Fans of Gillen already know that he’s an author who cares deeply for his projects; that’s hammered home here in his answers to our attempt to get up to speed on both ORIGIN II and IRON MAN. And readers beware: British slang ahead!
Kieron Gillen: It's a joy. It's a tight little statement. The first issue was an overture for the whole thing. The second issue introduces the rest of the key cast: Creed, Clara, Essex and Hugo. And from now on, it's seeing these five very different people rub up against each other. Joy and sadness, ecstasy and tragedy. Mainly tragedy. It's Logan. At his core, there's a deep sadness there, and that runs right through it.
Marvel.com: How often does Adam Kubert's art inform and shape your writing of the series?
Kieron Gillen: Constantly. He's an astounding storyteller, so I've tried to leave as much as possible in his hands. [There are] moments when we both hit on a similar solution separately—as in, something that I didn't put in the script for some reason and he goes that way anyway. The last page of ORIGIN II #3 would be one part of that; there's a wonderful subtle visual detail in there which I love.
Marvel.com: Speaking of #3, what's one of the most exciting things in the issue to you? We're halfway through the series, so what has Logan learned so far?
On a less spoddy way? Well, Essex has a wonderful time with a scalpel. Let's leave it at that.
What has Logan learned by this point? I think it's important what he hasn't learned. He hasn't spoke to anyone yet. He's silent. Whatever's happened to him isn't enough to make him want to have any form of human contact. Is human contact worth it? That was where ORIGIN left him. With the first issue of ORIGIN II, that even widened. It's not just human contact that may not be worth it. Maybe no contact is worth it.
Yes, a cheery book, ORIGIN II.
Marvel.com: You mentioned Clara; where did the character come from? What's her role right now in the proceedings?
Kieron Gillen: Good question, but one I'm going to dodge. His relationship with the opening issue really comes to the fore with the third issue. The question of who Logan is most like—and who everyone else is most like—is right in the key. He sees the links between the people who surround him and the animals he had to leave behind.
Kieron Gillen: Even in the second issue, she's clearly the one who believes in Logan, or at least believes he's being mistreated terribly. She's the one who wants him out of the cage. She's the one who wants him to talk. So she's actually the one who Logan most rebuffs. If you can describe anyone in the narrative as good, it's Clara.
The same can't really be said of Creed, and the relationship between Clara and him is just as important.Marvel.com: Fans love Logan, but do you ever feel there's any danger in revealing too much about him?
Marvel.com: Fair enough. Over in IRON MAN, what will be the connective tissue between “Iron Metropolitan” and “Rings of the Mandarins”? Will #23.NOW be a jumping on point for new readers?
Kieron Gillen: That's the plan. It's both the continuation of everything we've been up to so far, and an introduction to the world, including Tony Stark's current state. In some ways the Mandarin plot is really accessible high concept: the weapons of Tony's greatest enemies are now in new, mysterious hands. Tony wants to stop them. Against that pulp action, we've got all the emotional stuff churning away. The anger and frustration Tony feels is right to the front.
And in a real way? Tony Stark versus the villain of the last Thor movie? That's a big accessible easy exciting thing for even anyone who only knows the characters from the movies.
Kieron Gillen: It's partially the culture clash element. This isn't what you'd be expecting. I first had a magic versus science theme in my Iron Run in IRON MAN #4, and this is moving that to the fore, with Tony trying to wrestle with an alien intelligence with a very different way of seeing the world.
There's also a lot of interesting resonances between elf-lore and Iron Man lore. I mean, famously Elves despise iron. Elves are symbolic, magical thinkers, so [they] are going to have a natural loathing of anyone who describes themselves as an Iron Man. There's also some thematic links with the other ongoing subplot in Iron Man, of Tony's adoption. What are elves known for? The changeling myth. They steal babies and replace them with elf-children. Elves are a nightmarish take on that.
Malekith is also a joy to write. I like horrible people, and he's up there with Mephisto, Loki and Mister Sinister on that front.