The return of the Ultimate Universe has begun, and it’s bringing some exciting twists and turns. Like Dorothy Gale from the Wizard of Oz, the Maker just wants to go home. However, unlike Dorothy, the Maker is a sociopathic mad scientist who is willing to destroy lives to get his way. Ultimate Invasion #1 (written by Jonathan Hickman and penciled by Bryan Hitch) follows the villain as he seeks to revive Marvel’s Ultimate Universe. Along the way, he splices some DNA, steals some important artifacts, and meddles in some superhero origins. Let’s unpack the Maker’s plot to restore the once grand Ultimate Universe.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for Ultimate Invasion #1!
What do I need to know before I read Ultimate Invasion #1?
Before we discuss Ultimate Invasion #1, let’s bring you up to speed. The Ultimate Universe (otherwise known as Earth-1610) was an alternate continuity that Marvel launched in 2000 with Ultimate Spider-Man #1. The Ultimate imprint featured modernized versions of Marvel’s classic characters. The premise was to explore what Marvel’s heroes would be like if they had been created in the 21st century instead of the '60s.
Stories set within the Ultimate Universe took a more mature approach and were paced differently than the mainstream continuity Marvel titles. The Ultimate Universe was also notable for introducing characters like Miles Morales, and modeling Nick Fury after Samuel L. Jackson for the first time. Since the imprint wasn’t set in Marvel’s mainstream universe, it was allowed to experiment in fun ways. For example, Peter Parker was killed, and Reed Richards turned into an evil villain known as the Maker.
The Ultimate Universe was seemingly destroyed during the 2015 event Secret Wars. Miles Morales, the Maker, and a few other characters migrated to Marvel’s mainstream universe, which referred to as Earth-616. The 2017 mini-series Spider-Men II revealed that the Ultimate Universe survived its destruction during Secret Wars, and still exists somewhere in the multiverse. Lately the Maker has been seeking a way to restore his doomed universe. Since he’s a villain, any plans he’s making are probably less than fantastic.
For a deeper dive into the history of the Ultimate Universe (and how to read it), check out this handy guide from Popverse.
What happens in Ultimate Invasion #1?
Ultimate Invasion #1 begins with an elaborate prison break sequence. When we first see the Maker, he’s incarcerated in a fortified cell, thanks to the organization Damage Control. However, it’s important to remember that the Maker is another version of Reed Richards, and his brain is his greatest weapon.
The Maker engineers a breakout by creating a genetic duplicate of himself. This duplicate is created when the Maker finds some hired goons who share portions of his DNA makeup. By fusing these goons together, Reed is able to create a decoy. It’s just as grisly as it sounds.
From there, the Maker begins stealing a series of items. This crime spree includes a ton of vibranium, Inhuman Terrigen spheres, a Krakoan gateway, an immunity lance, a dilution shield, and one of Mr. Fantastic’s machines. The 616 version of Reed Richards wonders if the Maker actually needs all these items, or if he’s only stealing them to taunt the various heroes.
The Maker then appears in Miles Morales’ bedroom, telling the young hero he plans to go back to the Ultimate Universe. He invites Miles to go with him, but he declines. This scene was originally seen in Free Comic Book Day: Spider-Man/Venom #1 (2023).
The Maker uses his stolen items to assemble a giant machine, and Marvel’s various heroes rush to stop him. Once again, this splash page was previewed during the FCBD issue. Mr. Fantastic seems to realize what the Maker’s plan is, but he doesn’t reveal it to the other heroes (or the readers). The Maker’s machine creates a portal, and before the villain enters, he gives his 616 counterpart a hypothetical question.
“If you had the chance, would you erase me from existence,” the Maker asks. “Yes,” Reed coldly replies. “I’ll keep that in mind,” the Maker replies. With that, the villain then enters a portal, which closes before the various Marvel heroes could follow him.
The final sequence of the book is labeled 6160 and seems to be set in the past, specifically the day Peter Parker was bit by the radioactive spider that gave him his powers. At least, that’s what was supposed to happen that day. Seconds before the spider bites Peter, the evil version of Reed kills the arachnid. The issue ends as the Maker puts the dead spider in a test tube.
What is the Maker’s plan?
The Maker is plotting something big, but the full scope of his plan is still a mystery. We already know that he’s planning on returning to the Ultimate Universe, thanks to his conversation with Miles (and solicitations from Marvel), but this issue leaves some unanswered questions. For example, we don’t know why the last scene is labeled 6160.
One theory is that the Maker has traveled back in time and is erasing Marvel’s various heroes from existence. This would explain his cryptic comment to Mr. Fantastic. It’s possible that Reed’s meddling with history has remade Earth-616 into Earth-6160. The question is, how does messing with Earth-616’s past bring back Earth-1610?.
If you’ve read enough Jonathan Hickman comics, then you know he loves playing the long game. Reed’s plan might seem confusing now, but knowing Hickman, it will all come together. Plus, the Maker is one of the smartest villains in the Marvel Universe, so his ultimate plan (no pun intended) won’t be as simple as a standard bank robbery.
We already know that the Ultimate Universe will be returning in some capacity. Marvel has announced a one-shot titled Ultimate Universe #1, set for release this November, which will launch a new line of comics set in the Ultimate Universe.
We know for sure a return is coming, but how is the Maker going to pull it off? The launch of the Ultimate Universe was one of the most exciting chapters in Marvel history, and it appears that its comeback has the potential to be just as explosive.
Confused? Here's a complete guide to Marvel’s Ultimate Comics.