CHICAGO DAY 1: 'Ultimate Fantastic Four' Announced

Marvel opened this year's WizardWorld convention with the announcement of an addition to the Ultimate line, a new writer for the "Ultimate X-Men," and a familiar villain making his line debut.

"Ultimate Fantastic Four" will be co-written by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Millar with art by the former "Ultimate X-Men" team of penciller Adam Kubert, inker Danny Miki and colorist Dave Stewart. The series is set to arrive on shelves in December.

Bendis said that the familiar Fantastic Four origin will be modernized for the new title: "The Space Race isn't a part of our lives anymore," he explained, while not giving away what the catalyst for the group's formation would be.

Millar and Bendis will not be alternately writing the title, but combining their skills to utilize Bendis affinity for character with Millar's edgy plots.

The Ultimate Marvel panel, which consisted of Marvel Editor-In-Chief Joe Quesada, artist Mark Bagley, Bendis, Millar, Kubert and editor C.B. Cebulski fielded questions, joking that they were looking for the perfect segue into their key announcements. When one attendee asked about bringing writers beside Bendis and Millar into the Ultimate fold, it provided Bendis the opportunity to mention that changes were in store for the "Ultimate X-Men" creative team.

Bendis announced that he will be co-writing "Ultimate X-Men" with fellow "Daredevil" scribe David Mack for a six-issue arc leading into "Ultimate X-Men" #50, where readers will finally meet Wolverine's mysterious wife. After that anniversary issue, Mack will take the writing reins solo. David Finch will remain on art chores.

Before that, Bendis will write the "New Mutants" arc which will introduce ultimate versions of characters like Angel and Forge. The revelation that Ultimate Dazzler will also be a part of the story drew some groans from the audience.

When asked about plans for "Ultimate Spider-Man," Bendis said that Carnage will be appearing in the title and that "he is someone already in the book."

One panel-goer questioned his decision to use Carnage after previously stating online that he would never use the character. Bendis explained that a recent book by one of the discoverers of DNA on genetic ethics changed his mind.

"He was basically saying all these things not to do," he said. "Carnage was right there on page four."

Millar used the proceedings to reassure those concerned about the progression of his series, "The Ultimates."

"Bryan [Hitch] is drawing like a madman," said the Scottish writer.

Millar also said that after the close of volume one of the series in issue #13, that there will be more experimentation in storytelling and also that when 'volume two' picks up, some time will have passed for the Ultimates, comparing the series to a set of films in which the first volume in the first film and the second volume is the sequel.

Millar whetted appetites for the return of the Ultimate Hulk by saying that his return will be in such bad taste, that Warren Ellis said to him "You can't do that."

With "Ultimates" #13 set to ship in the same month as "Ultimate Fantastic Four," Marvel is unofficially calling December "Ultimate Starts" month, as every Ultimate title will be beginning a new story arc.

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