Listen up, people. This is Super Reads and today we're going through the final issue of Ultimate End.
Watch yourself because:
There are SPOILERS ahead.
So where have we been and where are we going?
Since the very first issue, this series has promised us that the heroes of the Ultimate Universe would fight the heroes of the Marvel-616 Universe. We've been waiting for a good reason for that to happen.
And, while there ARE some good reasons for the two universes to come into conflict, in the end, they seemed to do it because it was inevitable rather than for the fight being based on anything story specific.
Ultimate End takes place on the patchwork planet at the end of the universe, Battleworld, in the domain of Manhattan. Manhattan has some real problems and they're all related to it being the home to not one but TWO universes worth of heroes. And villains, too, but no one fights bad guys when there's a perfectly acceptable hero that needs their butt handed to them.
So, the place is crowded. Making matters worse, Doctor Doom, the god of Battleworld, has forbade any attempts to research WHY two universes are overlapping while also placing all the BLAME for this on the heads of Manhattan's expansive super-hero community. If they are found meddling, Doom will sic some Thors on them. They already killed Marvel-616's Hawkeye to prove a point.
So, naturally, the smart guys in Manhattan start meddling. When the Tony Starks of two universes find themselves disagreeing on how to move forward on getting their two worlds untangled, they manage to gather up the rest of the heroes from their respective universes and smash them into each other. For some reason.
And they've even dragged in Old Man Logan who isn't from EITHER universe but is just visiting from a different domain. And likes to fight for no reason.
But having two worlds' worth of heroes punching the socks off each other isn't enough! Making matters more murderous, we've also got the Ultimate Punisher watching the battle through his sniper rifle sights, determined to put down as many super-heroes as possible. He's already fired the thing off into the battle but I don't think he's actually KILLED anyone. We don't ever see a body.
Now, keep in mind that NONE of these guys is LEGITIMATELY from the Ultimate Universe or the Marvel-616 Universe. They're just VERY close approximations. For example, we'll see Peter Parker and Cyclops making appearances in this series but both of those guys survived the end of the multiverse on board a life raft and are busy doing things (like dying in Cyclops' case) in the main Secret Wars book. The guys here are simply copies from universes VERY identical to the actual universes. Or they're based on Doom and Strange's memories of their fallen friends/ enemies. It could be any number of things. Complicating matters further, guys like Ultimate Punisher and Ultimate Captain America have already DIED in their own universe but are still running around in Manhattan. The point is, the Ultimate Universe is ALREADY done.
This is just, like, a last hurrah.
And then there's this guy. This is Miles Morales, the Ultimate Spider-Man. Unlike everyone else running around this book, Miles is the genuine article.
Morales is one of the few super-heroes who escaped the destruction of the multiverse, escaping in one of the two life rafts that survived the end of all things. He doesn't seem to have a copy of himself in Manhattan but, as we'll see, people recognize him and treat him like he's someone who just went missing a few days ago.
So, it's confusing. Because, technically, Manhattan should have it's own Ultimate Spider-Man just like it has it's own Spider-Man-616. But it doesn't. Unless the Manhattan Miles is dead or something.
Anyway, as Doctor Doom allows the heroes of two worlds to beat the crap out of each other, Ultimate Spider-Man arrives to change some fates.
Ultimate End #5
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Mark Bagley
Inker: Scott Hanna
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Letterer: Cory Petit (from Virtual Calligraphy)
Assistant Editors: Chris Robinson & Emily Shaw
Associate Editor: Darren Shan
Editor: Mark Paniccia
In this issue: The heroes of the Marvel-616 and Ultimate Universes learn that sad truth behind their existence and take the fight to Doom, leading to an all-new, all-different Marvel-616 where Miles Morales is reunited with his previously dead mother.
• Ultimate Spider-Man stops the heroes from two universe from beating each other up for no reason.
• With some help from some mutant telepaths, Ultimate Spider-Man tells the heroes about the real nature of Battleworld and how they're all being punished by Doctor Doom.
• The heroes go through the billion stages of acceptance.
• Old Man Logan confirms that Battleworld is insane.
• Some Thors show up to end things but the heroes teleport away before they arrive, courtesy of Magik.
• Ultimate Punisher is killed in combat with the Thors.
• The heroes decide to fight against Doom but first, Peter Parker, Miles Morales, and Tony Stark-616 decide to call their loved ones and say good-bye.
• Everyone dies in final battle against Doctor Doom and his forces.
• Miles Morales wakes up in the all-new, all-different Marvel universe and finds that his mom is alive again and he's talking in all-caps!
