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Iron Man: Legacy Takes Flight in April

Writer Fred Van Lente and artist Steve Kurth delve into the Golden Avenger's past with a brand new ongoing series

IRON MAN: LEGACY promotional art by Francis Tsai
By Marc Strom

On April 7, Tony Stark will take to the skies in his second ongoing series, IRON MAN: LEGACY, from writer Fred Van Lente and Steve Kurth. The title will give fans a closer look at the long and storied history of one of Marvel's hottest characters while also providing a perfect opportunity for anyone seeking out greater insight into Shellhead before "Iron Man 2" hits theaters on May 7.

"As the name implies, IRON MAN: LEGACY is a far-reaching series bringing you sprawling, epic arcs set across multiple periods of Iron Man's history that will allow us to explore the many different facets of Tony Stark's character," relates Van Lente.

Looking at Iron Man's history, Van Lente has a few favorite periods he most looks forward to revisiting.

"Well, the [era by the creative team of David] Michelinie [and Bob] Layton, of course-one of the most beloved parts of their run is heavily featured in our first arc, 'War of the Iron Men,'" teases the writer. "I'm also fond of the [writer Dennis] O'Neil era, when Tony was down and out and had to rebuild his empire from scratch. We'll be doing an arc set during that time period, bringing Tony face-to-face with some street-level heroes-and street-level armor-you might not usually expect him to tangle with. And I also look forward doing a story from his earliest days, which tells the story of the great technocrat Tony Stark's first encounter with the world of magic."

Throughout the years, Tony has worn many different armors and Van Lente couldn't pick just one as his favorite.

"I just love the fact Tony has so many different kinds of armor," he notes. "And while we'll see him in a classic suit that will let you know when in Iron Man history this [first story] is set, we will also see him in two-count 'em, two!-brand new sets of armor, with all-new power sets, during the course of this arc. Enjoy!"

As for the structure of the series, Van Lente promises, "each story arc will be a graphic novel unto itself, five issues long or so."

IRON MAN: DEMON IN A BOTTLE by David Michelinie & Bob Layton
Letting slip a few details on his initial storyline, the writer guarantees a great deal of action and intrigue to help kick the series off.

"In the first story, 'War of the Iron Men,' Tony learns his Iron Man technology is being used to lethal effect in a vicious civil war in the Balkan republic of Transia," he reveals. "The U.S. can't intervene without ticking off Russia and China, so Iron Man decides to fly in there and put an end to the local Transian Iron Men, who have modeled themselves after the ancient Slavic gods of yore, inadvertently setting off an international firestorm that brings Russia's Titanium Man and Crimson Dynamo into the conflict, as well as China's Radioactive Man.

"And then there's that mysterious player behind the scenes, a classic villain from Michelinie and Layton's run."

This marks the Golden Avenger's second ongoing series, alongside Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca's INVINCIBLE IRON MAN, and Van Lente looks forward to expanding Shellhead's universe.

"[Fraction and I will be] coordinating in the sense we will do our best to avoid stepping on each others' toes, sure," he remarks. "I think Tony Stark is a big enough, iconic enough character, to support multiple interpretations, and more than one ongoing on the stands at the same time."

Van Lente also hopes that his series will give readers a greater insight into Tony Stark's character and the events that have helped shape him into the man and hero we know today.

"Again, as the 'Legacy' title implies, we're peering a lot more into Tony's past," the writer reiterates. "His childhood, what drives him to get the most of everything out of life, his difficult relationship with his father-and with Edwin Jarvis, the family butler who, as we'll see, is in many ways the most important figure in his early life."

Beyond his father and Jarvis, fans can also expect to see a number of other familiar faces pop up throughout the series.

"In the first issue alone you see Pepper, Rhodey, Nick Fury, Henry Peter Gyrich, Foggy Nelson-whose presence may give away when this first arc is set-as well as some new characters who will have a profound effect on Tony Stark's life for years to come," hints Van Lente.

The writer also wanted to draw special attention to his collaborator on this series, whose work will leave fans wanting more:

"The artwork is by ULTIMATE COMICS ARMOR WARS artist Steve Kurth, and he's already blowing me away with the pages as they come in! I hope people check it out, it will be spectacular."

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