Ultimate Marvel is an imprint of comic books published by Marvel Comics, featuring reimagined and updated versions of the company's superhero characters, including Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Avengers, and the Fantastic Four. The imprint was launched in 2000 with the publication of the series Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimate X-Men giving new origins for the characters. The universe has been designated as Earth-16101 within the Marvel Multiverse, which comprises an infinite number of alternate universes.
The Ultimate Universe was launched in 2000 with the publication of Ultimate Spider-Man, followed by Ultimate X-Men in 2001 and The Ultimates in 2002, and finally Ultimate Fantastic Four. Prior to the launch, the imprint was under the working title of "Ground Zero". The characters in this line exist outside of the regular Earth-616 Marvel Universe and therefore do not interact with their original version counterparts.
The stories and characters of Ultimate Marvel have been adapted to reflect the differences between the present and past continuities, most of which were created in the 1960s and 1970s. For example, Ultimate Spider-Man gains his superpowers from a genetically-engineered spider rather than a radioactive spider, and his alter ego, Peter Parker, originally a photographer for the Daily Bugle newspaper, now has a part-time job as the paper's webmaster. Another aspect of the Ultimate Marvel universe is that many of the characters are younger than their regular-continuity counterparts.
In December 2005 through early 2007, Marvel published a print ad campaign in titles across their company that showed all Ultimate titles and had the slogan, "Ultimate Marvel: The Gold Standard".
Writers noted for their work in the line include Brian Michael Bendis, Warren Ellis, and Mark Millar. Joe Quesada and former Marvel president Bill Jemas were also involved in the creation of the line.
In August 2011, Marvel relaunched the Ultimate line again, this time with the Ultimate Comics Universe Reborn tagline after the conclusion of "The Death of Spider-Man" story arc, headed by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Spencer and Brian Michael Bendis.3 The titles relaunched were Ultimate Comics: X-Men, Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates, and Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man. Additionally, Ultimate Comics: Fallout and Ultimate Comics: Hawkeye were released as mini-series.4
- Ultimate Universe, Marvel.com, "The Basics: Universe: Earth-1610 (Ultimate Universe)"
- Khouri, Andy (2009-02-07). "NYCC LIVE: Cup O' Joe". Comic Book Resources.com. Retrieved 2009-05-24. "Quesada then clarified that the entire Ultimate line will be canceled, sent off with a number of "Requiem" specials, and re-launched as Ultimate Comics."
- "Kaare Andrews Covers Marvel's Ultimate Relaunch". Comic Book Resources.com. 2011-05-17. Retrieved 2011-05-29. "Prepare for Ultimate Comics Universe Reborn, signaling the biggest changes to ever hit the Ultimate Comics Universe!"
- Marvel's Ultimate Comics Universe reborn: so what now for the Ultimate Universe? - Den of Geek