Marvel's "Ultimate Comics X-Men"

Marvel announced at its second "Ultimate Universe Reborn" press conference call that Nick Spencer and Paco Medina will join forces for "Ultimate Comics X-Men," debuting in September. Yesterday saw the announcement of Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic on an "Ultimate Comics Ultimates" ongoing series, which launches in August and may ship more than monthly. This and other series announced this week will follow the events of "Death of Spider-Man" and "Ultimate Fallout," which ships weekly in July. Marvel's Junior Sales Administrator James Viscardi moderated the call, with Nick Spencer on hand to discuss "Ultimate Comics X-Men." Editors Mark Paniccia and Sana Amanat and Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso were also on the call.

Spencer noted that the mutant population is diminished due to "Ultimatum," and they are "very much in a feared-and-hated stance." "We are in a very 'Days of Future Past' scenario," he said, noting the government now allows citizens to shoot mutants on sight.

"There are still a number of mutants that we all know and love still out there," Spencer said, citing Jean Grey (in her new identity) and others. The series' core cast will be made up of "characters I really love," including Kitty Pryde, Bobby Drake, Johnny Storm, Rogue and Jimmy Hudson, with other heroes appearing.

Mutants in the Ultimate Universe are the result of government bio-experiments, Spencer said by way of recapping "Ultimate Origin." "Mutants, in spite of all the persecution ... have taken solace in being created for a divine purpose, or being the next stage of human evolution," and the revelation of their true origins "changes everything they thought about themselves."

Alonso said noted that Spencer and Jonathan Hickman "have very similar career trajectories" and work well together, adding that Spencer "hopped to the top of my list" for Ultimate creators after "Morning Glories."

Speaking to the youth-oriented feel of the team, Spencer said that the team have "been through so much" over the last few years, including "Ultimatum" and "Death of Spider-Man." "Most of what motivates the action in this book, rather than saving the world, is really about saving each other."

Spencer was then asked about putting together an Ultimate X-Men team, given how many of the major players are dead. "I think that's what makes it more exciting. These kids are living in a world where the legends are dead, the giants are dead. This is more than 'the dream is dead,' both sides of the argument are dead," he said. "These kids have heard both sides and seen both sides failed miserably." He noted that in the Marvel U, "we're always one step away from disaster," but in the Ultimate U, it's happened.

"You're going to see people try to fill that [mentor role], you're going to see attempts," Spencer said, noting "Ultimate X" features some of this. "You're certainly going to see people try to be Charles, try to be Magneto," but he suggested this would be difficult to accomplish.

"Technology has caught up" to the X-Men, Spencer said, making hunting mutants more effective. There will also be characters attempting to fulfill Magneto's ambitions "in a unique way." "There's also going to be a character popping up on the other side of the globe ... that's going to represent the repudiation of this idea that mutants are genetic experiments gone wrong," Spencer said, but this character would be "our big bad."

Ultimate Nightcrawler is dead, Spencer confirmed, seemingly contradicting an earlier statement he would appear in the book. Seemingly.

The Ultimate writers "like each other, and we've got a lot of ideas," Spencer said. The titles will affect each other.

"I think what the Ultimate universe does really well is take something central, something core, to each of those characters and reconnect, but at the same time do something new with that core that you wouldn't expect," Spencer said of the Ultimate universe's value. "That's really what I aspire to."

Alonso added that it can "give readers that joy of discovering, where anything can happen."

"There are going to be new characters," Spencer said, noting, "you don't get Paco Medina and not give him new characters to draw." But, he said, "this will largely be Kitty and Rogue's book."

"Ultimate Comics X-Men" launches in September.

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