SDCC 2010: ABNETT and LANNING Team IRON MAN and THOR in Nov

ABNETT and LANNING on IRON MAN/THOR

Iron Man and Thor have a lot in common. They’re both founding Avengers, and they’re both stars of Marvel Studios films, even if Iron Man had a bit of a head start in that department. Of course, they have a lot of differences, too. Iron Man is a man of science and technology; Thor is a man of magic and myth. And then there was the incident during Civil War when Iron Man co-created a clone of Thor that ended up murdering their mutual superhero friend Goliath. So that was awkward.

All of this will be explored in Iron Man/Thor, a four-issue, November-starting miniseries announced Thursday afternoon at Comic-Con International: San Diego’s “Mondo Marvel” panel. Yet it won’t only be relationship talk, seeing as how they’re going against the High Evolutionary and his quest to rid the world of “old gods” through the use of both mythological items and Tony Stark’s technology. Newsarama talked to the creative team — co-writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, answering collectively as “DnA,” plus artist Scot Eaton — via e-mail to learn more about the series, which takes place right in the midst of current continuity.

Newsarama: What the status of the relationship between Iron Man and Thor at this point as your series begins? Obviously they've had some issues recently and in the past — Tony Stark built a "Thorbuster" armor, after all — but it looks like they're clearing that up.

DnA: Thanks to the bond forged through their long history, they are on cordial, respectful terms, and they’ve both been through the wringer so there is some empathy for each other’s current situation. However, there is a core of mistrust, almost animosity: Thor still nurses doubts about some of the things Tony has done or been involved in since Civil War, even things he may have ‘done’ by omission or had no control over. There are trust issues.

Nrama: What's your take on the dynamic between Iron Man and Thor? What makes them an intriguing pair?

DnA: They are two of the all-time great Marvel heroes. They are classic characters. They are founder Avengers. They are two of the heaviest hitters in the MU. And they represent two utterly different by compellingly parallel dynamics: Thor is heir to a tradition of enchantment and myth, an arcane being; Iron Man is the epitome of technological trans-human advances. They are past and future, ancient and modern, magic and technology.

Nrama: Scot, pairing Thor and Iron Man is pairing mythical fantasy with cutting-edge technology. Is it fun to be working with both of those worlds simultaneously?

Scot Eaton: It'll be fun, and with luck, a good visual theme. I've done sci-fi and I love the mythic by-way-of-Kirby feel of Asgard. Maybe it's more Lord of the Rings in the modern Marvel U, but that just creates a little more contrast. If I can bring both to the book; Epic Thor fighting right next to Sleek Iron Man, in panel after panel, it should be a nice dynamic.

Nrama: The High Evolutionary in an interesting villain. What's motivating him in this story?

DnA: His usual interest in the betterment and enhancement of mankind. [Editor] Ralph [Macchio] shares our fascination with the HE: he’s not really a villain, not in the traditional, malevolent way. He’s a dreamer and a thinker and an imaginer. Sometimes his dreams lead to very bad outcomes and he poses a threat, but that threat is always a by-product of his ambition.

Nrama: More specifically, who are the "old gods" that the High Evolutionary is looking to get rid of?

DnA: All gods. HE has already tried to create mankind 2.1., now he believes that the same is necessary for the divine. He thinks that all the tradition pantheons have no further relevance for the modern age and need to be replaced by a being or beings manufactured to enhance and suit mankind’s future path.

Nrama: Scot, by the nature of the High Evolutionary's design, he seems like he might be a character that's hard to make too expressive — not that he's necessarily a very emotional character. How do you approach that?

Eaton: It shouldn't be that hard. He's always got human elements to his face. Always had some expressive elements, as if he were human under a mask. The challenge will be to make him huge and remote. A legitimate threat to two of the heaviest hitters on Earth.

Nrama: Dan, Andy, you guys have been working pretty strictly within the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe in recent years, and this looks to step out of that a bit. Is it nice to branch out?

DnA: It’s great, and it’s a treat to work with such major characters (and Scot, who’s brilliant!). That being said, this is undoubtedly a “cosmic” story in every aspect except the fact that it’s not in outer space. In terms of character power levels, esoteric themes and existence-changing events, this is totally in tune with our cosmic stories!

Nrama: Scot, what can you say about some of the settings you've been illustrating thus far in the series?

Eaton: I haven't gotten into my favorite yet, the ruins of fallen Asgard, but Dan and Andy open it up immediately in a very cool battle ground. I don't want to say too much, but the contrast inherent in the nature of these two heroes plays out all through the threat they face. Which makes sense, because the High Evolutionary is motivating all the events. But it's going to be big and a really fun stretch for me. I've wanted to work with Dan and Andy for a while because they handle the cosmic characters that drew me to comics originally so well. Now they're bringing that to earth like a meteor!

Eager to see DnA go Earth-bound for Iron Man/Thor? 

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