The Ultimate Universe is now dealing with a Galactus-sized problem, as will be detailed in the upcoming miniseries Hunger. What that means will be explored midday Friday at Marvel's Ultimate Universe panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego, with Ultimate Comics Spider-Man writer Brian Michael Bendis, Ultimate Comics Ultimates writer Joshua Hale Fialkov and Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso among the names scheduled to be in attendance.
Things are slated to get started around 12:30 p.m. Pacific time and we'll be there live, so keep refreshing this page for the latest updates.
Joining the panel of Bendis, Fialkov and Alonso are Marvel senior editors Nick Lowe and Steve Wacker, acting as panel moderators.
Bendis on the current Ultimate Comics Spider-Man arc: "First of all, for those buying the book, thank you, and thank you for making Miles live in a legitimate part of the Spider-Man mythos." The story sees Miles Morales returning to the Spider-Man mantle after a year off, due to the actions of the evil Roxxon Corporation.
Alonso praises writer Brian Wood's current work on Ultimate Comics X-Men, saying that Wood excels at writing young characters, similar to Bendis.
Fialkov discusses the "Ultimates Disassembled" arc in Ultimate Comics Ultimates, featuring the "Dark Ultimates" of Hulk, Reed Richards, Quicksilver and "She-Kang," who have "fixed much of the planet's ills" using their superior intellect.
Lowe says "everyone needs to put on their adult diapers" due to the arrival of Galactus in the Ultimate Universe, which began in Age of Ultron #10 and continues in the Fialkov-written Hunger. Bendis says that he wondered aloud at a dinner what the "craziest" thing to show up in the Ultimate Universe could be, and Hawkeye writer Matt Fraction suggested Galactus.
"I'm getting to use all these great characters that have been on the fringes of the Ultimate Universe," Fialkov says, including Silver Surfer and Captain Marvel. Alonso says it's a "big event that represents the Ultimate Universe and the Marvel Universe colliding."
Announcement! Cataclysm: The Ultimates Last Stand. Starting in November, five-issue story. Bendis describes it as "Galactus coming to Ultimate Earth and eating it," and calls it a "very important chapter in the Ultimate Universe," plus "one of the biggest stories" in Miles Morales' heroic arc. "It kind of breaks open the barrier between the Ultimate Universe and the Marvel Universe. The Ultimate characters have to find a way to defeat Galactus, or sacrifice their world to save the regular Marvel Universe. It's one of the biggest choices and decisions."
Bendis says it's "one of the biggest changes to the Ultimate Universe since its creation," and that with Bagley returning to the Ultimate Universe, it signifies that this is as big and as emotional of a story as "The Death of Spider-Man," the last Ultimate story Bendis and Bagley worked on together.
Audience Q&A time: Will the Superior Spider-Man meet Miles Morales? Bendis answers by saying that Cataclysm is the sequel to Spider-Men, albeit not a direct one.
Is there any chance to see the Ultimate version of "The One Above All"? Bendis says no plans, but a lot of characters of that ilk may be showing up in Infinity.
Will the end of Spider-Men — Peter Parker web searching for Miles Morales in the classic Marvel Universe and being shocked at what he finds — be followed up on? "We're going to do something," Bendis says, before joking that he wants to write a story where on the next page his screen reads, "Nothing found."
Is Mark Bagley leaving Fantastic Four for Cataclysm? "I think we've worked it out," Alonso says, noting Bagley's speed as an artist.
Bendis tells a fan that Cataclysm will be "100 percent reader friendly," even if you're not familiar with the traditional Marvel Universe.
A fan asked when Ultimate Peter Parker will come back. "Peter has passed away, and he's not coming back," Bendis replies. "But there is a 200th issues of Ultimate Spider-Man happening very soon. Something to think about."
Audience member curious about whether the Ultimate line will end with Cataclysm asks, "Will there be an Ultimate panel next year?" "I think you need to read Cataclysm," Alonso answers.
Alonso says that he's "very proud of comic fans for moving past race" by embracing Miles Morales as Spider-Man, and that it reflects well on the readership.
Fan asks Bendis for recommendations, like the ones in the "No Life" section of the Powers letter column. Bendis cites Charlie Huston's new novel Skinner, the IDW Artist's Editions, and says he's introducing his daughter to the great drummers of the world.
Next person up asks the "criteria" for bringing writers into the Ultimate line, as he perceives it not to be as "A-list" as it once was. Wacker says the current writers are all A-list, and Bendis says it's the same as it always has been, and that he and Mark Millar were not major names when the imprint started in 2000. "We like to find people who have got some voice and some swagger, and say, 'go crazy,'" Alonso adds.
Any chance the Ultimates will have a "breather" (since, the fan says, "everything seems to suck for them always")? "No, things just go from bad to worse," Fialkov answers.
Why did Miles' mother die from police fire and not Venom? Bendis says it's a combination of an "Uncle Ben moment and a Captain Stacy moment."
Bendis says that he thinks Miles Morales should meet Norman Osborn. "That's the biggest thing he could do to Peter Parker, take care of that business."
A fan asks how Bendis is able to capture the voice of people who grew up with a very different background from him. Bendis says you train yourself to listen to people when talking, and that his life — as the father of a multiracial family — is very different now than it was when he started writing Ultimate Spider-Man. "If someone is unlike you, listen to it, and try to find out where they're coming from."
Bendis says the one-year time jump in Ultimate Comics Spider-Man is something they can do in the Ultimate Universe that they really couldn't do in the regular Marvel Universe. "There's doors of experience open to him. It got more interesting to me. It's not so much that he's lost his innocence, but his eyes have been opened."
A young fan who says he just started reading comic books asks if Marvel will reboot, with him pointing out that DC did that two years ago. "We are not going to reboot the Marvel Universe," Alonso says. "It's not broken and doesn't need to be fixed."
Next person up asks if there are any stories that can't be done in comic books. "In comics, our imagination has no budget," Bendis says. "It's just us and a piece of paper. That's why I love it. That's why so many people from film and television come here. True creative freedom is right here."
Wacker asks about possible content issues. Bendis says that language is something he struggles with, because he knows that actual high schoolers curse frequently — and he thinks Ganke definitely would, though Miles wouldn't.
Alonso says that sometimes there are questions of taste, especially dealing with real world issues — he cites bullying — that are given neat, fictional solutions, that in reality can't be "force bolted away."
That's it! Thanks for reading. More Comic-Con coverage all day long.