Writers! Robert Kirkman, Warren Ellis, Paul Jenkins, Brian K. Vaughan, and Peter David. Not a bad set of comic writers. Combined, they do the funny, the emotional, the action-packed and the weird better than any other five writers you could lump together. Yet none of them are “superstars” like Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Millar or Geoff Johns.
Continuity! Not the universe-wide kind, the subtle kind. I still don’t know where Ultimate Galactus fits in the grand scheme of things. But for the first time since Mark Millar ended his MK Spidey run more than a year ago, someone brought up the fact that J. Jonah Jameson thinks his son is Spider-Man. Over in Ultimate X-Men, Fury drops a dangerously-powerful mutant who can’t control his powers on Xavier’s doorstep, and Wolverine remarks “What makes this one worth saving?” alluding to a story a long time ago in UXM when Fury has Wolverine kill a new mutant because his powers were too dangerous. Neither instance smacks you over the head with it, so it’s really just an extra thrown in for the loyal readers.
Twists! As everyone probably did, I assumed the silver guy with wings in Ultimate Extinction was Ultimate Silver Surfer. Turns out, he’s not. At least he’s not the only Ultimate Silver Surfer. The entire issue of Runaways alludes to a return of Alex Wilder, the team traitor that sided with his parents. Instead we get a return of a young, and clearly much angrier, Geoffrey Wilder, Alex’s evil father.
Creationism! Ultimate Shi’ar is a religion that worships the Phoenix. Instead of just saying “Phoenix is God” and leaving it at that, Robert Kirkman creates an entire belief system, including a creation-of-the-world scenario that’s not entirely un-scientific and their own messiah (Ultimate Jean Grey=Ultimate Jesus).
Old people dating! Aunt May and Jarvis finally decide to go out on a date (Aunt May asked). I can’t wait until the awkward moment when Peter catches them in bed together.