Game, set and death match

Al Ewing talks about New Avengers, Ul­ti­mates And Con­test of Cham­pi­ons

Comic Heroes - - Feature -

New Avengers cen­tres on a re­formed A.I.M. Do you like re­formed vil­lains?

Peo­ple like Sand­man and the Rogues’ Gallery were big draws for me grow­ing up, and I al­ways hated it when they in­evitably turned back to crime. So when Sunspot bought A.I.M. and turned them to the cause of good, less-mad sci­ence, I thought it was great and hoped it was a change that’d stick around. And then pretty soon, I found my­self in a po­si­tion to make sure it would.

In bring­ing Ul­ti­mates into the main Marvel Uni­verse, do you rely on Mark Mil­lar and Bryan Hitch’s orig­i­nal run?

Not re­ally. We go big and widescreen, but we do it in a dif­fer­ent way, one maybe more fit­ting for the Marvel Uni­verse it­self. I’m try­ing to push for­ward and do big, in­ter­est­ing stuff that maybe hasn’t been done quite this way be­fore. There is one big ref­er­ence, though, as the Triske­lion is now in the Marvel Uni­verse, as cool as it ever was, with a few ad­di­tional at­tach­ments built in. That’s go­ing to be a lot of fun to play around with.

With the Ul­ti­mate Uni­verse no more, what makes them the Ul­ti­mates?

It’s more of a the­matic link. These are the Ul­ti­mate su­per­heroes, find­ing and fix­ing prob­lems. Ul­ti­mates is a great name, and it’d be a pity to let it go. But peo­ple ex­pect­ing any Ul­ti­mate Uni­verse ac­tion are, un­for­tu­nately, go­ing to be dis­ap­pointed.

Con­test of Cham­pi­ons was Marvel’s first cross­over in 1980, pre­dat­ing Se­cret Wars. Do you ref­er­ence the minis­eries or the re­cent video game?

It’s very much in­spired by the video game. I’ve played it, but I’m not so good at it, although I’ll give it another se­ri­ous go once the char­ac­ter I helped in­vent specif­i­cally for this se­ries, Guil­lo­tine, drops in the game. We’re also bring­ing back Out­law, the Bri­tish Pu­n­isher, and I’m re­ally hop­ing he gets into the game even­tu­ally.

Does Con­test of Cham­pi­ons em­u­late sim­i­lar glad­i­a­to­rial-for­mat se­ries like Avengers Arena and Se­cret Wars, or in­deed The Hunger Games?

There are some ten­u­ous links to Se­cret Wars that’ll be­come more ob­vi­ous in due course. In terms of Avengers Arena and Hunger Games, there’ll al­ways be some shared DNA with sto­ries where peo­ple have to fight in arena-type set­tings. But this isn’t quite the hero-ver­sus-hero ac­tion peo­ple are dread­ing; it’s more hero-ver­sus-vil­lain in a team sport kind of way with oc­ca­sional deaths and build­ing to­wards some­thing.

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