Starting in July, the Ultimate Universe is about to crossover in a big way... And none of Marvel’s characters may survive the experience. Teaming up writers Brian Michael Bendis, Sam Humphries, and Brian Wood on Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, Ultimate Comics Ultimates, and Ultimate Comics X-Men respectively, the event - titled “Divided We Fall” - introduces a new enemy in the Ultimate Universe that may change everything.
Making the event even more unique? Each title will react separately to the cataclysmic events occurring, so you can read one series, or get the full picture in all three. To find out more, we chatted with the writers about working together, the identity of the mystery villain, and whether this is just the prelude to something even bigger!
MTV Geek: The Ultimate Universe continuity has been pretty tight so far, with events in one book having ramifications in the other… So what makes this event different? What elevates it to “event” status?
Sam Humphries: The concept of Divided We Fall, and the notion to do an event in the first place, grew organically out of discussions about what we wanted to do with the books this summer. The ideas took shape and bounced off each other in a way that made us all realize we had a real opportunity to take these story lines to the next level.
Brian Wood: What Sam said. I had actually pitched a year on X-Men before I had even heard the words "Divided We Fall", and with a minimum of tweaking, everything just fell into place. So this is good: an event that is happening because of the story, not a story created to be an event.
Geek: This is the first time you three have worked together… What’s the experience been like? How much input has been bandied about, versus each person taking lead for their own book, and responding to what the other two are doing?
Brian Michael Bendis: I am taking the role I think Miles takes with this... I am allowing the event to happen, and then reacting to it in my story. That's exactly what is going to happen to Miles! This is one of the first big events of his superhero career, and he is going to react to it in a way that will help define what kind of superhero he's turning out to be.
SH: It's been like an elaborate game of Jenga. Sometimes you delicately tip toe around so you don't upset the balance. And sometimes you knock over the whole tower of blocks, just to see what everyone says. Somehow, we all still have jobs.
BW: All I know is I talk to Sam way too much these days. My wife is getting concerned.
Geek: There’s a “mysterious” new villain in this book… Any hints or teases you can give us, other than he/she is most likely shrouded in shadow for his/her first appearance or two, we’re guessing?
BMB: It’s Mark Paniccia.
SH: The new villain is Jonathan Hickman. He said he got offered him a dream job he couldn't turn down...well, you heard it here first.
BW: Yes, the new villain is a he/she.
Geek: The title is Divided We Fall, which doesn’t exactly inspire a whole lot of confidence that we’re gonna see the heroes triumph here… First of all, are these guys ever going to get a break? From New York getting flooded, to both most of Europe and East Asia getting wrecked, things have been getting pretty bad in the Ultimate Universe for a long time.
SH: If you want to succeed, or even survive, in the Ultimate Universe, you've got to be sharp, canny, and more than a little ruthless. Just look at what the Ultimate U has done to poor Bruce Banner all these years. He's a genius-level intellect and one of the strongest brutes on the planet, yet he routinely gets chewed up and spat out. In order to keep their heads above water during Divided We Fall, these characters are going to have to have the right stuff.
BW: Any writer will tell you, the most fun you can have is to take your characters and put them through hell. It also gets you the best story. The day that a group of people like the X-Men start getting a break is the day the X-Men turns boring.
Geek: And second, how does this “division” affect each title going forward?
SH: Each book is reacting to the same core crisis, but from different perspectives. You can read one book and get a full complete story, or you can read all three to get a 360-degree view of the situation. The books intersect, but not in ways you'd expect from an event.
BW: Like I said upthread, my X-Men story was conceived before there was an event, so its a story that can stand on its own, like Sam says. I'm gong relatively tight with mine, focusing on a small cast and a very specific mission, and the existence of the Ultimates in the same world, and even the same region gives the story some added dimension.
Geek: We’ve seen the Ultimate Universe dovetail like this before, and these crossovers always seem to come in threes. Is this the first part of something bigger?
SH: Yes. We're launching a new book called Ultimate Comics Ultimate Deathsplosion: Ultimate Legacies featuring Ultimate Devil Dinosaur, Handbook 2012 (Prologue). Pre-order now!!
BW: How could ANYTHING possibly be BIGGER than THIS???
ULTIMATE COMICS DIVIDED WE FALL begins in July’s Ultimate Comics Ultimates #13, and continues with Ultimate Comics X-Men #14, Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #13, and the next two issues of each, before concluding in September!