EXCLUSIVE: Gail Simone Sends Iron Man Into Marvel's War of the Realms

While MArvel's Tony Stark is a science fiction style hero who uses his ingenuity and Iron Man armor to overcome all manner of menaces, he's also a unique twist on the fantasy archetype of the armored hero who confronts and slays monsters. Usually the monsters Tony faces are metaphorical, but this spring he'll be part of Marvel's War of the Realms, an event that will pit him against an army of literal magical and mythological monsters. In the main War of the Realms series (by Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman), Tony joins his fellow heroes in battling the invading extra-dimensional armies of Malekith the Accursed, but he'll also face off against Malekith's forces in the pages of his own book as well.

Tony's solo War of the Realms adventure begins in May in Tony Stark: Iron Man #12, the kick-off to a special two part tie-in arc by the guest creative team of Gail Simone and Paolo Villanelli. The tale finds Tony and his allies tasked with a very important mission: Keeping Avengers Mountain out of the hands of Malekith and his invading armies.

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CBR: What's it been like telling a story that plunges Iron Man, one of Marvel's most iconic heroes, into a story full of magic and mythological monsters?

Gail Simone: Oh, it’s a blast. it’s just a joy. I’ve written most of the DC Icons, and a lot of others, but not many of the Marvel big guns. Getting a chance to write an Avenger is a big, fun deal.

The weird thing is, completely out of the blue, years ago, this idea for an Iron Man story popped into my head. It was unlike anything I’d read with Tony before, but just sounded really entertaining. It was such an odd premise, though -- I was positive I’d never get to write it.

Then, Tom Brevoort wrote and asked if I’d like to do this, and because it’s War of the Realms, my idea just fell completely in place. It feels weirdly like destiny. I keep trying to wrap my head around it, how did I get THIS plot for THIS particular event, years before it even came up? It’s just one of the weirdest, coolest things I’ve had happen to me.

I’ve been thinking of War of the Realms as Tolkien meets Marvel, and to me, there’s no funner character to put in that soup than Iron Man, the guy who has very little use for magic!

I can’t say too much about the story yet, but if you can imagine one great character, from one of the great fantasy archetypes, fighting Tony and his team, attacking them right in their own home base…who would you choose?

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Since you're telling a War of the Realms tale you have access to a variety of characters from super heroics and mythology. What can you tell us about the established Marvel characters you're especially excited to write in this arc and the action they'll become embroiled in?

I don’t want to say too much, but some mystical big guns play a role; some of my favorite of the darker magic characters. Plus, I might get in a couple of my favorite Asgardians.

But mainly I’m excited to get to write the book’s regular cast right now. Rhodey, Jacosta, the Wasp, honestly, it’s such a great cast that I want to finish this interview and get back to writing them. Plus, Dr. Shapiro is one of the best felines in comics, and I will fight anyone who says otherwise.

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You're working with artist Paolo Villanelli, whose most recent Marvel work includes Man Without Fear, and the Iron Fist issue of Marvel's Typhoid Mary miniseries. What's it like collaborating with him?

I’m a fan. Paolo's work has this fantastic sense of chiaroscuro. He is a master of black space and white space, which makes each page just soak up the color and look really bold. A lot of artists I know, drawing tech isn’t their strong suit, but he draws these brassy, bold pages full of movement and gloss…it’s got almost a Transformers feel in spots. I truly love it.

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The other big thing about this assignment for me was, I went back and read Dan Slott’s Iron Man run, and it’s just astounding to me, the amount of character and incident he puts in every issue. It’s just full of fun, smart riffs, page after page. And Dan was really enthusiastic about my idea… he added a beat that just makes the whole story. He has been so incredibly generous with his time and assistance, it’s remarkable.

And it’s a chance to have a part in a Jason Aaron story. That in itself is cause for celebration.

I think people know from Red Sonja and Conan that I love writing fantasy, and combining that with my obvious love of superheroes, this is a dream-come-true for me. I hope readers have as much fun as we are!

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