Think of it as a payoff that’s been about six years in the making.
Way back in Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #3
, Peter Parker was warned by a de-Hulked Bruce Banner that there were layers upon layers in the world, and that he had no clue as to how everything - everything
When asked about Banner’s comments in later years, Bendis, as well as Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada hinted and teased that the “origin” of the Ultimate Marvel Universe was rather different than that of the regular Marvel Universe, and that there were, as Banner had hinted, connections dating back years, decades, and more, and sometime, that story would be told.
“Sometime” is now later this year as Brian Bendis will write the Ultimate Origin
miniseries, with art by Jackson Guice.
We spoke with the writer about the project.
: So – to set the stage for this, the seeds for Ultimate Origin
’s own origin were planted back in the start of Ultimate Marvel Team-Up
: Right. I first laid the ground work back in Ultimate Team-Up #3
with the Hulk…
: That was Bruce Banner telling Peter that he just didn’t know what all the connections were in the world before getting hauled off by Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D.…
: Right – and that page will be in the first issue of Ultimate Origin
, to give context to what we’re talking about. What happened was that, over the course of the first year that we were developing Ultimate Spider-Man
and Ultimate X-Men
, all of us who were involved, Bill [Jemas], Joe [Quesada], Mark [Millar], me – we’d devised a lose timeline and tapestry of events that built to where we are. Things have been hinted at in all the books, and never exposed.
: So how did this get rolling?
: A few months ago, they asked if I would write all the Ultimate Annuals to develop some new stuff, and I had a lot of new stuff I wanted to put in. But when we were at the retreat, I said, “You know, we’ve been holding on to this story, the big, ‘deliver the goods story’ for so long.” I asked if I could do that first.
: And this was the first time it was really approached, after what, six years? That’s a pretty serious back-burner…
: Yeah, well… At one time, Mark was going to do a part of it – the Cap part, and I was going to do a different part, but it all never really coalesced in time. So I said this
was the story to do. I’d mentioned it at the retreat before this one, and I saw Dan [Buckley] light up a little, but it didn’t stick to the wall with him, and then, when we got to the Ultimate stuff the next time, I brought it up again. Jeph Loeb has a story coming up that is very reliant on this information being unveiled, publicly, so we came up with a plan where I would unveil the origin of the Ultimate Universe, which includes information you’ve never seen about nick Fury, Captain America, the mutant population, Wolverine, Charles Xavier, Magneto – every major player – the connections between Reed Richards and Peter Parker’s parents, connections between Captain America’s origin, and the other origins that involved the Super Soldier Serum, not to mention where the Super Soldier Serum came from…all of these things will be revealed in this miniseries. Not hinted at, not in that X-Files
way where they promise that things will be revealed when they never have any intent to reveal anything – they’re really being revealed here.
I handed in the first issue last month. I was really excited because Loeb, who’s by no means an ass-kisser, and certainly doesn’t kiss my ass, said it was the best thing he’s ever read from me.
: With revealing the plot, it seems as if with a story like this you could end up walking a fine line between having things appear so contrived in that everything last little thing is related versus having the Ultimate Universe’s origin be too close to that of the regular Marvel Universe. Is that the case?
: Not entirely. While things are related, the reveals show why these things in the Ultimate Universe aren’t close to the Marvel Universe…
: Always, and especially as we’ve seen in comics, there’s a fear about revealing secrets, that is, once you do it, what’s left?
: With this, revealing what we’re revealing, and there’s a lot – unveils storylines that Jeph is doing, that I’ll be touching in Ultimate Spider-Man
– all of which will be very exciting for people who are just joining us, or who have been hanging in there since the beginning. And there are quite a lot of people who’ve been hanging in there, and I feel that they’re more than earned the goods.
: And Guice is on art…
: Oh yeah - wait until you see his Iron Man
stuff he’s doing with Christos Gage – unbelievable. They offered him to me, and I’ve been a fan of his for years and years, and when I saw what he was doing in Iron Man
…I had to have him. And it will have covers by Simone Bianchi. It’s a very handsome package, and there’s a “whaaaat?” on every page.
: Overall, do you see this as an endcap to one age of the Ultimate Universe, and a starting point for a “second age”?
: Yeah, to me, it’s an endcap in the sense that we won’t be tickling readers’ asses any longer with this stuff. But – that said, it’s absolutely spring boarding us to a new level of what’s special about the Ultimate Universe. And with Stuart [Immonen] coming on Ultimate Spider-Man
, and all the other plans coming up, it’s going to be a fun fall/winter time to be reading.
Even if you were casually interested in these books, this still makes for a great read – people just like origin stories. I love a good origin story, so you get like two or three every issue.
: Back to the larger story behind it – how much of it was set at start of the Ultimate Universe as you said earlier, versus material that you’re adding in now as the story’s being written?
: Most of it was planned and noted early on – years ago. A little bit more has come from organically expressing it and working with pieces of the puzzle of it in the books, rather than just having it in note form, and letting the characters take over a little bit, but the most of this was planned, outlined, everyone signed off on it, and here we go. This has been cooking for a long time.
And even though I’m writing it, quite a few people contributed, because it involves all the Ultimate books.
: Who’s reveal is the most shocking for you?
: Nick Fury’s is the most fun.
: So it’s finally going to explain his change from white to black? [laughs]
: [laughs] He was never white. He was black in Ultimate Team-Up
. It was colored so blueish, there may have been question, but in the script, he was African American with a half-fro, and then Bryan Hitch gave him the shave off. So, if anything, he was balding versus Sam Jackson cool.
But it will definitely show how Nick Fury got to his place in the Ultimate Universe, which has not been revealed. It’s been hinted and tickled at through little vignettes here and there, but he’s got quite a whopper of a story.
I think Wolverine will be the one that will have the most posts of “All right mister, let’s see what you do next issue, because that’s going to be my last issue unless you clear this up…” Yeah, it’s going to raise some eyebrows.
And the final bit on Ultimate Origin
– it will lead right into Jeph Loeb’s project which is coming up later in the year. So there’s a big plan afoot that I’m thrilled to be a part of. If you’re looking for a hop on, hop on.
Newsarama's coverage of the 2007 Heroes Con & Wizardworld: Philadelphia is brought to you by GameAlmighty.com - "Truth, Justice, and Videogames by the only website run by superheroes"...