Last weekend’s announcement of Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez taking over the reins on the second announced “All-New Marvel” title, Invincible Iron Man, was the biggest headline of NYCC Special Edition. The Eisner winning writer and his collaborator on Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man taking over the adventures of Tony Stark mark a brand new era for one of Marvel’s premiere heroes, and it’s a title that’s sure to grab readers’ attention from its inception.
Today, The Beat had the opportunity to sit in on another of Marvel’s “Next Big Thing” conference calls, this time with Invincible Iron Man‘s new creative team, along with Marvel’s EIC Axel Alonso and Executive Editor Tom Brevoort.
Marvel was also kind enough to provide the following preview art to give readers a sneak peak into Bendis and Marquez’s take:
We’ll be updating this post live as it happens! Stay tuned!
The call opens with Marvel’s Chris D’Lando giving an overview of the series discussing the new status quo of the “8 month later” time jump of the series post-Secret Wars. He informed everyone on the call that Justin Ponsor, the colorist of the most recent run of Ultimate Spider-Man, will also be joining the team. Thusly, the entire Miles Morales team will be on board the new book.
Chris first asks Axel Alonso what they want fans to take out of these new promo images that have been released and what you see above. Alonso states that he wants fans of the character to know that Marvel is “all in” on Iron Man, especially given the high quality of talent that has been enlisted for the book.
Tom Brevoort then informs us that this is the first Iron Man book he’s been editing since the first iteration of “Marvel Now!”. Brevoort then, when asked why Bendis was the ideal writer for Iron Man, stated that his celebrated run on Daredevil and its ability to bring out new facets of the character long made him a desired option to take over Tony Stark’s adventures. The issue at hand, he states, was that the timing was never right. But, with his X-Men run wrapping up, we finally get the opportunity to see Bendis “take Tony Stark into places we’ve never seen before, much like he did with Daredevil ten years ago”.
Bendis then chimes in and jokes that he isn’t planning on doing any of that. On a serious note though, Bendis cites that the Fraction run and other runs the preceded him are difficult to live up to, but he looks forward to the challenge.
The discussion then turns to the new armor that Marquez designed and he states that “it’s an all in one kind of tool, it’s any armor you want it to be”, with multiple different abilities including the ability to change shape, which he said was one of the big points they wanted to cover along with being bold and fresh. He also cites that the armor was slimmer, which follows the general trend of technology in our own world. Bendis states that this similar line of thinking led to Warren Ellis’ Extremis storyline: this idea of Tony building himself the best toys.
The call then turns to Tony’s adopted parentage, where the previous run by Kieron Gillen had revealed this new piece of information about his past. Bendis stated that this particularly strikes a chord with him as two of his own four children are adopted and that Kieron set this up angle up for him perfectly. “We’ve got this cool new armor, and almost a whole new man in Tony Stark, who’s got to figure out who he is.”
A discussion about villains then came up, with Bendis highlighting that Iron Man’s bench is not as deep as Spider-Man’s, and during the planning phase of the new run he went into Marquez and said “show me the villains in your sketchbook” and they pulled from much of Marquez’s ideas. Bendis says “you’ll see all the new villains all at once” and they’ll be built up over the course of the new year, though a marquee Iron Man villain will appear in the first issue.
Bendis also mentions regarding Tony’s rather storied love life…he may have finally met his match in this run, additionally he teased a new supporting character that will become a major player in the book as well that hasn’t been involved in Tony’s life before.
The call then turned to press questions:
– Will Arno Stark, Tony’s brother, appear?
Yes! Though Bendis could only reveal a one word answer regarding Arno’s involvement in the book.
– With the entire Miles Morales team coming over to this new book, has the workflow of the team remained the same?
Bendis and Marquez both highlighted that they are excited to build the book from the ground up and that they are excited to continue the partnership that’s work so well in the past.
– How much will the new book build off of Tony’s personality in Tom Taylor’s Superior Iron Man?
Bendis says that everything will be touched upon from Taylor’s just concluded (as of last week) run. Nothing will be ignored or pushed aside according to the writer.
– Will we see a resolution of the future Tony that was set up in his previous Avengers run?
Bendis says that this long awaited resolution is still to come, including the idea of Tony Stark as the “Sorcerer Supreme”.
– I asked how long the first arc will be, will it be composed more of stand-alone stories or will it be a larger arc of 12-13 or more issues?
Bendis replied: “Not unlike my work on Spider-Man or Daredevil, you’re gonna be looking at a long, multi-year storyline that’s gonna be easily digestible in chapters. As one drama brings itself to a conclusion, another one pops up. Tony’s got so many balls in the air that even if he knocks one villain down, there’s another one coming. For anyone who’s read Spider-Man, the structure will be very similar.” He stated that those are the kind of books he likes to read and buy.
– On two related questions, Bendis was asked if Invincible Iron Man would cross over into other books and if any of the All-New Avengers would appear in this title?
Bendis says there are currently no plans for a crossover and that he is excited to just be writing Tony solo for the first time. He wants this series to specifically stand on its own. But, he said that the new Avengers team will appear, though he had to be coy to elaborate further.
– Will we see any of the relationship between Steve Rogers and Tony get defined or re-defined in the new title?
Bendis emphasized that he really likes their relationship and how they challenge each other, and that readers can expect to see him touch upon that dynamic.
– Outside of comics, what are you drawing from, both in terms of design and writing?
Marquez answered that he draws a ton of information of television, anime and manga. While Bendis felt like his biggest influence for this run was a shot from Iron Man 3, where Tony picks up a screwdriver out of the rubble of his house. He’s inspired by the idea that Tony can build himself up all over again despite his life often falling apart. Bendis calls this his “Iron Man 4”. He also said that the book “On Intelligence”, which speaks to why humans can’t program A.I., is a big part of the reason why he was able to get on-board with Tony’s character in the first place.
– In my favorite question of the call, one of the comics press asks, with all the changes occurring to Thor, Captain America, etc…why is it important that Tony remains Iron Man?
Bendis states that Tony himself will be undergoing changes, which while they may not be cosmetic as the other books, they will definitely be there.
– I asked if this is Bendis’ Iron Man 4, is it too much to ask that we may finally get the Marvel Comics version of Trevor Slattery?
Bendis laughed, and said “yes”. I am saddened.
– Is the idea that Tony is his own worst enemy, as we’ve seen in films like Avengers: Age of Ultron, important to this new version of Tony?
Bendis gave a great answer here when he said: “A futurist is someone who can look ten years ahead and see what the world will need and build it.” He elaborated further on this point by stressing: “Tony’s got to pick the thing that he thinks will work the best, and go with it. Not to make a King Arthur reference, but heavy is the head that wears the crown.”
The team then revealed that it was Brevoort’s idea to bring back the Invincible portion of the title, as well as returning to the red and gold design.
And speaking to a question regarding the overall accessibility of the book to new readers, Bendis states that “everyone knows Iron Man” and that’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t know him at any age at this point given the feature film success. He says that his current mindset is about taking what people like and adding to it and that Iron Man is the character most associated with Marvel today akin to how Spider-Man was in the 60’s and 70’s.
Invincible Iron Man hits stores in October! Big thanks to Chris D’Lando for having The Beat take part in this great discussion.
Entertainment Editor for The Beat covering film, television and the occasional comic book. His work can also be found at GeekRex.com and can be heard on the GeekRex podcast. Also, your go-to Grant Morrison/Love & Rockets/Hellboy/Legion of Super-Heroes expert.