In the pages of CATACLYSM: THE ULTIMATES’ LAST STAND, Galactus has come to the Ultimate Universe with a hunger for planet Earth. It’s a grim state of affairs, and you might be forgiven for thinking that it means the end of the Ultimate Universe.
Thankfully that’s not the case. The Ultimate Universe will survive even this, but there will be casualties, and the heroes and the world that emerges from Cataclysm will look very different, with two new Ultimate books and a new title and a new direction for Miles Morales as part of Ultimate Marvel NOW!
Bendis and artist David Marquez will continue Miles’ story in MILES MORALES: ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN, and Miles’ name in the title reflects the character’s new confidence in claiming the Spider-Man mantle.
“What this book is about is how Miles Morales is the Ultimate Spider-Man and how that came to be and what he will do with it,” explains Bendis. “[Cataclysm] was his bar mitzvah, and he comes out of it ready to take it to the next level.”
That means we’ll see stories “the likes of which we’ve never seen in a Peter Parker Spider-Man story,” Bendis continues. “Miles is going to take the mantle of Spider-Man and do unique and new things with it, and that represents what we think is special about the Ultimate Universe.”
Bendis also promises “a big old Valentine to all that we have done in the Ultimate Universe” in the form of the 200th issue of Ultimate Spider-Man just before the new series kicks off, which will bring together the entire cast of the book, and every artist who has ever worked on it.
“Things will happen in that issue that will cement Miles’s status as Spider-Man now and for as long as he can survive it.”
Hopefully he can survive for a long while yet, because Bendis has no plans to go anywhere:
Miles will also be a fixture in one of the two new titles: ALL-NEW ULTIMATES by Michel Fiffe and Amilcar Pinna!
“Miles is a busy guy,” says Fiffe. “It gets lonely in Queens, y'know, so he'll be hanging out, getting his hands dirty in Hell's Kitchen a bit more.”
A new teen team book bringing together Miles, Kitty Pryde, Cloak and Dagger, a new Black Widow, and relative newcomer Bombshell, ALL-NEW ULTIMATES will challenge the group to keep the streets of New York safe post-Cataclysm.
“It's a war zone in the streets of New York, Hell's Kitchen in particular, where certain neighborhoods have been torn apart by the recent galactic cataclysm and crime is exponentially growing; local super-powered gangs rule the environment,” Fiffe outlines. “That's where Miles and the gang come in, to act within a grittier, more immediate problem while trying to find their own footing as super heroes.
The team faces some unusual threats, including “A vicious pack of souped-up freaks led by two beautiful psychopaths, a bloodthirsty vigilante skell on a killing spree, white supremacists on meth with an axe to grind, and a nemesis-cum-bounty hunter with a contract to fulfill. You know the typical teenager stuff.”
As grim as it sounds, artist Amilcar Pinna will ensure that it all looks amazing.
“Expect fashionable scumbag misfits fighting the teenage heroic ideal as seen through the eyes of an artist who really likes Moebius' line,” says Fiffe.
Fiffe has a fun cast of characters to work with:
“I thought Cloak & Dagger would dominate because I love those characters, but honestly? Bombshell's been my favorite so far because she's the newest creation; she has a cleaner slate, history-wise. I'm stoked to write all these iconic figures, but she's the underdog of the underdogs and that's exciting.”
While Fiffe and Penna put their inexperienced heroes up against villains on the streets, Joshua Hale Fialkov and Mario Guevera have brought together some of the smartest and most experienced figures in the Ultimate Universe to pit against vast existential threats in ULTIMATE FF.
The new Future Foundation brain trust includes Sue Storm, a redesigned Iron Man, the Falcon, and a new Machine Man.
“And as there is no ‘four’ in our title, that does not mean that’s where we stop,” notes Fialkov. “There [are] more characters, including a surprise character who gets introduced in the first issue who rounds out the team. There’s one more genius who’ll be an active part of the book.
“They are the line of defense against things that you can’t just hit. That’s always been the great part about the FF. How do you fight a planet eater? If you find yourself smack dab in the middle of an intergalactic war, what do you do? That’s the fun part for me.”
With FF standing for “Future Foundation” and not “Fantastic Four,” expect a vastly different Sue Storm stepping to the fore.
“She’s found her entire understanding of the universe completely destroyed, completely taken apart, and she has to rebuild it,” says Fialkov. “Her life has been so different. The things that make her a strong protagonist are still there, but the life events are so different.”
“Grummett’s one of the best storytellers in comics,” says Fialkov. “So you have Grummett’s amazing storytelling chops and Mario’s ultra-modern, ultra-cool European flavor. You combine those two and you have a powerhouse; the art is amazing.”
The Ultimate Universe emerges from Cataclysm in MILES MORALES: ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN, ALL-NEW ULTIMATES and ULTIMATE FF starting this April