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Creating the Ultimate Thor

Jonathan Hickman discusses exploring the Thunder God's origins in Ultimate Comics Thor

By Chris Arrant

In the realm of Marvel's Ultimate Universe, the hammer-wielding God of Thunder has been a prophet, a hero, dead and reborn-but what about before all that? When ULTIMATE COMICS THOR, a four-issue limited series from writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Carlos Pacheco, begins on October 6, readers will see where the character came from before his debut as a hippie cult leader in the pages of ULTIMATES #1.

ULTIMATE COMICS THOR #1 cover by Carlos Pacheco
Although cut from the same cloth, the classic version of Thor and the one depicted in the Ultimate line possess key differences. While the Thunder God most familiar to us has grown comfortable on Earth, his Ultimate counterpart questions his status and has even doubted his own sanity and claims to godhood at times.

"They are very different characters," says Hickman. "I think those differences should be played up and not diminished. I'm of the opinion that the Ultimate universe shouldn't mimic the [Marvel Universe version], otherwise, what's the point?"

With Thor's true lineage clarified and confirmed with his mischievous brother Loki's near conquest of Earth in ULTIMATES 2, Thor's origin in ULTIMATE COMICS THOR takes the siblings back to their roots in the fabled realm of Asgard.

"It starts eons ago, in the long ago time of mystic Asgard, and, yes, takes us up to the start of [the first issue of] ULTIMATES," the writer promises. "If I do my job well, it should jive with all the Ultimate Thor things we've seen up to this point."

This origin story for Thor and his people goes back to the beginning, showing for the first time the Ultimate rendition of fabled Asgard, centerpiece of the nine realms of Norse mythology and home to the mythical race Odin. But in ULTIMATE COMICS THOR, this auspicious debut shows the mythological metropolis on the verge of destruction.

"I think continuity demands that we burn it to the ground, so we'll be doing that," teases Hickman.

Hickman and Pacheco's venture into the past of Ultimate Thor takes him to the final days of his land: Ragnarok. The word means "Doom of the Gods" in the old Norse language, and represents the fabled final story of the Norse people, where their principal figures of legend-including Thor,

ULTIMATE COMICS THOR #1 preview art by Carlos Pacheco
Loki and Odin-fall, their land subsumed by water. For ULTIMATE COMICS THOR, Hickman brings his knowledge of classic comic stories to bear with the added knowledge of Norse mythology going back to texts over seven hundred years old. But although those tomes may seem old and musty to some, Hickman's unique senses keep them fresh.

"There's also some cool science of the brain stuff in the book," he adds. "Some Norse mysticism and a bit to do with the magic origins of the Germanic languages. Oh, and a bit about rainbows that's kind of interesting."

Although Thor has been prominently depicted in THE ULTIMATES and various titles across Marvel's Ultimate line, this limited marks his first solo series. Hickman strictly studied those previous appearances and liked what he saw.

"Warren [Ellis] made him really fond of beer [and] I'm traditionally a fan of the tasty, so that was fun," he says. "Jeph [Loeb]'s current NEW ULTIMATES arc is very Thor-centric and I think it's got a lot of very good stuff in it."

Although Hickman has become a key writer in Marvel's stable of creators with work on FANTASTIC FOUR, SECRET WARRIORS and S.H.I.E.L.D., this marks his first jaunt into the Ultimate Universe.

"It's been fun," he reflects. "I hate that it's only for four issues, because I feel like I could really cut loose-maybe some other time."

Hickman's creative exuberance will be well-balanced by the experienced and expressive Pacheco, a comics veteran.

ULTIMATE COMICS THOR #1 preview art by Carlos Pacheco
"The guy's a legend and just an incredible talent," the writer praises of his collaborator. "I've been very fortunate lately in that the guys I've been working with are able to tunnel into my head and deliver either exactly what was in there, or something better. Carlos brought the hammer on this one."


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      Are you serious? JMS's run on Thor is of the best Thor stories I've ever seen!!!! AND Fraction's going to be taking over that now i hear, I'm really interested to see what he does with that. And I'm really excited for this I LOVE Ultimate Thor, he makes me laugh. I hope he still has that feel of fun seriousness to him.


      I wish marvel get the thor character right.Period,be it ultimate or otherwise he should be marvel's superman. Not the hulks' whipping boy or the terrible writing he's been getting. Marvel is not what it use to be