By: Bryce Morris
Before his all-new ongoing series G.O.D.S. hits comic stands this fall, Marvel Comics mega-star Jonathan Hickman (Fantastic Four) returns with his next hit series, Ultimate Invasion. The first chapter of a four-issue miniseries, Ultimate Invasion #1, returns to the conception of the Marvel Ultimate Universe (Earth 1610). The Ultimate Universe seemingly came to an end with Hickman and artist Esad Ribic (The Mighty Thor)’s monumental Secret Wars crossover event in 2015-16.
Titled “Good Artists Copy,” Ultimate Invasion #1 begins with the elaborate breakout of the Ultimate Universe’s incarnation of Mr. Fantastic, a.k.a. the villainous Maker. Since the events of Secret Wars, the Maker has played a hand in influencing several universal affairs behind the scenes. It isn’t long before the Maker’s escape is noticed by Earth’s superheroes, including the main Marvel Universe (Earth 616) counterpart of Mr. Fantastic.
In response to the Maker’s escape, Mr. Fantastic reassembles the Illuminati consisting of fellow heroes: Doctor Strange, Professor X, Iron Man, Black Panther, Namor The Submariner, and Black Bolt. The Maker’s machinations in each of the Illuminati’s regions bring the team back together to face a foe they may not have a chance of conquering.
Alongside The Illuminati, The Maker’s trip across Marvel Earth 616 brings the attention of fan-favorite hero Miles Morales, a.k.a. Spider-Man. Morales only has a brief yet vital role to play in this opening story, but it is just enough of a role to lay the groundwork for him to play a substantial part in future issues of the event.
Ultimate Invasion #1 is a moment for set up, but that does not mean the narrative goes without any exciting action set pieces that truly stand out, due to the talent of veteran artist Bryan Hitch (The Ultimates). The issue’s climax features a fierce battle between The Illuminati and The Maker within New York City that offers a glimpse of the villainous Mr. Fantastic’s true intentions. However, Hickman makes sure to give fans a unique “water cooler” moment that will have each reader absolutely unified in discussion until the next issue.
A short epilogue entitled “Great Artists Steal,” following the main events of the issue, offers an alternate take on Spider-Man’s infamous origin, which finds itself heavily influenced by the surprise appearance of the Maker. Following Jonathan Hickman’s surprising leave from the Krakoa era of X-Men comics he helped to kick-start, it’s reassuring to know that Hickman still has plenty of creativity and pathos left to instill in Marvel’s beloved superheroes.