A big shadow hung over this year's Ultimate Marvel panel at San Diego Comic-Con. The final issue of Age of Ultron revealed that Galactus had slipped through from the Marvel Universe to the Ultimate Universe, but that's not the shadow I'm referring to. Fans have been speculating for the past few weeks that the Galactus story is a way to bring the Ultimate Universe to a dramatic close. The spectre of cancellation hangs over the low-selling line.

The SDCC panel didn't exactly assuage that fear, but nor did Marvel confirm that this was the last -- nay, ultimate -- Ultimate panel. All the talk was about the big man coming to dinner - and about the future of Ultimate Spider-Man, Miles Morales.

Andrew Wheeler

Editors Nick Lowe and Steve Wacker co--hosted the panel, which featured Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso, Ultimate Comics Spider-Man writer Brian Michael Bendis, and Ultimate Comics Ultimates writer Joshua Hale Fialkov.

The panelists talked a little about their current storylines - Ultimate Spider-Man is coming out of year-long retirement to face Roxxon; World War X is heading for a conclusion in Ultimate Comics X-Men; and in Ultimate Comics Ultimates, the Ultimates Disassembled storyline features Evil Reed Richards, Hulk, Quicksilver and She-Kang trying to rebuild the world.

When all of that is tied up with a tidy bow, we'll get to Galactus, though first the world devourer will get to know the cosmic side of the Ultimate Universe in the already announced mini series Hunger, by Fialkov and artist Leonard Kirk.

The big new announcement of the panel was the mini-series leading out of Hunger, which goes by the ever-so-slightly bombastic title Cataclysm: The Ultimates Last Stand.


Andrew Wheeler


The series by original Ultimate Spider-Man team of Bendis and artist Mark Bagley tells the story of Galactus "coming to Ultimate Earth and eating it," said Bendis. He may or may not have been joking about the "eating" part. The book stars "everyone," including Miles Morales, who is set to take on "the biggest storyline of his heroic arc" thus far. Cataclysm also breaks open the barriers between the Ultimate universe and the regular Marvel universe, with characters having to decide which version of Earth to save. If it comes down to the flip of a coin, it seems unlikely that the main Marvel Universe is doomed.

In the Q&A, many of the questions focused on Miles Morales. One reader asked if Miles would meet Superior Spider-Man, just as he had encountered the Marvel U Peter Parker version in the crossover series Spider-Men. Bendis said that Cataclysm is a sequel of sorts to Spider-Men, at least in terms of emotional content. Asked if the MU version of Morales alluded to at the end of Spider-Men would make an appearance in the future, Bendis said, "We do have big plans for that." Asked if Miles would get his own book in the 616 universe, Bendis said, "Yes. there's always a chance," and Alonso added, "Read the end of Cataclysm."



If that answer made things sound grim for the Ultimate Universe, consider that Alonso's answer given to "Will there be an Ultimates panel next year?" was more-or-less the same. "I think you need to read Cataclysm."

We'll have more on Cataclysm: The Ultimates Last Stand in our interview with editor Mark Paniccia tomorrow.