Bavarian mutant teleporter Kurt Wagner, is a former Weapon X prisoner. He has a crush on Dazzler and is resentful that she chose Angel instead of him. Despite his own struggles with being rejected for being different, he is uncomfortable with Colossus homosexuality and shuns him as a friend. He was being kept sedated after a failed attempt to kidnap Dazzler, but eventually escaped after Xaviers "death". Nightcrawler would go on to not only join the Morlocks but become their chosen leader. He is later killed in the Ultimatum wave.
- Marvel Girl, or Jean Grey has telepathic and telekinetic powers. She is outgoing, witty and scathingly sarcastic, but can also be a very responsible young woman and is the unofficial second-in-command behind Cyclops. After an affair with Wolverine, she begins a steady relationship with Cyclops. The Shiar religion believes Jean to be the host of the Phoenix Force, their supposed god. Jean becomes the headmistress of the school, alongside Scott, after Xavier supposedly dies. When the X-Men battle Apocalypse, she merges with the Phoenix and destroys him with her god-like abilities and restarts time so this event will not happen. She leaves the team but returns promptly, to the surprise of the others.
- Dazzler, Allison "Ali" Blaire, is a tough-as-nails rock singer with photovoltaic powers who is heavily pierced and tattooed and wears slashed clothing. She becomes Angels girlfriend after he takes the blame for something she does. She is stabbed and put into a coma by Storms old mentor, Lady Deathstrike. During her recovery, Nightcrawler develops an obsessive crush on her, eventually culminating in him kidnapping her when she awakes. She leaves the team in disgust when Xavier tries to rehabilitate him. Bishop later recruits Dazzler as a member of his new X-Men team. She dies in the Ultimatum wave.
- Angel, Warren Worthington III, is a handsome, shy, and winged mutant. He is Dazzlers boyfriend before she is put into a coma. He has been "expelled" from the X-Men; in reality, he is spying on Emma Frost for Xavier. Without Bishops consent, Dazzler has recruited him to be a part of the new X-Men. Angel is later killed by Sinister as part of Apocalypses resurrection, but is restored to life by the Phoenix. He is later killed again, by Sabretooth in Ultimatum.
- Pyro, a pyrokinetic mutant whose name in this continuity remains unknown. First encountered by Nightcrawler after the supposed death of the Professor, Pyro had been a member of the Morlocks but decided to join the X-Men. This goal was achieved after Bishop and Storm recruited him onto the team. Psylocke decided to send him undercover into the Mutant Liberation Front as a spy, a post he was forced to abandon when the Front was attacked by Sentinels. Pyro then rejoined his teammates.
- Wolverine, James "Logan" Howlett, has animal instincts and extreme regeneration powers. He is turned into an amnesiac, emotionless killer by Weapon X. He resurfaces as the cold-blooded elite assassin of Magneto and infiltrates the X-Men to kill Professor X. He betrays Magneto, however, and joins the X-Men after coming to understand and believe in Xaviers cause. Over the course of the series in between attacks by former members of Weapon X, Wolverine has searched for answers regarding his long-forgotten past. He is killed by Magneto near the end of the Ultimatum series.
- Shadowcat, Kitty Pryde, can walk through walls. She is a young, but dedicated girl. Like her mainstream counterpart, her devotion to her Jewish faith is evidenced by her ever-present Star of David. In Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #1 she begins dating Peter Parker, better known as Spider-Man. She left the team to live with her mother in Queens, where she is now enrolled in Peter Parkers high school. Her relationship with Peter has ended, however, and she has shown an interest in dating Peters classmate Kenny "Kong" McFarlane.
- Rogue, or Marian, originally drains life-force and memories on skin contact. She is abducted into the Weapon X program under unknown circumstances. Like her mainstream counterpart, she can absorb mutant powers. When she is liberated, she first joins the Brotherhood of Mutant Supremacy, then defects to the X-Men, then leaves the team in the company of Gambit after her boyfriend Bobby Drake cheats on her with Kitty Pryde. After absorbing his powers, which last for an extended period of time, during a battle with Juggernaut in which Gambit dies, she inherits his energy-charging powers. This negates her absorbing power and she becomes able to touch people without draining their abilities or memories as shown when she and her ex-boyfriend, Iceman, have sex in the "Date Night" arc. These powers have since faded, leaving her with her previous absorbing powers.
- Storm, Ororo Munroe, like the phenomena from which she takes her name, has a unique mutant ability which allows her to harness and manipulate forces of nature. Calling upon the elements she can manifest violent storms, summon lightning from a benign sky, create blizzards instantly and even whip up winds to bear herself aloft. A streetwise car thief who hails from Morocco, Ororos sharp wit and cynicism can make her come off as arrogant, but, with that arrogance comes a near-unparalleled sense of level-headedness that allows her to temper as the voice of reason among the X-Men. Between the purported death of her boyfriend Beast, her fleeting relationships with Wolverine, and her role as second-in-command of Bishops X-Men, Ororos confidence has continued to grow, has her skill with her mutant abilities.
- Syndicate: Conjoined twins, Luke and Matthew, working as private agents for Professor X. They are never seen with the rest of the X-Men until Ultimate X-Men #93, when they become X-Men. Their heart gives off an EMP, and can create a charge. Is eventually murdered by Striker.
