Tony Stark grew up with two traits that set him apart from other kids: His family’s enormous wealth, and his enormous intellect. Therefore, it’s no surprise Tony grew up to become a man who saw himself as above others. He was used to being treated that way, and was never truly aware of the impact his actions had on the world.
The abduction that led to Tony building his first suit of Iron Man armor had the simultaneous effect of forcing his perspective on the world to change. Tony’s still wrestled with his ego many times over the years, but he’s also learned a lot of tough and important lessons about heroism and humility. With that in mind, writer Tom Taylor is asking — and answering — the question of what happens when all the progress Tony has made at being humble is suddenly washed away. In short, how does he react when his ego and intellect are suddenly unleashed?
These are some of the central questions in Taylor and artist Yildiray Cinar’s new ongoing series, “Superior Iron Man.” to learn more about what’s in store for the newly Id-driven Stark, we spoke with Taylor about his November-launching book — which also happens to be his debut Marvel Comics project..
CBR News: After five years in comics, you have your first Marvel ongoing series on the horizon. What’s it like working on a Marvel project?
Tom Taylor: It’s great and daunting all at the same time. “Injustice: Gods Among Us” has been very successful, and “Earth 2” has been going great as well. I’m also working on a TV series based on my creator-owned book “The Deep.” I’m the lead writer on that series as well. So I’ve entered this kind of whirlwind of no sleep and typey-type.
I got a number of e-mails from Marvel that said they would be contacting me, and I thought when I got their phone call they would offer me something like a five-page back up story in an issue of “X-Force.” They were like, “We want to talk to you about Iron Man.” And I was like, “Hey cool! I Like Iron Man. He’s one of the biggest heroes in the entire world right now. How could I not like the guy? Tony Stark is fantastic.” They then said, “We want you to take over the book.” I was shocked and immediately said yes, regardless of how much other stuff I had going on. Because no one is going to say no to that. [Laughs]
What do you find most interesting about the character of Iron Man? Which aspects of his personality are you especially interested in exploring in this series?
It’s interesting in this series, because this is a slightly different Tony. Something happened in “Avengers & X-Men: AXIS” that has changed him slightly, and it’s changed him back to the sort of very cocky, superficial, very witty and self-obsessed guy that he used to be. There isn’t an ounce of humility in this guy that I’m writing, and there’s a lot of fun to be had with that arrogance. To have a guy who truly believes he’s the best person in the room is kind of freeing for a writer. There aren’t a lot of shades of gray here.
The word “Superior” comes with some expectations that your protagonist may appear to be Tony Stark, but he’s in fact someone who’s moral code and ego are different. Can you comment on those expectations? Or will readers have to wait to “AXIS” to find out more?
I can tell you that this is Tony Stark. This is not a Doc Ock Spider-Man situation. Tony’s mind is in his body, but there has been a shift and he’s back to his pre-humility self. It’s really interesting to have that personality coming through and see how his friends, like Pepper Potts, and fellow heroes like Daredevil, who is in San Francisco, react.
When Tony Stark gives all of San Francisco Extremis and says, “Go,” to try and create a utopia, it’s not a utopia that everybody believes in or buys into. That’s where you get some very interesting conflict.
What’s it like writing Matt Murdock and bouncing him off of this new Tony Stark?
It’s great. They’re two supremely confident guys who are both quite self-righteous. They both believe they’re almost always right. Then when you put them together with this conflict between them sparks just fly. You don’t need to write them. You just put them in a room and let your fingers go sort of floppy and they type it.
There’s a very big moment for the two of them coming up at the end of “Superior Iron Man” #2 that I know editors and other writers who are privy to it have been quite shocked by. That’s going to be a lot of fun.
Is this a storyline that will spill over into “Daredevil?” Are you coordinating things with Mark Waid?
Not much. There’s more coordination with Rick Remender because of what happens in “AXIS” at the same time. I’m conscious of everything Mark is doing though and I love what he’s doing. I like my heroes to not always be dark, grim, and gritty. “Oh, no — my kitten died and now I hate everybody! I’m going to punch a super villain in the face.” [Laughs] I like that Daredevil is quipping again. I like that he seems to enjoy being a hero, and I like that we can have that here as well.
What’s it like putting Tony in San Francisco? What kind of backdrop does the city make for Iron Man adventures?
I don’t really want to tell you where he’s living, but he’s living in quite an interesting location. As soon as you see it you’ll go, “OH!” And it’s all very San Francisco.
â€¨So it’s great. Having real world places to play with is always fantastic. I’m not American, so I’ve been doing quite a lot of research and asking a bunch of people I know who’ve lived there a bunch of questions. They’ve been telling me all about the city and sharing things like, “You can’t stand on this street because it’s freezing at all times.” Knowing little things like that has been really helpful.
One of the best things I think about Tony being there is it’s taking him to an all new place where he can be an all new Iron Man. We can see something new beginning, and having Daredevil there as a character who’s also trying to protect the city really throws something interesting into the mix.
Taking over Iron Man also means you have access to a number of interesting supporting characters like Tony’s half brother, Arno Stark. Will Arno be a part of this series?
I can’t speak to that just yet. I can tell you he’s not in the first issue, though.
What can you tell us about the supporting cast of “Superior Iron Man,” then? Will it include Pepper Potts or some other familiar faces? Will we meet some new supporting players?
We will see Pepper and you will see a brand new face in the first couple of pages. How long that character will be in the book remains to be seen. So you will see some new stuff.
Someone else asked me about the supporting cast and their importance to Tony and they always have been important, but in “Superior Iron Man” it’s all about him. That’s how he sees it as well. So this book really is all about Tony. He is the ego and the id.
Now, it sounds like Daredevil will play an antagonistic role in at least the first few issues of “Superior Iron Man.” What are you thoughts though on Iron Man’s rogues gallery? Any villains you’re especially interested in playing with that we might see early on?
That’s another area I can’t talk about yet. I’ll just come back to what I was saying before: This is a book that’s all about Tony. This is Tony at the center of everything, which is where he likes to be. [Laughs]
Artist Yildiray Cinar is bringing Tony’s newly egocentric adventures to life. What do you feel he brings to “Superior Iron Man” as an artist?
I think he’s fantastic. He has this dynamism that’s really perfect for the book. He was born to drawn Iron Man. We’ve been going back and forth, designing the new suit with our editor, Mark Paniccia. We’re really happy with it.
Yildiray turned this sketch in, and it became the variant cover straight away. It was like, “Okay. We’re going to use that! We love it!” I embedded that image in the script. I had it on page one. He’s just a fantastic artist, and he’s an artist I know from “Earth 2” as well. So I’m already familiar with just how good he is.
Finally, what can you tell us about your plans for the title after the initial arc wraps?
I can’t offer up anything yet. It’s too big and interesting to start teasing now. The first arc will give you some hints and teases of where the second arc lies.
â€¨The first arc is a smaller establishing arc. It’s really an arc about Daredevil and Tony. What happens in the second arc is something that goes in a very different direction — I don’t want to spoil it just yet.
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