San Diego Comic-Con 2010

San Diego Comic-Con 2010: Ultimate Comics Thor

Jonathan Hickman heads to the Ultimate Universe and crosses over to Asgard for this new limited series with Carlos Pacheco



By Kevin Mahadeo

Every hero has an origin, and this October, Jonathan Hickman will explore the Ultimate Thunder God's when he joins with artist Carlos Pacheco for the four-issue limited series ULTIMATE COMICS THOR.

"Everybody can figure out how my ULTIMATE COMICS THOR [series] ends," jokes the writer. "They already know where everybody ends up. So the trick in telling a story like this is really about the journey and why they become those people. And we do all that."

This tale of the hammer-wielding hero's Ultimate Universe beginnings takes place before the events of the first ULTIMATES volume by writer Mark Millar and artist Bryan Hitch. Hickman says that he re-imagines a number of familiar players, including the All-Father himself, Odin, and Balder the Brave.

Odin design sketch by Carlos Pacheco
"We see Odin for the first time," he says. "We see Asgard for the first time. We see Loki as he was before and why he ends up the way he was in the later ULTIMATES work. It's how we get the hippie Thor, and I've read all of Jeph [Loeb's] stuff that he's doing right now and we tie a bunch of that stuff in as well. I'm trying to make a lot of sense of everything that came before, which is sort of a backwards way of constructing this thing. But who tells linear stories anymore, right?"

Although the writer admits he draws from the character's Norse origins, he says he wants to steer clear from Thor's regular Marvel Universe roots as much as possible.

"I'm trying to steer away from the direction that [writer] Matt Fraction is heading in for his run [on THOR] that he's getting ready to start," he notes. "It's different. All the surprises and all the cool little nuance stuff is all plot points and I'd hate to give that stuff away, but if you like Ultimate Thor, you'll be happy with it."

Hickman admits expressed a sense of excitement when Marvel assigned him the project as he has always enjoyed the Ultimate Universe version of Thor, mainly for his stark contrast to his counterpart.

"Ultimate Iron Man isn't really that much different from the characterization of what we have as Iron Man in the regular Marvel Universe," explains the writer. "It's different, but we can see the parallels. And I think Captain America, even though he's more militaristic in the Ultimate Universe, I still think we get Cap. I think the way they did Thor

Hogun design sketch by Carlos Pacheco
was a real departure and probably one of the best characters to come out of the original ULTIMATES arc. I understand why people love that. I get it and I like it a lot, too."

Artist Pacheco joins Hickman on this endeavor, and the writer says his collaborator put great effort into redesigning many of the Asgardians, especially when it came to their traditional garb.

"Carlos has done a wonderful job with it," praises Hickman. "I'm trying to think what his exact words were; he wanted to do a little death metal. It's definitely a little more Viking I would say. But again, the transition from that to how Ultimate Thor ended up being with the harness and belt and all that is part of the story."

One final tease the writer leaves readers with involves the storytelling format he plans to employ for the series. As fans of Hickman's work know, he often experiments with conveying information through supplemental material and text. In SECRET WARRIORS, he included Nick Fury's personal files and in FANTASTIC FOUR he uses Reed Richards' PDA. However, for ULTIMATE COMICS THOR, Hickman wants to try something completely new.

"I have a lot to do with how the book is being laid out and how it's going to be collected. There's a certain kind of thematic thing that we're going for there. So, it's not the same as all of that stuff that I normally do, but

ULTIMATE COMICS THOR #1 cover by Carlos Pacheco
it's in the same spirit. I'm really speaking more along the lines of that there's a presentation to the way that we're telling the story. Obviously, Carlos' art is the dominant thing as it's a comic, but there are some text pieces-not big chunks of dialogue, but text pieces-that kind of mark our journey as we're going through the story. It's just me screwing around as usual and trying to look at new, neat ways to lay things out."


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      I think the way they did Thor was a real departure and probably one of the best characters to come out of the original ULTIMATES arc. I understand why people love that. I get it and I like it a lot, too."Agreed, now, can we have him back? I'm Rather tired of the 616 clone who replaced him for Ultimates volume 3 and the current Ultimate Comics title(s).