This is it! The end of the line. The final issue of the All-New Ultimates 12 part series hits the stands today!
Before I get deep into it, thank you all for supporting this book. Please check out this full list of everyone who worked on the book (with additional art)!
The creator credits for all the characters we used are another monster altogether.
Spider-Man is a Steve Ditko/Stan Lee creation — everybody and their grandma should know that. But in this universe, Spider-Man’s alter ego is Miles Morales instead of Peter Parker. Miles was created by Brian Michael Bendis & Sara Pichelli.
… as well as the Taskmaster (a David Michelinie & George Pérez creation).
Along with David LaFuente, Bendis also created Bombshell, the young hothead of the team.
Kitty Pryde, a Chris Claremont & John Byrne classic, was redesigned/repurposed specifically for the Ultimate Universe by Mark Millar & Adam Kubert.
Then there’s Jessica Drew, thought up by Archie Goodwin and Marie Severin back in the day (cover by Joe Sinnott).
Her “Ultimate” alter ego, Spider-Woman, was up for a redesign — a complete makeover. Here’s her Ultimate look (designed by Mark Bagley).
Since I’m a sucker for this sleek Black Widow costume (a character created by Stan Lee & Don Heck but redesigned by Frank Miller & drawn by Kevin Nowlan below), I thought Drew would take up that mantle nicely.
I’ve always liked that Grant Morrison threw jackets on tons of his characters (Zenith, Animal Man, Robotman, the New X-Men) – its his go-to design, really – and I thought it would be a good last touch for Drew’s makeover.
Guess who else makes a cameo? Miles’ best pal Ganke Lee (another Bendis/Pichelli character)…
… and Mark Millar & Carlos Pacheco’s Monica Chang (who appears in the final issue before the events in Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man #3 — I told you this was its own little world, sorta)!
On to the bad guys! From here on out, you’ll be seeing the characters I personally picked out to carry these stories. It’s going to range from a few familiar faces to some deep cuts (some deeper than others). Since a good chunk of the Ultimate Universe was wiped out prior to All-New Ultimates (see Ultimatum & Cataclysm), I had to look far and wide within the original Marvel Universe (Earth 616 to you, pal) in order to come up with a cast that I could give the “Ultimate” treatment to (with some mammoth help from series artist Amilcar Pinna and later on Giannis Milonogiannis). You don’t even wanna see the notes for these (but you can see some of the sketches I made here or in the first trade collection: Power For Power). Anyway, enough plugs! Here’s the list (with original creator credits):
Crossbones (Mark Gruenwald & Kieron Dwyer) – I would love every time this guy showed up to beat the crap out of people, sometimes Captain America himself.
Diamondback (Gruenwald & Neary) – She eventually turned a new leaf.
Sidewinder (Gruenwald & Ralph Macchio) – Original SS team leader.
King Cobra (Lee & Heck) – SS usurper. This Heck version rules.
Death Adder (Gruenwald, Pérez & Macchio) – I mostly know him as the guy who got into the wrong cab.
Anaconda (Gruenwald, Pérez & Macchio) – She gives the best hugs.
Black Racer (Gruenwald & Tom Morgan) – Second wave SS member, first official heist was a Vegas casino. Haha, I know stuff.
So that takes care of the main gang of fluorescent street toughs. Actually, there were more rival gangs that didn’t have enough stage time, but managed to make a gang war double page spread.
Who were those gangs mentioned above based on? Well, since you asked…
Zodiac (Roy Thomas & Sal Buscema):
Wolfpack (Larry Hama & Ron Wilson):
Nasty Boys (Peter David & Larry Stroman):
Supreme Soviets (Gruendwald & Dwyer):
Okay, so that takes care of the gangs. But what about the other villains?
Scourge (Gruenwald & John Byrne) – This is my man. I made him into a Bernie Goetz/high school janitor and you know, he’s a sort of custodian of the Marvel Universe. His thing is to unconditionally mow down any costumed villain. The lamer they are the sweeter the kill.
He was designed to clean house. His first appearance was told by Denny O’Neil and THE Luke McDonnell, but don’t let that fool you; this was Gruenwald’s baby.
Agent Crock (Anne Nocenti & Keith Giffen) – From the one issue of Daredevil that Giffen drew, how could I ignore this fella?
Vermin (J.M. DeMatteis & Mike Zeck) – The secondary villain in “Kraven’s Last Hunt”. Giannis beefed him up a little in issue #7.
Femme Fatales (Michelinie & Larsen) – More great characters from the super fun Larsen run.
Watchdogs (Gruenwald & Tom Morgan) – The original group weren’t, er… expressly racist. They’re moral crusaders and censorship advocates who happen to be terrorists. I mostly like them due to one of the greatest comic book fight scenes of all time, courtesy of Kieron Dwyer.
Ecstasy (Peter B. Gillis & Chris Warner) – This French drug kingpin eventually gained Cloak himself as a power. Sexy times, especially when the art chores fell to Mike Vosburg (below).
Mr. Jip (Austin & Bret Blevins) – My aim was to have Jip be the Tetsuo of the story (a gross, rampaging out-of-control monster). Blevins is great, but this Kevin Nowlan version is killer.
Now on to the cops and the rest of the supporting members — home stretch!
If anything, I wanted to turn her into more of a P.I., a Dakota North type of character. I’m super happy I got to work on her, though.
Vernon Brooks (Mike Baron & Whilce Portacio) – This guy was a high school teacher before he joined the Punisher cause (when the Punisher was an undercover substitute teacher – holy crap, that was a good comic). Vernon quickly bailed.
Duc No Trahn/Bengal (Fabian Nicieza & Ron Lim) – Bengal was a New Warriors staple, but I first saw him in a Daredevil fill in issue. Great Lim fight issue.
Bart Rozum (Dwayne McDuffie & Ernie Colón) – From one of my favorite titles by a couple of my favorite creators. I almost felt dirty using Bart the way I did. I love Damage Control.
Fat Boys (Anne Nocenti & Arthur Adams) : Eightball, Butch and Ralf…
Let’s not forget Darla!
Alexander Pierce (Bob Harras & Neary) dropped in for a single panel, too, not as a Shield agent/accountant but as Jessica Drew’s doctor .
So yeah, welcome to the Year of the Deep Cut. Making this comic has been significant to me, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it without having to know all of this archival minutiae — that was just part of the fun in “research”. Where else was I gonna get the chance to sneak this little Steve Gerber creation in?
You deserve a No-Prize if you even know who that is! (Picking up where we last saw him as written by Gerber, otherwise it’s non-canonical. Okay, fine, I’ll stop, I’ll stop.)
Above: an agent of the Time Variance Authority (a.k.a. Mark Gruenwald) as conceived of and drawn by Walt Simonson, but really the owner of Gruenwald’s Bodega in the series’ first and final issues.
There you have it. The random players from all corners of the Marvel Universe, brought forth to make the All-New Ultimates world the diverse and unique place it is. So many creators, their contributions spanning several generations and landing in our humble sandbox.
It was a pleasure working on this book. Sure it was fun digging up obscure characters, but the chance to tell these stories and the creative team I told them with… that’s what made this project special to me.