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WWC: Ultimate Marvel Panel

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 All the news from Wizard World Chicago's Ultimate Marvel Panel...

Present at the panel were Lauren Sankovitch, former Assistant Editor for the Ultimate Marvel line, Mark Panicci, Editor for the Ultimate Marvel line and Mark Millar, writer.

A number of details about the new replacement for the Ultimate Marvel line were revealed here today. First of all, the new line will be called Ultimate Comics. The new Ultimate Spider-Man came out this Wednesday and will continue to be written by Brian Michael Bendis.

Lauren Sankovitch remarked that a lot of things have changed for the Ultimate universe and the writers for the new Ultimate Comics line is resetting the bar. They aim to blow readers out of the water.

She went on to say that Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #3 with introduce a new villain – Ultimate Mysterio. The Ultimate version of Mysterio will mean, bad and "a snappy dresser". Bendis is building him to be a big villain for the series and he will be featured on a "Villain Variant" cover.

Warren Ellis will be writing a four issue miniseries called Ultimate Iron Wars and Millar promised that it would be total Warren Ellis craziness and it would have a new surprise villain. Steve Kurth will be providing the art for the series.

     

Mark Millar will be writing the Ultimate Avengers title. According to Millar, he had a great time writing the first volume and he had some ideas he wanted to go back to. There will be a new villain for the series – Ultimate Red Skull. This version of the Red Skull will be Captain America’s illegitimate son. Millar promised that readers would get to see the Red Skull’s entire origin – from the character’s conception as Steve Rogers sleeps with his girlfriend on the eve of leaving for battle in World War II, to Roger’s "dying" in WW II and the single mother eventually giving up the child to SHIELD and from there readers will see the results. Millar also said that the new Red Skull would have "daddy issues".

Millar also said that he wanted to have his story arcs be more like stand-alone graphic novels which will link to a bigger story. There was also a promise of no more late books for at least a year. All of the writers and artists are bringing their "A game" to the new relaunch.

To replace many of the characters killed during the Ultimatum event Millar promised that they will be introducing a number of wholly new characters as well as some new characters bearing some iconic names. One example he gave was that there will be a new Wasp for the Ultimate Comics line.

The floor was then opened for Questions and Answers.

One fans asked if Millar had any bad feelings after Jeph Loeb "shredded" the characters in Ultimates Vol. 3. Millar replied that, in fact, he loved volume 3 and felt that it shook things up.

One fan noted that the Ultimate Comics line will have two "Avengers" titles – New Ultimates and Ultimate Avengers and he asked why there was a need for this. Millar joked that it was so he could come back and write one of the teams but, on a more serious note, he stated that he wanted to be able to have a team of heroes who could do secret, "black ops" type missions while another team took on the public, high profile jobs. The New Ultimates will focus on the public team while Ultimate Avengers will tell stories about the secret team.

Millar also discussed new, Ultimate versions of familiar characters which he intended to introduce. He mentioned that he enjoyed Ultimatizing characters and one which will be reciving the treatment will be Blade.

     

Another fan noted that Ultimate Spider-Man was mentioned as being part of the Ultimate Avengers and wanted to know how Millar intended to write the character. Millar joked that he wanted to write the character badly just to mess with Brian Michael Bendis but then stated that he actually wanted to be respectful of what Bendis intended to do with the character over in Ultimate Spider-Man. He went on to say that Spider-Man will only be in one story arc, the third one, and that all will not be as it seems.

Another question was raised about digital comics and, after a little bit of heckling from Millar, the fan asked if there would be any digital comics exclusives. Jim McCann states that there are no plans for such at this time.

Another reader asked what the Ultimate Avengers lineup would be. Millar said that, at first, the core group would consist of Captain America, Hawkeye, Iron Man, War Machine, Wasp and Nick Fury.

