In 2002, Marvel debuted the six-issue Ultimate Adventures, written by Ron Zimmerman with art by Duncan Fegredo. The series was unlike any other Ultimate Marvel title, in that it featured entirely new characters: Hawk-Owl and Woody, a sly take on Batman and Robin. The series also had a somewhat humorous tone that differed from most Ultimate titles. It was often derided by fans, largely based on writer Ron Zimmerman’s reputation at the time, although the quality of the mini-series was rather high.
The series was also notable for featuring one of the first appearances by the Ultimates, during the first few issues of that team’s original title. At the time, the Ultimates were recruiting, providing a reason for them to visit Hawk-Owl. It’s difficult, however, to reconcile Thor’s involvement, because he didn’t join the team until The Ultimates #5, which continued into issue #6, when Giant Man (also featured in Ultimate Adventures) left the team.
Because of this, it’s difficult to place Ultimate Adventures with The Ultimates, its only logical placement. Doing so would also interrupt that title’s historic first storyline.
In late 2002, a couple months after Ultimate Adventures debuted, Marvel offered the four-issue Ultimate Daredevil & Elektra. Written by Greg Rucka and offering an alternate version of Elektra’s origin story, the mini-series was offered in time for the Daredevil movie co-starring Elektra. In mid-2004, Marvel followed this with a sequel, the five-issue Ultimate Elektra, written by Mike Carey. Despite being written by different writers, the two series were united by penciler Salvador Larroca.
Daredevil and Elektra had already appeared in Ultimate Marvel Team-Up, and they would continue to appear occasionally in Ultimate Spider-Man (and nowhere else). But because these stories are flashbacks to these characters’ origins, it would be hard to place them with
In early 2005, over three years before the first Iron Man movie won big at the box office, Marvel offered Ultimate Iron Man, a five-issue mini-series written by Orson Scott Card and initially penciled by Andy Kubert. The series, which offered a new take on Iron Man’s origins, proved a huge hit. But artist Andy Kubert departed for DC midway through the final issue, which being considerably delayed. The series ended without a resolution, promising to continue in a sequel later in 2006. Instead, the five-issue Ultimate Iron Man II debuted at the end of 2007, in the months leading up to the Iron Man film. With Pasqual Ferry on pencils, the series concluded the story of Tony Stark’s origins.
The series succeeded in large part due to its divergence from Iron Man’s traditional origins, and this kept readers coming back to find out how things would turn out. This Tony Stark’s origin involved a previously unseen blue fluid that made someone virtually indestructible. Perhaps for this reason, it would be ignored by The Ultimates, in which Iron Man starred, and writer Mark Millar later (in Ultimate Avengers) introduced a twin brother for Tony who had explicitly not existed in Orson Scott Card’s origin.
Because of this incongruity and the fact that the story’s prolonged origin story has no easy fit into the Ultimates, it has been placed here.