Tuesday Q&A

Wednesday Q&A: Matt Fraction Pt. 2

Continuing our chat with the INVINCIBLE IRON MAN writer as he sets his sights on the future of the series



By Kevin Mahadeo

After spending the better part of two years taking apart Iron Man piece by armored piece, writer Matt Fraction looks toward making him better, faster and stronger in the months to come, beginning with the April 28 release of INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #25.

Finishing up the two-part interview we began yesterday , Fraction discusses the new status quo of Iron Man during and post-the recent "Stark: Disassembled" arc. The storyline saw the hero trapped in a comatose state while his friends and allies attempted to reboot his brain. In the end, although Tony managed to jump start his mind once again, he only did so to a point prior to the events of Civil War. Fraction talks about what Tony's current state means for the armored Avenger moving forward and gives readers a few teases on the brand-new Iron Man armor debuting in issue #25.


INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #25 cover by Salvador Larroca
Marvel.com: On his path of redemption, Tony went about deleting information from his brain, which is a very fascinating concept. Technology has always played a part in the Iron Man mythos and looking at the advancement of technology today, this idea doesn't seem far off. Is that how you sort of came up with the idea-this sort of natural progression of technology and man?

Matt Fraction: Like a hundred years ago I read this amazing book called "Great Mambo Chicken and the Transhuman Condition" that was all sort of about weird fringe sciences breaking into the mainstream, from nanotechnology to beyond. Part of it was people talking about being able to back your brain up and if your intelligence could live forever in some kind of digital space. That was back in eighth or ninth grade that I read this book and it was really sort of world changing. The idea that your brain was a hard drive or could be treated like a hard drive was something that stuck with me. When it came time to think about what was a good MacGuffin, what was something that Osborn would want from Tony, it made sense that it was his mind. Not just because it has names and home addresses of everybody in it, but because it has "here's how you make a repulsor ray," and all the secrets that Tony knows. Because that is his super power. And with all the stuff that he had to go through with Extremis, it seemed logical to me that his mind would be able to be treated like a hard drive. So, it seemed like his head, his super power, is what Osborn wants. That Tony would be so willing to damage himself was insane. That was a truly heroic thing for Tony to do. That's always been Tony's power and [with] all the truly great Marvel characters, there's an inherent tragic link between their power and their tragedy, whether Peter Parker and guilt or the Hulk and rage or Captain America and his patriotism over sense of duty. So, I wanted to find a way to link something tragic to Tony's gift. I wanted to keep it unique. Too many people could just get in the suit. I felt, with respect to the folks before me, that there had been specialness taken away from Tony. Anybody could pilot the suit. Anybody could do this stuff. There were too many suits. [Laughs] I felt it was important to make Tony unique and I was looking for a story that would help do that.

Marvel.com: The next storyline, "Stark: Disassembled," put Tony pretty much out of commission. It also featured a number of guest stars, most of which were former allies of his. Was part of this arc to help showcase Tony's place in the Marvel Universe and his connection to these characters by sort of taking him out of it?

Matt Fraction: Amongst several other [goals]. I don't know if I'd quite articulate [it] like that, but I wanted to show his relationship with these other people.

Marvel.com: Speaking of those relationships, we mentioned before Tony's bad standings with a lot of his former friends. How does one rebuild those relationships? Granted, he made a huge sacrifice, but is that going to be

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #25 preview art by Salvador Larroca

Matt Fraction: No, of course not. It's long and it is complicated and we've only taken the first early steps.

Marvel.com: An interesting aspect of that is that coming out of "Stark: Disassembled." Tony's brain was rebooted to slightly before the events of Civil War. It's a weird case of hindsight he's going to find himself in here.

Matt Fraction: Well, not to put too fine a point on it, this isn't the first time Tony has woken up without remembering what happened the night before and discovered that everybody he likes is mad at him. I wanted to find more mileage out of these relationships and more complications. Just because he doesn't necessarily remember what happened doesn't mean it didn't happen. It's not like people are just going to shrug and be like, "Oh well. I guess I can't be mad at you anymore." Like I said, it isn't the first time he's woken up from a blackout and discovered he's been a complete jerk or whatever. So, nothing's done. Nothing's been put away. This is a long and ongoing story and this is just another bump in the road-another kink, another twist. Nothing's clean and nothing's easy. If anything has been clear in the last 24 issues, I hope that's clear. Nothing ever happens nice, clean and neat in this book.

