Ultron’s the type of villain you can’t just beat with normal means – even for the Avengers. But in next year’s Ultron Forever specials they’ll be digging deep – deep into time that is – taking a cue from previous special story Avengers Forever with an all-star assemble of Avengers from the past, present and future.
Announced early Wednesday, April’s Avengers: Ultron Forever #1, New Avengers: Ultron Forever #1 and Uncanny Avengers: Ultron Forever #1 will see Mighty Avengers’ Al Ewing team up with industry legend Alan Davis to revisit the Ultron-dominated future from Jonathan Hickman’s recent Avengers issue and see Doctor Doom leading this time-spanning team of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. The team features three current Avengers, along with members from the 1960s, 1980s and the future yet to be written.
Newsarama talked with Ewing about these three specials that tie in to form a larger story, and discuss its origins, implications and the debut of a second all-new Captain America this year – who happens to be the child of two Avengers alums.
Newsarama: Al, what’s going on with these Ultron Forever specials?
Al Ewing: What's not going on? It's going to be a massive, time-spanning epic full of action, adventure and the kind of giant, movie-size moments people will surely be expecting from anything featuring Ultron right now.
But here's the elevator pitch - seven Avengers, from various points in Marvel history, brought together by Doctor Doom to fight Ultron in the awful future we glimpsed briefly in Jonathan Hickman's “Original Sin” issues of Avengers.
Nrama: I want to ask about Ultron, but first – this idea of an Avengers super-group is enticing. Who’s in this, and from what points in time?
Ewing: From the furthest back to the futurest - we have the Hulk, from before Avengers #1 - a Kirby/Ditko-style Hulk who's still changing what he is every month. Three toes, calls people "Palookas". Next up - Iron Man Jim Rhodes, from roughly the original Secret Wars era - maybe a little later. Walt Simonson Thor, from near the end of his run - scarred, bearded, full of hard-won wisdom. Black Widow and the Vision, from the present - an unlikely duo. Thor - new version - from very slightly in the future. I'm still working out what ominous hints she'll drop - she may have some juicy gossip from the future, she may not. And finally, from the far-off year of 20XX - Captain America!
Nrama: Don’t leave us just at that – who is this Cap from the future? Is it Sam, Steve, or perhaps someone else?
Ewing: It's Dani
elle Cage - daughter of Luke and Jess. In Captain America & The Mighty Avengers, she's only a year old, but by the year 20XX she's grown up to inherit some of her parents' powers, along with the shield and mantle of Cap. She's almost Hulk level strong, and invulnerable - she doesn't just throw the shield, she is the shield. (Also, she doesn't throw the shield - she fires it out from a 'docking station' on her wrist and then thought-controls it with anti-gravity generators. Because I can't seem to forget that time Cap had magnets on the shield.) Hopefully she'll make enough waves over the course of these specials that we'll see more of her - if not, Danielle will end up in a different cool future, I'm sure.
Nrama: How did you and Marvel go about picking these various Avengers characters?
Ewing: Tom was the one who suggested a bunch of cross-time Avengers, and we wanted to go with a fairly movie-ish lineup - hero-names that were recognizably Avenger-y; your Caps, your Thors, your Iron Mans, etc. But since all of time was available, that meant I could get interesting - pick some choices from my childhood, pick Avengers from before the Avengers even existed, and invent cool new Avengers from the future. And of course, we have some cool new Avengers right now, like the new Thor. I think the big 'eureka' moment was when we decided to have two Thors on the team - I forget exactly whose idea that was, but that really added a layer of general hugeness to the whole shebang.
Nrama: You made your debut last year with a Black Widow story set in “Age of Ultron” in Avengers Assemble. What’s it like to have her back?
Ewing: It's the difference between a solo book and a team book - in a solo, like that story was, you can really get into someone's head, whereas in a team book character tends to be drawn out through interaction. So it's slightly different. But I like Natasha's hard-edged practicality - she kind of steps into a quasi-leadership role, although she's bouncing off the Vision there, who's also great fun to write. They ended up making for a very odd-couple pairing.
Nrama: From one android to another, Ultron. What’s your appraisal of Ultron and your use of him here in these Avengers Forever specials?
Ewing: I have a fondness for Ultron. Because he's so changeable - he's a character who comes in iterations, each of which is slightly different to the last, ranging from cold and emotionless to a very human insanity - you can really do what you like with him without it being 'out of character'. There've been good Ultrons, mad Ultrons, sad Ultrons, and last time I wrote him I was essentially doing Daleks and Cybermen. This is actually my first time writing the actual Big Boss Ultron himself, and... hopefully my version fits in with the great tapestry of Ultrons through the years. I've not actually seen what Alan Davis's done with him yet, but I described Ultron in the plot as 'very glam', so we'll see.
Nrama: Speaking of Alan, what’s it like for you working with him? Growing up in the UK, you must’ve grown up on his work .
Ewing: I loved Alan's work as a kid, and I love it now - it's a real treat getting all these pages back, and I want to make sure when I'm writing the plots that I don't let him down with boring stuff. So... things get very epic. I'm probably pushing the 'massive moments' button a lot harder than I would be with some of the other artists I've worked with, but when you have a chance to work with Alan Davis, you don't want to waste it.