By Tim Stevens
ULTIMATUM, aided and abetted by writer Joe Pokaski and artist Tyler Kirkham, claims another victim on February 18, as ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR draws to a close with issue #60.
Pokaski knew from the beginning that his assignment would be a short one and specifically dedicated to completing the series. Rather than frighten him off, however, that fact caught his attention.
"On a weird level, I was excited for the opportunity," he recalls. "In the television world, I'm fascinated with series finales. I don't care if I've never watched a moment of the series, there's something about a finale that tells you what the show was all about. Look at the amazing finales we've been treated to recently. 'The Shield.' 'The Sopranos.' There was a real chance to do something with a similar dramatic punctuation."
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Months later though, the writer finds himself in a different state of mind.
"It's much sadder than I thought it was going to be," Pokaski admits. "Just as I've really gotten to get down and dirty with these characters, they're going away. I'm actually going to miss them. Everything makes me wish I could work with them longer."
In particular, he will miss the looking back into the lives of the members of the team to see what made them the people readers know today.
"The flashbacks hold a place dear to my heart," he explains. "I loved that the very first issue started with the birth of Reed and was happy to resurrect that tradition for the last few issues. Seeing these young adults as even younger kids helped me stake out the difference between them and their [Marvel Universe] counterparts."
Looking forward to ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR #60, Pokaski promises further adventures with a classic pastiche.
"Since the first two books, partially by accident and partially by design, became 'Journey to the Center of the Earth' and 'The Fantastic Voyage,' I had to go with '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,'" the writer reveals.
"Plus Ultimate Tiger Shark beats up on Ben. So there's that."
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The writer sees his storyline as being a compliment to ULTIMATUM that helps deepen the experience. Still, he stresses that either book can be read and appreciated without needing to be up to date in the other.
"I think [reading both] helps round out the context," Pokaski says. "ULTIMATUM works on its own, as does the UFF run, but together they are greater than the sum of their parts. Then, when you throw in what [writer] Aron [Coleite] is doing on ULTIMATE X-MEN and what [writer Brian] Bendis is doing on ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN, it creates a really epic, multifaceted experience for the readers who have made the Ultimate Universe their own."
Readers can snag ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR #60, written by Joe Pokaski and drawn by Tyler Kirkham, this Wednesday, to see the team takes its final bow and to set them up for the climatic issues of ULTIMATUM. You can also follow the Ultimate FF from the beginning on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.
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