Have you ever wanted to get into a long-running book series but didn't know where to start? Or maybe a popular TV show piqued your interest, but you didn't want to spend months catching up on every episode? Continuity is the bane of all newcomers when it comes to movies, shows, games, books, and especially comics.
Marvel realized this and launched their Ultimate Comics in 2000 as a response. The Ultimate Universe didn't have decades of continuity like the mainstream Marvel Universe. Ultimate Marvel also featured new versions of classic characters such as the X-Men and the Avengers. We're going to look at five Ultimate characters that were stronger than their 616 counterparts, and five that were weaker.
10 More Powerful: Black Widow
In the mainstream Marvel Universe, Black Widow has no powers of her own. However, she more than makes up for this via cunning and wit. The Earth 616 version of Natalia Romanova is unquestionably one of the best spies in the business. The Ultimate Universe version of Nat is an accomplished spy as well. Earth 1610 also owns a suit of Iron Man armor!
When she's suited up, Nat was referred to as Cybernatrix or Iron Maiden (they couldn't quite decide on a name). Her suit enhances her strength and allows her to fly at supersonic speeds! The Iron Maiden suit can also disorient enemies by scrambling their thoughts.
9 Weaker: Thor
For centuries, the Mighty Thor has defended the Nine Realms from foes of all shapes and sizes. Using Mjolnir, Thor has brought the hammer down on opponents such as Gorr the God Butcher, Thanos, and Galactus! We've also seen how powerful Thor will become when he fully masters the Odin-Force as the King of Asgard!
In comparison, the Ultimate Universe version of Thor has a far less impressive track record. In the early Ultimate comics, Thor was basically human. Regular Thor can (kind of) take on Thanos by himself. Ultimate Thor was once punched out by Colossus. Ultimate Thor has grown stronger over the years, but it'll be a while before he reaches his mainstream counterpart's level.
8 More Powerful: Hawkeye
For years, Hawkeye has been the butt of countless Avengers jokes. Numerous casual comic fans and die-hard Marvel maniacs rib Clint Barton for bringing bows and arrows to a superpower fight. However, that's what makes Hawkeye so awesome; the man's managed to hang with Marvel's heaviest hitters using weapons from the Medieval times!
Mainstream Hawkeye is very similar to Nick Fury. Both men are skilled warriors who don't possess any superpowers. Furthermore, Earth 616 Clint is also partially deaf! Ultimate Hawkeye's hearing is pitch perfect. His eyes were also artificially enhanced to see better than the average man ever could.
7 Weaker: Human Torch
Johnny Storm was a high-flying hothead, even before he gained powers. Thanks to his exposure to cosmic rays, Johnny gained phenomenal pyroclastic powers! This prompted him to take up the Human Torch mantle and fight crime with his big sister and in-laws. As a member of the Fantastic Four, Johnny brings immense firepower to every battle.
The regular Human Torch can turn into plasma, mentally control fire, and become hotter than 1,000,000 Fahrenheit! In contrast, the Ultimate Universe version of the Human Torch has only exhibited his mainstream counterpart's basic abilities. Ultimate Human Torch, much like Ultimate Thor, has lots of room for growth. We'll just have to see if he ever burns as brightly as Earth 616 Johnny.
6 More Powerful: The Thing
Speaking of heavy hitters, we'd be remiss not to mention The Thing. Both in the mainstream Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Universe, Ben Grimm is as tough as they come. The guy's traded blows with powerhouses like the Hulk and the Juggernaut on several occasions! Overall, Earth 616 Thing has more strength and durability feats than we can count in this article.
The Ultimate Universe version of The Thing is just as strong as his Earth 616 counterpart. He also has the ability to transform into a purple, crystalline form at will! This new form grants Ben a host of brand new abilities - providing him with more ways to clobber fools!
5 Weaker: The Hulk
Time after time, the regular Hulk has proven that he's the strongest there is. During the Secret Wars, he held up a mountain that weighed 150 billion tons! Later on, in the early 1990s, the Hulk traded blows with the villainous Onslaught! Then, during the World War Hulk storyline, Bruce Banner attained his World Breaker Hulk form and nearly sank the United States East Coast by walking!
Credit where credit is due, Ultimate Hulk is a titan; he's beaten Wolverine and broken Ultimate Adamantium. Nevertheless, foes like Ultimate Hercules and Ultimate Thing have clobbered this version of the Hulk. The Blue Marvel's also defeated the Ultimate Universe version of the Hulk with a love tap!
4 More Powerful: Mr. Fantastic
There are quite a few contenders for "world's smartest man" in the Marvel Universe. Bruce Banner, Hank Pym, and Tony Stark are all Avengers with intellects that are off the charts. If we boil it down to feats, however, no-one else comes close to Reed Richards' wisdom. At least no one else from Earth 616.
The Maker is the Ultimate Universe version of Reed Richards. Not only is the Maker just as smart as his mainstream counterpart, but he's also pretty evil! Like, delusions of grandeur, 'a God am I' level evil. To make matters worse, the Maker exists in multiple universes at once!
3 Weaker: Wolverine
On to the ol' Canucklehead next: let's talk about Wolverine! In Earth 616, James Howlett is the best there is and what he does. Which is brutally and savagely killing people. Weapon X is a force to be reckoned with. If you're a bad guy and you hear a "Snikt!" nearby, know that you're not long for this world.
Ultimate Wolverine is a tough customer, but he doesn't match up to his mainstream counterpart. Earth 616 Wolverine can run faster than 32 mph and lift a one-ton bear with ease! Regular Wolvie can also communicate with animals of various species and is insanely durable.
2 More Powerful: Captain America
One of Captain America's greatest powers is his ability to inspire those around him. In this sense, the mainstream version of Steve Rogers beats his Ultimate Universe version by a mile. In terms of physical ability, however, Ultimate Captain America far outclasses his Earth 616 predecessor.
Ultimate Cap is strong enough to box with the Hulk and lift a light pole like a baseball bat. This version of the Man out of Time is also insanely fast; he can run about 60 to 80 mph and can dodge bullets from multiple shooters in an instant! It seems that every time he's around, Ulitmate Cap does the impossible without breaking a sweat.
1 Weaker: Iron Man
The Ultimate Universe version of Iron Man is probably the character with the largest gap between himself and his mainstream counterpart. Earth 616 Iron Man is a founding member of the Avengers, a core component of the Illuminati, and the head of Stark Industries. Moreover, he has repeatedly risen to the occasion and beaten seemingly impossible odds.
When Cul Borison attacked Earth, mainstream Iron Man created suits and weapons made of Uru metal! When the Hulk went rogue, Tony made the Hulkbuster armor to meet him head on! Ultimate Iron Man gets outclassed by his universe's version of War Machine. Out of everyone else in this article, Antonio Stark has the biggest shoes to fill.