The news that Brian Wood is taking over Ultimate Comics X-Men with June’s #13 was one of the few genuinely surprising pieces of Big Two news from Wondercon this weekend, not least because outgoing writer Nick Spencer hadn’t given any hint that he was going anywhere prior to the announcement, and wasn’t co-writing any issues with Wood before the hand-off, a la Jonathan Hickman’s leaving Ultimate Comics Ultimates.
On Twitter, Spencer said that “I see word is out– my run on ULTIMATE COMICS X-MEN ends with 012. Proud of what we accomplished– working w/ Pac & Carlo was a blast,” professionally being neutral about the details of his exit (and going on to say that Wood’s run will be awesome), but Wood’s interview on Comic Book Resources hinted that Spencer was being replaced on the series, with the book being given a new direction:
It’s tricky, because based on what I’ve seen, Nick was taking a real longview with his plotting, seeding things that were not likely to be resolved for years, probably. My job, as it was given to me and also as per my own instincts, is to re-focus the book and re-establish the core cast and get it in line with what’s happening in the “Ultimates” and “Ultimate Spider-Man.” The Ultimate universe is tight, we’re all working really closely together to make sure our plots line up and reflect each other and adhere to a common timeline.
The longterm stuff that Nick set up will take a breather for a little bit while we take care of that immediate business.
Spencer has had a seemingly difficult time since signing his Marvel exclusive deal a year ago: His first Marvel ongoing series, Iron Man 2.0, was cancelled with artist Ariel Olivetti giving an interview about the book “going to hell” with “backwards” scripts, and his much-anticipated Victor Von Doom mini-series was cancelled in the same month it was due for release under somewhat mysterious circumstances (It’s not all bad news; he completed both a critically-acclaimed Cloak and Dagger mini-series and a three-issue run on Secret Avengers during the year, as well) With his leaving Ultimate X-Men, the only comics projects he’s working on – at least publicly – are at Image Comics: Morning Glories, Thief of Thieves and the long-delayed Infinite Vacation, although it’s likely that his name will be attached to a new Marvel project in the wake of Avengers vs. X-Men.
(Also interesting/surprising: Spencer off Ultimate Comics: X-Men means that two of the three books have lost their core writers within a year of the line’s relaunch. Considering the quality of their replacements, it’s unlikely that the books will suffer as a result, but holy creative musical chairs, Batman.)