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The Ultimates (The Ultimates hardcovers #1)

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  5,833 ratings  ·  110 reviews
A teenager is climbing walls in Manhattan. Mutants are attacking the White House. Nick Fury, head of the elite espionage agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., knows the only way to combat these strange new threats is with a team of hisown superhumans. Backed by a billion-dollar budget, Fury recruits Giant Man, the Wasp, Iron Man, Captain America and Thor. And while the team is str ...more
Hardcover, 376 pages
Published May 24th 2006 by Marvel (first published October 27th 2004)
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The Ultimates comes very highly recommended, from more than a few people. But for me, it was far from living up to the hype.

The basic concept of the Ultimate 'verse is to make the familiar Marvel heroes more "real" and "edgy". In The Ultimates, Millar attempts to do that by making nearly every single character a complete jerk. Even unnamed extras are jackasses for no other reason than because it's "realistic" (no, it really isn't). Hank Pym is abusive towards his wife, and nobody seems to care m
This massive Hardcover covers all of the Ultimates Vols 1 & 2.
As a whole, this is rather enjoyable, and I can see where some of the look for the Avengers movie came from.
There are however, parts I wasn't super keen on, and wonder if Mark Millar isn't actually mentally damaged...wife beating, teasing Hulk with stupid 13yr old comments, having most of the characters be gigantic assholes...
However, all this "new" characterization, and yet: Hank Pym still beats Janet; Tony Stark is still a drunk
I love the idea of the Marvel Ultimate universe. They wanted a chance to reboot the series without actually doing so, and to start over in a more modern and realistic way, and they managed it well.

I don't know what they were thinking when it came to the Avengers, though, because this is not them. Apparently, realistic, darker, and edgier means "everyone is a giant asshole and pretty much completely unrecognizable". Thor and Iron Man are the only ones who come off as likable, and both are wildly
Hannah G.
"You think this letter on my head stands for France?" still makes no damn sense and will never make sense because mark millar thinks he's an edgy and gritty writer when all he is is try-hard.

honestly, if you recommend ultimates to me and tell me it's a better universe and better depiction of the avengers because it's more "realistic" then we can't be friends. we just can't.
This is a really hard one to put my finger on. It was enjoyable to most extent, but some sections were a bit shaky. I originally gave it 4 stars cause it didn't deserve a 3, then again it doesn't warrant a 4 star either. Damn you GR for not including decimal points!

This is actually my first Marvel comic I have bought. I am and will always be a DC man, but above all I'm a comic book fan. And like hell I'm going to miss out on a good read just cause of the company name. After having a few people r
In the early 2000's, Marvel reinvented many of their flagship titles to appeal to the shift in demand for comic books. Basically, this addressed the fact that comic book fans had entered an alleged state of adulthood and they wanted their comic books to reflect their more "mature" state of mind.

With that in mind, I can totally picture the meeting in which the Marvel bigwigs decided on having Mark Millar write The Ultimates, which was their re-vamped version of Captain America's super-team The Av
Tony Cafiso
The Ultimates was basically an old version of the Avengers story. Captain America, Thor, the Hulk and Iron Man are all in it and part of the shield agency. In this version the Hulk ends up being the enemy thinking it would help bring the rest of the team together and give them some positive publicity. I enjoyed reading this and seeing an old take on the avengers story. It was particularly interesting when the characters started talking about who would play them if a movie was made about them sin ...more
in 1963, Marvel comics consisted of a group of unconnected superhero titles, which, for the most part, ignored eachother. Only in Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four had they even hinted that all these characters existed in the same world. Then Stan Lee created a new book, the Avengers, which threw these powerful heroes together for the first time. They were really just a superhero club, hanging out at there rich friends house and occassionally fighting bad guys.

Ultimates is a complete reinvention
I'm being generous to these books and attempting to rate them as if I'd never seen Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, or any Avenger before. They're not Avengers. They're "Ultimates." The story is fast paced, action packed, and cinematic, but I have to make this distinction because these certainly aren't the characters that I love.

