Tom Taylor on SUPERIOR IRON MAN: ‘Arrogant, Cunning, Superficial, Superior’

Superior Iron Man
Credit: Marvel Comics
Credit: Marvel Comics

Even on his best days, Tony Stark’s never been the most sterling of characters; it’s part of his charm. But this fall, while Captain America and Thor both get new men (and women) in their mantles, Iron Man gets his old self back; his superior self, you could say.

This November, fans will meet the new Tony – who is in a way the old Tony – in Superior Iron Man. Written by Injustice: Gods Among Us’ Tom Taylor and illustrated by Supergirl’s Yildiray Çinar, this new series will see the vaunted business man up to his old tricks – the way he was before he was injured and humbled leading up to the original creation of the Iron Man armor. The series will see Stark re-locate to San Francisco to remake the city in his image, giving Extremis to the populace and making him, in effect, their tech-savvy savior.

Newsarama spoke with both Taylor and Çinar following the announcement of this new series, and discussed this dramatic twist for Marvel’s armored Avenger, their dual jump from DC to Marvel, and what’s really inside Tony that makes him tick in this new era.

Newsarama: Tom, what can you tell us about Superior Iron Man?

Tom Taylor: Basically, we’re going to see a bit of a shift for Tony Stark. He’s never been the most subdued guy or lacking in confidence but, in Superior Iron Man, we’re going to see the pre-humility Tony. Something happens inAvengers & X-Men: Axis to bring about this change, but I can’t say too much about that at this stage.

What I can say is that readers will see Tony Stark the way he used to be – arrogant, cunning, witty, a bit superficial and, above all, superior.

Nrama: Yildiray, how are you aiming to evoke that in your artwork?

Yildiray Çinar: Well, as this one is a different take on the character, I am aiming for a flashy look. More sumptuous. I am also inking this by myself so I think I will have some chances to apply some wild look in action.

Superior Iron Man armon designs by Yildray Cinar
Superior Iron Man armon designs by Yildray Cinar
Credit: Marvel Comics

Nrama: Earlier this month we’ve seen announcements of a new Thor and a new Captain America – but in a twist, this is the same Tony Stark – in body at least. But can you tell us what’s changed about him?

Taylor: I can’t say too much simply because of Axis, but something is going to happen that will change the core of who Tony is. It’s going to change him back into being more of the self-obsessed guy he was.

Tony is also coming to San Francisco, because after all the hits he’s taken he wants to build something new and golden in San Francisco. He’s taking Extremis and giving it to all the citizens of the city, turning them ‘superior’ as well, in a way. He’s creating a utopia in San Francisco, and he enjoys being the center of this better world.

Nrama: Yildiray, are you going to be drawing any specific landmarks or places from San Francisco to ground this story in reality?

Çinar: Yes, I will try my best with that. Right now, all I can say is that Alcatraz will be important.

Superior Iron Man armon designs by Yildray Cinar
Superior Iron Man armon designs by Yildray Cinar
Credit: Marvel Comics

Nrama: The series has the adjective “Superior,” harkening to the earlier Superior Spider-Man series that featured Spider-Man being taken over by Doctor Octopus. Is someone else in control of Tony’s body? What is the comparison between this and Superior Spider-Man?

Taylor: I think the ‘superior’ in the title, as well is the fact that Tony feels superior. Tony is going to be very superior in this – he’s not the guy he was. Again, I don’t want to give too much away but there’s been a fundamental shift.

Nrama: Can you say if this is legitimately Tony, or has someone else taken over his body ala Superior Spider-Man?

Taylor: It’s legitimately Tony. He’s very sure of that.

Nrama: In the past, Iron Man has had an ensemble cast that’s included Pepper Potts, Jim Rhodes, and even Arno Stark recently. Who will be joining Tony in this new book?

Taylor: There are people around him. Because he’s in San Francisco. Daredevil is there, and he will certainly come into conflict with Tony just because of what Tony intends to do to the city. Pepper Potts will also be there, but whether or not she agrees with what Tony is doing, you’ll have to wait to find out.

But this book is really about Tony being Tony. He doesn’t need anybody.

Nrama: And who and what will Tony be up against?

Taylor: Well, for the first arc he’s going to be in conflict with Daredevil.

Çinar: I think they will be a good and strong contrast between themselves. Visually Iron Man will be bright and the Daredevil will be the dark. This is going to be fun.

Taylor: But I guess he’s also …

It’s so hard to talk about this without giving too much away. I can say there is something that comes from the outside to change things, and Tony has embraced this.

This outside element has changed Tony stark back to the way he was. It’s changed him back into the overconfident, superficial Tony Stark.

Nrama: When you talk about Iron Man, you have to talk about his armor.

Taylor: Yes, he’ll definitely be getting a new armor, which Yildiray and I have been working on along with our editor, Mark Paniccia.

It’s a new armor, and it kind of reflects the way Tony will be; there’s nothing subdued about this armor. The design is there for the world to see, and it’s a hybrid technology. It’s mixed with something, but I don’t want to say what yet. But I can tell you Pepper isn’t happy about it.

Nrama: You two have been doing comics work for a number of years, but its your first major Marvel work for both of you. What’s it like coming to Marvel, and doing so in such a large fashion with relaunching its Iron Man series?

Taylor: it’s kind of ridiculous. I’m a huge fan, obviously, and I love the universe and the characters. I thought, when I initially got the call, that they’d ease me into the universe, offer me something smaller. “Hey Tom, do you want to do a 10-page back-up story in Deadpool?,” not “Hey Tom, do you want to come in and take over one of the most high-profile heroes in the world?” It’s daunting but I’m having a hell of a time.

Çinar: I am really excited to be working on this!

I had an exclusive with DC since for the past four years. They have always been (and still is) very supportive to me. They are all great people to work with. I can't say I left DC. I am a freelancer now. So when Marvel’s Mark Paniccia asked me to do Iron Man, I jumped on it. It was a good timing to do something for Marvel.

Taylor: As far as superheroes go at the moment, it doesn’t get much bigger than Iron Man - in comics, film and in other media. I mean, my kids run around our house wearing his face… and I do too sometimes.

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