The opening of the Marvel Comics panel on their Ultimate line of books resembled an old style revival meeting or a rock concert with Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada calling out to the crowd and asking them how they were doing, repeatedly. Quesada then introduced the other members of the panel, John Dokes, head of Marvel Marketing, “Ultimate X-Men” writer Brian K Vaughn, “Ultimate Iron Man” writer Orson Scott Card and “Ultimate Extinction” artist Brandon Peterson.
A PowerPoint slide presentation showcased images and sketches from various Ultimate projects from the remainder of the year.
Included in the slide show were sketches of the Ultimate Silver Sable and the Wild Pack (included in this article), who debuted in the “Ultimate Spider-Man” video game, which won best game at this Electronic Entertainment Expo. A note attached to the images said the Wild Pack would appear in “Ultimate Spider-Man” #86.
The interior art for upcoming issues of “Ultimate X-Men” were shown and Vaughn pointed out the appearance of the Ultimate incarnation of Northstar.
The last image in the slide show was for “Ultimate Extinction,” the final installment of Warren Ellis’ Ultimate trilogy, which began with “Ultimate Nightmare” and “Ultimate Secret.” “Ultimate Extinction” artist Brandon Petersen was very excited about the series, saying it was vast and sweeping and included almost everybody in the Ultimate Universe.
In “Ultimate Secret,” Galactus finally arrives in the Ultimate Universe. Petersen said the concept of Galactus makes sense. Ellis and Petersen wanted to avoid making him a giant guy in a purple suit. Petersen also said that an Ultimate version of the Silver Surfer would be part of the story, but he may not be what readers expect.
The panel then opened itself up to questions from the floor. When Orson Scott Card was asked why he chose to focus on Tony Stark’s childhood in “Ultimate Iron Man,” he said that he believes some of the most important character defining events happen in people’s childhood.
Brian K. Vaughn was asked about how much of Brian Singer’s run (which begins after the “Magnetic North” story in “Ultimate X-Men”) would be ideas by Singer and how much would be ideas from Vaughn. Vaughn said Singer would be a huge part of the story and that Singer and “X-Men” screenwriter David Hayter were using their run to tackle a lot of the X-Men ideas they couldn’t fit into the first two X-Men films.
Joe Quesada was asked if the Ultimate Universe and the Main Marvel Universe would ever cross over and he replied no. Quesada said he’d rather close down one universe than have them cross over because it meant they were officially out of ideas.
Quesada also said Marvel would be addressing the discrepancy between characters that made their debut in the “Ultimate Team-up” book with Spider-Man and then appeared in their own Ultimate title or team book later.
A fan asked if the Ultimate characters would ever age or if Peter Parker would remain a teen-ager in the pages of “Ultimate Spider-Man” Quesada said the characters would continue to grow, but wouldn’t age. He wants the Ultimate line to be accessible to children who discover books like “Ultimate Spider-Man” years later.
The purpose of the Ultimate line of titles is to create a new reader accessible line, where a book can be picked up and enjoyed without needing to be familiar with vast amounts of continuity. When a fan asked if Marvel plans to occasionally reset the Ultimate line when the books acquire huge back-stories, Quesada replied that if things are done right they shouldn’t need to. He reiterated that comics are cyclical and they occasionally need to reinvent themselves, but he plans to keep the Ultimate titles accessible without needing a reboot.
Throughout the panel, Quesada hinted at big plans coming for the Ultimate Universe, including plans for “The Ultimates” when Mark Millar and Brian Hitch complete their run on the title. He said Marvel would announce their plans in three weeks.