The Ultimates need a vacation. The members of the Ultimate Universe’s premier super team are currently fighting to liberate America from an army of foreign super soldiers, who launched a surprise attack on US soil in the pages of “Ultimates 2” #9, in part three of a storyline titled “Grand Theft America.” After “Grand Theft America” concludes, two members of the Ultimates will get a vacation, but it will be far from restful. Writer Charlie Huston and an unannounced artist will chronicle this trip in the pages of this summer’s “Ultimates Annual” from Marvel Comics. CBR News spoke with Huston about the annual.
Huston was surprised to be given the chance to write an adventure featuring The Ultimates, one of Marvel’s most popular super teams. “I can only assume that I got a chance to do this gig because ten or twenty more experienced and deserving writers all simultaneously came down with brain tumors,” he told CBR News. “That or they all got together at Marvel and decided it would be funny to have the new guy be the first writer to follow Millar.”
He may be the new guy when it comes to writing comics but Huston is a fan of Millar’s writing and the colorful cast of characters that make up “The Ultimates.” “They’re an utterly dysfunctional super group,” Huston said. “Alcoholic, vain, fascistic, abusive, bi-polar, and homicidal are just a few of the lovely characteristics members of the Ultimates display. I love them.”
This year’s “Ultimates” Annual is set shortly after “Grand Theft America” and finds the team in rough shape. “The entire team, or whatever portion of it Millar and Hitch leave breathing, will make appearances,” Huston explained. “But the bulk of the story will focus on Cap and The Falcon.”
“I’m still ironing out details, but the basic idea is a road trip across America with Cap and Sam,” Huston stated. “What I’m interested in digging into is the relationship between a white man who has a 1940s mentality and a contemporary black American. You frequently get to see Cap reacting to the brave new world of the 21st century, but what about the 60 years he missed? What does he think about all the #### that went down while he was frozen? And, you know, he’s gonna throw his shield at some ###holes along the way.”
The ###holes that will be getting a face full of Cap’s shield will include a number of villains making their Ultimate Universe debut. “I’m working on some new Ultimate villains,” Huston said. “They are contemporary versions of older villains that Ultimate Cap may have faced in WWII.”
Huston’s dark toned tale begins in NYC and then hits the roads of America. “It’s probably not by chance that Marvel thought I might like to take a stab at one of their darkest and most violent titles,” Huston explained. ” I mean, for all the big hero action you find in ‘Ultimates’, I find it to be far and away the bleakest and, no coincidence here, most realistic portrayal of costumed super heroes. And God knows there’s no end of ####ed ##### happening in America right now. So, take a decidedly old fashioned, my country right or wrong, guy like Cap and imagine what happens when he really gets down in the trenches of America and his ideals come face to face with reality. Remember how he responded when he found out about Hank Pym beating his Jan? Me, I think he might decide every man woman and child in the country needs the same treatment just to teach them a lesson and get them back on track.”
Reader’s who have yet to check out the “Ultimates” will find the annual a good jumping on point, while fans of the “Ultimates” will discover what roles the villains featured in the annual played in the history of the Ultimate Universe.
Huston is enjoying playing in the sandbox of the Ultimate Universe but also find it a little daunting. “It’s Intimidating. That’s where the big boys hang out. There’s no way to come out unmarked when the standard has been set by Millar and Bendis and Ellis and so on. All you can do is dig in and tell your story and hope it stands up to the expectations of the readership.”
“Me, I think the UMU is crying out for Ultimate Speedball. I’m gonna pitch it to Joe Quesada. ‘Page one panel one: Ultimate Speedball bouncing off and wall. Page one panel two: Ultimate Speedball being sucked into a massive black hole that appears out of nowhere and rends him to theoretical particles when he hits the event horizon. Page two through page twenty-two: Ultimate Joe Quesada gets drunk at Ultimate Speedball’s wake and plays the Stairway to Heaven solo on his guitar.”
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