So, after a very positive response to last weeks post, we're back with another edition of What Were They Thinking, where we take a look at some of the stupidest, most ill advised things to happen in the realm of comic books. And this week, well, we're talking about these two...
So, The Ultimate Marvel Universe. It was a bit weird. Mutants not being mutants but in fact a secret WW2 Government experiment, Tony Stark having a genetic "condition" that made most of his body brain cells or something and, of course, Doctor Doom being a stroppy teen. Yeah. Good times (heavy, heavy sarcasm, in case anyone couldn't tell).
And then we get to Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Well, it all starts out all nice and normal. They're originally members of The Brotherhood Of Mutants and they're badly mistreated by Magneto and they have the same powers their non-Ultimate counterparts have. Then it all goes downhill. Yep, that fast. So they defect to the Ultimates in exchange for members of the Brotherhood being released from their imprisonment, which is a deal nobody would agree to. Also, there's a possibility (though I can't remember if it was confirmed or not) that Magneto isn't their father and that Wolverine is. And then we come to this....
Yes, because last weeks collection of teen pregnancy, abortion, attempted suicide and child pornography wasn't enough, Marvel went and ran an incest storyline.
Oh yeah, and that's possibly their Dad watching them.
Marvel, come here a second.
Sit down, we need to talk.
Ok, you comfortable? Then we'll begin.
Nobody wants to see an incest storyline, ok. It's one of those social taboos that you never touch. And you're gonna do it with two superheroes. As in, Heroes, right? People who are heroic and other people look up to. I know you like having heroes with feet of clay and everything, but that's going too far. Incest is creepy and disturbing, and ok that's the line you were obviously going with these two, but did you really have to go that far? This is the sort of stuff you leave to the deepest darkest regions of tumblr fan-fiction. In fact, I'm sure even the tumblr yaoi Thor-Loki shippers would balk at this.
Oh and while you're here, a few other notes about the Ultimates. Firstly, you can make a character more relatable and likeable by doing a spousal-abuse storyline. But it only works for the spouse being abused. This applies to the main universe as well, but is more pertinent here because of how early on it happened in the character arc in comparison. You cannot get people to identify with a SUPERHERO, a male hero, if he's seen trying to murder his wife with bug spray. Ok? So if you run this within a series first dozen issue and then keep the aggressor as a hero for the rest of the run, you are sending the absolute wrong message. Yes he gets a beat down the following issue, but any lasting comeuppance? Not much. And secondly, I know there's no way to be tasteful about cannibalism, but if you're going to show it, don't have the victim be the character who's already been the victim of the aforementioned spousal-abuse and don't show her literally having her head gnawed off. Yeah, she was dead at the time, but that image still isn't suitable for publication. Oh, and then we have to sympathise with the guy who beat his wife because she's now dead and he's taking vengeance on the guy who ATE HER FREAKING HEAD OFF. See my problem here guys?
Anyway, might have gone off topic a bit there. Yeah, don't run an incest storyline. God, the Ultimates ended up being a huge pile of [censored] didn't it?
I had repressed all these memories… I don’t thank you for that! T-T
I am SO FRIKING GLAD I never read the Ultimates and only caught glimpses of these story lines from comments here and there. Thanks for reminding me that I NEVER want to read it.
To be fair, Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s Ultimates Vol. 1 and 2 I believe are well worth the read and in the material that involved Wanda and Pietro, they were never explicitly had them in a sexual/incestuous relationship. Pietro and Wanda were just very weirdly close for siblings and had a very strong co-dependent relationship.
The Ultimates up until then is (I believe) worth reading, and there were some interesting and novel characterizations of people that only happened because of the world-building nature of the ‘new’ universe. I think Ultimate Thor (before the aforementioned Jeph Loeb era) is one of my favorite takes on the character.
That being said, once Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch were not at the helm Jeph Loeb turned the Ultimates into a festering pile of garbage that culminated in the best forgotten Ultimatum event (where we were treated to the cannibalism you mentioned). I won’t argue that the Ultimates became something truly awful, but it’s initial conception and earlier run shouldn’t be completely disregarded because another creator came along and crapped all over everything. There’s a lot of elements of the earlier run that bled their way into the MCU that we all know and love.
And Ultimate Hank Pym’s characterization was absolutely irredeemable in Mark Millar’s run. He was an awful human being and never held himself accountable for anything, you weren’t really SUPPOSED to relate to him or like him. That was more or less the point of him in those stories.