Join Date: Aug 2008
Re: Fantastic Four reborn! - Part 5
SB: [laughs] Tom's beard aside, we have your first issue of Fantastic Four set to arrive here in the states on February 13th. The solicitation makes mention of a "Mrs. Fantastic." Obviously, the literal Mrs. Fantastic is Sue, but this mysterious character is someone else. I know you can't get into specific details, but what can you tell us about this new "Mrs. Fantastic"?
MM: One of the things I started thinking about when I began researching the book was that Reed looks about forty, and Sue looks about thirty years old. Reed's the world's smartest man. Sue is very smart herself, but she's much more of a normal person. When you think about it, they're kind of a weird couple. They're an odd mix. And then I started thinking about how Reed is a bit older than Sue. For example, when Reed was studying in Vienna at twenty years old, Sue was only ten years old. He clearly wasn't going out with her back then.
So I asked: who was he going out with at that point? More and more, to me, Sue seemed like somebody Reed possibly picked up on the rebound. I looked at her as somebody who isn't as smart as Reed is, and somebody he might not have spent as much time with before they got together.
So I came up with someone who was as smart as Reed at the university. Somebody he's known since he was eighteen, who was a super-rich, suave girl that Reed was on the verge of marrying back in his early twenties. She eventually left his life, and this is her re-entering it almost two decades later. The nickname everyone came up for her was "Mrs. Fantastic." She's the female Reed. Just like how Reed has created this amazing life, she has been doing equally amazing things with her life. And now she's coming to Reed with a problem that she needs help with.
On a very simple level, she's the girl your dad dated before you were born. You always think of your dad as being with your mom. So the family has to come to terms with this girl showing up, and she's got something very deadly they have to deal with.
SB: Well, along with the arrival of Mrs. Fantastic, the solicitation for your second issue reads: "THE EARTH IS DOOMED! Buy this issue for a first-look at mankind's new home. Also, the Torch gets nekkid with a super-villain." The most honest question from that is: Johnny really likes the bad girls, doesn't he?
MM: [laughs] Well that's the thing, right? He's got a terrible taste in women! Whether he's shagging that Skrull lass or whatever else comes by. The scene really struck me as a "Johnny moment." There's a bank robbery, and a beautiful villainess is taking off with the stuff, Johnny confronts and fights her for a few pages, and all of a sudden they just start kissing each other. I love the idea of Johnny getting into these bad situations. He likes this girl, but on one hand she robs banks, and on the other hand she's just so good in bed. [laughs] He's left with this classic Johnny dilemma of: does he bust her or does he continue a relationship with her?
SB: Is that the classicism that you're trying to bring back to the team? To be honest, it's been a couple years since I seriously read a Fantastic Four comic, but it seems as though that aspect of Johnny has been lacking in recent times. People have sort of cleaned him up as he grew up, so to speak. I've always had the memory of the Human Torch being the anti-Spider-Man. Whereas Peter is the nice, fun-loving, responsible guy, Johnny is the bad kid that skips school and chases the bad women.
MM: Absolutely!! That's definitely something I've wanted to bring back. The idea that "with great power comes great responsibility" is the opposite of what Johnny believes in. He's a world famous superhero, and sure he's saving lives, but he's going to use his fame as much as he can. He's kind of the Marvel Universe Paris Hilton, where he's fantastic and everyone wants to hang out with him, because he's where the party is. He's a big rock star. He's an *******, but a very likable *******. [laughs]
SB: So you have this big threat to earth. Mankind is doomed and we all have to relocate, etc. However, the planet is threatened in every superhero comic, every single issue. It's kind of the norm for the Fantastic Four. What makes this threat different from all the rest?
MM: I don't think this will give too much away, but the big threat the FF is facing is the crisis we're currently facing in reality. Our planet is dying. We're ****ed. It's not Galactus or Annihilus, it's actually just an environmental catastrophe that's coming. We've been told about it, but it's coming a lot sooner than we all think. We all have to get off-world. That's the beginning of this story. It's how things kick off. Other problems will arise and other threats come throughout the story, but our environmental crisis is what begins the story.
SB: And just to be clear, by saying our planet is ****ed, you're referring to global warming, not Hilary Clinton becoming President of the United States, right?
MM: [laughs] I bet a lot of the super-villains are rubbing their hands together wishing they had a vote right now. [laughs]
SB: Doctor Doom always tends to pop up every now and then, and he played a significant role in your Ultimate FF run. Would it be safe to say that he'll be popping up somewhere in your current run?
MM: Oh absolutely! To me Doctor Doom is as much of a part of the FF as Mr. Fantastic in a way. That said, we're trying not to rely too much on the old villains. We're trying to create as many new villains and new concepts as possible. Otherwise you're just putting a remix on what's come before. But I think you would feel cheated if Doom didn't show up. I think the fans would especially feel cheated if they couldn't see Bryan draw Doom. He's not the major villain of the story, but he's definitely an important part of the story.
SB: So we'll get you out of here on this: would you be willing to come back about six issues into your run to discuss what's happened and where your run goes from there?
MM: I would love to! There will be a very significant change in issue six that will get a lot of people talking. I can't wait for you guys to read it!
From Comics Bulletin February 12, 2008
Sean Boyle interviews Mark Millar