Following up on a binary code-based teaser image from last week, Marvel Comics has announced Age of Ultron, a 10-issue event series beginning next March. Written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Bryan Hitch, Brandon Peterson and Carlos Pacheco, the book begins with the villainous robot Ultron, a corrupted creation of Avenger Hank Pym aka Ant-Man, having completely taken over and seemingly killed a good deal of the Marvel Universe. Foreshadowed for years throughout numerous Bendis comics including this year's Age of Ultron 0.1 special, Age of Ultron is said to conclude in a fashion so shocking that only six people actually know what will happen.

Spoiler: there is no fake spoiler joke to be made that someone would not take completely seriously, so forget it.

This afternoon Bendis joined series editor Tom Brevoort for a conference call with members of the press to discuss Age of Ultron. Unfortunately we couldn't make it because we are cripplingly terrified of hearing voices coming through telephones. However, the event was meticulously liveblogged by's prodigious Associate Editor Ben Morse. Here are the highlights:

- Age of Ultron is 10 issues shipping between March and June. There will be three issues in March and three issues in April. Issues #1-5 will be pencilled by Bryan Hitch. Issues #6-10 will be split between Brandon Peterson and Carlos Pacheco.

- Hitch's issues are completely pencilled and inked. 150 pages in all.

- There will be six-to-seven tie-ins in all. Most will be one-shots, some will be two-to-three-issue miniseries.

- Age of Ultron begins with the villain already victorious. "There is a shocking amount of destruction and devastation," said Bendis. "This isn't a story where the Skrulls are invading. We cut right to the chase. We're already past that and Ultron is already here. He's already put his footprints on the landscape. You're immediately thrust into the heart of crazy events and things are going a million miles an hour."

- The first hints of the story were published in the early Mighty Avengers issues by Bendis and Frank Cho and in Avengers #12.1. "Tony Stark knew the next time Ultron came back we wouldn't be ready. This is that time."

- The story lines up with recent changes in Marvel NOW titles, especially Fantastic Four and Superior Spider-Man. Indeed, the pages below depict an unmasked Spider-Man who doesn't appear to be Peter Parker.

- Vision is meant to be "a pretty big part" of the story, as are Invisible Woman, Taskmaster, Beast, Emma Frost, She-Hulk, Luke Cage, Spider-Man, Wolverine and Moon Knight.

- Bendis: "If you go back to the earliest Ultron stuff, he has severe daddy issues, even for a Marvel character, and they all have daddy issues. His logic is that the only thing standing in the way of the Earth being what it can be is humanity. I'm kind of obsessed with artificial intelligence in the real world and why people are scared of it. If there were a Marvel Singularity, it would be from Ultron. This is the moment technology takes over in a hostile way."

Finally, here's a video from MTV Geek in which Bendis talks more about the secrecy associated with Age of Ultron's ending.

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