It’s a brave new world post-Age of Ultron, and Joshua Hale Fialkov wanted to expand on the repercussions in this PREVIEWSworld Exclusive interview. He and artist Leonard Kirk will soon be bringing fans Hunger (MAY130593), a four-issue mini-series that has Galactus descend on Earth for another all-you-can-eat outdoors buffet. Obstructing the way to paper napkins and cutlery is Rick Jones. And Joshua assures us, Rick is the man for the job. We just don’t know it yet.
PREVIEWSworld: Time change spins out of the end of Bendis' work on "Age of Ultron." That change seems to be at the heart of how Galactus gets engaged with the Marvel Universe again in "Hunger." True? Or is there a Back to the Future surprise for us that gives readers another game change?
Joshua Hale Fialkov: Having Galactus dropped into this strange new universe is such a huge deal, and his journey to earth is going to be… educational. For him and for our heroes. As for the future, the shockwaves from Age of Ultron are something that will be felt in the Ultimate Universe for a LONG time to come. Not just in this story, but in what comes after, and what comes after that, and so on.
PREVIEWSworld: You're a self-professed "Jack Kirby nut," which means that you're schooled on big and bold storylines with little chance to stop for fresh air. As in a previous interview you've confessed that "Galactus is all over my office," this makes you over-qualified to talk about the tall purple planet eater, yes? So what ideas or thoughts did you gleam from The King’s previous work that helped you with plotting on Hunger?
Joshua Hale Fialkov: What I've tried to take from Jack Kirby is the down-to-earth way he handles these larger than life characters. From his earliest work with Simon up until the truly insane things he was doing in the 80's, Jack was constantly pushing action and character as equal things. Look at the emotion on every page of his Fantastic Four! It positively DRIPS from the page. Finding a way to ground your story, especially something THIS huge, is extremely hard, so, that's why I look to The King.
PREVIEWSworld: So what we've learned so far is that Ultimate Rick Jones sees Galactus arrive on Earth, and he takes it upon himself to get rid of the big guy. Interject Saturday Night Live skit: Really? From the layman on the street, we'd hear "really?" Joshua: Rick Jones? Ok, explain that one to us so that we see how short-sighted we are, and how Rick Jones is going to make believers out of all of us.
Joshua Hale Fialkov: Rick is one of my favorite characters in the Marvel pantheon. He and Spider-Man served as parallels to each other in so many ways. Rick was the sidekick who didn't want to be a sidekick, but had no choice. That's such an interesting story, that can't be told with a Robin or a Speedy or a Bucky.
In the Ultimate Universe, Rick has been chosen and then, more or less, abandoned. He gave up the entirety of his life to go and 'protect the universe' but has found himself more or less stranded and worthless. So, absolute power, huge responsibilities, and, he just wants to go back to high school and try to get a date. He's a wonderful character, and I hope I do him proud.
PREVIEWSworld: This is all supposed to tie together in that "Hunger" will lead into your future work on Ultimate Comics: Ultimates correct? So who is the lucky Editor that keeps track of this continuity, and what sort of conversations/concerns have been expressed in moving forward on this history?
Joshua Hale Fialkov: Poor, poor Mark Paniccia and Emily Shaw. This event is going to shape and redefine ALL of the Ultimate universe, but, yes, the repercussions will be felt very strongly in my work over the next few months. If you're not reading Ultimates, now would be the time to jump on board. Unless Evil Reed Richards and the Hulk vs. The World isn't your cup of tea, in which case, I'm so very sorry for your life.
PREVIEWSworld: What do you hope to bring to the table for the Ultimate universe with this story, as the fallout by the series' end is said to be "huge." Is this an opportunity to push the envelope even further than what Millar and Bendis did years ago with the introduction of the Ultimate universe? Are you trying to re-invent the wheel?
Joshua Hale Fialkov: What Brian and Mark did with the Ultimate Universe rewrote the rules of comics in a way that has touched every single corner of the mainstream. The New 52 at DC and the main Marvel universe are birthed and reshaped into something that very much fits that mold. When Brian, Mark, Emily, and I talk about the event and the future of the Ultimate Universe, we very much talk about what will come next. What can we do that ISN'T being done, and, I think you guys will be pleasantly surprised when you see what we come up with. No matter what, it's going to be MARVELous.