The Marvel Universe is a very dangerous place. Heroes and villains alike have been known to cloak themselves in fantastic suits of battle armor for protection. In spring of 2008, the Marvel U’s premier armored champion finds his fate intertwined once again with that most despotic of archfiends, Dr. Doom, in the four-issue miniseries, “Iron Man: Legacy of Doom,” by legendary “Iron Man” writers David Michelinie & Bob Layton with art by Ron Lim. CBR News spoke with Michelinie about the series.
“I’m co-plotting with Bob [Layton],” Michelinie told CBR News. “We work out the story together, and then I type that up for editorial approval be handling the actual scripting chores on my own. Bob will be providing his signature inks.”
“Legacy of Doom” is a tale that’s been a number of years in the making. Michelinie and Layton actually came up with the story and pitched it to Marvel several years ago. “The editorial reigns shifted and the pitch kind of slipped through the cracks,” Michelinie explained. “Then, when Marvel contacted Bob about doing some Iron Man material late last year, he resurrected the storyline and Marvel gave it the green light.”
The new miniseries is not the first time Michelinie & Layton have paired together Tony Stark and Victor Von Doom. “This miniseries can be looked at as the third part of the Iron Man ‘Camelot’ trilogy,” Michelinie said, referring to the classic story of Iron Man and Dr. Doom being sent back in time. Part I took place in “Iron Man” (vol. 1) #149-150 and part II took place in “Iron Man” (vol.1) #249-250. “It’s tied in with both previous installments –though more to the first than the second– and concludes a number of things. But while people who have read the other IM/Doom stories may find extra grins and such in this one, new readers won’t feel left out at all. There will be enough recaps and explanations as we go along to make things perfectly clear for first-timers.”
For Michelinie, it’s the contrast of the similarities and differences between Iron Man and Dr. Doom that make them such interesting characters to play off of each other. “They’re both men of great power, power which they’ve brought about and earned through their individual efforts,” Michelinie said. “They’re both brilliant scientists and, of course, they both have a tendency to include armor in their personal wardrobes. However, the way they use their power is very different.
“Tony Stark, despite having an ego and perhaps having made some controversial decisions in recent continuity, has always sought to use his power –physical, political and economic– to make the world a better place. Victor von Doom also wants to make the world better–but to him that means putting the whole planet under his solitary and unquestioned rule. There’s also the factor that, until recently, Doom didn’t know that Iron Man was Tony Stark; he had tremendous respect for Tony’s brilliance and strength of character, but treated Iron Man like a hired goon. That was always fun to play with.”
“Legacy of Doom” opens with the Latverian Monarch treating the new director of S.H.I.E.L.D. as if he were his own personal servant. “Iron Man gets drawn into things when Doom demands an audience, expecting Iron Man to drop everything and obey–which, of course, ticks Tony off no end,” Michelinie said. “Doom’s state of mind is somewhat more subtle; he’s regal and condescending, but there’s a hint of something darker–could it be fear?–behind his actions.”
Michelinie could reveal only a few details about what might be contributing to Doom’s dark state of mind and the larger plot of “Legacy of Doom.” “It involves treachery, promises, sorcery, wild science and a threat to the very existence of life,” Michelinie said. “You know, a small, personal story.”
The exact details as to the adversaries and obstacles that await Iron Man and Dr. Doom in “Legacy of Doom” is also something Michelinie wants to keep a lid on. “I don’t want to let too much out of the bag, but it’s already been revealed that Mephisto plays a role; though whether he’s friend or foe–and if so, to whom–will have to remain a mystery for now,” Michelinie remarked. “And since magic, and Merlin, are involved, you can bet there’ll be some big, honkin’ slimy things trying to hurt people.”
Merlin is really the sole supporting cast member in the miniseries. “Using characters that were around during the two previous chapters might have been confusing for readers more familiar with current continuity, and throwing newer characters in might not mesh well with what had gone before,” Michelinie explained. “So, the simplest solution was to focus mostly on the two biggies: Iron Man and Dr. Doom.”
Iron Man and Dr. Doom’s adventure will span the globe and alternate dimensions. “There’s a prologue that takes place at Tony Stark’s current business headquarters, but the bulk of the story goes from outer space to Latveria to Scotland,” Michelinie said. “Oh, and to Hell.”
Unlike their previous two exploits, the duo of Iron Man and Dr. Doom won’t be making any trips through time. “The story is told through memories, so that the visuals and characterizations match those of the previous two chapters, but it essentially takes place in our time,” Michelinie confirmed.
“Iron Man: Legacy of Doom” marks the third and final chapter in Michelinie and Layton’s trilogy featuring the armored adversaries turned reluctant allies, and just like the two previous tales, readers can expect the series to deliver both thrills and compelling character moments. “It’s mostly fast-paced action, with cool and hopefully unexpected visuals. Most of the characterization comes from interaction between Iron Man and
Doom, and from the sometimes very difficult decisions they have to make in the heat of the moment. We hope the series will be fun and exciting, with readers eagerly looking forward to finding out what’s going to happen in the next issue.”
Now discuss this story in CBR’s Marvel Comics forum.