Once upon a time, Jeph Loeb and Joe Madureira were gonna make a comic called "Ultimates Volume 3." A twelve issue maxi-series, it was rumored to have been completed long before Volume 2's final strains played, its story set virtually in stone, simply awaiting the passage of time and circumstance to be unleashed on the public.
Things have changed.
At Saturday's Ultimate Universe panel, writers Jeph Loeb and Brian Michael Bendis, Marvel's Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada (running late), artist David Finch and publicity guru Jim McCann were on hand to deliver the gospels to the Marvel faithful.
"We thought it was appropriate for the Ultimates panel to start late," Loeb said as McCann started off the event.
Bendis described it as one of the larger story arcs that the series has taken on, and promises some different looks at Kitty Pryde, who's persona non grata in Ultimate Westchester, and decidedly different than you've seen her before.
Jeph Loeb and Greg Land are taking over "Ultimate Power" through to issue nine, "with changes that will affect the Ultimate universe from this day forward!" Loeb said.
For "Ultimates" Volume 3 (seen at the top), launching December 2007 "so that it can work with the whole larger pie," Loeb said.
"So December?" Bendis asked.
"December 2007," Loeb said.
"So April," Bendis replied.
"Ultimate Origins" has Brian Michael Bendis with Butch Guice and Simone Bianche. "It sounds like the beginning of something," Loeb asked.
"The beginning of the end," Bendis said.
"Where did it all start?" Quesada asked.
Bendis replied."Ultimates Team Up ... the one with the Hulk, where he said, 'you don't get it, it's all connected.'"
"You need to start with 'Ultimate Power' #7-9, and then 'Ultimate Origins,'" Loeb said. "Then you go to 'Ultimates,' which is a five issue arc. You can get stories quicker, and that's how we know Joe Mad's five issue arc is gonna come out -- god I hope so -- and Ed McGuinness' four are set. You'll understand why things have to end, and that's called ..."
The next slide showed "Ultimatum" with Jeph Loeb and David Finch. "Ultimate X-Men" and "Ultimate Fantastic Four" will cross over for six issues, with Loeb guaranteeing that if changes are not made, "I will come to your house and sign all the comics and you can keep them." "Ultimatum" is the opposite bookend of "Ultimates Origins."
"I don't even know what that means!" McCann said.
"Ultimate Hulk/Wolverine" has a new script in now, with "promises" of the last two scripts getting done, ditto for "Ultimate Iron Man."
"'Ultimates 2' #13 already came out!" McCann said.
Quesada listed Leinil Yu, McNiven and David Finch as the top 3 artists in the business.
A guy in a Deadpool outfit asked if Ultimate Deadpool would be seen again, prompting a deluge of jokes from the panel.
A detailed question about adamantium and ligaments, in regards to Ultimate Hulk ripping Ultimate Wolverine in half, caused Jim McCann to say, "I failed science, I work in comic books."
Asked about Ultimate Asgard, Loeb said, "Thor will play an enormous role, if you notice there's a blonde chick with a big sword, if you can guess who she is, that'll answer that question." Quesada noted there will be a Squadron Supreme announcement in the next few months.
A fan came up and noted that he stopped collecting in the 90s, and Loeb shouted, "Get out! It was you! You started the bust! We were having a boom, and a big party, and you left and it was all over!" The fan then noted that he'd come back after reading a few pages of "Ultimate Spider-Man" in a book store, and now was "spending hundreds of dollars and not able to do other things I want to do." Bendis walked down and handed the man a dollar.
A former employee of Jay & Bob's Silent Stash noted before her question that she quit "because I need money," and Bendis walked back down and gave her money as well. She asked about Ultimate Kitty Pryde, who Bendis claimed was an "permanent fixture" in the series, with Ultimate Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends with Ultimate Iceman and an all-new Ultimate Firestar will be coming on to the scene after the "Death of a Goblin" arc. Magneto will pop up in "USM" #119-120, and Bendis said, "Isn't that when the Amazing Friends will pop up? Could Firestar be someone in the Brotherhood's daughter?"
A fan walked up to the mic and asked, "Ultimate Apocalypse?"
"I did pass English," McCann said, "that's a sentence fragment!" No actual answer was given, but Jeph Loeb promised that his "Ultimatum" story will have people talking like "Age of Apocalypse" did.
"You will be meeting Ultimate Scarlet Witch's mother in three point three," Loeb said by way of explaining Wanda's Ultimate costume choice, and noted that Ultimate Hulk's comeback would be explained in "Ultimate Power" #7-9 and "Ultimate Origins" #2-6.
"It may end up being seven," Bendis noted about "Ultimate Origins." A fan thanked Bendis for "Ultimate Spider-Man" and said "I want to give you a tip!"
Deep into a panel, a slide was shown that said "Butch Guice is exclusive to Marvel" and nothing was said about it.
"I have a really good idea about her, and Johnny Storm dating, and him finding out she's a female clone of Peter," Bendis said of Ultimate Spider-Woman.