Last issue, things ended with the heroes of two worlds fighting each other, Punisher setting up targets with his sniper rifle (and shooting it without visibly killing anyone), and the Ultimate Spider-Man swinging in to... do whatever an ultimate spider can.
Well, it turns out that doing what a spider can means shooting webs out at everyone and telling them to knock it the hell off. This stops the ridiculous fight in it's tracks and causes everyone to look up into the sky to see who would DARE stop them from unnecessarily beating the crap out of each other. Even Ultimate Punisher stops scoping out his targets.
The Ultimate Spider-Man is Miles Morales. THIS version of the character is from the ACTUAL Ultimate Universe, having survived the destruction of everything by hitching a ride on one of the two Liferafts that escaped all the explosions. You don't NEED to know which one he was on... but it was the one filled with bad guys. He just stayed invisible the whole time and tried not to get noticed.
Anyway, Miles tells everyone to stop their pointless fighting and everyone tries to figure out who HE is. There SHOULD be a native Manhattan version of Miles swinging around and doing the Spider-Man thing but it appears that, while the Ultimate heroes know who he is, they just think he's been absent for a while. The Marvel-616ish version of Spider-Man (again: not the REAL version that survived the end of the Multiverse but the Manhattan domain NATIVE version... ugh, this is more complicated than it should be) vouches for Miles and after a little pressing, Ultimate Nick Fury calls a cease fire.
It's at this point that Storm-616 admits that they're only "halfheartedly beating the hell out of each other," anyway. There's no real DRIVE behind this conflict. It's just a thing that they seem compelled to do.
It's also at this point that every telepath starts reading Miles' mind without permission.
His friends also have a TERRIBLE time keeping Ultimate Spider-Man's secret identity SECRET. They keep saying his name out loud. Because F secret identities.
Emma Frost of Uncanny X-Men fame realizes that no one is going to believe if Miles just tells them so she decides to project his thoughts out to the whole group. So they can SEE the truth.
And this will work because no one is going to doubt a telepath who has been shown to manipulate minds.
We are confronted with two full-page images. The first shows the iconic heroes of the Marvel-616 Universe. There's the Fantastic Four on the top and the X-Men (the roster from RIGHT after Giant-Size X-Men #1) on the bottom. Between them is an assortment of Avengers (including classic blue Beast) and Spider-Man swinging in front of everyone.
The second page shows the iconic heroes of the Ultimate Universe. On the top are the Ultimates (with Nick Fury standing slightly alone on the right). Below them is the Ultimate Fantastic Four with the Young Ultimates appearing on the bottom of the page. On the right of the page, below Nick Fury, are a number of the Ultimate X-Men, including the deceased Cyclops and Wolverine. Swinging in front of the rest is Ultimate Spider-Man.
The enlightening information that Miles is bringing to the heroes of two worlds won't be so enlightening to you or me. Ultimate Spider-Man tells them the truth about their world. It's a patchwork reality composed of the remains of other destroyed universes. The Ultimate and Marvel-616 realities weren't just a city. They weren't even just another world. They were both their own separate UNIVERSE. And what brought them to their current predicament wasn't something inflicted on them by THEM. This isn't Tony Stark's fault or anyone else's that is living IN Manhattan.
This is Doctor Doom's fault. This revelation is accompanied by a two-page spread of Doctor Doom's crazy face.
Unlike most areas on Battleworld, Manhattan wasn't constructed out of Doom's benevolent nature. This was created to torture the heroes of the Marvel-616 Universe because of their past transgressions against Doctor Doom.
It was also made to punish the Ultimate heroes for some reason. Probably because they LOOKED the most like the Marvel-616 heroes.
Manhattan was created to be a powder keg, ready to explode into violence because Doom really wanted the people within to suffer. Even worse than that, the people within, heroes and villain alike, never even knew how much Doctor Doom hated them all. They just assumed he was this great god guy and they had done something terribly wrong.
After this horrifying revelation has been unveiled, the heroes begin processing what they now know. We're given seventy images of our heroes on another two pages where the heroes express all of their feelings. The five images in the right most column are of Ultimate Punisher and they range from surprise to acceptance of the truth. It mirrors the feelings of everyone else but he does it with 100% less words. All the dialogue on the rest of the page is pretty much interchangeable with everyone else on the page. But it's shock, anger, denial, depression, and acceptance all around.
So now, they just need to DO something about their fate. Miles starts telling them about the plan that's being formulated to take down Doom. However, the heroes aren't completely done working their way through what has happened. After all, they're in a world where multiple versions of heroes and villains exist all over the place. Are some of these fake? Miles and Peter help explain that they're all from alternate realities. Everyone is real. They just don't belong on the same planet.