For example, the Cap that I know is the best of all good characters, American VALUES. In the Civil War series, he chooses to American values over "America." As an "Ulti
The Ultimates is a really fine update to the Avengers to fit them within our modern landscape (social, political and what have you). I've been a fan of many of the main characters, Iron Man, Hulk, and Thor, especially with their cartoon series in the mid-90's, so it was good to see them done with a bit of a twist. I was never into Cap like that - I thought he was some sort of cappie propagandist character - but he came out as being my favorite character in the book. He really seemed just like a ...more
Holden Attradies
When I really started getting into reading super-hero comics this was the first thing that simply blew me away. The writing is amazing, the only word I can think of to describe the art work is "cinematic". There were moments that were so emotionally charged it brought me to tears from levels of shear realistic uncomfortableness (the domestic abuse between the Pym's) and pages that brought me to tears of laughter (just about any thing where the Hulk had a line).

There have been comics I've read t
David Brown
This book has Samuel L. Jackson. Done. Nuff said. Everything else is just icing on the cake Beautiful panels check, interesting characters check, compelling story check. The Ultimates is modern and gritty. A retelling of characters that are decades old. Turing super Heroes into super stars of a digital age. Super stars that might have abilities the rest of don’t, but they make mistakes just like everyone else. While vets of the genre may take offence to some of the changes, for new comers this i ...more
For a long time I've been reluctant in reading The Ultimates. There were so many Avengers-teams in the last years that I didn't really wanted 'another' team, that started all-over again. I was very wrong. But I should have known seeing Mark Millar as writer. Millar makes the Avengers so much more 'real'. They are superhumans, but still human (even Thor ?), with all their faults. While in the "regular" Avengers the faults are mostly only mentioned, now they are full part of the story. We know Han ...more
Dave Hicks
This book is a must read for anyone, not just the comic book fan. It works because it takes all the well known avengers and thrusts them into the modern day. It is almost like a really great action movie since there are the wow moments that give you chills. I recommend it as a starting point for anyone to read their first superhero comic.
I'm not sure what to think of this. Reading the Ultimates in the wake of the Marvel movies, I'm having a hard time seeing these characters as the ones I know and love. I've been informed this was part of the general comic trend toward grittier heroes, but I just can't see Captain America kicking a man when he's already down, a sniveling pile of quivery man-jelly. At the same time, I do see him putting a wife-beater in traction.

It's a good origin story, and I enjoyed it, but in many ways, I think
Mark Millar has yet impressed me again. This reinvention of the Avengers is so amusing and at the same time coexisting. The notable characters still stood up the way they were always seen, aside from adding the bits where they all seem to be like obnoxious assholes who live in a limelight, the essence of being on a team and how to be a team is still quite existent. It's quite a bit more realistic than the versions of the said characters on Earth-616. It's quite a bit more grounded and rational. ...more
Now this is what you'd expect from a comic that dare calls itself "the Ultimates." Awesome artwork and a pair of stories worthy of big-screen treatment. Hopefully, the Avengers movie, when it comes, will be half as entertaining.
Jeff Raymond
I don't know the mythos behind Captain America and the Hulk, but this reminded me of Watchmen, but with licensed characters - flawed heroes forced to adjust to a changing world around them. I loved it, honestly.
Maaz Sheik
The basic concept of the Ultimate 'verse is to make the familiar Marvel heroes more "real" and "edgy".

I liked the art a lot, and also the fact the movies are kinda based on these. Saying that, there were some things in the comic that I personally didn't like. For the fact that some characters are just complete jerks (Hank Pym)and and there's not a hard plot until the last of the comic. The villain at the end was a lazy attempt(not spoiling).
Although it had it's shortcomings, it still proved an
Juan Antonio
This is THE BIBLE for the success of Marvel movies. Mark Millar (Kick-Ass, Wanted) and Bryan Hitch (too many comic books to name) created one of the best (if not THE BEST) graphic novel of the decade. Using a more real approach to the superhero team they created the perfect layout to make the best super-hero movie and that formula can be seen in most of. They even proposed Samuel L. Jackson to be Nick Fury many years before it's time. With a story smarter than the majority of action movies, well ...more
Christopher Rush
Meh. More like "Ultimate Jerks." I understand that this generation of comic book writers has a deep-seated need to do "what if" stories or reboots instead of working in the universe that already exists, but the point of the Ultimate Universe never made much sense to me. Marvel had been doing just fine pretending its superheroes didn't age very fast, ignoring the datedness of itself over the years without the need to relaunch, reboot, or retcon (well, sort of) every four years. Perhaps I am overr ...more
I hated this book.

