Marvel Comics' Al Ewing on what to expect from the Inhuman at the heart of Civil War II

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May 9, 2016, 12:32 PM EDT

While moviegoers are flocking to theaters to see Captain America: Civil War, Marvel Comics is set to roll out Civil War II, a follow-up to the 2006 story arc on which the film is loosely based.

This time a new character named Ulysses sets off the conflict between heroes in the Marvel universe, and a three-issue prequel called Civil War II: Ulysses will explain the origins of this mysterious inhuman. The story begins when Ulysses develops the ability to see the future, which kicks off a superhero war over what they should (or shouldn't) do with that knowledge.

Writer Al Ewing took some time to speak to Blastr about what we can expect from this series.

What can you tell us about Ulysses?

Ewing: What I can tell you is that he's a new member of the Inhumans, who come in two flavors -- the Cool Ranch Inhumans, who lived for centuries in a hidden city and gained their powers from some sacred super-mists that they partook of at a young age, and the New Zesty Nacho Cheese Inhumans, or "NuHumans," who are seemingly normal humans who secretly have the Inhuman gene and get weird powers out of nowhere after they're hit with a giant roving cloud of said super-mists, which have been roaming the Earth since someone broke the aforementioned hidden city. 

Ulysses is one of the latter ones. He's just a normal college guy, not the super-hero type, who gets hit with the mists and wakes up with a power that could shake the whole Marvel Universe -- the power to predict the future.

How much of an effect does Ulysses have on Civil War II?

Ewing: He's the cause of it all! Essentially, the war is over whether or not the heroes should be using his powers, and what for. 

But in order to even get to that part, he has to learn how to use his abilities, which is where our Infinite Comic comes in. It's a prequel of sorts; we're following Ulysses as he's taken to the Tower of Wisdom -- a sort of Inhuman temple of learning, for want of a better term -- to be trained by Karnak, whose Inhuman ability is to see the flaw in all things. Karnak's training methods might be more than Ulysses can handle, though.
How does Civil War II differ from the original?

Ewing: The original Civil War was a fairly simple choice -- either obey the Superhuman Registration Act or rebel against it -- with one side pitted against the other. The two sides in this new one are much murkier -- there are all sorts of gradations and moral mazes involved.

We get a little taste of that in the Infinite Comic -- if you see something bad coming, how far are you prepared to go to stop it? Thanks to Karnak's machinations, Ulysses has to ask that question of himself long before anyone else.
What can fans look forward to in the Ulysses series?

Ewing: I'm pretty sure fans of Karnak will enjoy this -- he gets some good moments, and we get to see inside the recesses of the Tower of Wisdom. And hopefully this series will satisfy anyone who wants to know how Ulysses learns how to use his strange powers in time for Civil War #1.

Plus we have the awesome Karl Kesel on storyboard duty -- one of the industry's true greats -- and he's got a lot of experience with this relatively new way of making comics, and all kinds of amazing ideas about how to push things forward in terms of storytelling. I might have a few ideas in that direction myself, too. So people who like Infinite Comics -- or just comics in general -- will get a big kick out of this series.
You can look for Civil War II: Ulysses as a Marvel Infinite Comic in June, and in print in August. Civil War II kicked off on Free Comic Book Day with a special prologue issue on Free Comic Book Day, and Civil War II #0 later this month.