By Ben Morse
This summer in the Ultimate Comics Universe, Spider-Man, the Ultimates and the X-Men will need to come together or face disaster alone.
Beginning in July, Ultimate Comics Divided We Fall will unfold across ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MEN, ULTIMATE COMICS ULTIMATES and ULTIMATE COMICS X-MEN, drawing everybody from Miles Morales to Captain America to Kitty Pryde into a series of status quo-rattling events as three separate stories unfold and intersect.
“Building towards an event was a goal from the start of launching three new Ultimate Comics titles,” explains Senior Editor Mark Paniccia, who helped orchestrate the rebirth of the line a year ago. “But we knew we wanted to get a good solid run at first and to establish these characters and the very dangerous and chaotic world they live in. Once we felt that was accomplished, it was time to start bringing all the pieces together.
“All three books can be read independently of each other during Divided We Fall,” notes ULTIMATES writer Sam Humphries. “Each book takes a different point of view of the overall crisis. Read them all together and you’ll get the complete picture.
“ULTIMATES is the widescreen, epic scope book, so we’ll be taking a coast-to-coast perspective of what is happening in America.”
While Humphries couldn’t fully disclose what type of threat would jeopardize such a varied collection of individuals, he did hint it would spin out of the work Jonathan Hickman has done thus far on the title and involve a new dynamic between the Ultimates and S.H.I.E.L.D. as well as the return of Captain America in an unexpected way.
“Cap is an icon, a beacon of hope and a total badass,” he says. “But is that going to be enough? He’s been away forever, out wandering the desert. When he comes back, the United States is radically different. Did he come back in time? Or is America too far gone for even Captain America to save the day?”
Per ULTIMATE COMICS X-MEN writer Brian Wood, his book will take a “more ground-level, personal” view of the unfolding conflict and move Kitty Pryde into a more prominent spot in the world landscape.
“She seizes the moment and the initiative and propels this story in a new direction,” says Wood. “It’s tricky to fully explain up front since she’s going to be growing and developing in her leadership role as we go, and it won’t be obvious to the reader where she ends up.”
While ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN will remain New York-based during Divided We Fall, Miles Morales will provide yet another window into the goings on and be affected by their fallout, despite missing out on the impending West coast collision between the Ultimates and X-Men.
“One of the goals we had was showing this as a shared universe and there’s no better way than to see the ripple effects of an event across the titles,” Paniccia shares.
Divided We Fall has provided Humphries and Wood their initial opportunity to work with one another as well as ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN writer and Ultimate founding father Brian Michael Bendis.
“These guys are the Shaq and Kobe of comics, don’t make me say which is which,” proclaim Humphries of his creative partners. “Planning a huge and intricate event with them has not only been an education, but also a ton of fun. They’ve been hugely supportive of my firs steps onto the Marvel mother ship, which means a lot. With them watching my back, I can push my worries to the side and focus on telling a great story.”
“The whole collaborative nature is a new thing for me, and so far has been pretty interesting and also really helpful in figuring all this out,” echoes Wood. “I talk to Sam a lot, on the phone from home, on the floor of [Emerald City Comic-Con] and just now on this vacation I’m on, I went over some story points with him from a beach, literally, in Florida. I’m sure I looked like a psycho, wandering around the beach talking about militias and containment camps.”
Besides helping Wood out as he plots destruction from paradise, Humphries also doesn’t mind playing the role of peacemaker:
“When Wood or Bendis won’t stop arguing over the ‘#1 Brian’ button that [associate editor] Sana [Amanat] made—she only made one!—I use my natural charm and easygoing joie de vivre to bring everyone back to earth. Comics are stressful!”
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