Waxing Shellhead Part 5: Sumerak talks "Iron man and Power Pack"

For the past week CBR News has taken an in-depth look Marvel Comics' Iron Man, one of the most talked about characters in superhero comic books. We spoke previously with "New Avengers" writer Brian Bendis; ongoing "Iron Man" series writers Daniel and Charles Knauf; editor Tom Brevoort; Christos Gage, writer of "Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Annual" #1; and in today's final part of Waxing Shellhead, we lean what the Marvel Universe's youngest heroes are saying about Tony Stark in a chat with Marc Sumerak, writer of November's "Iron Man and Power Pack" miniseries.

Iron Man is such a multi-faceted character that many creators love him for completely different reasons. For Sumerak, it's Tony's stark, logic-driven approach to life that makes him so interesting. "He always seems to be able to separate the emotion of battle from the actual goal, and calculate the best possible solution -- all without getting too caught up in everything happening around him," Marc Sumerak told CBR News. "He is able to remain as cool as the iron he's encased himself in. I think that sets him apart from a lot of the other characters out there.

"But his calm and collected demeanor doesn't mean that he's devoid of passion," Sumerak continued. "Being surrounded by so much technology at all times, Tony could have easily lost sight of his human side altogether and become just like the machines he's worked so hard to perfect. And yet, buried somewhere beneath the armor and repulsor rays, he's still a real guy with a real heart (even if that heart has become a high-tech one over the years). He cares about his teammates and the people around him. He tries to be a good man and a good boss, even when the odds are stacked against him. And, even at the toughest moments, he sticks to his guns and makes the right choice. Unfortunately, as we've seen recently, that choice may not always be popular... but when Tony believes in something, he sees it through! Like it or not, that says a lot about him."

Showing off the many aspects of Tony Stark's personality in a four-issue, all-ages miniseries like "Iron Man and Power Pack" may seem a daunting task but Sumerak wants to make sure readers really get to know the man behind the armor. "Sure, we'll see him all armored up and ready for action, but we'll also get some glimpses of Tony Stark battling in the boardroom and we'll even get to see a little bit of his philanthropic side," Sumerak said. "I want to make sure readers of this series -- many of whom could be meeting Iron Man for the first time -- get to see more than just the armor. I want them to see the man inside as well!"

Readers who aren't up on the recent developments in Tony Stark's life or simply don't care for those developments will find the Iron Man in Sumerak's miniseries refreshingly familiar. "Since the 'Power Pack' crossovers tend to take a broader look at the Marvel mythos, we're not going to be dealing with a lot of Iron Man's recent developments," Sumerak confirmed. "He won't be directing S.H.I.E.L.D. or chilling with the Illuminati or worrying about secret Skrulls. It's just classic Iron Man this time around. Tony Stark is living in NYC and serving as the head of his multi-billion dollar company, Stark Industries, and he also happens to be one of the world's greatest heroes when he dons a certain suit of armor! Not too shabby! But while our Iron Man may have a good thing going here in comparison to everything that's been happening to him lately in his regular titles, that doesn't mean we're going to make his life easy."

New readers also don't have to be familiar with what transpired the last time Iron Man met the Power kids in "Avengers & Power Pack Assemble." "We try to build each of the 'Power Pack' limited series so that it can stand alone," Sumerak explained. "We want readers to be able to come in fresh and completely understand what is happening without too much continuity to catch up on. But as always, if you do go back and read the entire run, there may be a few nods to things that came before!"

Given his decidedly "grown-up" nature, Tony Stark may seem like an unlikely candidate for a team-up with a group of child heroes like Power Pack. "Yet, in his team-ups with the Power kids, he's found himself sliding into the role of a father figure and a leader," Sumerak stated. "He doesn't always know the best way to interact with kids, but he gives it his best. He always has their safety and best interests in mind. Since this series is going to be all about action and adventure, we aren't really going to get into a lot of Tony's views on the politics of young heroes, so if you've had enough 'registration' talk of late, this is definitely the book for you!"

The kids of Power Pack are more than happy to be working side by side with a big name hero like Iron Man but certain events in the series will make them a little suspicious of the Armored Avenger. "Just because they look up to Iron Man doesn't mean that they are going to cut him any slack," Sumerak remarked. "Especially since a lot of the chaos in this series will be indirectly caused by Iron Man himself!"

The chaos in "Iron Man and Power Pack" will come fast and furious. "We've got a lot of action packed into these four issues!" Sumerak said. "From giant robots attacking New York to an all-out attack by Iron Man's entire arsenal! There's not going to be a whole lot of room for anyone to catch their breath. As with most of our 'Power Pack' limiteds, we start out with a few stand alone stories. Those will contain some plot threads that will weave together for the big series finale, which will be a two-part story in issues #3-4. Should be a real fun ride!

"This series doesn't pull any punches when it comes to villains,' Sumerak continued. "Tony and the kids will be facing off against Ultimo, Speed Demon, Blizzard, Titanium Man, an entire army of Iron Man armors, a few mystery baddies... and maybe even each other before all is said and done!"

As if saving the world from supervillains and technological terrors wasn't enough in "Iron Man and Power Pack," the Power kids will also have to contend with the obstacles and adversaries of everyday life as well. "We try to find a good balance between the Powers' lives as super heroes and their lives as normal kids," Sumerak explained. "It makes them a lot more interesting and relatable when they still have everyday problems to solve once the fighting is over. So expect to see all kinds of cool side stories in this series... including Julie's campaign for class president against the meanest (and richest) girl at school, Irena Crumb!"

The Power Kids' classmates won't be the only supporting characters in the series; some familiar faces from Tony Stark's world have significant roles to play as well. "I was lucky enough to be able to play with some of Tony's rich supporting cast, including Pepper Potts and Jim Rhodes," Sumerak explained. "Rhodey has always been a favorite character of mine, and I think everyone will enjoy his special appearance in this series!"

Like all the creators we've spoken with this week Sumerak can't wait for the chance to see Tony Stark and all his comrades up on the big screen in next years Iron Man feature film. "He's the perfect character to bring to the big screen, and everything I've seen and heard so far has been spectacular," Sumerak remarked. "From the artistic choices to the cast and crew, I can't think of a single complaint. Robert Downey, Jr. is one of my favorite actors and I completely trust him to bring Tony to life. If the final movie is as strong as it currently looks like it's going to be, then I think this one is really going to be a huge hit and make Iron Man a household name. I know I'll definitely be there on opening day!"

Iron Man's world post-"Civil War" is a fascinating one full of tension and tough choices, but with "Iron Man and Power Pack", Sumerak hopes fans will enjoy a tale told in a style that   was once called "The Mighty Marvel Manner." "We're striving to tell some classic superhero stories here," he said. "Light-hearted, full of action, and lots of fun for readers of all ages. With 'Power Pack 'we love to capture that old-school vibe that mixes adventure, emotion and humor together in a complete 22-page package. Those types of stories hooked so many of us when we first started reading, and we can only hope these do the same for the next generation of comic readers. If you're looking for some Iron Man adventures that are full of old-school action and free of a lot of the character's recent baggage, this might be   the series for you! I swear... this Iron Man isn't a Skrull!"

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