Ultraverse

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The Ultraverse was a comic book imprint published by the American company Malibu Comics which is owned by Marvel Comics. The Ultraverse was a shared universe in which a variety of characters—known within the comics as "Ultras"—acquired super-human abilities.

History[edit]

The Ultraverse line was launched by Malibu Comics during the "comics boom" of the early 1990s. Ultraverse emphasized tight continuity between the various series in their line; Malibu made extensive use of crossovers, in which a story that began in one series would be continued in the next-shipping issue of another series. Various promotions for special editions or limited-print stories also encouraged readers to sample issues of the entire line. The Ultraverse line came to dominate Malibu's catalog. Several characters from the series Ultraforce were featured in a short-lived animated series by the same name.[citation needed]

As American comics sales declined in the mid-1990s, Malibu canceled lower-selling series. The company was purchased by Marvel Comics in 1994. Reportedly Marvel made the purchase to acquire Malibu's then-groundbreaking in-house coloring studio. In reality, Marvel purchased the line to prevent DC Comics from buying Malibu, in order to increase DC's market share.[1]

Marvel canceled the entire Ultraverse line, but (during the controversial Black September event) re-launched a handful of the more popular titles as well as a number of crossovers with Marvel characters. The initial move was foreseen with popular franchises and characters from the Avengers guest-starring in their books. The "volume 2" series each started with "#" (infinity) issues and were canceled a short time later. Within the Marvel Comics multiverse, the Malibu Universe is designated as Earth-93060.[citation needed]

Black September[edit]

When Malibu was bought out by Marvel Comics, the entire Ultraverse line was cancelled and restarted. Only a few of the more popular series were rebooted and relaunched, with some being radically altered. The history and continuity of the Ultraverse was retconned in numerous ways, and a number of characters simply ceased to exist (or in the new continuity, to have ever existed). This now-modified Ultraverse lasted less than a year and a half before being cancelled once again.[citation needed]

The event connects issues that were part of the countdown to Black September — Ultraforce #8-10, Ultraforce/Avengers Prelude, Avengers/Ultraforce, Ultraforce/Avengers — after which all the surviving Ultraverse titles restarted with a special "∞"-numbered issue.[citation needed]

Revival[edit]

In June 2005, when asked by Newsarama whether Marvel had any plans to revive the Ultraverse, Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada replied:

Let's just say that I wanted to bring these characters back in a very big way, but the way that the deal was initially structured, it's next to impossible to go back and publish these books. There are rumors out there that it has to do with a certain percentage of sales that has to be doled out to the creative teams. While this is a logistical nightmare because of the way the initial deal was structured, it's not the reason why we have chosen not to go near these characters, there is a bigger one, but I really don't feel like it's my place to make that dirty laundry public.[2]

Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort has stated in the past that the reason Marvel cannot discuss the Ultraverse properties is because of non disclosure agreements in place with certain parties, which has been speculated to pertain to Scott Mitchell Rosenberg's contractual position as "ongoing producer deal for all Malibu Comics properties".[3]

Titles[edit]

