Hickman + Hitch will revisit the Ultimate Universe in ‘Ultimate Invasion’

The four-issue miniseries begins in June.

Reports of the death of the Ultimate Universe may have been premature, as Marvel announced today that Jonathan Hickman and Bryan Hitch will spotlight the “other” Marvel Universe in a new four-issue miniseries titled Ultimate Invasion.

Ultimate Marvel, later called Ultimate Comics and sometimes referred to as the Ultimate Universe (designation 1610 in Marvel’s multiverse) launched back in 2000 with Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate X-Men, Ultimates and other more “modernized” versions of Marvel’s heroes. Top creators like Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Bagley, Mark Millar and Hitch himself created these alternate stories that went in different directions than their 616 counterparts. For instance, Ultimate Peter Parker died and was replaced by Miles Morales as Spider-Man, while Ultimate Reed Richards became The Maker, a villain who would go on to plague the regular 616.

The whole thing came to a close in 2015, when Hickman wrote Secret Wars and brought the Ultimate universe to an end — though some characters made their way to the 616.

“[Revisiting the idea of Ultimate Comics] couldn’t be replicating or revisiting what Bryan did in the original Ultimates—creating a streamlined, modernized version that would eventually become the spine of the MCU, and it certainly couldn’t be what I did, which was a final chapter of a pre-existing universe,” Hickman told Entertainment Weekly. “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. I’m pretty happy to say that it feels like we’ve accomplished those things and we’re very excited for everyone to get to read it.”

Nothing ever really dies at Marvel, so it’s not surprising to see it return. According to Marvel.com, The Maker seems to think it’s time for his original universe to come back, and “the Illuminati must form once again to stop him from his plans to destroy—or perhaps rebuild—the universe, with Miles Morales at the center of it all!”

You’ll probably recognize that name, the Illuminati, at the very least from their appearance in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, where Black Bolt, Captain Carter and Jim from The Office faced off with a pissed off Scarlet Witch. They originally appeared in comics, though, brought together by Hickman during his run on Avengers, and included Black Bolt, Black Panther, Tony Stark, Namor and Reed Richards, among others. Here’s a look at the group, as drawn by Hitch:

Professor X and the Maker now have matching helmets. Helmet buddies! Here’s a look at some of the interior artwork by Hitch, who is joined by Alex Sinclair on colors:

“It’s been more than 20 years since I started work on The Ultimates, a project that would have a big impact on my own career and beyond, so when Marvel came to me with the idea of revisiting the Ultimate Universe with the man who so brilliantly and spectacularly destroyed the last one, I was both feet in!” Hitch said. “Jonathan is a terrific writer of big, sprawling epics, and we’ve talked about working together more than once so for this new Ultimate Universe adventure to unite us is very exciting. I get to bring two decades of new experience as an artist and storyteller to this. It’s new, different and familiar. It’s big budget, high-concept, widescreen storytelling. I feel right at home.”

Look for the first issue of Ultimate Invasion on June 21.

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