It's been made clear by everyone involved in Age of Ultron that the story's ending is top-secret — so secret, in fact, that series writer Brian Michael Bendis told us in January that "literally five people know" what it is.
So it's maybe not a shock to learn who's drawing the final pages of June's Age of Ultron #10: Joe Quesada, Marvel's chief creative officer. (Art pictured is the cover of #10 by Brandon Peterson, and Carlos Pacheco and Bryan Hitch are also contributing to the issue's interiors.)
"That's how inside baseball the ending is," Bendis told Newsarama. "We literally had to have an executive draw it. Even at the Marvel retreat [last month], some people were rolling their eyes and going, 'No, really, what happens at the end?'"
Bendis said that having someone already in on the ending illustrate it was a relief, and something Quesada — whose schedule keeps him from drawing many interior pages these days — offered to do.
"I didn't even ask," the writer said. "I'm like, 'Well, how are we going to handle this? We're going to have to NDA the hell out of somebody.' And he goes, 'I'll do that.' Great, fantastic."
This isn't the first time Bendis and Quesada have worked together as writer and artist.
"We did an opening chapter of Ultimate Six that debuted in Wizard Magazine and then saw the light of day in the first issue of Ultimate Six," Bendis said. "And we did a back-up story in Amazing Spider-Man about Jessica Jones and Spider-Man a couple years ago that we were both pretty happy with."
Though this is another short project with Quesada, Bendis says it's a significant one.
"Before he hired me and changed my life, I was a big fan of Joe's," the Uncanny X-Men and All-New X-Men writer continued. "It's hard to say out loud now because it sounds like you're kissing your boss's ass. A lot of people were fans of Joe's. I would love to do something substantial with him, but more and more as the job takes him into some interesting areas, these little bits and nuggets are what I can get. But this is good. This ending is nice. It's a statement."Age of Ultron, depicting Ultron's triumph in destroying the Marvel Universe, debuted this week, and we discussed issue #1 in detail with Bendis. Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!