Recent storylines in Marvel Comics’ Ultimate Universe, like “Ultimatum’ have shown that when the Ultimate U’s heroes are caught unaware or unprepared, bad things happen and lots of people die, so it’s quite obvious that the most dangerous position to be is on the defensive. Unfortunately for Spidey, Nick Fury and company, in writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Rafa Sandoval’s current miniseries “Ultimate Enemy,” that’s the position they’re are currently in. This summer, they’ll get the chance to try and put things right, but only if they solve the “Ultimate Mystery,” which is the four issue sequel to “Ultimate Enemy.” CBR News spoke with Bendis about his plans for the series, which kicks off in July and was announced by Marvel on Friday at the Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo.
“Ultimate Enemy” #4, the final installment of the series, is in stores at the end of May and lays the groundwork for “Ultimate Mystery” #1. “What ‘Ultimate Enemy’ the miniseries has set up is that there’s a mysterious force in the Ultimate Universe that is targeting and demolishing certain people and places in certain areas of the world. It has very specific targets. These targets include Peter Parker and Nick Fury, but other targets are not being hit. The Baxter Building was hit, but the Avengers have not been targeted,” Bendis told CBR News. “All of these are clues. All of these say things about what this person or people are doing and why they’re doing it. ‘Ultimate Mystery’ will take our cast of heroes who have really had their backs thrown up against the wall and force them to try and discover from every angle of the Ultimate Universe just who this could be.”
In addition to Spidey and Nick Fury, the current cast of “Ultimate Enemy” includes Spider-Woman, the Thing, the Invisible Woman, the Human Torch and Iceman. That cast will continue over to and expand with “Ultimate Mystery.” “We’re going to start it off in one of my favorite corners of the Ultimate Universe, Project Pegasus, this place we’ve shown out in the desert in stories like ‘Ultimate Power,’ ‘Ultimate Origins’ and most recently in ‘Ultimate Spider-Man.’ It’s this secure vault-like complex out in the desert, filled with all the mysterious artifacts of the Ultimate Universe,” Bendis explained. “Our story starts there with the reappearance of Ultimate Captain Marvel, from the ‘Ultimate Galactus’ trilogy. He’s making his return, and he’s been tasked with guarding this treasure trove of alien and special artifacts, because they’re clearly a target.”
The cast won’t be the only thing expanding in “Ultimate Mystery,” as the danger will also increase exponentially. “There’s a ticking clock, whatever the threat was, whatever the targets were, they weren’t all hit,” Bendis said. “Some are still alive. So whoever went to all that trouble is not going to stop.”
The heroes of “Ultimate Mystery” won’t just have to contend with figuring out the identity of their latest adversary. Many of them will also be coping with what happened to them in the previous miniseries. “At the end of ‘Ultimate Enemy,’ people will see that Ben Grimm has metamorphosed into a new Thing, no pun intended. He’s no longer the orange rocky character that we’ve seen in other stories that have come before,” Bendis stated. “We’ll see that Ben’s rock formation was really a cocoon, and what has come out is a new Thing for the Ultimate Universe. And that’s the kind of thing that I love about the Ultimate Universe. You can do a story like that, where Ben evolves into something else.”
Since “Ultimate Enemy” is still unfolding, Bendis couldn’t give away too many plot details about its sequel, but the title of the series is a very good indication of what type of story readers can expect. “My favorite movies are ones where every act has a different flavor to it. So this is the second act. It will still have action and some really cool looking set pieces, but I think the actual detective work and the mystery is what people will be coming to this series for,” Bendis said. “We’ve been seeding clues throughout ‘Ultimate Enemy,’ like the ones I mentioned earlier. Other clues you’ll want to consider include: who would know that Nick Fury is alive? Who would know who Peter Parker is and where he lives? These are very specific things. Who knew to kill Reed Richards?”
“Ultimate Mystery” will end with a cliffhanger setting up the third and final installment in what will be a trilogy of miniseries by Bendis and Sandoval. “This cliffhanger, which is the reveal of who our mysterious enemy is, takes us right into the third miniseries, which is called ‘Ultimate Doom.’ And just like the Star War Trilogy, ‘Ultimate Doom’ is filled with furry, little creatures that have the uncanny ability take out trained stormtroopers with their high tech weapons,” Bendis joked. “The story itself in these first two minis is a mystery, so its hard to talk about. You have to show this story to people. You can’t talk about it too much, or you’ll blow the mystery.
“So it’s a tough sell until it’s all done. When people get to the end of ‘Ultimate Mystery’ and find out what’s going on in this book, there’s going to be a lot of people rushing to find these issues. So I hope people jump in now so they can enjoy it. Because there’s one thing I can promise you: the reveal at the end of ‘Ultimate Mystery’ is a good one,” Bendis continued. “And as I said when we first talked about this storyline, this story and the reason I’m telling it goes with my mandate that Ultimate Universe stories should be filled with elements from the Marvel Universe, but use those elements to tell completely new stories; stories that you’re not going to get in the Marvel Universe. This is one of those stories.”