While many fans would consider Ultimatum to be one of the worst, or at least most controversial Marvel Comics storylines to date, the sheer calamity of Magneto’s devastating attack cannot be argued. However, its originality is now being called into question as Magneto seemingly stole his Ultimatum scheme from another Marvel villain who launched a similar strike against the entire planet decades before the Master of Magnetism.
Ultimatum was a multi-book Marvel Comics event spearheaded by Jeph Loeb and David Finch and was a storyline that existed within Marvel’s Ultimate Universe, or Earth-1610. The specific plot points of the event were simple: Magneto had finally snapped after the supposed deaths of his children, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, and he decided it was time to destroy the world and rebuild it in his image. To accomplish this dark task, Magneto decided the first step was to kill as many people as possible in the most effective way imaginable. Using his powers of magnetism and manipulation of the Earth’s magnetic field, Magneto created a tidal wave that flooded a number of major cities across the world, including New York City where a number of humans, mutants, and superheroes died just in that initial attack.
In Avengers #26 by Stan Lee and Don Heck, the Wasp is kidnapped by a villain named Attuma who is an underwater conqueror committed to ruling the world. The Wasp was floating in the ocean above Attuma’s base of operations, so he captured her thinking she was a spy that was sent by some unknown organization to stop him in his latest scheme of world domination. Using a giant device with the power to manipulate the ocean’s tides, Attuma planned on flooding the world–killing every air-breathing creature and taking control over what remained of the Earth after everything was under water. In this issue, dangerous waves of water begin to cause major destruction in coastal cities all over the world, including New York City, though the Avengers are able to stop the powerful villain before anyone is seriously injured or killed.
While Attuma has more-or-less been forgotten as a major Marvel Comics villain, he proved to be a major threat to not just the Avengers, but to the entire planet as he came up with this plan of world domination long before the ever-infamous Magneto did during Ultimatum–and the similarities don’t stop there. During Ultimatum, Namor the Sub-Mariner was initially blamed for the ocean strike against New York since the attack totally fit his MO. In this Avengers issue, Attumas’ plan was to pass the blame onto Namor just like what later happened in Ultimatum, that way the remaining heroes of Earth would be too busy attacking the wrong person to defeat Attuma while he quietly became the ruler of the planet.
Even though it is impossible for Magneto to have actually stolen Attuma’s villainous plot for planetary destruction and subsequent world domination since the two villains existed in two separate universes within Marvel’s multiverse, the similarities between the respective schemes are too uncanny not to point out. Both plots relied on devastating flooding to be successful and both were either designed to blame Namor or resulted in Namor being blamed. While Magneto didn’t literally steal his Ultimatum scheme from Attuma, it sure seems that way as both Marvel villains came up with basically the same world-ending plot, and Attuma did so long before Magneto.
Next: The Real Reason Scarlet Witch Never Joined The X-Men