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By Tim Stevens
Conceived as a utopia, Nu-World stood ready for the richest of the richest one percent to inherit it should the original Earth become unsustainable. On April 22, those highly prosperous people will be sorely disappointed when the meek inherit Nu-Earth.
It all begins to unfold in FANTASTIC FORCE #1 written by Joe Ahearne and drawn by Steve Kurth. Picking up where Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch left off in FANTASTIC FOUR #562, Ahearne and Kurth will chronicle the trials and tribulations of the refugees from a far flung future and their super powered protectors, formerly known as the New Defenders. The team, made up of the Hooded Man, Natalie X, Banner Jr., Lightwave, Alex Ultron and Psionics, will immediately find themselves in a more difficult situation than the word "utopia" would lead one to believe.
"It was a utopia designed for the selected ultra-rich of 21st century Earth, not eight billion starving refugees from the future," Ahearne explains. "Conflict is hard-wired into Nu-World from the very beginning. How does a traumatized population deal psychologically with being given everything they want? Nu-World is run by androids, artificial slaves-how does Alex Ultron, a 26th century artificial man feel about that?"
To make matters worse, it will not be long before the team comes upon against its first super villain.
"As the arc progresses we'll see that there's an extremely powerful super villain who has every cause to hate Nu-World and want to see it destroyed," the writer reveals.
While these events promise plenty of action, Ahearne has no intention of ignoring characterization.
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"I love books with a strong group dynamic," he admits. "Growing up I was inspired by team books [featuring the like of] the Avengers and Fantastic Four and X-Men. [FANTASTIC FORCE] combines elements of all three but with a spin.
"The Hooded Man is the Wolverine of the future, several hundred years after the current 'Old Man Logan' storyline [running in the WOLVERINE ongoing series]. His stepson is Banner Jr., who has the body and strength of the Hulk but prefers to use his brain to solve problems. Lightwave is from the planet Zenn-La and used to be a super villain before all super-powered people on Earth had to team up to fight off Galactus. His daughter, Psionics, has the power of telekinesis and has something of a weakness for super-powered guys. Natalie X is the future era's most powerful telepath and youngest member of the team. Alex Ultron is a robot, but that's not how he sees himself and neither does Natalie. They're in love and have no 21st century hang-ups about human-android compatibility. Although just like Quicksilver the mutant was prejudiced against machines, Alex the machine has a bit of a xenophobia thing about aliens going on."
While Ahearne might be scripting the series, he places significant credit for the book at the feet of others, starting with his predecessor.
"Mark Millar gave me some good advice: if you're spending a lot of time going into Marvel history on Wikipedia, be careful. And I know what he means. Seductive though that is especially for my generation you've got to look forward."
He also believes that the book will be richer for the work of his collaborators, artist Steve Kurth and editor Jeanine Schaeffer.
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"I'm fortunate to be working with Steve Kurth who in addition to being a superb artist is also terrific with keeping the eye moving and interested," Ahearne acknowledges. "Steve always comes up with great framings and lots of extra storytelling detail that is very thrilling to me. Jeanine Schaeffer has been great in developing the material and pointing out where I'm shortchanging a moment or a character or a concept. She made some great choices in the first issue that transformed the rest of the arc."
Travel to Nu-World in FANTASTIC FORCE #1 on April 22. You can also check out Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch's FANTASTIC FOUR on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!
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