Since announcing Marvel NOW! a couple weeks ago, the major comics publisher has been slowly releasing teaser posters which contain a single word to hint us at which line they're about, then a simple pair of names to tell us who will be writing and illustrating those lines.
Now, we're getting our first details of what one of those lines will actually be like. Marvel recently posted a Q&A with Gillen on its NOW! blog. First, the writer discussed his move from Uncanny X-Men, and what drew him to the Iron Man line, saying, "When Marvel NOW! came around, I had reached a suitable place in Uncanny X-Men to move off of, and there were a variety of options with Iron Man [which sounded] really interesting. Of the major Marvel characters he’s the one most aligned to me philosophically, as in he’s a very straightforward person, and in terms of the heroes, there are none more forward than Tony; that’s what attracted me to [him].
"The symbolism that I bring immediately into the book [is] a lot like the Arthurian concept of the grail-knight: the idea that Tony Stark is the grail-knight, or at least aspiring to be the grail-knight," he continued when asked about how Iron Man would change under his pen.
"When we meet him he’s left Resilient and he’s digging into what’s going on. Pepper has a line in the first issue saying, 'Oh, you’re not having a midlife crisis are you? Just buy yourself a suit of armor.' That’s where we start and he begins to ask questions.
"The story will focus on him questioning things about himself and trying to find out exactly how the universe ticks, what’s this all about and why he does this anyway. It’s going to be one of the major themes of the book going forward."
He went on to describe how Iron Man's armor will become part of the symbolism he's reaching for in the piece, rather than just another costume. The first five issues of the relaunched Iron Man - which will all be one-shot issues (a story which is wholly contained in the issue) to improve jumping-on ability - will each feature a different armor configuration.
"As opposed to doing the [morphing] armor, he’s doing precision-based tech," Gillen explained. "He’ll have to switch out arms and legs. His argument being that you can get more kick out of a specific tool and the theme [of it will] be about making choices and living with it. It will be like choosing a specific suit for a specific mission, taking a certain arm configuration and taking a different piece off. There will be a lot of changes in the armor throughout the series..."
"I like Iron Man in different armors; I like things going completely wrong," he adds. "I like the issue where it’s stealth Iron Man against Titanium Man, it was one of my favorites as a kid and it was part of Armor Wars. I want to write something that feeds the underlying emotional truth of Iron Man in terms of the personality, the heart, the writing but also the super hero fantasy stuff..."
It sounds like Marvel has found just the right writer to bring Iron Man into the new continuity with lots of character exploration, and a major shifting the themes of the work to coincide with the entire initiative. Frankly, I'm looking forward to seeing how it all plays out.
Marvel NOW! kicks off in October 2012 with the Avengers/X-Men mash-up, Uncanny Avengers. Iron Man #1 is slated for a November shelving.