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MaxPower

Different Universes

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Ok so can someone give me a quick run down on what the differences are between Uncanny, Ultimate and Original in the Marvel Comics?

I was never a comic kid, I bought MAD instead, then I got in to Spawn and as has already been discussed, it had great potential and then went downhill, so I dropped it. My brother was hugely in to The Phantom (very underated) but that was it for comics in my house.

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The original Marvel Universe was created during the Golden Age of comics (this was when Marvel was still Timely) with characters such as Captain America, the Sub-Mariner, the original Human Torch (not Johnny Storm), and the original Ghost Rider (the cowboy).

Sadly, most of the characters fell away after World War II and were quickly forgotten about. However, Stan Lee and his mighty crew of Marvel artists resurrected some of them in the 1960s. Additionally, during that time (which is called the Silver Age) Lee helped create Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and the X-Men. This is the Marvel Universe that most people know and what they refer to when they say "original". (This universe includes Uncanny X-Men as well, so that is not a separate beast.)

In an attempt to generate new/younger readers, former Marvel President and CEO Bill Jemas (along with Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada and writer Brian Michael Bendis) created the Ultimate Universe. Here, everything was new. Everything! No longer did readers have to know a two decade old story to understand something in the here and now. No longer was Peter pushing 30 and married to Mary Jane.

Instead, Peter (along with the entire Marvel Universe) was re-imagined and rebooted without a lick of history. His powers were new, he was back in high school, and had a crush on MJ. Nearly six years old now, the Ultimate Universe is going strong and provides some of the best reads out there.

Some fans have speculated that Marvel will eventually merge the two lines, thus killing off the "original" universe and decades of continuity. But that isn't happening.

If you want to get into the Ultimate Universe I suggest two books:

Ultimate Spider-Man Collection: Collects the first 39 issues of Ultimate Spider-Man as well as the 1/2 issue. At $40, this is a must have! (Only downside is that it is a Barnes & Noble exclusive.)

The Ultimates, Vol. 1: Collects the first 13 issues of The Ultimates, which has been called "the best superhero comic ever" by many critics and fans alike. This hardcover edition comes in at $30, and is worth every penny.

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By the way, the short answer would be:

Original/Uncanny: 40+ years of continuity spanning hundreds of thousands of issues.

Ultimate: Six years of continuity spanning a few hundred issues.

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Here are the books in the Ultimate Universe:

Ongoing Titles [current]

Ultimate Spider-Man

Ultimate X-Men

Ultimate Fantastic Four

The Ultimates, Vol. 2

Ongoing Titles [ended]

Ultimate Marvel Team-Up

The Ultimates, Vol. 1

Minis [current, ended and future]

Ultimate Daredevil & Elektra

Ultimate War

Ultimate Six

Ultimate Nightmare (part one of a trilogy)

Ultimate Secret (part two of a trilogy)

Ultimate [untitled] (part three of a trilogy)

Ultimate Elektra

All other books are part of the original Marvel Universe. The only current exceptions to this are Supreme Power, Spider-Girl and Exiles. Additionally, despite the fact that Marvel is being very careful not to mix Frank Castle with the rest of the Marvel Universe, The Punisher is set in the original universe.

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Additionally, despite the fact that Marvel is being very careful not to mix Frank Castle with the rest of the Marvel Universe, The Punisher is set in the original universe.

Ummm, his "team up" with Spiderman in issue #7?

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Castle's also mentioned a lot in Ultimate Spider-Man. At one point Spidey actually captures him, and expresses some regret because Castles fighting crime but goes about it the wrong way.

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I can't believe "Ultimate" books have been running for six years.

Speaking of which, I need to quit dilly-dallying and cancel my Ultimate X-Men subscription. That book's making me sad. :(

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Additionally, despite the fact that Marvel is being very careful not to mix Frank Castle with the rest of the Marvel Universe, The Punisher is set in the original universe.

Ummm, his "team up" with Spiderman in issue #7?

Castle's also mentioned a lot in Ultimate Spider-Man.  At one point Spidey actually captures him, and expresses some regret because Castles fighting crime but goes about it the wrong way.

You guys misunderstood me. I know he's mentioned in the Ultimate books, but that's not what I was talking about. I didn't mean Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #6-8 (drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz). I'm speaking about the current Punisher run (written by Garth Ennis and drawn by Lewis Larosa & Leandro Fernandez). They rebooted the book (again; about a year ago) as a MAX title with a very dark, very adult edge so that it stands apart from the rest of the Marvel Universe.

This is what I'm talking about.

It continues to be set within the Marvel Universe, but they hardly mention it so that it seems much more realistic. Not only is it for the benefit of the character, but Marvel doesn't want Spider-Man swinging through a book with a dozen "F-bombs" and nudity. So it's meant to protect their other properties as well.

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