The Marvel Cinematic Universe is always expanding. Phase 3 of its film component begins this year with Captain America: Civil War, which pits Iron Man and his band of superpowered comrades against his old compatriot the Cap and those who choose to follow him. And, although Iron Man’s solo future in the MCU is uncertain in the post-Iron Man 3 era of the MCU, his role in the broader film universe is only just beginning.
Likewise, Tony Stark won’t be fading from anyone’s memories in the Marvel comic book universe either. The quick-witted super suit-wearing icon is about to begin what could be his most adventurous journey thus far.
Marvel has announced the upcoming release of their latest Iron Man series, International Iron Man. In the new series, the wealthy genius superhero embarks on an adventure which promises to take him around the world and add new dimensions to Tony Stark. The new series lands on March 16th and was written by Marvel guru Brian Michael Bendis (Jessica Jones), featuring art and covers by Alex Maleev (Daredevil) – as well as several variant covers from Gabriele Dell’Otto, Skottie Young, John Tyler Christopher, and Marco D’Alfonso. According to their press release, the new comic series and story arc will explore Stark’s “legacy” and send Mr. Stark on a journey of personal and general discovery. Here’s the description from the official press release:
“Who is Tony Stark, really? Is he the super hero known as Iron Man? Is he the billionaire philanthropist genius? Or is he something more? Find out this March as the Eisner Award-winning creative team of Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev present a completely new take on the Armored Avenger…Now is the time to uncover what his legacy truly is, a journey that will carry Tony into new directions as a man and a hero. Travelling the globe, Iron Man will discover new things about the Marvel Universe he didn’t know existed before! New friends, new enemies and a side of the Marvel Universe you’ve never seen. Be there as the world tour begins this March in INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1!”
Iron Man’s origins stem back to a collaborative effort by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, along with Larry Lieber and Don Heck, in 1963’s Tales of Suspense. Son of industrialist Howard Stark, Tony Stark, the character rapidly found a home, landing first as a founder of the Avengers before gaining his own series in May of 1968 as The Invincible Iron Man. The venerable Armored Avenger has been in print ever since, going through numerous variations, and creating innovative gadgets, dozens of different suits of armor (as seen in the MCU films), as well as various technological advances that contribute to the Avenger’s defensive and offensive capabilities... and unleased mechanoid-transcendent superhero Vision and nemesis Ultron.
Here are some shots from the upcoming first issue of International Iron Man:
From the promos, it looks almost like Tony Stark will be reimagined as a superhero James Bond character, trekking around the world. It’s possible his new direction in the comics could be the end result of his soul seeking travels (resulting from the darker Stark seen in the “Demon” and “A Long Way Down” story arcs). The new saga also hints at brand new heroes and villains alike, though the images seem to hint at a few old friends as well (possibly Scarlet Witch and Black Widow cameos?). In all likelihood, we’ll still see some familiar faces, but it will be curious to see which international and new heroes emerge from this, and if they’ll have a role in the MCU as well.
How much they plan on changing is also a good question. Will the Tony Stark in International Iron Man simply be a wiser hero, who’s trying to broaden his own perspectives, or will Bendis and company take the character in more of a globetrotting fashion, super-spy style? The images do show a lot of fancy dining events, perhaps hinting at a more ambassadorial Tony Stark. It’s clear that Iron Man will still see plenty of action, nonetheless. All will soon be revealed, though, when the book hits shelves mid-March.
International Iron Man arrives in stores on March, 16, 2016.
Captain America: Civil War will release on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man – July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.
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