Ellis' Next Wave of Titles

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“People get kicked. Things explode. What more do you need to know?”

In a press conference to promote his upcoming “Nextwave” series, Warren Ellis described the highly-anticipated book as an action blockbuster in which everything that might slow down the action – logic, plot, character, sense – is cheerfully thrown to the side. The comic book will bring together a few of Marvel’s forgotten superheroes, including Machine Man and Meltdown, to fight some of the more questionable villains in the universe. Ellis actually chose to have his team tackle Fin Fang Foom first “because he’s ridiculous; he’s a giant dragon in purple underpants.”

Inspired in part by entries in the “Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe” like the page on Black Talon, a voodoo priest that dressed like a giant rooster, Ellis has put together an inspired lineup that will clean up the messes the Beyond Corporation creates when they attempt to test super-weapons. Warren Ellis loves writing the Elsa Bloodstone character – a posh English girl with big guns and even bigger knockers – but he considers Monica Rambeau (the former Captain Marvel and Photon) to be the most fun. She wants to be Captain America, the moral center of the group, but she’s got a bad streak that keeps working against her.

Click to enlargeClick to enlargeTired of “grim, thin-headed” stories, Ellis has created a fun and fast-paced comic book that takes advantage of the more bizarre (and often hilarious) characters that have slipped through the cracks. Each story in “Nextwave” will last only two issues long to keep the momentum going strong. Fans of his action-packed run on “Authority” will love it, and combined with the sense of humor that made “Transmetropolitan” so memorable, “Nextwave” has a good chance of being the surprise hit of 2006.

In Marvel’s phone conference, Warren Ellis also discussed the upcoming “Ultimate Extinction” series briefly. The last of his amazing trilogy introducing Galactus into the Ultimate universe, “Extinction” will feature a “hugely, radically different” version of the classic character, as well as a Silver Surfer that will be recognizable by fans but won’t actually be called by that name.


But for long-time Marvel fans, the biggest news had to be the announcement that Ellis will be writing “newuniversal”, an on-going series scheduled to come out the end of this summer.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the New Universe line of comic books, Marvel will be releasing five one-shots that will be collectively known as the “Untold Tales of the New Universe”. Taking place before the destruction of Pittsburg and the ensuing war, the stories will star DP7, Justice, Nightmask, Psi-Force and Star Brand. The Kickers will have an eight-page backup story in the “New Avengers” book, and both Merc and Spitfire will have their own eight-page stories in the “Amazing Fantasy” monthly.

Marvel also plans to collect some if not all of the original New Universe series in time for the anniversary.

Once that’s done, Warren Ellis will reinterpret the universe in his new series much like J. Michael Stracynski has done with “Supreme Power”. Taking a chunk of the old stuff and mixing it in with new characters, Ellis plans on taking the forgotten franchise and putting his distinctive spin on it. Although the specifics can’t be discussed yet, Ellis is excited about the possibilities.

When asked why readers should be excited about revisiting a series of comic books that ultimately failed (all of the eight titles were cancelled within three years), Ellis brought up the phenomenal success of the new “Battlestar Galactica” series, which took the basic premise of a cheesy Seventies show and developed it into an epic masterpiece.

It’s a fair comparison. The New Universe had many fascinating concepts and characters, but the stories weren’t as interconnected as they should have been, asking readers to buy up to eight new comic books a month was unreasonable, and many of the ideas didn’t really pan out. With the singular vision of an extremely talented writer, “newuniversal” has the potential to be one of the most exciting series in years.

It looks like 2006 is going to be an excellent year for Warren Ellis, Marvel and comic book fans.

What more do you need to know?

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