So I started this thinking, "let's get into some modern-day Avengers comics"... and then was confronted by some pretty blatant misogyny/sexism/violence towards women - from the main characters - and I finished the first volume, but I'm not reading further.

I don't know if they get better over the course of the next few volumes. I don't care. Pretty much every character you're supposed to like is a massive asshole.

In summary: to be avoided. Go read fanfic on A03 instead. Even the
This book was so good!
Ultimate Marvel did it again, I realize I'm almost a decade behind on these titles but I'm impressed at the reinvention that's taken place in these titles.

Unlike the other big Ultimate titles, the Ultimates were more limited story-arcs that can be much easier read apart without worrying about picking up the next trade.

The dark tone was pretty evident here, Hank Pym and Jan in a domestic dispute was almost more fucked up than the Ultimate X-Men one-off with the mutant kid who accidentally killed
Rick MacDonnell
The world is changing. Crime is becoming super-crime. Terrorism is becoming super-terrorism. Humans are becoming super-humans. Heroes are becoming superheroes.

With the backing of the U.S. Government, General Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. have assembled a team of super-powered beings to address any potential threat this new world may now face: The Ultimates. Captain America, the Super-Soldier who will lead the team; Iron Man, the personal weapons system of billionaire Tony Stark; Giant Man, able to
Scott Calibraxis
If you want to read something that comes closest to the Avengers movie in terms of spectacle and modern sensibilities, The Ultimates is for choice.

This is a sort of a modern re-boot of the Marvel universe, set in the so-called "Ultimate" universe. It re-imagines the origin of the Avengers, but updated to the present day. A lot of tweaks are made to the characters, so don't expect a perfect adherence to the characterizations you might be familiar with. This is definitely new take.

Writer Mark Mill
The first volume of the Ultimates is, at its core, a pretty solid superteam origin story. In this universe, the United States government is putting together a team of superhumans in response to a fairly large supervillain attack. Making the Ultimates a government-sponsored organization from the start politicizes them off the bat, and many people question the need to funnel money away from traditional military endeavors in reaction to a single attack. Interestingly enough, Thor is one of the proj ...more
Shane Perry
This is my third time reading this story, but my first time writing out some of my thoughts. It's very interesting to read this story and see the huge influence it has really had on Marvel's Cinematic Universe, particularly with The Avengers. The Ultimate universe is one of the best things Marvel has done in the past 20 years and this is one of the many stories to prove it. I love how Mark Millar completely re-imagines the origins of the Avengers from superhero team to government sponsored publi ...more
Read my full review at!

I’ve heard of The Ultimates before as a version of the Avengers, but I’d never read the original series until now. This is a gritty, modern, realistic take on superheroes, deeply flawed and troubled people with remarkable abilities that they don’t always use wisely. The Ultimates will be jarring to anyone who’s mainly familiar with the Marvel MovieVerse–Banner deliberately becomes the Hulk to attack (and eat) civilians, while Betty Ross wav
I liked this better the first time I read it, before I'd read some of Millar's other stuff. Reading it again, it feels a lot like The Authority or Kick-Ass using The Avengers as a starting point for the characters.

Parts of it work really well: I especially like the idea of Thor as an environmental activist and Captain America feels a lot more like an actual WWII soldier, rather than just a "gee whiz, aw shucks" boy scout. I dig the idea of the Wasp having actual insect traits, even if they didn'
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Mark Millar is an award-winning Scottish comic book writer born in Coatbridge. Now a resident of Glasgow, Millar has been the highest selling British comic-book writer working in America this decade. His best known works include: The Authority, Ultimates 1 and 2, adaptations of Jack Kirby's and Stan Lee's Avengers, Wanted, Marvel Knights Spider-Man, Ultimate Fantastic Four, and Civil War. In Augus ...more
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Other Books in the Series

The Ultimates hardcovers (3 books)
  • The Ultimates 2
  • The Ultimates 3: Who Killed the Scarlet Witch?
Kick-Ass Superman: Red Son Civil War Wanted The Ultimates, Vol. 1: Super-Human

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