SDCC: Galactus Invade Ultimate Marvel Universe, Spider-Men Sequel Announced, More…

At San Diego Comic-Con, some of Marvel Comics‘ top creators convened in panel to talk about the future of the Ultimate Universe. Senior Editor Steve Wacker moderated the panel, which included Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel AlonsoBrian Michael Bendis (Ultimate Spider-Man), and Joshua Hale Fialkov () were all there.

Spoiling the end of this week’s Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #25, Bendis admitted that Miles Morales is taking on the Spider-Man mantle again to fight the Roxxon Corporation, who has long been working to create young superheroes, including Cloak and Dagger. The series will also soon feature the Ultimate version of Taskmaster.

Fialkov (who, it was pointed out, was the only panelist with hair) talked bout the upcoming “Ultimates Disassembled” storyline, which begins with the Hulk in possession of two infinity gauntlets. The book is a battle of wits between Reed Richards and Iron Man, the smartest men in the Ultimate Universe. He said he’s been given free reign to do the craziest things he wants.

Fialkov also talked about Hunger, the Ultimate book rolling out of the 616 universe’s “Age of Ultron”, involving that universe’s Galactus appearing in the sister universe. Brian had been to dinner with Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue DeConnick, and asked them what would be the craziest thing to appear in the Ultimate Universe and Fraction promptly replied, “Galactus”. Bendis agreed, and now Fialkov is on the book. Leonard Kirk is handling the art, with Adi Granov on covers.

Their also announcing  Cataclysm: The Ultimate’s Last Stand by Bendis and Mark Bagley. It also focuses on Galactus, and features most of the Ultimate Universe characters, particularly Miles Morales, in one of his biggest storylines yet. It will bring the two Marvel Universes together more than ever before, and the Ultimate heroes will have to decide whether to send Galactus back to 616 or to sacrifice themselves. Bagley is coming back after “The Death of Spider-Man” and they now consider him the go-to person for the big events in the Ultimate line.

Next, they opened the floor to questions:

The very first “question” was someone who bluntly said that “Age of Ultron” was not very good (there was some mumbling). He also asked about Miles meeting the Superior Spider-Man. Bendis admitted that this new Ultimates storyline is essentially the sequel to “Spider-Men”.

As this is the biggest event to impact the Ultimate Universe since its inception,  there will be a lot of tie-ins.

Not surprisingly, there was a question about when we’ll learn more about the Miles Morales of 616. We will, but Bendis gave no specifics.

Mark Bagley should be staying on Fantastic Four, even as he draws Cataclysm.

The initial  lack of Ultimate Comics branding on Hunger was to avoid spoiling the end of “Age of Ultron”.

Cataclysm will be friendly to Ultimate Comics readers, despite its ties to 616.

Will there be an Ultimates panel next year (imply the line might end with Cataclysm)? Axel Alonso: “You need to read Cataclysm.”

Ultimate Spider-Man was originally conceived as a mini-series, before Marvel decided to make a larger commitment. The original Marvel Universe was based in nuclear paranoia, while the Ultimate Universe was intended to be based on genetic paranoia. At one point Bendis was 30 issues ahead in the writing for Ultimate Spider-Man and Bagley had 13 issues in the bag.

Bendis is currently reading Charlie Huston’s Skinner (Huston is the showrunner for “Powers”).

The Ultimate Universe was intended to present new voices in comics. The writers can take more risks because there are fewer editorial restrictions.

Will the Ultimates ever get a breather, perhaps a baseball issue? No. Things just go from bad to worse.

When Johnny Storm returns, it will be acknowledged that he was captured and tortured the last time we saw him.

Rio Morales’ death by police fire was Miles’ “Uncle Ben moment.” Bendis also had the death of George Stacy in mind when he wrote the issue. He cried as he wrote it and Sarah Picelli cried as she drew it. Bendis loves Miles as one of own kids, but, where he tries to make things great for his kids, he has to show his love for the characters by putting them through hell.

The guy who bashed “Age of Ultron” came back up to apologize.

Miles’ rogues gallery will be expanding soon, beyond Peter Parker’s old foes. In the anniversary Ultimate Spider-Man #200, Miles will finally meet Norman Osborn.

How is Bendis able to write characters who have a very different upbringing from his? He listens to people from all walks of life. He is also the father of a multiracial family and has learned a lot from them. A writer’s job is to listen and feel what the people around him are feeling. Joe Quesada originally recommended Bendis look into charter schools, to which Bendis’ wife enthusiastically responded.

Isn’t it time for Miles to get superior? (Collective groan.) No.

Has Bendis ever written material that was too dark and got the editorial ax? Bendis said that the language is sometimes as issue, because he know high-schoolers use strong language, which he generally can’t used. Alonso also commented that sometimes a certain story is too topical and Marvel has to make sure they’re not trivializing an issue. Bendis is also particularly aware of sexism in popular culture and tries to write in opposition to that. The Stan Lee line, “With great power comes great responsibility,” is truly in the minds of all the creators all the time.

One fan asked about new Marvel video games. Bendis referred him to the new free-to-play Marvel Heroes MMO, which Bendis wrote. He found it challenging because of the greater restrictions that a game places on writers.

From there it was time to end things to make way for DC’s Trinity War.

Stay with Unleash the Fanboy throughout SDCC.

Zac Boone wishes he could afford to read more of the Ultimate books. Follow him on twitter.