Marvel.com: Going forward into the next arc, I guess you'll be exploring that concept of him mending these relationships and coming to terms with what he's done?

Matt Fraction: "Resilient" is about Tony rebuilding everything-his personal life, his professional life, his super hero life and everything else. Some of it comes quick and some of it comes very slowly. And there are some that can't be rebuilt.

Marvel.com: Any way to convince you to hint at some of the ones at can't be rebuilt?

Matt Fraction: Not at all.

Marvel.com: Well, one thing we would like to hint at is the new armor Tony will be getting. What can you say about it and why now bring in new armor? Does it fit into the new Heroic Age?

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #25 preview art by Salvador Larroca
Matt Fraction: I pitched this two years before this was termed the Heroic Age. But it's also because he's blown up every suit of armor he has. I don't want to give away more than what's already been giving away, but we've not ever seen Tony like this. Here's a hint: you've never seen this armor before but you've seen derivatives of this armor before. The Tony Stark that comes out of "Disassembled," this new Tony, is smarter than he's ever been. And he needs a new ride to go along with that. [Laughs] As he rebuilds everything else, it only makes sense that his power and his suit [are] also reborn.

Marvel.com: The idea of Iron Man puts him always on the cutting edge of technology. As a writer, does this put you in a position of having to keep up-to-date on the advancements of technology in the real world?

Matt Fraction: A little bit. It's a comic, so there's an awful lot of make believe. The one thing I fought for was that the armor needed to get smaller and it needed to get sleeker and it needed to get faster. Advanced doesn't mean bigger. It fits him almost like a speed skating suit. It's leaner and it's slicker and it's got more of a sheen to it. But for the most part there's a lot of make believe going on.

Marvel.com: The new arc you mentioned earlier, "Resilient," starts with issue #25 almost directly before "Iron Man 2" hits theaters on May 7. You mentioned previously that when you first wrote the book, you didn't really have to movie in mind too much. Is that the same here, where you're not really concentrating too much on fans of the movie coming into the title now?

Matt Fraction: Well, I had these first four arcs pretty figured out when I pitched [the book]. So, up through the ending of "Resilient" in issue #32, it's about what I had first seen for the book when I came on board. There were kind of natural moments of synchronicity that happened coincidentally and accidentally. And now a couple things deliberately since I got to be a little bit involved in the second film. But it's got to be independent. It has to be accessible, but it still needs to be satisfying for both audiences.

Marvel.com: Looking at the film, for people coming in, how would you compare the Tony from the movie to the Tony in the regular Marvel Universe? How are they different?

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #25 preview art by Salvador Larroca
Matt Fraction: Well, [there are] almost 500 issues of continuity for one and about two hours of a movie for the other. [Laughs] Their core is the same and that's what matters. They're both smart and funny and driven.

Marvel.com: As a final look forward into what's coming up, is there anything else you can say about "Resilient" and the future of INVINCIBLE IRON MAN?

Matt Fraction: It's the beginning of Tony rebuilding and him trying to figure out what can be rebuilt and what can't and where he goes from here and what his place is in the world. And trying to figure out what his place is in the Heroic Age. If the first two years has been about tearing Tony apart, this is about him putting himself back together again.


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      Great interview. No matter what people may think of Tony, Civil War put him back on the map in a big way. The stuff the Knaufs did with him and now Fraction is some great writing and I am looking forward to more.I just hope that with his lost memory of his choices from before the Civil War and after, that he doesn's say he's sorry or beg from forgiveness from everyone. It feels like that is where it is headed, but I certainly hope not. He made his choices and did what he thought was right and took on the responsibilty that no one else was willing to. He was willing to be viewed as the bad guy by people that were supposed to be his friends.