U – Um

Uhura, Nyota

Born in the United States of Africa, Earth in 2239, Uhura attended Starfleet Academy from 2257-61 and was assigned aboard the Communications officer, U.S.S. Enterprise under Capt. James T. Kirk in 2266.  After her memory was erased in 2267 by the space probe called “Nomad” (in the original Star Trek series episode “The Changeling”), Uhura spent considerable time relearning her entire education.  After the end of the ship’s initial five-year mission, she was promoted to lieutenant commander and assigned to the refit Enterprise as communications officer, initially under Capt. Willard “Will” Decker, but during the V’Ger crisis, wound up serving once again under Kirk.  In 2277, she was assigned to Starfleet Academy as a cadet trainer.  Prior to the Khitomer peace conference, Uhura returned to her former post aboard the Enterprise-A at the request of Captain Kirk.  When the Enterprise went on a rescue mission of the Genesis development in 2285, Uhura, now a commander, was aboard, again as Communications officer.  The following year, as shown in the film Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Uhura takes an assignment at the transporter room she stood with her shipmates to answer charges related to the theft of the Enterprise, but these charges were dropped.  In 2287, Uhura oversaw the installment of upgraded communications systems on the new Enterprise NCC-1701-A.  Uhura’s first name was never mentioned in the original science fiction series, but in the show-inspired novel series that followed, she was given the first name Nyota.  James Blish’s non-canon novels identify her as Bantu, as does Gene Roddenberry’s novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

As shown in the original TV series and in the film Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Uhura, played by Nichelle Nichols, was quite an accomplished singer.  In the rebooted film series beginning with 2009’s Star Trek, Uhura was portrayed by Zoe Saldana.  The black female astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison, who was the first astronaut to appear on a Trek series, cites the character of Nyota Uhura as a major influence on her decision to pursue her chosen career.




Set mainly in a fictional medieval Europe-like world called Britannia, the Ultima RPG series of games features the same protagonist, a nameless person from the Earth known only as “Stranger,” who in Ultima IV becomes the Avatar, an incarnation of virtue.  One of the most influential RPG series, Ultima games are notable for open-ended gameplay, detailed interaction, and an in-depth morality system.  Created by Richard Garriott and developed by Origin, the series has undergone several phases, also known as Ages.  Each Age consists of a trilogy of games connected by common main creative ideas and an overarching story.  The series has also spawned many spin-offs.


Ultimate Nullifier

While its ancient origins were previously unknown, it has been revealed that the Ultimate Nullifier is actually an aspect of Galactus.  A powerful instrument in the Marvel Comics universe, the Nullifier resembles a small, hand-held metallic device with no apparent functionality, although it is likely that it appears differently to different people.  It is capable of destroying any target the bearer directs it at, and is the only known weapon in the universe capable of inspiring fear in Galactus.  The Ultimate Nullifier is generally kept within Galactus’ Worldship (Taa II), though at times Galactus has been known to carry it aboard his spherical starship.  In the rare instances that the Nullifier has been stolen or shown to be kept in other locales (such as the Fantastic Four’s headquarters), later stories have shown the Nullifier to have returned to Galactus’ possession, usually with no explanation.  In the Abraxas saga, Galactus demonstrated the ability to effortlessly recall the Nullifier to himself at will, even from the grasp of Abraxas, the universal embodiment of destruction.  Morg took it from the hold in Galactus’ ship in an attempt to defeat Tyrant.  The power of the Nullifier was temporarily contained by the Toady-Drone, which attached itself to Morg and fused them all together. Eventually the power was too great and it went off, destroying Galactus’ ship and all on board.


Ultimate Spider-Man (comic series)

In this 2000-01 storyline, Peter Parker is bitten by a spider that has been exposed to a “super soldier” serum called “the Oz Compound,” developed by Osborn Industries, during a school trip to tour the Osborn facilities.  Peter soon discovered that he had been mutated, gaining superhuman strength and agility and various spider-like powers.  Meanwhile, after mainlining the Oz Compound, Norman Osborn transformed into a monstrous, Green Goblin-like menace.  Spider-Man battled the Goblin, as well as the criminal Shocker, the mutant Wolverine (on the run from Weapon X) and the rampaging Hulk, to name just a few.  Peter revealed his dual identity to Mary Jane, and they began dating, though their relationship was ultimately rocky.  At the end of the adventure, when Peter tore the mask off of a mystery man lurking around him and Mary Jane, he saw his own face staring back at him.  Confused, he brought the lookalike to the Fantastic Four for a DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) test, and when the results came back as Peter Parker, Spider-Man took off his own mask to prove that the man couldn’t be him, and must be a clone.


Ultimate Spider-Man (TV series)

Television series, debuting in 2012.  After one year, Spider-Man is finding the superhero life is full of dangerous pitfalls and avoidable collateral damage.  Fortunately, Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D., offers to improve his performance with a special training program that offers to make Peter Parker the Ultimate Spider-man.  Now the quintessential superhero loner must learn to get along with a new team of superheroes as fellow students, both in his professional and personal life.


Ultimate Universe

Beginning with Marvel Comics‘ Ultimate Spider-Man #1 (2000), in this series’ reality, Earth was all but devoid of heroes until very late in the 20th Century.  At that time, a sudden upsurge of accidentally, and sometimes purposefully, super-powered individuals drove the public into an increased state of paranoia and anxiety.  Due to an increase in mutant activity which fueled the hysteria, most of the super-powered beings were mislabeled mutants and treated with the same distrust as what, to most people, seemed like genetic aberrations.  Nick Fury, a member of the government group S.H.I.E.L.D., has become responsible for any “unauthorized genetic mutations” that are above the age of 18, organizing them into the state-sponsored Ultimates team in the United States, as well as similar teams in Europe.  These beings have been organized into the state-sponsored Ultimates team in the United States and similar teams in Europe.  Targeted superbeings who do not join these teams can potentially be treated as criminals, although some masked vigilantes such as Daredevil seem to operate under the radar of the government.  Additionally, mutants have not been coerced into service.  The Earth of this universe (Earth-1610) has had very little contact with extraterrestrial forces.  While the superhero team the Fantastic Four has discovered an older, decaying universe bordering their own known as the N-Zone, Earth-1610 has generally been untouched by extra-universal contact.



