"In our opening scene, the wild parties celebrating the defeat of Gah-Lak-Tus are still going on in the background," said Carey of the series' place in continuity. "With Gah-Lak-Tus repelled from Earth, there's nothing any longer to keep the Vision here - and in fact, she really has to leave so she can carry on spreading her warning message across the universe, riding ahead of the horde as she did before.
"But before she can leave, something unexpected happens -- something that makes her delay her departure. Basically, she intercepts a signal that seems to come from one of the ships in the Gah-Lak-Tus swarm -- and the signal is coming from a low Earth orbit. She goes to investigate, and our plot unrolls from there.
"Most interesting, though, is the chance to define a core character from the ground up. We've seen very little of the Vision, and for obvious reasons for a lot of the time when we saw her she wasn't entirely herself. In fact, she's only just become herself, if you want to look at it like that. So we're sketching in her character, her abilities, her outlook out of whole cloth. It's a lot of fun to do."
As the title of the book suggests, Vision will be front and center in the limited series, allowing readers to explore the nuances of her character in a way not possible in the previous Gah-Lak-Tus storyline. But she's not the only big name in the book. "Some of the cast of Ultimate Gah-Lak-Tus will have cameos in our book -- notably, Nick Fury and Sam 'Falcon' Wilson," said Carey. "We'll also see an Ultimate version of a very old Marvel villain, who won't look even remotely like his 616 equivalent until the final issue."
The Ultimate Vision deviates from the more familiar Marvel Universe Avenger in a number of ways. "Different gender, entirely different origin and motivation, and a backstory that arises out of the Gah-Lak-Tus event rather than out of Ultron's ongoing battle against the Avengers," he explained. "We're still dealing with an android, though -- an artificial life form -– and some of our Vision's powers overlap with those of the 616 Vision. She was designed to carry her message to all worlds and civilizations, and as a side effect of that she can alter her density, so that no physical barrier can slow her down. More importantly, though, she's been designed as the ultimate communicator: She can decode any message, analyze and learn and reproduce any language, accurately interpret any signal. That may not sound like a particularly sexy superpower, but wait until you see what we do with it."
Carey' work often examines the human condition and how superpowers can be a metaphor for conflicts in daily life. "I think you've got to find the emotional truth in any character you write, or they'll just become a series of plot contrivances with a face attached," he said. "The keynote of the Vision seems to me to lie in the fact that she's the perfect communicator but at the same time she's almost completely isolated. Everyone she's ever met, up to the moment when she arrives on Earth, is dead. Think about that: every last one. She's gotten used to the idea that she's talking to the dead, and it conditions the way she responds to others. Her friendship with Sam Wilson is something unique in her whole experience, because he's still around, still alive, when she leaves. I think that has implications, and we'll be trying to explore them.
"We've also got the idea of the gap between the messenger and the message. The Vision is defined by her function, because she was literally built from the ground up around that function. But she's a sentient being, capable of growth and change and of making her own decisions. That's going to have far-reaching consequences, too."
Joining Carey on "Ultimate Vision" will be another creator familiar to Ultimate fans, artist Brandon Peterson. "Brandon does widescreen, epic space opera action like nobody else except Pasqual Ferry and Bryan Hitch, without ever losing the human scale that makes everything meaningful and powerful. I mean, who else were we going to ask?"
Carey's a recent addition to the Marvel stable and he's quickly landed many of his dream jobs, including writing the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, in both the Ultimate and regular Marvel universes. So what do you do after the dreams come true? "I'm teaming up with Mike Perkins again for another little story for the 'Marvel Holiday Special,' which is going to be just pure fun like it was last year," he revealed. "And Mike Marts and I are plotting out an X-Men annual or special which might hit the stores at the very end of this year. I'm also hoping to do a mythos book, but we'll have to see. I've pitched a story centering on one of my favourite X-Men, but not Cyclops or Rogue, before anyone asks."