Now before you start wondering, let me clear the air here.
- I’m not giving Marvel an Ultimatum. I’m not saying “put Steve Rogers back in the red, white, and blue” or “for crying out loud, please cast Nathan Fillion in something more than voice work!”
- Marvel isn’t handing out ultimatums to Sony or 20th Century Fox or anything lile that regarding any of their properties.
This is about “Marvel Ultimatum,” a five-issue mini-series that was published in 2008-2009. Best I can tell, it takes place in Marvel’s Ultimate universe. Written by the incredible Jeph Loeb and penciled by David Finch, it is a Marvel comic event that, I think, caused everyone to look around and say “well, I think we’re all glad that didn’t happen in the main continuity.”
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
To put it mildly, it’s a damn bloodbath. The story opens with a swell of water that floods New York City. Meanwhile, Eastern Europe is covered in a deep winter that kills man, woman, and child. Earthquakes in Wakanda. Volcanoes in the Amazon. In the first issue, the death toll reaches the millions.
And no one is immune. Throughout the series, heroes are offed left and right. Some from the initial natural disasters, but most from the ensuing conflicts.
Now I fully admit that I only read the core Ultimatum story, without going into the Requiem tie-ins or any other titles. But it was a relatively easy book to digest, and I was able to finish it in one sitting. Truth be told, it wasn’t on my radar initially, and I only knew about it from a YouTube video (I don’t remember which one now). But it did give me a pretty sweet #BOOM! picture I was able to use after selling a car.
But here’s a list of Marvel characters who are killed in Ultimatum:
- Franklin Storm
- Emma Frost
- Hank Pym
- Doctor Strange
- Professor X
- Spider-Man (he would later be revealed to be alive)
There are more. But it’s almost as if George RR Martin wrote the story. And here’s the thing. There are A-list names above. But what I haven’t told you yet is Thor sacrificed himself and stayed behind in Hel to save Valkyrie and Captain America.
So let’s let the story unfold. It is realized that Magneto changed the magnetic fields at Earth’s north and south poles. That caused all the destruction and devastation. It’s learned that he’s essentially punishing mankind for the death of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. So all the heroes go to his floating fortress for the confrontation. That’s where Angel dies. It’s where Magneto kills Wolverine and where Cyclops returns the favor.
A few days later at a press conference, while Cyclops is addressing the crowd on the steps of Congress he’s assassinated. After that, Doctor Doom has his head crushed by the Thing.
Like I said, there is an unnerving amount of death in these five issues. But the most gruesome death is that of Janet van Dyne aka Wasp. Hawkeye turns the corner and sees Blob feasting on her torso. Blob meets his end when Hank Pym picks him up and bites his head off, then spitting it out and dropping Blob from a very high distance.
I mean…it’s gratuitous. It’s unnerving.
It’s Rated T for Teen.
Now Ultimatum is not the best comic book out there. It’s not one of Jeph Loeb’s best. That’s on the other side of the Marvel/DC aisle:
And that’s just my opinion. But that is a great story.
So where does that leave Ultimatum? Well, I read it out of morbid curiosity. I think we all do that from time to time. But this is a unique story that shows the demise of a good portion of the Marvel Earthly heroes. If you’re curious and didn’t see my [SPOILERS] as a bad thing, I encourage you to seek it out, borrow it from a friend. If you’re not curious, well the good news is that there are a lot of comics out there to scratch almost any itch you might have. Go to your local comic book store, tell them where your interests lie, and then listen and honestly consider their recommendations.
It’s a big beautiful world of comics out there, kids. Go get you some.