Marvel released this week the first completed pages of artwork from Ultimate Comics Ultimates #1. Written by Jonathan Hickman with artwork by Esad Ribic, the series joins Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, Ultimate Comics X-Men and Ultimate Comics Hawkeye in relaunching Marvel's Ultimate Comics imprint, a separate continuity from that of the publisher's main superhero line and dedicated to particularly explosive, cinematic depictions of the Marvel characters. While fully lettered pages will be available closer to release in August, you can check out Ribic's beautiful artwork on its own in the preview below.

Launched in 2000 as a sort of batsh*t crazy version of the existing Marvel Universe, the original Ultimate line included such bestsellers and trendsetters as The Ultimates (a truly epic interpretation of Captain America and the Avengers that introduced Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury), Ultimate X-Men and Ultimate Spider-Man (which returned Peter Parker to his teenage incarnation). Hickman and Ribic's new Ultimates series will endeavor to recreate the excitement of the original, but within the context of a tightly managed Ultimate Universe, in collaboration with the creators of the other new series, and come out monthly - indeed, Hickman suggested that more than 12 issues could be released in the series' first year.

As revealed last month, we know the following things about Ultimate Comics Ultimates will

- Features Nick Fury, Iron Man, Thor, Spider-Woman, Hulk and others to be named. There will however be NO Captain America

- First arc is called "The Republic is Burning"

- Following Ultimate Fallout, S.H.I.E.L.D. has been stretched beyond its breaking point and that will be explored here

- Ultimates will be a super hero book, but he believes one of the things that made it great early on was the way it looked at current society. The first arc is a direct commentary on the decline and fall of the United States of America, though you should not interpret that to be necessarily the way he feels

- There will be both versions of classic Marvel characters making their Ultimate debuts as well as all-new Ultimate-only characters

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