It’s honestly hard to quantify the impact the Ultimates have had on the entire Marvel brand, from comics to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Fresh off adjacent stints on Wildstorm’s The Authority, creators Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch gave the Avengers a modern makeover for the launch of the 2000’s Marvel Ultimate Universe. The result was The Ultimates.
Related Reading Orders:
Below you’ll find a complete guide The Ultimates from their origins to present day. I’ve noted my favorite series with the Comic Book Herald logo next to the series title.
Enter The Ultimates!
Collects: Ultimates (2002) #1 To #13
The initial run by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch, and the most essential starting place for understanding the Ultimates and their place in the Ultimate Universe.
Collects: Ultimate War #1 To #4
I’ll note here that in general, I’m not just including every Ultimate Universe event as part of the Ultimates reading order. Even though they naturally have a role, I’d recommend the complete Ultimate Universe reading order for that type of read through.
Collects: Ultimates 2 #1 To #5, Ultimates Annual (2005) #1, Ultimates 2 #6 To #13
The Darkest Timeline: Ultimatum!
Collects: Ultimates 3 #1-5
2007 to 2008 series written by Jeph Loeb and drawn by Joe Madureira. This mini would be what the kids like to call “jumping the shark.”
Collects: Ultimatum #1 To #5
Speaking of, this shark got jumped, mugged, beaten, bloodied, and eaten.
Collects: Ultimate Comics New Ultimates #1-5
Ultimates aka Avengers
Collects: Ultimate Avengers #1-6
Writer Mark Millar returns to the Ultimates for a rebranded series of “Ultimate Avengers” minis.
Collects: Ultimate Avengers 2 #1-6
Collects: Ultimate Avengers 3 #1-6
Collects: Ultimate Comics Avengers Vs. New Ultimates #1-6
The Hickman Ultimates Era
Collects: Ultimate Comics Ultimates #1-6
The Jonathan Hickman written and Esad Ribic drawn era of Ultimate Comics Ultimates begins! A great take on the team post-Ultimatum.
Collects: Ultimate Comics Ultimates #7-12
Collects: Ultimate Comics X-Men #13-18, Ultimate Comics Ultimates #13-18, And Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #13-18
Collects: Ultimate Comics Ultimates #18.1 & #19-24
Collects: Ultimate Comics Ultimates 25-30
End of the Ultimates
Collects: Cataclysm: The Ulimates’ Last Stand #1-5, Cataclysm: Ultimate Spider-Man #1-3, Cataclysm: Ultimate X-Men #1-3, Cataclysm: Ultimates #1-3, Hunger #1-4, Cataclysm #0.1, Survive #1
Collects: All-New Ultimates 1-6
Following the events of Cataclysm, Michel Fiffe (of Copra reknown) takes over writing an all-new younger Ultimates (including Ultimate Spider-Man, Miles Morales).
Collects: All-New Ultimates 7-12
Collects: Ultimate End #1-5
The Ultimates (and Ultimate Universe) came to a rather disappointing end in the otherwise excellent 2015 Secret Wars.
Long Live The Ultimates!
Collects: Ultimates 1-5, Avengers 0
Amazingly, even without the Ultimate Universe in operation, Marvel restored the Ultimates as one of the publisher’s best titles, behind the creative efforts of Al Ewing, Kenneth Rocafort, and later Travel Foreman. Ewing’s work on this new lineup of Captain Marvel, Adam Brashear, Black Panther, Monica Rambeau, and America Chavez is one of my favorite series of the decade, and one of the best Marvel Cosmic books of all time.
Collects: Ultimates 7-12
Collects: Ultimates 2 (2016) 1-6
Collects: Ultimates 2 (2016) 7-12