You've got me interested in ults now but I've never read it before. Any idea where I should start?
do not start with Orson Scott Card’s Iron Man. DO NOT.
now. i’m probably one of the five people in the world who enjoy Ults vol 1 and 2 (also, this is where the Nat and Tony stuff happens). They’re both only 13 issues, so you can just start at Ultimates vol 1 001 and go from there. They’re kinda dark and terrible, as you might’ve gathered.
after that, vol 3 happens. vol 3 is kind of a mess, although not as big a mess as the event after it, Ultimatum. Ultimatum has one good scene of a crying Tony, but I’d advise against reading it.
now, a quality shift occurs, and things are still terrible, but better written, too. with some exceptions.
THINGS YOU MUST READ NOW: ULTIMATE ARMOUR WARS. TONY IS THE SADDEST.
Also, after the Ultimatum, Ults vol 4 is not Ults vol 4, but New Ultimates. These are weird, but good. Really pretty art, and also, Tony/Carol happens. At the same time, you might want to read Ultimate Avengers (then again, you might not. You can google Ultimate Red Skull, because I am not saying that). Iirc, Tony’s evil blond twin gets introduced in Ult Avengers though (you read that right).
Then, Death of Spider-Man comes, with Ultimate Avengers vs New Ultimates (the titles are getting a bit of a handful). TONY ANGST, READ.
After that, Ultimates are retitled into Ultimate Comics Ultimates. 12 issues of those, read all. Also, read Spider-Men. It’s a five-issues miniseries by Bendis and features Miles meeting 616 Peter. There’s also a very cute Ults Tony.
The next step: Ultimate Comics Ultimates vol 2 (or you can refer to them as Ults vol 5, because this is what they are). 12 issues, weird but good, read^^
Issue 13 starts another event: Divided We Fall United We Stand (Ultimate Comics Ultimates v2 013-019). Again, weird but good, recommended reading.
After that, you can read the four issues Ultimate Comics Iron Man mini-series, although I personally don’t recommend it. It has some good Tony moments, but generally doesn’t work for me in Ultimates.
Let’s continue to Ultimate Comics Ultimates vol 2 020-030. READ THOSE. THOSE ARE GOOD. FEELS HAPPEN HERE. But also you’d probably be lost without reading the previous Ult Comics Ults, so, I really just rec reading them all. It’s not that much and it’s very enjoyable (and weird. Did I mention weird?).
And after that, Ultimate Marvel ends.
There’s Cataclysm–and The Ultimates’ Last Stand is worth reading for Tony pain (Don’t read Cataclysm - Ultimate Comics Ultimates, just don’t).
After that, there’s one issue called Survive, which I won’t say anything about, but read it. Tony cries. Also, Tony now features in Ultimate FF, but I don’t recommend reading it.
If you’re still with me, now’s the time for Ultimate End, which is exactly what it sounds like, and has 616 TONY MEETING ULT TONY WHAT ELSE CAN YOU WISH FOR IN LIFE. (It’s a five-issues mini-series).
Things I didn’t mention: Ultimate Human, because I’m not sure when exactly it happens (I’d guess for something around the first two volumes though). READ. HALF-NAKED TONY TIED UP TO A CHAIR. GOOD.
Uh, you asked how to start, and this is more of a reading guide (Tony-centric reading guide might I add, I haven’t read any Ult X-Men or Fantastic Four comics). I hope it helps anyway.
also, REASONS TO READ ULTS INCLUDE:
tony is sad. like. very sad.
steve is possibly sadder than everywhere else but he’s also a giant asshole
america is my white house (aka President Cap)
tony wearing the iron patrior armour to match steve
tony adopting his brain tumour and having a cute father/son relationship with him (you’ll cry, believe me)
tony and thor being awesome
tony paying thor to stop talking like he’s in shakespeare
tony and thor being really awesome friends though
let me be your conscience
if you’re into that, utlimates is the single universe nicest to bucky: he grows old with his wife
tony is really very sad
tony becomes iron man because he has cancer and he wants to die doing something
tony’s evil twin is cool
tony cries A LOT and is in hospital A LOT and it’s awesome
here is the closest to chronological order i could find trawling various lists around the internet:
ultimate iron man
ultimate iron man II
ultimate comics: avengers
ultimate comics: captain america
ultimate comics: new ultimates
ultimate avengers vs. new ultimates
ultimate comics: ultimates
ultimate comics: iron man
cataclysm: the ultimate’s last stand
the bolded ones are where the main storyline stuff goes down, italics has the few scattered stevetony moments of ults.
anyone that recs ultimates is going to tell you to steer clear of ultimates I and ultimates II but that’s really the backstory of the ultimate avengers so you can jump straight into the rest but you’ll be missing a few details here and there. my advice is to read it with a grain of salt (and be prepared to be very salty). there’s definitely a lot of low points and gross moments but a handful of decent instances of nuance and interesting characterisation insights.
ultimatum is another that’s extremely tacky and terrible, the amount of character deaths over the course of like 100 pages is… incredible. in a bad way. so just take it for what it is in true ults style ridiculousness.
i’d definitely recommend ultimate comics: iron man because it has the adorable buffagni tony art and carol danvers being amazing and HBIC. survive! is also another time-honored ‘tony at steve’s funeral’ comic for some emotional i feel dead inside reading. ultimate comics: avengers is lowkey disturbing, ….reverse star wars…., but it has some great classic ults steve moments. ultimate avengers vs. new ultimates touches on tony’s illness as well as his dynamic with his actual evil twin brother gregory.
and finally utlimate comics: ultimates which is the true crowning glory of the ults universe. it has the most glorious bromance between tony and thor; it has uLTS CAP; it has tony’s sentient tumor / pseudo-adopted son anthony. it’s just a tON of fun and madness.
basically have fun, don’t take it too seriously and welcome to the amazing trainwreck that is ults.