The next questioner asked who would be around after Ultimatum. Sankovitch urged them to read New Ultimates, Ultimate Avengers, Ultimate Spider-Man, and Ultimate Armor Wars to get the answer. Mark Panicci added that they had wanted to use Ultimatum to remind readers that anything could happen in the Ultimate universe and any character could die.

The next person up asked if Ultimate Comics were the place to tell stories that could not be told in the regular universe. Millar responded that yes it was but it was also designed to be new reader friendly. It was also mentioned that Bendis is looking forward to create all-new characters who have never existed in the Marvel Universe before. Millar also indicated that he, Bendis, and Ellis want to try to outdo each other.

Another reader then asked if they would see more about new characters like Tony Stark’s brother and Nick Fury’s wife. Millar responded that he had always wanted to get to these characters. He had laid the groundwork for them earlier but did not have the time to get to them into the stories and now he is finally getting to them.

The next reader asked if sales on the new line do well will the Ultimate X-Men and Ultimate Fantastic Four restart? McCann asked if fans wanted to see that and several people in the audience applauded.

             

Another person in the audience asked if $3.99 would be the new price point. Millar joked that if kids can afford drugs they can afford $3.99. McCann, however, stated that all of those on the panel were not in charge of pricing and could not speak to that.

The next questioner asked if there would be an Ultimate version of Civil War. Millar responded that it was a good idea.

Another reader asked about the Ultimate version of Thor. He asked why, since the Ultimate universe was so grounded, why did they decide to keep him a god? Millar replied that they did try to keep the Ultimate universe more real. They wrote 26 issues in which they teased readers about whether he was or was not really a god but that was not sustainable. In the end they wanted to treat it as something fantastic but handled naturalistically. In a follow up to the question the reader asked if Millar’s Thor was meant to be a modern take on Jesus and Millar said that yes, that was the plan.

The next person asked if readers would see the fallout from Ultimatum. Sankovitch told him that the repercussions would be felt in Ultimate Spider-Man and nothing would be retconned from Ultimatum and all the characters who are dead will stay dead.

This question lead to another question remarking on all of the characters who have recently come back from the dead and wondering if this will happen to the Ultimate characters. All members of the panel insisted that all the characters who are dead will stay dead.

The next person asked how the Ultimate line would impact the movies being made of Marvel properties. Millar indicated that nothing was intended and that a lot of what has been done was simply because directors and screen writers liked bits and pieces from the various comics and decided to incorporate them into the movies.

Another fan referred back to Millar’s earlier mention of bringing in the Ultimate version of Blade and jokingly asked if Ultimate Blade was being added to appeal to Twilight fans. Millar responded that he has loved Blade since he was a kid and, in fact, he pitched an idea for a Blade series with John Romita, Jr. as artist but it never got off the ground.

The next person asked if there were any plans for the cosmic characters introduced in titles like Ultimate Fantastic Four. The panel responded that there was no news at this time and reminded fans that the Ultimate line was supposed to be more grounded.

            

Another person asked if Mark Millar was upset that other writers had killed Ultimate Thor. Millar responded that Thor had been introduced back in Vol. 2 and it was always his idea that there would be multiple variations on Thor.

The next person asked how the Ultimate Fantastic Four storylines will tie into the Supersoldier program. Sankovitch replied that fans should read the new line to find out.

Another questioner asked if Millar intended to do anything else with the Ultimate Defenders. Millar responded that those characters actually inspired him to write Kick Ass so he’s saving his ideas for future volumes of Kick Ass.

One of the last questions was whether the Ultimate Carol Dangers will become Ultimate Ms. Marvel. The entire panel responded that she is the head of SHIELD for now and her character has a lot of fun stuff ahead. Although all of that does not mean that a change isn’t possible.

The last question came from someone who wondered if Millar would be interested in doing an Ultimate Marvelman now that Marvel had acquired the rights to that character. Millar responded that he would love to do something with Marvelman and that he loved the stories when he was a kid. He stated that he actually got to meet Alan Moore when he was 12 and was inspired to become a comic book writer.

At that the panel ran out of time.

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