Marvel.com has for some time offered a wonderful little service: Digital Comics Unlimited. It is a subscription based model for an e-reader that has access to a large chunk of the Marvel Comics database. The Ultimate universe is almost available in it's entirety through Ultimatum, the Marvel universe has small gaps here and there but is mostly there as well.
Why this was interesting to me was because I had never really gotten into comics before. I had always wanted to, but I just couldn't afford to purchase the thousands of comics that existed just so I could read up on them in some sort of chronological order, even for one of the more recent universes like Ultimate. For the most part I was content with my basic knowledge of the Marvel universe that I had from the few games and snippets of the comics I had read here and there, the movies that had came out and such. I knew that this wasn't enough, but money was too scarce to change it.
Then I got into Champions Online. Maybe it was the fact Champions Online was original going to be 'Marvel Universe' and still screamed 'Marvel Comics' in everything it did. Maybe it was the group of players I found, and their knowledge of comics that got me interested. Whatever it was I started re-watching the new Avengers storyline of the movies, starting with the Iron Mans and then Hulk.Then I decided that I was tired of not reading the comics and tried looking for a way to read them.
First I looked for a chronological list of any of the Marvel Universes, the one that I found first was a great one on the Ultimate universe. My next order of business was to start getting the comics, but unluckily for me I still lacked the money to buy them. I almost stooped to torrenting them, almost. But first I decided I'd check Marvel.com for prices.
And that is how I discovered Digital Comics Unlimited. For the mere price of $10 a month, or $60 a year I could read as many Marvel comics as I wanted, and after a quick search almost the entire Ultimate Universe was uploaded and ready to be read for Digital subscribers. A quick typing of credit card numbers later and I was reading through the Ultimate Universe, in order.
It took me about two weeks to read all the way through Ultimatum, I'd tackle 10-20 comics a day near the end but at the beginning I was reading nearly 60 a day. I quickly fell in love with Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate X-Men and the Ultimates. I still had the same 'meh' feeling towards the Ultimate Fantastic Four as I had for anything else relating to the Fantastic Four I had ever seen, considering they were always my least favorite Marvel super-hero team.
I read like crazy, knocking comics out one by the next, going through the many cross-comic story arcs and enjoying every second of them. I read all the way to Ultimatum wanting so much, and it was delivered. Ultimatum blew me away, and as far as I'm concerned I don't need to read past it. Ultimatum wrapped up everything in a nice big present for me and gave the Universe a sendoff. Yes I know they continue after Ultimatum, but is there really a point to keep reading them after that point?
|Such a lovely poster...|
Spoiler below in (( )), skip over if you don't want.
((Everyone dies, EVERYONE. Magneto, Wolverine, Dr. Doom, Cyclops, the Pyms, THE BLOB (who you cannot move, cuz he's DA BLOB), EVERYONE. Few people are still around when Ultimatum is wrapped up. The list of survivors includes a couple of the X Men, the entire Fantastic Four (even though they break up as a team), Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, and Nick Fury. Really it does such a good job of wrapping up the Universe I could have swore it was the end, but it really wasn't.))
Most of the way through with the exception of TWO comics (if you've read them you know which issues they are) the art was amazing. It was somewhere between stylized realism and realism, it woudl go back and forth depending on the artist, but it just worked for the Ultimate Universe.
The writing was amazingly well done for the most part, some of the stuff made me raise an eyebrow later in 'Ultimate Doom' and such, but for the most part I loved it. The way they handled so many of my favorite characters made me more than happy. They even got me to like Spiderman again after that abysmal third movie.
Oh god, make it stop, MAKE IT STOP!
Really, if you're looking at getting into comics at all and money is an issue, Marvel has reduced the cost a lot for you. Head on over to their website and check out Digital Comics Unlimited. It doesn't have the entire library of comics available for Digital Subscribers, but it does offer a good chunk of them.