- Northstar, Jean-Paul Beaubier, was once offered to join the X-Men but declined, saying that separating themselves from humans is segregation. He was later recruited by Emma Frost to join the Academy of Tomorrow, a magnet school for gifted children both mutant and human with a more pacifistic and integrationist philosophy than the X-Men. After a battle with Alpha Flight, Northstars apparent former comrades, Colossus finds Northstar overdosing on the mutant drug, Banshee. The drug cripples Northstar from the waist down.
2.2. Characters Villains and supporting cast
Ultimate X-Men introduced revised versions of classic X-Men villains, such as mutant supremacist, would-be world conqueror, and evil genius mastermind Magneto. He heads the anti-human and genetic terrorist group Brotherhood of Mutants. The series also features the amoral, Mengele-like mutant super-weapon project Weapon X, the shady Hellfire Club and many more. In addition, the Academy of Tomorrow is the Ultimate Marvel version of a spin-off X-Men team called the New Mutants. In this world the group consists of: headmistress Emma Frost, who can turn her skin into organic diamond; Cyclops older brother Havok Alex Summers, who shoots concussive blasts from his hands; airborne Sam Guthrie, or Cannonball; mutant genius Doug Ramsey, also known as Cypher; Canadian speedster Jean-Paul Beaubier, or Northstar; Havoks girlfriend, Lorna Dane, the magnekinetic Polaris; Roberto da Costa, the Brazilian solar-powered Sunspot; and recently Angel. In addition, the Shiar are a religious movement, led by "Majestrix Lilandra". They worship the "Phoenix God", which they think is reincarnated in the X-Man Marvel Girl Jean Grey. The Ultimate version of Cable is revealed to be a future version of Wolverine, who kidnaps Charles Xavier in an attempt to prevent the coming of Apocalypse.
"Syndicate" is the name of two mutants, psi-resistant conjoined twins named Luke and Matthew. They try to rob a bank to help their terminally ill sister, but are stopped by Professor X. Realizing their plight, he gives them a chance to redeem themselves by working as his private agents. Created by Brian K. Vaughan and Steve Dillon, they first appeared in Ultimate X-Men #58. The characters have an unusual heart which pumps out electromagnetic pulses with each beat; this disables almost any electrical system. Their interlinked brain matter also makes them immune to telepathic control, although they are still susceptible to mind readings.
In the shared universe of Ultimate Marvel, the X-Men have more than once crossed the paths of other superheroes: Peter Parker is a good friend of the X-Men and is Shadowcats ex-boyfriend. The X-Men share a wary truce with Nick Fury and The Ultimates, who have been both their best benefactors "New Mutants" arc and worst enemies Ultimate War in the past. The Ultimate Fantastic Four have met the X-Men in Ultimate X4 and the teams are generally on positive terms.
2.3. Characters Settings
- Muir Island is an island in the north of Scotland and the location of Dr. Moira MacTaggerts lab.
- The X-Men live in the X-Mansion in Westchester, New York. Its location was a secret at first, but is now known to the world. It contains the Danger Room, a virtual reality dome in which the X-Men can fight against hard-light holographic enemies. It has been used several times for in-jokes and popular culture references. Once, the junior X-Men fought the Brood, and for recreation, Nightcrawler simulated scenes similar to Pirates of the Caribbean and The Lord of the Rings.
- Genosha is an apartheid state in which mutants are discriminated against. Krakoa is an island not far off Genosha, where Mojo Adams Hunt for Justice reality show is held.
3. In other media
- In the final arc of Wolverine and the X-Men, a fleet of Sentinels are sent to Genosha to attack Magneto and the mutants living there. However, like in The Tomorrow People, Magneto disassembles all of the Sentinels, reprogramming them to attack humans. He then launches an attack upon New York.
- In the video games X-Men Legends and X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse, the characteristic tight black-and-golden costumes of Ultimate X-Men are the default outfits of the X-Men. The traditional costumes can be unlocked as throwbacks after the player has unlocked them by completing acts within the game. Additionally, many of the other characters such as the Brotherhood have their Ultimate costumes as their default outfit. Characters in these games who had not yet appeared in Ultimate X-Men at the time that the games were released either appear wearing their Earth-616 classic costumes or appear in a new costume that is in the same black-and-gold style as the Ultimate X-Men suits.
- Wolverine, Storm, Colossus and Iceman appear in the video game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. In the game, Colossus and Iceman have their Ultimate costumes as the default costumes worn during all cut scenes that they appear in, although it is possible to unlock their Earth-616 costumes as alternates later in the game. Wolverine and Storm appear in what would be their then current Earth-616 costumes as defaults with their Ultimate costumes as alternates. Nightcrawler also appears in his Ultimate costume during the "Escape from Castle Doom" cut-scene, in which he features prominently. The Xbox 360 Hero expansion pack added Cyclops and Nightcrawler as playable characters; both have their Ultimate costumes as an alternate outfit.
- Ultimate X-Men Vol. 1: The Tomorrow People appears in nine parts as an unlockable in Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects. Each part is unlocked after completing a specific bonus level.
- In the X-Men: Evolution animated series, Wolverine wears his Ultimate X-Men look from season 3 onwards. In the final episode Ascension, future adult versions of the teenage X-Men can be seen. Their normally bright, colorful costumes have changed into the dark Ultimate X-Men outfits.
4. Collected editions
Ultimate X-Men has been collected in the following trade paperbacks:
Ultimate X-Men has also been collected in the following Ultimate Collections:
Ultimate X-Men also has been collected in the following hardcovers: