Since the success of the "Ultimate" series in early 2000, Marvel has been encouraged to experiment with its established characters and give them a more contemporary storyline than the classic ones.
The first of the 'Ultimate' re-branding, also known as Ultimate Marvel, was "Ultimate Spider-Man" that portrayed Peter Parker as a 15-year-old kid instead of the classic stories where he is in his early to late '20s.
Most recently, Brian Michael Bendis, the architect of the Ultimate Marvel imprint, has announced that in the wake of the upcoming "Civil War II" storyline, Tony Stark will no more be the Iron Man. The superhero will be played by Riri Williams, a 15-year-old black girl who was first introduced in the latest "Invincible Iron Man" series.
Here is the time-line of some of the prominent re-branding of Marvel and the iconic characters that were given a different personality during the imprint.
Ultimate Comics (2000-2008)
Some of the most popular re-launch of the imprint were "Ultimate Spider-Man," "Ultimate X-Men," "Ultimate Fantastic Four," and "The Ultimates." The stories followed the modern day retelling of some of the most iconic characters of all time.
For example, Peter Parker was bitten by a genetically-engineered spider instead of a radioactive one. Also, in the original stories, he works as a photographer for the Daily Bugle newspaper. However, in the Ultimate universe, he worked as the Paper's webmaster.
Ultimate Comics Universe Reborn (2011-2014)
The next re-branding introduced the first multi-ethnic Spider-Man, named Miles Morales who was a black kid.
Thor's "Siege" storyline (2010-2014)
In this particular storyline, an unidentified woman, later revealed as Jane Foster, lifts Mjolnir; taking possession of Thor's power. Although Thor initially attempted to reclaim the hammer, he gave up the name and role of Thor after witnessing a woman wielding its power.
Marvel Now! (2012-2015)
Another re-branding of Marvel universe, in this world, Sam Wilson, who is popularly known as the superhero Falcon, takes on the role of Captain America after Steve Rogers gets old and hands him the responsibilities.
All-New, All-Different Marvel (2015-2016)
In the latest re-branding, the armour of Iron Man is now donned by a 15-year-old black girl who is a MIT student instead of Tony Stark.
As reported by Comic Book, talking about the readers' reaction to the gender, age and ethnicity swaps of several iconic characters, Bendis said:
"Thankfully because of my involvement in the creation of Miles Morales and Jessica Jones and some other characters, it's getting the benefit of the doubt from even the most surly fans," he says. "There are fans who say, 'Show us the new stuff,' and then there are fans who say, 'Don't do anything different from when I was a kid.' So when you're introducing new characters, you're always going to have people getting paranoid about us ruining their childhood.
"I've been down this road with Miles Morales, Jessica Jones, Maria Hill. I knew I was in good hands with Mike Deodato and other artists who are helping visualise Riri."