Al Ewing takes the most powerful team in the Marvel Universe to the next level!
This fall, Marvel has prepared for you the ultimate in comic book adventure—squared.
Writer Al Ewing, joined by artist Travel Foreman, will bring back the science and adventure team, turned up to 11, in ULTIMATES SQUARED. Before the book hits stands, Ewing took time to tell us how the group has evolved to the point of earning that superscript.
Marvel.com: First of all, one has to ask right out of the gate, why have the Ultimates becomes squared? What does the book’s new title reflect about the change the team has gone through?
Al Ewing: It’s the next level. Ultimate ULTIMATES. We’re going bigger, weirder, stranger, more cosmic, more out there, more everything. As the events of Civil War II loosen the Ultimates’ ties with the Earth—and each other—they find themselves called up to a higher level of super heroics on a scale beyond anything they’ve imagined. We’re building towards something with this second year, and hopefully that something is going to blow a lot of readers’ minds inside-out.
Marvel.com: How is the change of title indicative of a change in tone, if at all?
Al Ewing: Personally, the plan is to double down on the elements that struck a chord with people the first time around: the big cosmic, the psychedelic vistas. Things are a little more directed, though—the mysterious Cosmic Jailer who chained Eternity will be a bit more evident. They’ve been on the periphery of events for a while now, lurking and looming, but now they’re taking their rightful place as the Big Bad. So now the Ultimates are a team with a defined enemy they’re working to uncover and stop.
Marvel.com: Travel Foreman is now on as the artist for the book. How does his style inform the pacing? Have you noticed any changes in your scripting style because of the influence of his art style? What made him a good choice, in your opinion for ULTIMATES SQUARED?
AL Ewing: Well, he’s brilliant. I’ve seen his cover, it’s astonishing—his cosmic game is obviously on point. His art’s previously grabbed me by the throat and not let go, so I’m extremely happy to have him on board and very much hoping I do him justice on the script front. As for the tone…well, I’m going to take advantage of his horror chops in December with [a] ghost story. I’m looking forward to seeing where we go after that.
Marvel.com: What can you tell us about the makeup of the team? Any new or departing members you can speak to?
Al Ewing: The core five are still in place—plus Galactus. We hinted from the start that he was on the team, and now he’s a part of things.
Which might sound weird to those who know Galactus mostly by reputation, but those who’ve been following ULTIMATES will know that the Devourer of Worlds evolved into the Lifebringer, a cosmic force for good, and been charged by Eternity himself with the ultimate mission: finding out who caged all creation.
Meanwhile, we can expect guest stars—Philip Vogt and his Troubleshooters will be a big part of the Earth side of things, and if things go as they have done we can expect some Giant-Man action. Oh, and Conner Sims, the Anti-Man, has a big role to play in things…
Marvel.com: The team’s mission to be less super hero vigilantes and more scientists and explorers with super powers took them to some interesting places and embroiled them in some complex conflicts so far. How, if at all, does ULTIMATES SQUARED revisit or alter that mission statement in the wake of those experiences?
Al Ewing: They’re still acting as scientists, explorers, and problem-solvers, but ULTIMATES SQUARED gives them a single problem to solve. Galactus brings them the question—who chained the cosmos? Who imprisoned everything? And they have to solve it, and that leads them into some interesting areas. We’ve seen cosmic science, issue #2 of ULTIMATES SQUARED deals with cosmic parapsychology. If there’s something strange in your universe, who you gonna call?
Marvel.com: As a writer, how has your approach to the returning characters evolved? How might you be changing your handling the team?
Al Ewing: Characters have arcs, and that’s true for the characters in ULTIMATES SQUARED. They’re all learning stuff. I want to do more with America and Monica—Carol got a huge dose of the spotlight, what with Civil War II, and she’s going to have some fallout from that, while T’Challa has his own book and the first season of ULTIMATES was very Adam-heavy. So I want to balance things out a little there. Not that we’ll see the rest of them fade into the background, of course.
Marvel.com: If I could step aside for a moment and allow you to speak directly to fans, what one or two sentence statement would you want to make sure they could hear to sell them on this comic?
Al Ewing: Welcome to the A-Squared list. It doesn’t get bigger than this.
Marvel.com: As far as you are able, can you tease anything, plotwise, about the book’s opening arc?
Al Ewing: Heralds of Galactus. Tensen in the ranks. Secret identities. Ordered Chaos. Infinity and Beyond.
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