Though it was eventually done away with, the Ultimate Universe was quite successful for Marvel Comics during the 2000s. Initially having the premise of updating old stories and characters, it evolved into a wildly different continuity that radically changed the heroes and villains who fans had come to love. This included the X-Men, who were perhaps the best examples of this.
Mutants were drastically altered from their usual interpretation, and this resulted in a storyline in which they were relegated to live on abandoned land. In a way, this foreshadowed the Krakoa status quo that was established with Jonathan Hickman’s House of X, truly giving the mutants an evolutionary and revolutionary step forward. Here’s how Hickman’s work paved the way for mutants in the Ultimate Universe.
The Ultimate Universe Changed the Status Quo of Mutants
For much of the Ultimate X-Men‘s history, the concept of mutants was very similar to how it was handled in mainstream Marvel books. There, mutants are the next step in humanoid evolution, with this fact inspiring understandable concern from humanity. As revealed in the controversial story Ultimatum, however, the Ultimate Universe mutants were revealed to be a botched attempt to recreate the Super Soldier formula that empowered Captain America. When this is told to the public, hatred for mutants grew even stronger, with the government rounding up many of them, including the former students of Charles Xavier.
A cure for the mutant gene is soon developed, with Captain America — now President of the United States — giving the species two options. They can take said cure and rejoin normal human society, or they can maintain their powers but be forced to relocate to a reservation of fairly worthless land. Twenty mutants choose the latter, even though the land they’re given is almost completely inhospitable. Despite these odds, the mutants are able to combine their powers, namely those that contort the natural world around them and create a “mutant seed” that can grow produce anywhere. Through this, “Reservation X” became a veritable paradise, with humans having nothing to do with it.
Ultimate Universe’s Reservation X was the Original Mutant Island
The concepts in Ultimate Comics: X-Men, namely the run from Brian Wood, were very prophetic for what came years later in the mainstream Marvel Universe. Starting with the storyline House of X. Professor X and numerous other mutants colonize the living island of Krakoa. Through this, they create their own mutant Utopia, with free food, housing, and the ability to instantly resurrect the dead. These benefits are all offered to the world of humanity, given of course that they recognize the sovereign status of Krakoa.
Xavier founded his mutant nation after seeing how, despite the many olive branches he had extended, humanity refused to respectfully coexist with mutants. Thus, he was forced to create heaven on Earth for his people, doing so on land that had once been deadly to the X-Men. This is very much like Reservation X in the Ultimate Universe, though the Ultimate version was a bit darker. After all, the heroic Captain America himself had turned against the mutants and forced them to choose between their powers and their status as Americans. With Krakoa, mutants are freer to choose their own path, though both situations resulted in the species finally having a true home of their own.