No one knew what to expect from the ‘Ultimate’ line of comics from Marvel when it debuted back in 2001. It wasn’t the first time that Marvel had ventured into imprint land, and it wasn’t the first time Marvel seemed determined to make a project like that work. The 2099 line came and went, as did the New Universe. Anybody remember Malibu Comics? And sadly Spider-Girl is the sole survivor the MC2 universe (which I loved) of comics. That’s the beauty of creativity however, one can never tell how good an idea is until it’s applied. Many many comic fans greatly appreciate people like Joe Quesada and Brian Michael Bendis for going forward with this project and sticking with it for five years. The Ultimate line is going strong, I’m losing sleep waiting for Ultimates 3 to hit the shelves, all is right with the world, or is it?
Jeph Loeb is a busy man, but he apparently has plenty of time to drop bombs on comic fans everywhere because he has made a momentous (at least potentially) announcement recently. Jeph Loeb, the man who brought us Fallen Son, X-Force, The Long Halloween (DC), and the hit show Heroes, has announced that his newest endeavor ‘Ultimatum’ will have a considerable impact on the Ultimate U. “If Origin is the beginning of the Ultimate Universe, then ULTIMATUM would be the end”, Loeb says. That’s right folk, Jeph Loeb just used the term ‘the end’. Is Jeph Loeb getting ready to rip apart the house that Bendis built? So far it looks like a definite maybe. “There’s an incident in Ultimates 3.1 that will essentially expose the flaw in the system and everything will start to unwind,” Loeb comments. If that wasn’t ominous enough he also had this to say, “But, by the time you get to Ultimates 3.5, which is the end of that volume, everything is going to hell in a handbag. And that’s what goes into Ultimatum.” Those are big words, ones we’ve heard many times before, but with one difference.
The Ultimate Marvel Universe is still very young, and has been pretty consistent as far as giving its creators plenty of room to work. With those two factors considered, it seems more likely that Loeb would be able to pull off something really major in comic book terms. If this was a regular Marvel U event, that would be one thing, but this is an imprint that was intended to buck Marvel traditions and blaze its own path, which it has done superbly thus far. Plus, Loeb made a comment that was eerily reminiscent of something another great creator once said about his own work, “When it’s all over, the universe will really never be the same ever again.” Marv Wolfman made a similar statement sometime in the early eighties, and he delivered in spades. It looks to be Jeph Loeb’s turn now, here’s hoping that he comes through.