San Diego Comic-Con 2013

SDCC 2013: Cataclysm: The Ultimates Last Stand

Mark Bagley and Mark Paniccia ready the Ultimate Universe for a visit from Galactus!

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By Tim Stevens & Ben Morse

In 2000, writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mark Bagley helped launch the Ultimate Universe with ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #1. In November, they might just be destroying it.

The events foreshadowed in AGE OF ULTRON #10 and explored in the HUNGER limited series that begins next month all come to a head in the Bendis written, Bagley drawn CATACLYSM: THE ULTIMATES LAST STAND limited series.

“First I get to kill poor lil' Peter Parker, and now I get to wreck the Ultimate Universe—how cool is that?” enthuses Bagley.

Returning to the Ultimate Universe also means reviving his collaboration with Bendis for Bagley. While the partnership has been kept alive by the Icon title BRILLIANT, this will mark their first time back together on a Marvel title in over two years, since ULTIMATE FALLOUT. The artist, however, reassures that it seemed like no time at all had passed.

“Like butter, smooth and silky,” he jokes. “I'm not even sure what that means.

Cataclysm: The Ultimates Last Stand #1 cover by Mark Bagley

“I love working with Brian. He is a wonderful writer, with great instincts that make him a real pleasure to work with. Not to mention, he is one of the nicest guys around.”

For editor Mark Paniccia’s money, bringing the acclaimed creative team back together represents the icing on the cake for what promises to be an epic tale.

“What’s got me really excited about this event is that the Ultimate heroes are up against one of Marvel’s greatest bad guys,” he reminds. “If you’re going to pit them against anyone, you can’t get bigger than Galactus.

“AGE OF ULTRON has had some extremely profound effects across Marvel’s publishing line. We’ve got Hulk trying to fix the time stream in the ‘Agent of T.I.M.E.’ arc in INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK #11 through #15, to name one example of its ripple effects. Now this tear in the fabric of space-time threatens the Ultimate Universe on every level. Captain America, Kitty Pryde, Iron Man, Nick Fury, Thor, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman and many more are going up dangerously impossible odds.”

“I don't know if we are destroying the Ultimate Universe, or just throwing a huge blue and purple monkey wrench into it, but I can't wait to see how the story unfolds,” Bagley cagily claims.

He instead focuses on how excited the prospect of the book has made him:

“That image of Galactus looking down on Miles Morales at the end of AGE OF ULTRON just gave me goose bumps, and I can't wait to tell that story.”

His editor has a more ominous but ultimately upbeat disclaimer.

“I can’t help but say some things will change forever—and they will—that there’s going to be tragedy and destruction and death, but big events beat those drums all the time and I also want to stress that this is going to be a very heroic story,” Paniccia explains. “There will be some inspiring moments, some sad moments and some moments where you won’t be able to help yourself but smile and be reminded of why comics are such a great experience. This is Bendis in top form.”

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