Title Issues Initial cover date Final cover date Notes
Angels of Destruction 1 1996 one-shot
Black September 1995 one-shot
Break-Thru 1 – 2 1993 1994 mini-series
Codename: Firearm #0 – 6 1995 1995 Six-issue limited series by Malibu Comics for its Ultraverse line. It was written by David Quinn and Marv Wolfman, with art by Gabriel Gecko and Klebs Junior. The series was about an English sleeper agent for the Lodge named James Hitch, who was given a second personality, Peter Cordova, to aid in his cover. Alec Swan, the original Firearm, appeared as a backup story.
Eliminator 1 – 3 1992 1992 mini-series
Eliminator vol. 2 1 – 4 1995 1995 mini-series
Elven #1 – 4 1994 1995 Four issue comic book mini-series written by Len Strazewski and drawn by Aaron Lopresti. It was about a character with abilities similar to those of Prime, save that instead of being a fan of comic superheroes such as Superman, Elven was a fan of Elfquest and similar fantasy depictions of elves. Her Ultra form and abilities reflected this, with the liquid substance produced by her body shaping itself into an Elf-like appearance (albeit with a very non-elfin female bodybuilder physique in her initial appearances), and her powers subconsciously channelled into magic-like applications.
Exiles #1 – 4 1993 1993 Written by Steve Gerber and illustrated by Paul Pelletier, with plot contributions from Tom Mason, Dave Olbrich, and Chris Ulm. It is known for the creators' deliberate decision (as explained in the afterword to the last issue) to flout the accepted comic-book trope that a group of random people, who were plucked from their ordinary lives and told that they must join together to fight evil and prevent disaster, would become an effective team. Instead, key strategic mistakes led to the team's newest recruit, Amber Hunt, triggering a catastrophic explosion that killed or maimed everyone else on the team and destroyed their headquarters. This occurred at the end of issue #4, although issue #5 had been falsely solicited months in advance in order to preserve the shock value of the team's unexpected death and the comic's abrupt cancellation; retailers who had been misled into ordering Exiles #5 were subsequently reimbursed.
Firearm #0 - 18 1993 1995 Comic book series created by writer James Robinson and artists Howard Chaykin and Cully Hamner, which lasted 18 issues, with an additional 0 issue. The 0 issue included a 35-minute Firearm short film, on VHS.[4] The series was about Alec Swan, a private investigator who, against his own wishes, becomes embroiled in cases involving the strange and the ultra-human.
Foxfire 1 – 4 1996 1996
Freex 1 – 18 1993 1995 Short-lived comic book series from created By Gerard Jones and Ben Herrera. It concerned a team of teenage superheroes. The group that would come to call themselves the Freex were apparently created when a group of newborn infants were injected with a substance called "wetware", a mix of mutated DNA and nanotechnology that had been created by the advanced but isolated underground society called the Fire People. The nurse who injected these children would later go on to become the superhero Contrary, who utilized other Fire People technology to assist and organize Ultraforce.
Godwheel 1 – 4 1995 1995 mini-series
Hardcase 1 – 26 1993 1995
Lord Pumpkin 1 1994 one-shot
Lord Pumpkin / Necromantra 1 – 4 1995 1995 mini-series
Mantra 1 – 24 1993 1995
Mantra vol. 2 ∞ – 7 1995 1996
Mantra - Spear of Destiny 1 – 2 1995 1995 mini-series
Power of Prime 1 – 4 1995 1995 mini-series
Prime 1 – 26 1993 1995
Prime vol. 2 ∞ – 15 1995 1996
Prime / Captain America 1 1996 one-shot
Prototype 1 – 18 1993 1995
Rune 0 – 9 1994 1995
Rune vol. 2 ∞ – 7 1995 1996
Rune: Hearts of Darkness 1 – 3 1996 1996 mini-series
Siren ∞ – 3 1995 1995 mini-series
Siren Special 1 1996 one-shot
Sludge 1 – 12 1993 1994
Solitaire 1 - 12 November 1993 September 1994 Superhero comic book created by Gerard Jones and Jeff Johnson in 1993 for Malibu Comics. It was published consistently from November 1993 until September 1994, when the series was, with the eighth issue, turned into a mini-series to be cancelled at the twelfth issue. Solitaire is a crime-fighting superhero. He uses detective skills and a network of street-level informants to wage a one-man war on crime a la DC's Batman. He is not, however, without superpowers, as Batman is. Solitaire has a rapid healing ability (like Marvel's Wolverine) which allows him to recover from stab wounds, gougings, and even gunshots.
The Night Man 1 – 23 1993 1995
The Night Man vol. 2 ∞ – 4 1995 1995
The Night Man / Gambit 1 – 3 1996 1996 mini-series
The All-New Exiles ∞ – 11 1995 1996 At one point, Marvel bought the publication rights for the Ultraverse comics. In the "Godwheel" event it was established that the Ultraverse is part of the Marvel Multiverse, meaning that travel between the main Marvel Universe and the Ultraverse is possible albeit difficult. One of the consequences was that a new team of Exiles was formed and included among them characters from the main Marvel Universe.
The Phoenix Resurrection: Aftermath 1 1996 one-shot
The Phoenix Resurrection: Genesis 1 1995 one-shot
The Phoenix Resurrection: Revelations 1 1995 one-shot
The Solution 0 – 17 1993 1995
The Strangers 1 – 24 1993 1995
UltraForce 0 – 10 1994 1995
UltraForce vol. 2 ∞ – 15 1995 1996
UltraForce / Spider-Man 1 1996 one-shot
Ultraverse Future Shock 1 1997 one-shot
Ultraverse Origins 1 1994 one-shot
Ultraverse Premiere 1 1993 one-shot
Ultraverse Unlimited 1 – 2 1996 1996 mini-series
Warstrike 1 – 7 1994 1994
Witch Hunter 1 1996 one-shot
Wrath 1 – 9 1994 1994


Characters[edit]

Crossovers with Marvel Comics[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cronin, Brian (December 16, 2016). "Comic Legends: Why Did Marvel REALLY Buy the Ultraverse?". CBR.com.
  2. ^ "Joe Fridays - Week 9". Newsarama. May 2005. Archived from the original on March 23, 2006.
  3. ^ De Blieck, Augie Jr. (December 17, 2013). "Miracleman, Malibu's Coloring Department & More!" CBR.com.
  4. ^ Wickstrom, Andy (4 August 1994). "Tale On Tape Concludes In Comic Book". articles.philly.com. The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 9 July 2015.

External links[edit]

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