Jon Favreau loves to take chances when it comes to the Iron Man movies. First he cast a forty-something Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark (brilliant!) and now for Iron Man 2 he’s decided to highlight what even fans of the long-running comic book would call a cheesy, second-tier villain: Whiplash.

Basically Whiplash is an ex-con who figures out how to build a suit that uses electrically-charged whips as a weapon. And yes, at one point in the comics he did look like he was into bondage with a black leather costume replete with a zippered mouth.

But for Iron Man 2, Favreau has decided to change the character and make him Russian, combining Whiplash (who will be played by Mickey Rourke) with another armored villain known as the Crimson Dynamo. To help familiarize fans with this amalgam of a character, Marvel will be putting out a four part comic book miniseries that will introduce Ivan Vanko (Whiplash’s real name) and what leads up to his hatred and need for revenge against Tony Stark.

Iron Man vs. Whiplash will premiere in November of this year and will be written by Brannon Braga (long time Star Trek scribe and currently working on the hit Fox TV series 24) and Marc Guggenheim. Here’s the official description of the series:

Before he strikes in “Iron Man 2,” meet the all-new, all-different, all-deadly Whiplash in this special in-continuity adventure! Who is Anton Vanko and why does he blame Tony Stark for the murder of thousands? For that matter, why does the United Nations? Brannon Braga (TV’s “24”) and Marc Guggenheim (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN) and artist Phil Briones (SUB-MARINER: REVOLUTION) have the answers!

The cover of 'Iron Man vs Whiplash' #1

I know I’ll be picking up this series for a couple of reasons:

1. About the only comic books I buy are Iron Man related.

2. Much like the Star Trek prequel comic mini-series, I think this will add to my enjoyment of the movie.

And a shout out to intrepid Screen Rant writer Rob Keyes for bringing this to my attention 3 days ago – we could have scooped the other movie sites that have since picked this up if I hadn’t been so lazy. :)

Iron Man 2 opens on May 7, 2010.