Some of these universes may have come up in previous posts, but I'll make sure that the chosen books are different!
Note: Marvel's "Main" Universe is designated 616, while DC's is designated Earth-0 (I think -- this could be wrong because the New 52 actually merged several of their universes together to make their current main universe).
|Ultimate X-Men (Ultimate Universe)|
The Ultimate Universe was originally an updated retelling of popular Marvel titles, with liberal changes here and there -- I would say that no character remained completely unchanged. It has since gone on to look MUCH different than the 616 universe -- many characters have been killed or permanently changed, and many team rosters have been edited.
The X-Men start out when Sentinels are being released on unsuspecting mutants and Charles Xavier (Professor X) recruits a team of mutants to combat them. These original cast includes Scott Summers, Jean Grey, Storm, Iceman, Beast, Colossus, and Wolverine. One example of a dramatic character change: Wolverine initially joins the group because he was hired to assassinate Xavier.
I'm not too far into the X-Men series, but what I have read has been very interesting, and I'm looking forward to eventually catching up.
I've also read: The Ultimates, Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate Team-Up
|Iron Man Noir (Noir Universe)|
The Noire Universe is another set of retellings, this time with elements taking from Noir films and stories and are set in the mid-1900s.
Iron Man follows Tony Stark, an adventurer who has his journeys chronicled for a magazine targeted towards men, allowing them to escape into fantasy during troubled times -- this being during the events of WWII. Tony is actually going on these quests in the hope of finding a way to cure or permanently power his mechanical heart (we never learn how he got it). He finds much, much more as he is hounded by Baron Zemo and Baron Wolfgang von Strucker during his quests.
I've also read: Spider-Man Noir
I want to read: X-Men Noir
|Superman: Red Son (Elseworlds Universe)|
Elseworlds was the format DC used for telling alternative stories without adding on universes to actually worry about. Since then, several worlds introduced in Elseworlds have made their way into the DC Multiverse.
Red Son follows an alternate timeline in which Superman fell to Earth and landed in the Soviet Union instead of the US. Superman becomes the Soviet Union's new greatest weapon. Instead of a Nuclear Arms race, this creates a super-being arms race.
Alternate versions of Batman, Wonder Woman, Bizarro and political figures of the time abound.
I have yet to actually read this, but I'm looking forward to picking it up in the near future. I think it will be very interesting to see a Superman with core values very different from the one we know today.
|Wolverine: Days of Future Past (811 Universe)|
The 811 Universe pops up in a few different titles, those these are generally related to the X-Men in some way. The biggest different with this univserse is that mutants are hunted down and incarcerated in internment camps.
The Wolverine tie in is actually a prequel to the main story line that occurs in Uncanny X-Men. It explains why Wolverine is in Canada and Magneto is in a wheelchair.
I am currently working up my collection of Days of Future Past issues, so I have not read the series myself. The original Uncanny X-Men run (I think it was two issues) is considered a classic X-Men story line, and I am looking forward to collecting them in the future.
|The Exiles (Many Universes)|
For this one, I'm cheating a little bit. The Exiles are a group of heroes from disparate dimensions (one of the main characters, Blink, is actually from the Age of Apocalypse dimension)that have come together for their different reasons. Their job is to correct errors that occur in other dimensions that would create more or worse divergent timelines.
Its an interesting concept that has potentially infinite possibilities.
This is another series I am not read up on, though I was especially interested when I found out that a version of Spider-Man 2099 eventually makes his way onto (and off of) the roster. I've started collecting them and will do some more posts on the series when I find especially interesting runs.
Along with collecting Exiles, I'm also looking to start collecting issues of Uncanny X-Force and finishing off my (currently small) collection of Spider-Man 2099. When I find particularly interesting runs of these series, I will rotate them into the Monday "Extra! Extra!" posts. Hopefully this will add some new flavor to the standard suggested reading format.
If there's anything else you'd like to see me take a look at, please leave a comment below!
For now, I have no clue what next week will bring!