In November, Kieron Gillen sends Tony Stark in a whole new direction, as he follows up the groundbreaking Iron Man arc “Secret Origin” with an even more ambitious Iron Man storyline, entitled “Iron Metropolitan.” We spoke to Gillen and his collaborator, acclaimed artist Joe Bennett, to find out about their inspirations for this story, and get some hints about what we can look forward to in these issues.
MTV Geek: Where is Tony Stark when this arc begins? Is he headed back earthwards, or is he still off gallivanting with the Guardians Of The Galaxy?
Kieron Gillen: Tony returns to Earth towards the end of SECRET ORIGIN. Iron Metropolitan is all about bringing what Tony learned in space to bear on Earth.
Geek: Will this arc tie into the Infinity crossover, or does it happen before/after/alongside?
Gillen: It happens in its aftermath, in the rebuilding. We’ll be working in the changes alongside it.
Geek: It’s probably too far out to ask for plot details or spoilers… So if not the specifics, what can you tell us about this story?
Gillen: The arc’s initial inspiration was a quote from the British designer Matt Jones: “A city is a battlesuit for surviving the future”.
The core of IRON METROPOLITAN is that. What if the greatest designer of battlesuits in the Marvel Universe turned his talents towards building a city of the future.
What could go wrong, eh?
It’s a mixture of real-world city-building theory meets Marvel Universe science in the city-building, picking up on the themes we set in motion in my first year on the book. Tony’s problems are more superhero based than wrestling with bad-drainage, however.
I’ll give you one more tease here: the place where he’s going to build this vision? It’s the ruins of MANDARIN CITY, now gone feral.
Geek: Joe, you last worked on Iron Man over a decade ago, and in the time since, you’ve been known mostly for your work on various DC titles. Now you’ve returned to work for Marvel, and you’re on one of the company’s highest-profile titles. How did you end up becoming the artist for this storyline?
Joe Bennett: I returned to work for Marvel when I no longer had an exclusive Artist Agreement with DC. My first gig was a 10 page A+X story, written by Kieron, and right after that they asked me to work on The Ultimates! After 3 Ultimates issues, I was invited to work on Iron Man! As you know I´d worked on Iron Man over a decade ago, so to have my hands back on the series is definitely a new challenge for me!
Geek: Are there things that particularly excite you in drawing this series, this storyline, and these characters?
Bennett: I have always enjoyed the visual mechanics concepts, I am a fan of Syd Mead and Ron Cobb… not to mention Kieron’s killer script!
Geek: What’s your work process like for this arc? Is Kieron delivering full scripts, are you brainstorming initial concepts together, are you working ’marvel-style’, is it some hybrid of the two?
Gillen: I’m writing Full-script, and doing my usual bunch of ideas approach, but there’s always a proviso that Joe can approach the pages in a different way. He’s certainly doing that, approaching the page in interesting ways.
Bennett: Kieron delivers full script, so I pretty much draw what he asks, knowing I have the green light to add on the pages what I see fit!
Geek: Kieron, how much do you gear the content of your scripts to Joe (or whichever artist you are working on a project with)? Is the story evolving and shifting as you see what he can do? How much are the visuals impacting the course the story will take?
Gillen: I’ve worked with Joe once before, in a 10 page A+X story, so there’s a little past history, but I think we’re still in the teething stage. Scripts get honed down the more you know an artist, and at the moment they’re still quite heavy. That said, I suspect they’d always be quiet heavy, due to the amount of tech-ideas and world-building in it. And then there’s the small matter of starting to build a whole new antagonistic cast…
Geek: Joe- what are your plans beyond this arc? Any hints on what projects you have lined up after this? More Iron Man, or other Marvel titles?
Bennett: I have been a Marvel fan since I was a kid, so after I am finished on Iron Man, I would love to work on Thor or Captain America.
Geek: And treading lightly around spoilers, but looking ahead – are there any particular things we should be paying attention to in this arc (or past stories we should be going back and revisiting) for clues about what’s to come?
Gillen: Oh, everything. This follows directly from SECRET ORIGIN, and for all the shocks Tony has had to survive, he’s got more to come. The Tony Stark we see in IRON METROPOLITAN is still reeling from it, trying to put his new life back together. The emotions of the recent past are the biggest thing here, so I think a close reading of the current issues will be rewarding.