Greg Pak - The Best of Both (Marvel) Worlds

For those who haven't heard, Marvel's mega-event this summer is "House of M." In this eight-issue miniseries, the Scarlet Witch's out-of-control power changes the world: mutants become the dominant species, and Marvel's heroes get to live the lives of their dreams. If this is the case, what would a hero like Iron Man desire? Tony Stark (Iron Man's secret identity) is rich, good-looking, extremely intelligent, has one of the world's most powerful weapons at his disposal, and he has the best darn moustache in existence. Aside from a past drinking problem, what more could he want? CBR News decided to check in with Greg Pak, writer of the three-issue "Iron Man: House of M," to find out what's in store for Marvel's favorite tin man, and to briefly discuss Pak's newest project which follows this series.

"In re-reading Kurt Busiek's 'Iron Man: The Iron Age' miniseries, I was deeply affected by a scene in which Tony Stark (in his pre-Iron Man playboy days) breezily disappoints his father," Pak told CBR News. "His father dies soon thereafter. And it occurred to me that in some secret place, a son might well carry the guilt for disappointing his father like that for the rest of his life. So for 'Iron Man: House of M,' we're exploring the notion that deep down, Tony Stark longs for the chance to make peace with his father-- to finally prove himself to him, or to finally break from his legacy. It's a story about fathers and sons, about growing up, about doing the right thing because of-- or in spite of-- the expectations of family…and, of course, about fighting giant robots in the streets of Chicago."

One aspect of this comic that has most fans talking is the redesign of Iron Man's armor. This is courtesy of artist Pat Lee ("Darkminds," "Transformers"), who is no stranger to drawing robots and machines. When asked where the ideas for the redesign came from, Pak explained, "Pat had begun his designs before I was brought on board, but they fit in perfectly with the story I was thinking of telling. I'm consistently being blown away by Pat's art-- I've just seen the inks for issue one, and I'm very happy. Of course the machinery is awesome. But what I'm loving is how beautiful and subtle a job Pat's doing with the flesh and blood characters-- using clean lines to convey great nuances in the emotional storytelling."

One thing Marvel has been insistent about is that "House of M" doesn't fall into the typical miniseries category. In other words, many of the changes taking place are here to stay. As for the changes to Iron Man, Pak couldn't reveal which of his changes would become permanent. All he could do was offer this bit of enticement: "'Sapien Death Match.' Issue One. I'll say no more."

In addition to the Iron Man miniseries, it was recently announced that Pak would be writing "Marvel 1602: New World." This is a five-issue miniseries that picks up where Neil Gaiman's "1602" series left off. Pak explained, "Neil Gaiman ended the first series with the characters starting new lives in the colony of Roanoke; we're picking up this exploration of the American dream by seeing how the book's themes of difference, persecution, and hope play out in the New World."

According to Pak, this story takes place within weeks of the end of the first series. Regarding which characters will make an appearance, Pak said, "In the beginning, we're focusing on Master David Banner, young Peter Parquagh and Virginia Dare."

For those who have a difficult time recalling these 1602 characters, here's a quick refresher: Virginia Dare is the first child of English descent born in the New World, who happens to be a shapeshifter; Peter Parquagh is a spy with a special connection to spiders; and Master David Banner is a morally compromised advisor to the corrupt King James. Pak also added, "Look for some additional Marvel heroes to make surprising entrances as the series progresses."

The art on the book is something Pak is pleased with as well. He said, "The book's drawn by Greg Tocchini ('Thor: Son of Asgard') with cover art by Sergio Toppi-- both great artists with a real feel for the period."

While the book is scheduled to be a five-issue miniseries, Pak indicated that it "could become an ongoing if orders are high. As always, the fans decide."

Pak seems very happy at the moment to be playing in two very different versions of Marvel's universe. With giant robots and a New World on the horizon, who can blame him? "Iron Man: House of M" will be coming to a retailer near you soon, while the first two issues of "Marvel 1602: New World" will hit stands this August.

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