One of last year’s biggest surprises in comics came right at the very end of December, when the final issue of Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli’s Spider-Men II revealed that the Ultimate Universe had been reborn. The unexpected surprise led some to question whether it was a late addition to the series, made after Bendis’ decision to leave Marvel for DC Comics. The writer delved into that in a bit more detail in response to a question on Tumblr, where he revealed the return of the Ultimate Universe was largely thanks to the fans that supported it for over a decade.
Tumblr user Alex Chung asked Brian Michael Bendis if the return of the Ultimate Universe was related to his move to DC or if it was planned from the beginning. Bendis answered that, once he made the decision, he looked at his final work for Marvel and was happy that it would stand up as one of his last statements on his time with the publisher, with the return of the Ultimate Universe being a happy little accidental coda to the imprint he helped launch in 2001.
Bendis confirmed that the return of the Ultimate Universe was a response to the fans who invested time and money in the characters’ stories for fifteen years and now felt disappointed and deflated that it was gone. “I brought the ultimate universe back because so many people brought up to me that supporting it for all those years and now having it gone was just a bummer,” he wrote. “I agreed. Not for ego, Even though I’m sure there’s a little in there, but as a fan I agreed with the sentiment.”
He went on to to say that he hopes Marvel realizes what the Ultimate line means to fans and that they can find a way to make it work again. While a fitting end, Spider-Men II isn’t Bendis’ final work at Marvel and — after dealing with a near-fatal illness over the holidays — he’s back to scripting his final titles for Marvel and figuring out how to say goodbye to both the characters and the publisher.
Bendis is currently still writing Spider-Man, Jessica Jones and Invincible Iron Man for Marvel. Considering how heavily his departure is weighing on his mind, those final issues are sure to be some of the most memorable and likely emotional comics of the year.
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