Christopher Cantwell Transforms Iron Man Into a Cosmic God
Tony Stark has always had a bit of a god complex. But for the first time, the rest of the universe seems to agree. Halt and Catch Fire creator Christopher Cantwell, artist CAFU, Angel Unzueta, and Frank D’Armata (along with covers by the unmatched Alex Ross) are making Tony more powerful than ever in an upcoming issue of Iron Man.
Tony will fuse with the Power Cosmic in Iron Man #14, which will take the armored Avenger to exciting new heights and challenge him in ways readers haven’t seen yet. SuperheroHype recently had the opportunity to chat with Cantwell about the upcoming issue, the challenges of humbling Tony, and how Robert Downey Jr.’s magnetic portrayal in the Marvel Cinematic Universe elevated the character. We even have Ross’ new cover art for Iron Man #14!
Superhero Hype: Will Cosmic Iron Man humble Tony Stark, or will it simply make his ego even bigger?
Christopher Cantwell: This run started in issue #1 with Tony deciding to simplify his life and image. Of course as the story has gone on, quite the opposite has happened. And now… he’s a god. What happens when you give a guy who’s struggled with a god complex in the past actual godly powers? The whole Korvac arc has been about Tony trying to reconnect with his grounded humanity. The cosmic god part of the story will be his hardest to overcome.
What was the most exciting aspect of taking Iron Man in the direction we’ll see in Iron Man #14?
I don’t think it’s been done before. It’s hard to find original paths for a character as storied as Iron Man. I also really tried to push the medium around and do something different with #14, which is entirely within Tony’s internal experience as the Power Cosmic infuses his body. What would that feel like? What would a person go through mentally and emotionally as something that big radically changes your very existence?
I wanted to be with Tony as this happened, to show what he’s been thinking about this entire arc. The whole thing is constructed as a kind of surreal dream experience. In a book that is so much about science, intellect, and technology, I wanted Tony to experience something that defied all three of those things in his transformation.
When you write this book, do you find yourself pulled toward a specific Iron Man run for inspiration?
I feel like I am constantly aspiring to Denny O’Neil, hands down. I’m reaching towards his ability to kind of spread all of the componentry of Tony Stark on a work bench and build him back up. O’Neil dealt with the man’s psyche so well.
Iron Man wasn’t as well known to the general public before Robert Downey Jr. was cast in the MCU. As an Iron Man writer, do you feel it’s your job to piggyback off RDJ’s portrayal or solidly establish his comic counterpart as a different person? How much of Tony Stark is RDJ, and how do you honor that portrayal while also adding your own style/flavor to the character?
RDJ brought a charm to Tony that helped counterbalance the sober seriousness of the character from the comics. That’s become indelible to the character and I think helped him integrate even better into the larger Marvel Universe. But our Tony is his own incarnation. Ideally, every new Tony Stark—whether it be from a writer, artist, or an actor—should feel like some new evolution that remains contemporary. We’re endeavoring to do that. Our Tony still has a charm and fun, and a sense of humor, but we’re also trying to make him approachable and sincere and aware of his own failings in the past.
Which Iron Man supporting character do you enjoy writing most?
In terms of characters that I’ve brought to the ensemble, my easy answer is Hellcat. Patsy Walker is a wonderful counterpoint to Tony in our story. But I also love writing Rhodey. In many ways, Rhodey’s selflessness paints such a contrast to Tony, that he’s almost the hero Tony aspires to be when wearing armor.
Here’s Marvel’s official description for Iron Man #14:
“BEHOLD THE BIRTH OF COSMIC IRON MAN! Iron Man has tasted a higher power and is forever changed. Moments before, he was locked in mortal combat with his worst adversary in years — KORVAC — but now he finds his very existence altered beyond recognition. Indeed, fundamental concepts like space and time have taken on a new meaning. But what does this portend for Tony Stark, a man who even when stripped bare feels he knows best? What happens when his ego — often challenged, condemned and even derided by both foes and friends — is suddenly given a limitless avenue? It could certainly mean radical and drastic change for the entire universe…and reality itself.”
Iron Man #14 is scheduled to hit shelves in November.
Are you excited to read the issue this fall? Let us know in the comment section below!
Recommended Reading: Iron Man Vol. 1 TPB
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