Chicago Comic-Con Part 1 – Marvel: Ultimate Marvel Panel
By John Gustafson
The official first day of Chicago Comic-Con began with Marvel’s Ultimate Panel moderated by Jim McCann, with panelists Editor Mark Paniccia, Assistant Editor Lauren Sankovich and returning writer Mark Millar. This was Marvel’s first opportunity to publicly reveal new details for the line’s reboot after the major Ultimatum wave, and their excitement rang true.
Ultimatum was a major conclusion to the previous incarnation of the Ultimate line, having graphically and sometimes mercilessly killed 50 percent of the heroes and villains, and setting a new status quo for the line’s reintroduction. The most pressing bit of news Marvel attempted to hammer home throughout the Q&A was the fact that the characters that died are indeed dead as can be, without question – without room for interpretation unless explicitly stated.
Brian Michael Bendis will continue with Ultimate Spidey when the book relaunches this Wednesday with David Lafuente on art duties. McCann commented on the new surprises readers can expect with the first issue and further down the line for Peter and his cast.
McCann then revealed the new design for Ultimate Mysterio, who had only been lightly touched upon before Ultimatum. The new image depicts the character with a “flame engulfed head” of a bluish-green hue, a rosary in hand, and a flair for the theatrics. Ultimate Mysterio is being positioned as Spider-man’s main villain right off the bat and is promised to be a threat unlike anyone he’s previous come into contact.
Ultimate Armor Wars
Tony Stark was spared during Ultimatum, but that does not mean life will get any easier for the armored billionaire playboy. Warren Ellis and Steve Kurth will be working together on the Armor Wars mini-series, which has a surprising amount of buzz despite the relative lack of information concerning the title. Prior to the con, Marvel leaked information that an ultimate version of Tony Stark’s secret brother will be introduced as the head of a rival corporation in the southern hemisphere of the Americas. As for what will happen, readers will have to stay tuned.
After what seems like an eternity, Mark Millar finally returns to the Ultimate Universe he created, with the exception of Ultimate Spider-Man.
“The Ultimates was the best five years and 26 issues of my life,” Millar jokingly commented to the panel and audience.
The new book will have an assortment of artists paired with Millar in what is to be a graphic novel approach to the stories. The first six issues will feature artist Carlos Pacheco. Seven through twelve will be Leinil Francis Yu. And the next arc will have “the best selling artist this decade,” as stated by Millar.
The Ultimate Avengers roster is to feature Captain America, Hawkeye, Iron Man and Nick Fury, in addition to a rotating roster of other characters – some established, some new. Millar said one of his favorite parts of the Ultimates creation was designing the “ultimized” versions of 616 (normal line of books) characters. He then went on to announce Ultimate Blade and Ghost Rider would find their way into the book with a new look and story in the universe.
Millar went on to comment about the need for the Ultimate Universe to remain fresh and relevant when compared to the main line of books. Millar credited the success of the original two volumes under his care to staying five years ahead of the traditional universe books. He then stated the 616 Universe caught up to the Ultimate line, therefore requiring the reboot and progressive shift in storytelling.
McCann revealed the new character Ultimate Red Skull to the excited crowd, remarking on the extreme nature and appearance of the design as well as divulging a bit of his background. In the interest of keeping the story quiet for those picking up the first issue (which readers should – it is good) just know that his connection to Cap is far more pronounced and personal than the traditional version. Ultimate Avengers 001 is also scheduled for release this Wednesday.
Picking up where he left off with Ultimatum, Jeph Loeb will helm New Ultimates with artist Frank Cho. The book will focus on the Black Ops squad readers were introduced to in the pages of the first Ultimates volume, featuring Hawkeye and Black Widow. Details are scarce.
Next Up…Mondo Marvel Panel