By Matt Powell
With the Dark Reign in full effect, the Invincible Iron Man has a new moniker: "World's Most Wanted."
It would take nothing short of a man made of iron to withstand the trials and tribulations Tony Stark has weathered in recent years. From spearheading a Civil War and initiating a nationwide super hero protocol to leading the world's global peacekeeping force, Stark faced his future head on-until a group shape-shifting aliens stabbed him in the back.
The assault of Secret Invasion drastically changed the lives of virtually every hero in the Marvel Universe, but more than Iron Man. Next week, in INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #8, the team of writer Matt Fraction and artist Salvador Larroca chronicle the downfall of the Iron Avenger in a new arc entitled, "World's Most Wanted."
While Fraction gets into the mind of Iron Man, he'll also explore the heart of Emma Frost in January's UNCANNY X-MEN ANNUAL #2, exploring the former White Queen's past with Norman Osborn and Namor, among others, and how it has led her to make some interesting choices of late.
Offering some insight into his corner of the post-Secret Invasion Marvel U, Fraction gave us the lowdown on Iron Man and the X-Men's resident femme fatale.
Marvel.com: With the losses Tony Stark has faced the face of Secret Invasion, where does he stand currently in both his civilian identity and as Iron Man's?
IRON MAN #8
He's the big loser. His time as 'King of the Hill' is at an end. And Iron Man looks like an inefficient, ineffectual mismanager of a global crisis, paling in comparison to the competence and genius of Norman Osborn.
Marvel.com: Norman Osborn seems to have positioned himself as the "man with the plan" following Secret Invasion, much in the way that Tony did during and after Civil War with super hero registration, and the Initiative. Is that a sign that Tony's vision or way of thinking is obsolete?
It's a sign that the baton is being passed, or seized, or stolen, and that the Stark Epoch is over. Now there'll be hell to pay...
Marvel.com: Is Tony disappointed or disillusioned about his efforts during Secret Invasion?
No, that would mean he's taking it personally. He got outmaneuvered. He's going to be frantically recalculating his game.
Marvel.com: Where does Tony stand in terms of resources, specifically regarding information access and credibility with the government post-Secret Invasion? Is he cut off? Do those resources now fall to Norman?
IRON MAN #9
The Skrull virus infected and destroyed almost every piece of Stark tech that was turned on when it hit-even Extremis. And after Zeke Stane brought Stark Industries to its knees pre-invasion, it's a bad day to be a Stark shareholder. Tony's being shuffled out of his official positions in government and law enforcement. He's being replaced in those capacities by Norman. So, yeah, it's Norman's office now. Don't think for a second that Tony doesn't understand how dangerous that is.
Marvel.com: How does Tony stand with allies? What do Pepper Potts and Jim Rhodes think of him?
Pepper and Rhodey know him and love him unlike anyone else alive. They know the dangers of underestimating him, or counting him out. I think the rest of the super hero community knows a snow job when they see it and, even if they can't stand Tony, [they] will realize what Norman's doing to him. The regular people buy him as the fall guy-they believe he made things worse before Norman made them better.
Marvel.com: What can you tell us about your first arc in INVINCIBLE IRON MAN post-Secret Invasion?
IRON MAN #10
It's called "World's Most Wanted."
Marvel.com: Moving forward, what are your long-term plans for Iron Man? In what direction will we see Tony go in as a man and as a super hero?
Ahem. It's called "World's Most Wanted."
Marvel.com: Let's shine the spotlight on the X-Men now. From the Decimation to "Messiah CompleX," the X-Men have had it pretty rough for a while. How does Dark Reign impact them specifically?
It puts Emma in a seat at a very powerful table where she can negotiate to protect the mutant status quo with the powerful people that will be determining such things.
Marvel.com Are mutants the group with the most to lose in Dark Reign?
Mutants have had the most to lose ever since M-Day...
Marvel.com: Why did Emma even choose to ally herself with this collective?
She was offered a seat at the most powerful table in the world. And as [Cyclops has] felt himself crushed by the burdens of leading not just the X-Men but
mutantkind, he's withdrawn from her, unable to ask for help in shouldering his burden. Emma, knowing she's being shut out and unaware of what exactly Scott is up to, is taking matters into her own hands.
Marvel.com: How do Scott and the rest of the X-Men feel about her alliance? Do they even know?
Nobody knows. Yet.
Be sure to join us again beginning next Monday for another week of Dark Reign-Makers!
Check out the official Marvel Shop for the best mighty Marvel merchandise!