Marvel is set for another week of “Next Big Thing” conference calls with the comic book press, discussing upcoming releases from their Marvel NOW! slate.
First up: Iron Man. Issue #1 just went on sale last week, but, based on the cover to #6 released to the press by Marvel, it looks like details on the second arc will be revealed, Things will get started right around 3 p.m. — we’ll keep you continually updated, so keep refreshing this page.
On the line: Marvel’s James Viscardi and series writer Kieron Gillen, plus a bunch of reporters.
Gillen’s second Iron Man arc starts in February, “Godkiller.” It’s set in space, and is essentially what happens “in between” Gillen’s first story on the book, and Tony Stark joining the Guardians of the Galaxy.
The story will deal in part with Iron Man’s dealings with the Phoenix in Avengers vs. X-Men, and how he’s continuing to question the way he looks at the world.
“It’s basically a Conan story, with Tony Stark in the position of Conan,” Gillen says.
As seen, Tony has a new suit of armor, that he’s been building for this purpose. “Tony has been having a crisis of his belief. Tony wasn’t really expecting this. He kind of falls into it.”
At first, Iron Man thinks he’s in a ’60s space opera, Gillen says, but soon realizes that it’s something much more deconstructionist.
First press question, from CBR: How does Gillen balance writing stories that are built on past issues, while also keeping things accessible for new readers? Gillen says there’s nothing in his first arc that readers “don’t need to know,” though if you do know past history, it helps inform the reading experience.
Gillen says the second arc is still meant to be accessible, but it’s not the same as the one-and-dones in his first five issues.
Next press question, from iFanboy: How will Tony’s love life be affected by his time in outer space? “Not only does he have James T. Kirk and Han Solo fantasies, he’s explicitly aware of that” — though things go wrong for him.
“There’s a playfulness to it,” Gillen says of the arc. “This is a fish-out-of-water story.”
Next press question, from The Beat: Is Tony Stark’s mustache gone forever, post-issue #1? Gillen points to the narration caption that a biochemist friend can help him regrow it in a couple of hours, though his facial hair plays an important role in the story.
Next press question, from us: How was the story developed between Guardians of the Galaxy writer Brian Michael Bendis, and is Greg Land on board for the entire second arc? Gillen says it started to come together at a Marvel writers’ summit. “The second you put Tony in space, it makes sense for all sorts of reasons,” Gillen says. “In terms of going forward, my current conception is, much like the opening line of Hawkeye — Tony Stark is a member of Guardians of the Galaxy, [the solo Iron Man series] is what he does when he’s not with the Guardians of the Galaxy.” And yes, Greg Land is drawing all of the second arc.
Next question, from the AP: What happens to Pepper Potts and the rest of the Earth-bound Iron Man case? Gillen says it will be dealt with, but declined to go into too much detail — though “there’s something interesting about Pepper and the space stuff.”
Next question, from MTV Geek: To what degree does the story explore “crisis of faith”? Gillen says the story is about reason (not necessarily religion), and how Tony sees the world.
Next question, from Word Balloon: Will Tony’s natural arrogance be confronted by what he finds in space? “It’s a real, hard, wake-up call,” Gillen replies. “This really picks at Tony.”
Next question, from Marvel.com: Any chance of Unit showing up in Iron Man? “You never know,” Gillen says. “That’s an interesting pairing.” Gillen reveals that Death’s Head is showing up in the “Godkiller arc.” “Death’s Head is my Boba Fett,” Gillen says.
Going back around, to iFanboy: How hard will it be for Tony to be away from his bank account? Gillen says that it’s pretty bare bones for Tony. “He’s come here to record information more than anything else,” Gillen says.
Next question, from The Beat: Does Iron Man have guilt over what happened in AvX — inadvertently creating The Phoenix Five? Gillen says his basic position is that if that didn’t happen, the Phoenix would go into Hope and people would have died, but Tony doesn’t necessarily see it that way.
Next question, from us: Since Iron Man has been in space many times before, how did Gillen approach this story to make it unique? “My first issue was relatively conservative,” Gillen says, adding that it was in part to show where “Iron Man is now” for people who are familiar with the character from the movies, and the he pushed all five of his first issues to different areas. “There are a lot of things I’m not sure about, and a lot of it is the discovery. The one thing I am sure about is Tony,” the writer adds. “It’s all about the emotions: Why does this matter for Tony?”
Last question, from Marvel.com: Gillen says he has an Iron Man playlist that he hasn’t made public yet, mentioning “Shot by Both Sides” by Magazine, “Regret” by New Order, Kraftwerk and (jokingly, he says) “The Final Countdown” by Europe.
To wrap up: Iron Man #6 is out in February, starting the three-issue “Godkiller” arc. That’s it! Thanks for reading, another one of these tomorrow.