The parade of press conferences coming from Marvel Comics continued today as Brian Michael Bendis and Tom Brevoort gathered to brief the press on the upcoming event The Age of Ultron, coming this March.
With the groundwork laid in the pages of The Avengers #12.1, which was also re-released as Marvel’s Free Comic Book Day book for 2012, this long alluded to story brings Bendis with artist Bryan Hitch for the return of Ultron. Here are the pertinent new items you need to know about this:
- 10 issue limited series with an accelerated shipping schedule. The first issue ships in March, with the last issue shipping in June. March and April will see 3 issues shipped.
- Bryan Hitch will be the artist on the first 5 issues only
- The last 5 issues will feature art by Brandon Peterson and Carlos Pacheco
- While the series is self contained, there will be tie in issues in Fantastic Four and Superior Spider-Man that will have supplemental numbering, similar to the Point One initiative. Those books will have AU added to their number. For example, Fantastic Four #6AU
- While the event has it’s prologue in pages of The Avengers #12.1, it is a Marvel Universe event and was meant to be from the get go
- There is no similarity to The Age of Ultron to a previous, successful event at Marvel, The Age of Apocalypse. Brevoort said this is not an alternate reality story
With the pertinent news bits out of the way, some of the interesting aspects to this announcement was not only that the book would finally see the light of day, but the accelerated shipping schedule. Brevoort assured that Hitch’s issues were done and in the can and Bendis added that the art change after 5 issues comes with a purpose that will be seen once the issues are released. Bendis, who has been in the driver’s seat for many of Marvel’s events further said that this event was designed to react to feedback from readers in terms of the kind and style of event that they want. While the story is self contained and shipping on a fast schedule, it is also in continuity (They take place during “Marvel NOW!!! with three exclamation points”as Bendis referred to it) and promises to have ramifications in the Marvel Universe. Also discussed were the supplemental issues and how they will enhance the story but not be required reading.
The biggest reveal of the press conference was when Bendis revealed that there will be a shocking ending to this series featuring a secret so big that even many people who work at Marvel don’t even know what the secret is. Brevoort confirmed this by stating that they’ve been using codewords and other tactics to keep it a secret. Bendis exclaimed “The last pages are so shocking that there are literally only six people in the whole world who know what they are.” Bendis challenged members of the press to guess what the secret may be, to which I asked if it perhaps could lead to the inclusion of Marvelman into Marvel Comics, which was followed by silence from Bendis and Brevoort. Bendis joked off the silence by saying they weren’t going to confirm if any guesses were correct, so time will tell and we’ll see what this big secret reveal is come June.
Finally, I asked Bendis if this story would tie into and resolve the dangling plot line of the Scarlet Witch/Hawkeye/Closet story from The New Avengers #26, of which Bendis responded with laughter, “You are an insane person. No matter what we’re talking about, you bring up that *expletive* closet. We were talking about the All-New X-Men and you brought up the closet. You are nuts. I love that about you. This is fantastic.” And then he dismissed the question by saying that behind the closet door was Ultron and laughed.
Start placing your bets as to what this big secret ending will be! Get them in the comments now so when it happens, you can go back and prove that you guessed it!
The Age of Ultron begins shipping in March and will wrap up after 10 issues with an epilogue issue in June. You can see a preview plus the variant cover for The Age of Ultron #1 below: