By Tim Stevens
Even a man in a metal suit cannot live forever.
Tony Stark will face that reality this fall when the legendary creative team of David Michelinie and Bob Layton, along with artist Bernard Chang, bring fans IRON MAN: THE END.
"The plot deals with Tony Stark having to face a reality that we'll all encounter some day: aging and inevitable mortality," Michelinie explains. "He's used to being vital, active, doing things and making things happen. But at age 70 he's slower, mentally and physically. What happens when he realizes that time, the great equalizer, may take Iron Man away from him?"
Time also plays into the birth of this project as IRON MAN: THE END has been some eight years in coming.
"We submitted a plot, but we and the editors couldn't quite get on the same page, so the project went away," recalls Michelinie. "Then, about a year ago, Bob and I were offered the chance to resurrect our plot."
For editor Alejandro Arbona, the entire process seemed quite effortless.
"IRON MAN: THE END first came up in the most unassuming way: through conversation," he reveals. "Before long, [Michelinie and Layton] were back in top form: David turning his enthusiasm for hard science and technology into the fantastic innovations and inventions of Tony Stark, and Bob breaking the mold designing new and ever more advanced suits for the Armored Avenger. The team was complete when the Layton-trained sensation Bernard Chang came aboard to bring the pencils to life."
DEMON IN A
Michelinie, for his part, found that writing Tony Stark again just fit: "His situation is somewhat different—he's married, so the playboy persona is gone. But he's essentially the same proud, noble and courageous hero and business mogul he's always been."
Along with that familiarity comes recognizable faces. Fans can expect to see Bethany Cabe, a new Crimson Dynamo, dubbed the Ultra-Dynamo, and what Michelinie describes as, "an old corporate foe of Stark International, in a new global guise."
Arbona, however, warns readers against thinking of IRON MAN: THE END as a nostalgia project and nothing more. While admitting the legendary nature of Michelinie/Layton IRON MAN collaborations, he asserts, "They're creating totally new material and pushing the envelope as much as they ever did. It's an incredibly unique opportunity to watch two masters of their craft cranking out new adventures."
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