Ultimate Nightmare #1

Issue Date: 
October 2004
Story Title: 
Ultimate Nightmare - chapter 1

Warren Ellis (Writer), Trevor Hairsine (Penciler), Simon Coleby (Inker) Frank D’Armata (Colorist), Chris Eliopoulos (Letterer), Nick Lowe (Assistant Editor), Ralph Macchio (Editor); Joe Quesada (Editor in Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Based on an idea by Joe Quesada

Brief Description: 

In 1904, a strange explosion occurs in Tunguska, Russia. In 1927, the first two men to enter the zone where the mysterious event took place uncover something. In 2004, all forms of communication - televisions, the internet, radios, cellular phones and more - are all taken over by a strange recording of what appears to be aliens witnessing the destruction of themselves. It appears all over the world, and as it continues to play, people begin killing themselves. Professor Charles Xavier believes the occurrences to be caused by a powerful mutant whose powers are just emerging and therefore sends Marvel Girl, Wolverine and Colossus to the source of the occurrence - Russia. General Fury of the U.S. Superhuman Defense Initiative briefs Ultimates members Captain America and Black Widow of the mission they will be going on with another superhuman, Sam Wilson, who Fury contacts in the Congo. Fury’s orders for the Ultimates are for them to stamp on whoever has been broadcasting the horrific images.

Full Summary: 


In Russia, two men armed with rifles and carrying packs tread through the Tungus River Valley in Tunguska. Suddenly, both men look up at the sky when a hole literally bursts open in it. A blinding red light bursts through - and a huge blast strikes the Tungus River Valley. Whatever it is rips through the forest, tearing up trees, cabins and the two men, before ending in a giant mushroom-like cloud finale, leaving a gaping crater in the middle of the Valley.


Twenty-three years later, two men get out of their army trucks, arriving at Ground Zero. Grigori tells Vladimir that this is where it all happened and reminds him that they are the first outsiders to walk here in twenty-three years. Vladimir tells Grigori that he is still not convinced, causing Grigori to ask him if the Evenk shaman frightened him. As the two men walk over Ground Zero, Vladimir reminds Grigori that all the reports they read of the area said the ground was poisoned and that people get sick here, adding that it was the reason the Evenk tribal chief sealed the area.

Grigori tells Vladimir that the chief sealed the area because he thought there was some bad magic here, and tells him it is not the same thing. Vladimir starts to tell Grigori that the tribal chief used the only vocabulary he had to describe something outside his experience, but Grigori cuts him off, announcing that he can see something. ’My God!’ ’What is that?’


A teenage girl lies in front of the television in her living room when the reception starts to go fuzzy. ‘Yo! Something wrong with the telly!’ she calls out. From the kitchen, comes the reply: ‘I’ve told you a million times, my name isn’t “Yo”, I’m your mother, and I don’t fix televisions. ‘I’m missing the Posh Spice video!’ the girl snaps back. The girl’s mother walks into the sitting room and tells her daughter she ought to thank them, adding that although she may not be “with it” anymore, she doesn’t think white girls from North London say “Yo”.

The mother suggests to her daughter that she changes the channel, or perhaps that the cable box is up the spout again. ‘Oh, thanks, dude,’ the girl mumbles before her mother offers to give Uncle Ray a call as he might now how to fix it. The girl reminds her mother that it was Uncle Ray who spilled beer in it in the first place. The mother declares that MTV Europe is rubbish and exclaims that she likes VH-1. The girl mumbles that she would as she is ‘like a hundred years old’. Suddenly, something comes onto the television.

(On television screen)


A blinding red light over a small civilization.

A close-up of an eye watching the strange occurrence.

Dozens of long necked near-humanoid creatures, all fixated on the light, starring up at it.



A tear falls from an eye, which has the reflection of the world being torn apart.

A force rips through the small city.

Destroying civilization.

Tearing the long necked beings apart.


