By Kiel Phegley
The Ultimate Universe as you know it is ready to rest in peace.
While Marvel's reimagined Universe featuring modernized versions of the company's classic super heroes will live on in the new Ultimate Comics initiative, Marvel announced this weekend at the New York Comic-Con that in the wake of the tumultuous events of ULTIMATUM all three ongoing Ultimate Universe titles would see send offs by their current creative teams as Brian Michael Bendis writes ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN REQUIEM #1 and 2, Aron Coleite drafts ULTIMATE X-MEN REQUIEM #1 and Joe Pokaski delivers ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR #1.
"There is such a rich history behind each of these series and getting the chance to give them a 'more perfect' send off was something we wanted to do for both the creators and fans alike," Ultimate assistant editor Lauren Sankovitch explains of the additional issues.
Each comic will provide fans a chance to saw farewell to their favorite long-running Ultimate titles, and in the case of Bendis' 133-plus-issue run on ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN, the book's long history warranted extra attention.
"It is the longest running [Ultimate] book with one of the most consistent and consistently amazing creative teams in the industry," Sankovitch adds. "Like with all of the REQUIEMS, we wanted to endcap ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN with a proper send off for the creators and fans alike. To that end, Brian had an idea to really delve into what it meant to be heroic and how Spider-Man and Peter Parker, time and again, embodied that ideal."
To send the Tomorrow People known as the X-Men off into the sunset, Coleite found himself writing a tale with a particularly sobering setting.
"It's about a graveyard—nuff said," Coleite explains, adding "not to be a total downer, but the book is about grieving. "I'm certain there's lots of readers who have suffered loses. Friends. Relatives. Everyone grieves in their own fashion. That's what this book is about. How you can go on with your life after tragedy?
"The story that I'm telling in REQUIEM was originally the story that I had planned for issue #100. But since the opportunity for the requiem books came about I realized that I had to shift things around. Now #100 is the last adventure the X-Men have together before the conclusion of
ULTIMATUM. And REQUIEM is, well, true to it's title. It's a requiem. An homage to those that have died. And how those that survived are going to move on."
While Coleite took time in his brief run on ULTIMATE X-MEN to grant some meaty character turns to mutants including Colossus, Nightcrawler and more recently Rogue, the writer promise that for the finale he's "trying to include more. #100 focuses on the whole group. REQUIEM, well—it focuses on the survivors of which I will not yet reveal." When asked how many of the X-Men may survive writer Jeph Loeb's ULTIMATUM event, Coleite jokes, "Loeb did me a huge favor in killing 34 of the 35 characters that I had to work with. So, basically I'm just writing monologues for Kitty Pryde. I'm gonna try to give Bendis a run for his money on the amount of Yiddish words I can cram on a page."
On the flipside of the Ultimate U, Coleite's friend and "Heroes" colleague Joe Pokaski uses ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR REQUIEM to finally bring the full cast of the Ultimate First Family under his pen as his recent issues have focused mostly on the Thing.
"When Jeph broke down ULTIMATUM and I realized that everyone was out of commission except for Ben, I cried inside for a bit," Pokaski says. "Then saw the opportunity to rebuild the team within the Ultimatum craziness from his shoulders on-up. It's been an amazing exercise in realizing how this is a family that will always come back together, no matter what you do to it. Or, almost always."
Pokaski explained that his final story "would work hard to please fans who have followed the Ultimate FF since their first issue. "
"My goal was to try to do what Bendis and Millar did at the onset of this book—to embrace the wonder and the heart of the Fantastic Four, but to put this power and responsibility in the hands of, essentially, kids, explains Pokaski. "And to tell honest, real stories about them while being guided by, but not bound to the heart of the main Marvel family. So when Jeph put the family through what the put them through in ULTIMATUM—some to be revealed, of course—I kind of just produced an honest extrapolation of what these individuals and what this family would do. And hopefully Bendis and Millar will approve.
"REQUIEM is the mourning of a team gone by," Pokaski concludes. "A family dissolved. I obviously don't want to give away who lives and who dies, but there is a sense at the end of the book—that this is it for the grand experiment that was the Ultimate Fantastic Four...well, for now, anyway."
For all the latest news, announcements and interviews, plus live panel blogging, video features and much more, visit Marvel.com's NYCC 2009 Hub Page! Also, be sure to check out Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!
Check out the official Marvel Shop for your favorite Marvel Heroes!
Download episodes of "X-Men: Evolution" now on iTunes!