Ultimate Invasion will bring back Ultimate Comics this June, giving Hickman and Hitch the job of revitalizing Marvel’s most iconic modern franchise.

Marvel Comics is teasing a return of the Ultimate Universe in the upcoming four-issue saga Ultimate Invasion. Such a monumental effort could only be entrusted to some of the top creators in the industry, and Jonathan Hickman and Bryan Hitch certainly fit the description. In the last decade, Hickman has successfully revitalized the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and finally the entire X-Men franchise, so if Marvel is really re-launching its Ultimate Comics, he is the right man for the job. To accompany him in this endeavor there could be no one better than Bryan Hitch, who is responsible for kickstarting the entire Ultimate Universe with his seminal work on The Ultimates with Mark Millar.


Marvel’s Ultimate Comics line was launched in 2000, and without it, there would be no MCU, or at least not in its current shape. The simple but revolutionary idea was to reimagine Marvel’s iconic characters as if they had just been freshly created, to appeal to new readers who could be intimidated by decades of stories. It worked: Ultimate Spider-Man and The Ultimates were not only the most successful comics of the early 2000s, but they also changed the way that superhero comics were made. After a few more years, however, the explosive potential of the Ultimate Universe petered out. As its edginess and the mature themes of its stories were absorbed by the “regular” Marvel Comics, it seemed that the Ultimate Universe had nothing more to say, and it was destroyed during Hickman’s Secret Invasion saga in 2015, leaving only two survivors: Miles Morales (Spider-Man) and the Maker, an evil version of Reed Richards.

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The Ultimate Universe Returns In Ultimate Invasion

According to Hickman and Hitch’s exclusive interview with EW, the Maker will be the main antagonist in Ultimate Invasion, which will also feature Miles as a main character. Marvel’s press release let slip one more detail, that the Maker is perhaps trying to bring the Ultimate Universe back. However, Marvel is being intentionally vague at this stage, so it’s not clear if and when the Ultimate Universe will actually come back. Hickman’s words may offer more insight into what’s in the works: “We also thought the very idea of Ultimate Comics needed to be inverted from what the original universe was. We wanted this to be something that could really only exist in the comic space: a new way of thinking about, and enjoying, a new version of the Marvel Universe.”

Inverting the original idea of Ultimate Comics (whatever that may entail) sounds incredibly exciting, and it’s perhaps the only way to make relevant again a franchise that has exhausted its role in history. Hickman’s work with the X-Men, ushering in the Age of Krakoa, proves that he is able to innovate characters while also staying true to their roots, a very rare talent. Another highlight from the Ultimate Invasion preview is the presence of the Illuminati who, judging from Hitch’s art, will assemble again to stop the Maker. The group made its debut in Hickman’s New Avengers, but they never appeared in the post-Secret Invasion Multiverse, so fans are curious to see if this secret cabal will once again begin pulling the strings of Earth and its heroes.

Ultimate Comics Shaped Modern Marvel – Including The MCU

Interestingly, the promotional art for Ultimate Invasion teases a “transformation of the Marvel Universe” which, along with Hickman’s cryptic words, could mean that the returning Ultimate Universe could not be a separate reality in the Multiverse but rather something more closely connected with Marvel’s core reality, perhaps even the merger suggested by former Marvel President Bill Jemas. Regardless of how this will be done, Ultimate Invasion already looks like the most important comics event of 2023. Ultimate Comics shaped the current framework of Marvel, from the comic books to the MCU, so it’s great to see some of those characters, and the concept behind them, make a comeback through the work of two incredible creators. Ultimate Invasion #1 will release on June 21, 2023.

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Sources: EW; Marvel.com

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