In the middle of this teachable moment, one of the assembled heroes decides that he's not completely past the anger stage and attacks Ultimate Spider-Man. Yes, it's a Hulk. The Ultimate, grey version. Ultimate Punisher shoots a bullet at Ultimate Hulk's neck that bounces off his thick skin. Castle does this to calm the Hulk down. Old Man Logan hops up and pops his claws threateningly at Hulk's neck. To calm him down.
Finally, Rachel Grey uses some telepathy to EFFECTIVELY calm down the Ultimate rage monster. This is when everyone realizes that an elderly version of Logan has been here for a while.
After Old Man Logan confirms everything Miles was saying (Logan's been on a cross-country trip, experiencing one version of madness in every domain), Nick Fury looks to the skies to see that Doctor Doom has finally decided to respond to what's been going on. He's sent in the Thors.
The Thors are Doom's super-powered police force and they are strong enough to EASILY end this gathering of heroes. Some of the heroes are ready to fight but Cyclops has a better idea. He has Magik transport them away before this confrontation can even happen.
When the Thors hit the street, they get to meet the only guy remaining: The Ultimate Punisher. He has a rocket launcher. It does him little good. Two of the Thors lash out with lightning and kill him.
Meanwhile, our heroes have reappeared across the city in one of Illyana Rasputin's "safehouses." I didn't even know she had that kind of thing.
The gathered heroes start talking about what they should do about their current predicament and about the people who have already been lost with the death of the multiverse. While they finally agree to take the fight to Doom, before they go on their way, the two Spider-Men and Iron Man-616 make some phone calls. They all get answering services.
Peter calls Aunt May but it's not HIS Aunt May. It's Ultimate Aunt May. The one he ate dinner with in the second issue. It's possible that HIS Aunt May didn't make it to this version of reality.
Miles calls his dad. That's more straightforward.
Tony gets Pepper Potts' machine.
While the heroes fight the final battle with Doom and his minions, Peter, Miles, and Tony leave messages for their loved ones, telling them how much they loved them and how serious this final battle is. They express their fears, hopes, and determination to see it through.
And if you think we're going to see much of this battle on these pages, you are mistaken. We see the Ultimate and Marvel-616 heroes charging into the fight but after that, we are treated to six pages featuring those 72 images of our heroes from earlier in the comic. The five panels that has Ultimate Punisher are gone. The rest of the panels are also on their way to disappearing. Each page features less and less images until, on the last two pages, we're left with just the two Spider-Man and Iron Man-616. This represents our heroes falling in battle.
The next two pages are just white pages, indicating that everyone has died.
If you're wondering if the Ultimate and Marvel-616 heroes' charge into battle is shown at ALL in Secret Wars, wonder no more! It isn't! It's at least not highlighted, unless they joined the battle in the beginning with the rest of the Prophet's unbelievers. Otherwise, there's no major charge that happens with these guys.
But they all die so that's great.
And that is the end of the Ultimate Universe. For real, this time.
But some things survive.
Miles Morales is busy sleeping the day away when he is woken up. By his mother. Rio Morales. If you think the fact that these characters are speaking in all-caps is the most crazy thing in this scene, then you clearly haven't been reading Ultimate Spider-Man. Which is probably a lot of you.
Rio Morales is dead. WAS dead. She died after accidentally getting shot when a couple of police officers were trying to kill a symbiote-infected bad guy. It caused Miles to give up his Spider-Man identity for a year.
But, yeah, that all-caps stuff is weird, right?
We don't get into Miles' head so we don't know if he remembers anything but he's seriously surprised to see his mom and gives her a giant hug.
It's the middle of the day and Rio isn't going to allow her kid to waste the day in bed. She tells him she's going out to get some stuff down before meeting with Miles' dad. So Jefferson Davis is still alive, too, meaning we're not switching one dead parent for another.
From outside his window, Miles' friends call up to him, telling him to GET UP. They're "heading into the city" and Miles is supposed to be joining them. Morales sends them ahead, claiming he can make it there before them even if he leaves AFTER them.
Who are his friends? We see Ganke Lee, Miles' best friend, and Judge, the two's old school roommate. There's also the brunette girl who I CAN'T IDENTIFY. New character? Post your theories in the comments! Or wait until February!
As his friends leave without him, Miles smiles and puts on his Spider-Man costume. He swings ridiculously high over New York City (like: above-all-the-skyscrapers high), giving us a great look at the new all-new, all-different city. We see the former Avengers Tower as well as the new Stark Tower. In the Upper New York Bay, we see the Triskellion. Looks like the Marvel Universe got more than just an extra Spider-Man.
So, the future looks bright for the formerly Ultimate Spider-Man. And he got his mom back! Which is awesome. We'll check out more in February!