The girl tells her mother that it is horrible, while the mother suggests it must be the heavy-music channel and mumbles that they should not show things like that during the day. From the television comes a loud EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE sound, the girl blocks her ears, telling her mother that it sounds like babies. ‘God, it’s like the sound of babies dying!’ the mother exclaims.

(On televisions and all forms of visual communication all over the world)

The world is ripped in half, a red force tearing through it.

Its gone, but a long rope-like bluish-green thread with a nose floats in space, glowing orange.


All over the world, people are stopped in their tracks as they stare in awe at what they see on large outdoor screens, televisions, computers, even cellular phones. The image of the eye with the tear streaming from it is shown again. The screeching sound still resonates, when suddenly other words are heard:


No escape

No escape

It comes

And there’s no escape

All the stars go out

(On televisions and all forms of visual communication all over the world)

The red force rips through the reality.

Directly through the middle of the planet.

Then there is nothing.

Black and white images appear on screen - the tear stricken eye.

The deformed body of the long necked being.

Bodies littered across whatever is left of the world.

Then words:

You are already dead

It comes and you are all dead

We are all dead


There is only death for you

There is only small life

Then there is this

We he I send this tell this warn this

There is only horror now

There is only death now


A red glow emanates from a computer. The man in front of it is horror-stricken. He puts his hands up to his mouth at what he sees. ‘Aaron? It is time for the beer!’ cries someone pounding at his door. ‘Beer is good. Its like a food group and stuff!’ yells another man, who manages to get the door open. Someone tells Chad that he hit it too hard, to which Chad smiles and declares that he doesn’t know his own strength, that he is Hercules. Walking into Aaron’s apartment, they hear water running and think it is the bath, though it sounds as if it is overflowing. Chad declares that it is Aaron so no way would it be the bath.

But walking into the bathroom, the bath is indeed overflowing - blood-red, and the men scream at the sight of Aaron.

Elsewhere, two people gape up at three other people, strung from trees, ropes tied around their necks as if they had been lynched - or did it themselves.

Four girls hold hands on the sidewalk of a busy road, crying, simultaneously they step onto the road - right in front of a very large truck.

The Xavier Institute, Salem Center, Westchester, home of the X-Men. Jean Grey a.k.a Marvel Girl wakes up - her green eyes wide with horror. She telepathically calls to the Professor, who replies that he is in the library. Putting on her robe, Jean leaves her bedroom and joins Charles Xavier in the library. As she enters, the wheelchair bound Professor informs her that he dreamt it too, adding that he thinks every psychic on Earth had the same dream, and that he has never experienced anything like it. In his hands he holds the psychic power amplifier called Cerebro and tells Jean that he is going to use it to locate the source of the signal.

Jean tells Charles that it felt as if someone was playing to her a recording. Xavier agrees, and believes that although the sequence was surreal, it had the authentic terror of direct experience, so he does not believe it is an artificial construct. Jean asks if it is an attack, but as Charles puts Cerebro on he tells her he thinks it is a cry for help. He tells Jean to imagine a traumatized teen who is X-Factor positive and who is emerging into full-blown Homo Sapiens Novus. The teen may be trying to communicate what they have experienced, but filtered through the fantasies they have evolved to cope.

Charles explains that they could be visual metaphors for loneliness and abuse, young, scared and the most powerful broadcast telepath they have ever encountered. He discovers the source of the trouble, and removing Cerebro, Charles tells Jean to wake up Logan and Peter, for they have a rescue mission to mount.

Meanwhile, at the Triskelion, the New York City base of the U.S. Superhuman Defense Initiative. General Nick Fury sits at one end of a table in a darkened room, with two members of the super human team known as the Ultimates: Captain America and the Black Widow. Fury tells them that obviously they have to find the perpetrator and force them to cease and desist, with extreme prejudice if necessary. He reminds Steve and Natasha that they are in the third day of the broadcasts now and stuff is starting to happen, the things are starting to get to people.