The world’s foremost superhuman strike force, the origins of Marvel Comics’ Ultimates go back to World War II super-operative Captain America (Steve Rogers), whom the U.S. government empowered in part to oppose the Nazis’ secret extraterrestrial Chitauri allies.  Rogers appeared to die while helping destroy the Chitauri/Nazi war effort, and U.S. scientist tried for decades to duplicate his powers.  In recent years, the super-soldier program’s lead scientist was geneticist Bruce Banner, reporting to General Ross, head of the S.H.I.E.L.D. intelligence agency.  Altruistic armored billionaire inventor Tony Stark soon joined as Iron Man.  Enigmatic left-wing powerhouse Thor refused membership at first, but Captain America himself was found alive and revived from a state of suspended animation to join the team.  Headquartered in the high-tech Triskellion complex, the team was backed by a huge support staff, a large conventional military force and black ops agents.  The group soon expanded as intelligence veterans Hawkeye and Black Widow and mutant ex-terrorists Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch were all promoted from the black ops division to the core team.  Later allied with the European Super-Solider Initiative, the Ultimates became more controversial as they began operating in foreign territory, notably the Middle East.  Thor quit, and a traitor within the group outed Banner as the Hulk.  The global community grew wary as the Ultimates developed many more superagents as their reserves, and an anti-Ultimates sentiment accelerated when the team stripped a small “rogue” Middle Eastern nation of its nuclear capability.  The Ultimates decided that they no longer wanted to be used for government services, after seeing what an impact they had on the residents of the countries they attacked.  They decided to operate independently, financed by Tony Stark, without any help from S.H.I.E.L.D.



Ultra-Man originally hailed from the universe of Earth-3.  Born on a Krypton that didn’t explode, an infant alien was rocketed to Earth.  This Kryptonian was not weakened each time he was exposed to kryptonite, but instead gained a new “ultra-power.”  Adopting the name Ultra-Man and using his powers for evil, he set out to conquer his adopted home-planet.  Along the way, Ultra-Man encountered four other powerful beings: Owlman, Superwoman, Johnny Quick and Power Ring, who banded together to better dominate their world as the Crime Syndicate of America (the mirror opposite of the Justice League of America).

After the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, the multiverse no longer existed.  Many of the Earths were merged to form one continuity with heroes from various dimensions now fighting alongside one another.  In Grant Morrison’s JLA: Earth-2, the Crime Syndicate (now from “Amerika”) was said to exist in the antimatter universe of Qward.  The Ultra-Man of his universe was a human astronaut named Lt. Clark Kent.  After his shuttle exploded while on an exploration mission, an alien race (implied to be the Antimatter universe’s Kryptonians) reconstructed his body, and in the process gave him powers similar to Superman, though he needs to be near a substance called “Anti-Kryptonite” in order to sustain them.

Ultra-Man has been killed more than once, but has come back to life each time, having something of an awareness of his previous deaths.  On Earth-3, another Ultra-Man appeared, who was leader of the Crime Society of America.  In 2008’s The Brave and the Bold #11, a new Ultra-Man was shown, teaming up with Superman of New Earth and Mr. Mxyzptlk of the Antimatter Universe to combat Megistus.  In this version, Ultra-Man had a similar costume to Ultra-Man from Earth-3, but had the background of the previous Ultra-Man from the Antimatter Universe.  Ultra-Man was teleported back to his home universe at the end of The Brave and the Bold #12 .

Ultra-Man was originally created by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky, first appearing in Justice League of America #29 (1964), and redone by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, then redone again by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis for DC Comics’ “The New 52” maxi-series.



A follow-up to the Japanese series Ultra-Q, though not a sequel, the original series consisted of 40 episodes, which aired from July 1966 to April 1967.  In the near future, sinister aliens and giant prehistoric monsters threaten civilization!  The only one equipped to handle these disasters is the Science Patrol, a special police force with high-tech weapons and vehicles at their disposal.  However, when the situation is more than they can handle, one of the Patrol’s members secretly transforms into an amazing, super-powered giant from space: Ultraman!  The original Ultraman series has become a staple of Japanese pop culture.   Created by Japan’s late special effects wizard Eiji Tsuburaya, the show has become the model Japanese superhero to this day, inspiring many sequel shows and imitations, movies, specials and miniseries, such as: Ultra 7 (1967-1968), Return of Ultraman (1971-1972), Ultraman Ace (1972-1973), Ultraman Taro (1973-1974), Ultraman Leo (1974-1975), The Ultraman (1979-1980), the anime series Ultraman 80 (1980-1981), Ultraman: Towards the Future (1990), Ultraman: The Ultimate Hero (1993), Ultraman Tiga (1996-1997), Ultraman Dyna (1997-1998), Ultraman Gaia (1998-1999), Ultraman Neos (2000-2001), the direct-to-DVD miniseries Ultraman Cosmos (2001-2002), Ultra Q: Dark Fantasy (2004), Ultraman Nexus (2004-2005), Ultraman Max (2005-2006), and the forthcoming series Ultraman Moebius.



See Odysseus.



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