With the convention season closing in on its end, everyone’s had a chance to rest up and now Marvel Comics is bringing you another of their always fun, always informative press conferences. Today’s topic is “Ultimate Fantastic Four” #33, from the new creative team of Mike Carey and Pasqual Ferry. Attending this conference were: Mike Carey, Editor Ralph Maccio, Associate Editor John Barber, Director of Sales David Gabriel, Director of Marketing John Dokes, and Communications Assistant Manager Jim McCann. After you finish reading all the news from the phone conference, you can check out our previous “UFF” interview with Carey and salivate over the solicit for “UFF” #33. And remember to keep refreshing this page for the latest in news
ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR #33
Written by MIKE CAREY
Pencils & Cover by PASQUAL FERRY
“GOD WAR” Part 1 (of 6)
Seed Nineteen-a bizarre name for the most bizarre characters ever to enter the lives of the F.F.: Threshold, Fountain, Magnificent Brute, Dreamcatcher. These incredible entities hold the key to a cosmic conflict that has raged for untold millennia and now involves our quarrelsome quartet. You’ve never seen anything like it! We promise. And it debuts our new creative team: Mike Carey on script and Pasqual Ferry on pencils!
32 PGS./Rated A …$2.99
After some technical difficulties for all, Carey was able to get on the line and was introduced by McCann. Carey called his “Ultimate Fantastic Four” run “a complete change of pace, a complete change of tone” and praised writer Mark Millar’s previous work. He said that it will hearken back to the Warren Ellis run and his depiction of the multiple universe in the “Stack,” specifically focusing on a war within one of the higher levels. The FF will get drawn into the war when it spills into our universe and we’ll see familiar cosmic villains such as Thanos. He’s an evil dictator with some “unsettling powers” and he’s “close to being a god.”
“There’s a cast of thousands,” said Carey of the new characters appearing in the book and praised Ferry’s artwork. Some characters aren’t “100% new” according to Carey, and may be renamed versions of other Marvel characters, though Carey won’t reveal who quite yet.
At the end of this first arc, there’s an ultimate version of a Marvel artifact that will potentially impact the entire Ultimate universe and have major consequences for the Fantastic Four.
The Fantastic Four will be out of their element facing such an imposing foe and Carey admitted that the team will be on the defensive for much of the story. “I’ve tried to put the relationships under stress and under threat,” said Carey of how the characters will be affected, citing a moment where the Thing faces someone much bigger and stronger, causing him to question his place in the team. A character named Threshold will find herself attracted to Reed Richards, which affects his relationship with Sue Storm, and will move both characters forward.
It was asked if the Ultimate universe is more than just revamping old stories and Carey cited “multi-level stories” as a big part of the universe’s appeal. He explained that new readers can enjoy the accessible stories and old fans can thrill to something “fresh and unexpected” with older storylines. Asked if he’d like to tackle the non-ultimate version of the Fantastic Four, Carey was enthusiastic about doing that and said he’s always thought the book was, well, fantastic.
Asked about unmined FF territory, Carey said he couldn’t think of something off the top of his head to share, but explained that the Reed/Sue relationship is unique because of the way they met and their age, which leaves them ripe for interesting new stories. Carey wants to get back to the Thing feeling disconnected from humanity because of his condition, unable to participate in certain normal activities, and bring Johnny Storm into some unusual circumstances to really explore his hotheaded nature.
Carey said that there’s a comfortable feel in “UFF” that he wants to shake up, though he sees the appeal of having “the adults around,” but he’d like to “sabotage that” and put the FF in a place where they don’t have adults to look to for guidance. Carey wants the Baxter Building think tank backdrop to disappear and be “utterly demolished,” so the team has to fall back on their own resources, though he doesn’t want it to be a permanent thing.
Carey said that the biggest challenge with characters like Thanos, or Doctor Doom, is to “not create Ultimate versions that are less in stature.” He said he wanted to make Thanos as intimidating as the “Infinity Gauntlet” version and to make him “a believable threat on a huge scale.” He also cited Reed as his favorite to write, seeing him as a “wish fulfillment” character, since Carey was quite the bookworm as a child. The scribe finds that combining the brilliance of Reed with the insecurities of a teenager is quite fascinating as a writer and a reader. Carey also loves Ultimate Spider-Man and wants him to show up in a cameo in “UFF.”
While Carey’s next storyline will be “more Earthbound,” Reed will feel the effects of the previous arc and a gift that Carey called a “poisoned chalice.” The story will take place in Siberia and we’ll see some new Ultimate versions of some Russian characters, one hero and one other character. Carey later admitted that one character appearing will be the Crimson Dynamo.
The original Fantastic Four reflected their era’s desire to push the boundaries of known science with space exploration, and when asked how he’s integrating that same spirit into “UFF,” Carey said, “The onus on you, when you’re writing the FF, to take the ideas as far as you can and make each story seem like an adventure, not just in having exciting off the wall stuff happening, but trying to deal with ideas that are exciting, bizarre, crazy and unexpected in themselves. You have to have that kind of conceptual thrust to the book along with everything else that has to be there, as well as the themes of family which are also vital.”
Asked if Reed will help Spider-Man convert anymore of his bodily fluids into commercial goods, Carey joked, “We’re looking at licensing possibilities.”
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