Fury declares that eight times in the past twenty-four hours the broadcast has broken over all TV and radio channels, and in every language on Earth. ‘How does that work?’ He reveals that they are hacking into the phone network and that the internet is a mess. He informs Cap and Natasha that he has his orders that whoever is broadcasting this needs to be stamped on and that they have been cleared to go in. ‘That is the end of the good news’.

He informs Steve and the Widow that the transmission is coming from the Tunguska region of Russia. ‘Which is kinda like Siberia without the nice parts’. He declares that he did not go through a Cold War to have a massively destabilizing terrorist communications attack emerge from Russia. Fury calms down and informs his team that they have been requested to go in gently and quietly, as they do not want to upset Mr. Putin. Fury exclaims that Putin said he doesn’t know anything, and has approved a small exploratory force, but nothing more.

The handsome Captain America asks if ‘this is it?’, to which Fury replies that it is the two of them, and the Black Widow as he wants a Russian speaker - Natasha cuts in and tells Fury that she then gets to hear more about how he got to put Yankee foot to Russian backside and pulled the Berlin Wall down with his bare teeth. Fury ignores her and reveals that there will be one more operative joining them. As Captain America gets up from the table to get a cell phone, he asks if it is Tony, for Tony is the brains.

Fury agrees, but points out that Tony is useless in a firefight unless he is piloting Iron Man, but he doesn’t have clearance for the hundred-man support crew that Iron Man needs to fly. Steve points out that Tony is a science guy and so they will need a science guy. Fury tells Steve that he likes Tony and thinks he is a friendly little freak of nature, but believes that one day he will pull his weak sister act at the wrong moment and is going to get capped. ‘Then we’ll be without a double-brained freak of nature’.

Captain America hands Fury the mobile phone as Fury reveals he keeps others on the payroll, one of whom did a tour in the army and who is a techno-weirdo like Tony, but who travels light and knows how to use a gun. Cap asks where he is, and Fury reveals that according to geolocation he is in the Amazon.

The Amazon, a young man takes a phone out of his bag when he hears it ring, upon answering it, he confirms that he is Sam Wilson, before discovering that they want him to hold - even though they called him on his sat phone in the middle of Pygmy country. A moment later, General Fury speaks to him as Sam informs him that he is in the middle of no where… ‘but the GPS right, right’. Sam tells the General that he has been on the trail for a week now, but when Fury tells him something, Sam replies that he is ‘cool with being briefed en route’. He asks Fury how quickly he can get someone out to him, but then soon tells Fury that he thought he lost the helicopter.

Sam tells Fury that if he has a GPS fix on him then to pick him up from his current location, adding that he has everything he needs right with him. Fury tells Sam that he will be picked up in four hours, to which Sam comments that he then has time to scout the area for later - Fury cuts him off, to which Sam just replies ‘yes sir’. All this while, Sam has been strapping something onto his clothes, he straps something around his waist - a pair of wings - and then jumps off the top of a cliff.

Characters Involved: 


Marvel Girl, Professor Charles Xavier (both X-Men)

Black Widow, Captain America (both Ultimates)

General Nick Fury


Soldiers at the Triskelion
Aaron, Chad and other boys

Mother and daughter

Various people across the world

On recorded image

unidentified beings


Vladimir and Grigori, (Russian soldiers)


Two men traveling through Tunguska

Story Notes: 

The exact timing of this series is unknown, though a reasonable estimation would place it between ultimate X-Men #49 and #50 and Ultimates #13 and Ultimates (second series) #1.

Posh Spice a.k.a Victoria Beckham is a British celebrity married to footballer David Beckham. She rose to fame in the mid-late 1990’s as one fifth of the chart topping all-girl group the Spice Girls. Following the disbanding of the Spice Girls, Victoria released a self titled solo album in 2001 and has four singles to date: “Out of Your Mind” (2000, featuring Dane Bowers and Truesteppers), “Not such an Innocent Girl” and “Mind of its Own” (2001) and more recently “Let Your Head Go” (2004).

First appearance of the Ultimate Sam Wilson a.k.a. Falcon. In the 616 Marvel Universe, the Falcon is a long serving Avenger and close friend of Captain America.

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