Friday, August 15, 2008

The Beginning of ‘The End’ of Iron Man

It may be true that all good things must come to an end but in the case of Marvel Comics’ Armored Avenger Iron Man, it’s “The End” that has us stoked.

FanBoyWonder’s favorite new go-to Website for all things comics and sci-fi—io9 (thank you Kemosabe for the refer)—is reporting that the classic Iron Man creative team of David Michelinie and Bob Layton are re-uniting once again to chronicle Tony Stark’s final chapter in Iron Man: The End.

The source of the news comes from Layton himself who is sporting preview pages of the upcoming mini-series on his Website

Now of course this REALLY won’t be the last Iron Man story ever told but Michelinie and Layton have been itching to tell their version of Shellhead’s last days for the better part of a decade.

According to Layton, he and Michelinie pitched Marvel their concept of the “last Iron man story ever told” back in 2000 but it took some time to get the green light.

After the span of almost a decade and several ‘false starts', this project has finally reached fruition,” explained Layton on his website.

Here’s the Upshot from Layton himself: Decades in the future, a 70-plus Tony Stark is overseeing his ultimate project of his lauded career—the completion of Earth’s first commercial space elevator, whose inauguration will change the world’s economy and the future of space exploration forever. However, not everyone is looking forward to this project’s launch with the same enthusiasm as the head of Stark Universal. Sinister forces are at work, behind-the-scenes, to insure that Stark’s pinnacle scientific achievement ends in disaster.

Layton says “The End” is tentatively scheduled to be published this November, in conjunction with the Iron Man movie’s DVD release. However, the Iron Man DVD is reportedly slated for a September 30 release date so take the “tentative schedule” with a grain of salt.

The story has been conceived and plotted by Michelinie and Layton—scripted by Michelinie, pencilled by Valiant alum Bernard (Second Life of Dr. Mirage) Chang and inked by Layton.

The End would mark M&L’s second Iron Man collaboration this year following the four issue mini series Iron Man: Legacy of Doom—the third of M&L’s Camelot Trilogy featuring Iron Man vs. Doctor Doom in King Arthur’s Court.

The previous two clashes of Marvel’s armored heavyweights by Michelinie and Layton took place in the classic Iron Man (volume 1) #149-150, with part two in Iron Man (again volume 1) #249-250—which has also been in a hard cover Iron Man: DoomQuest.

While “Legacy” wasn’t quite a strong a story as the first two Iron Doom team-ups—due in large part that it was a flashback “forgotten” tale retroactively sandwiched between the previous two Camelot stories and current events in the Marvel Universe—Legacy was still quite enjoyable and worth checking out.

While we’ve always been DC Comics fanboy first and foremost, we read a fair amount of Iron Man back in the great days of Old Marvel—both during Shellhead’s his time on The Avengers and in his own book.

Their circa 1980 Demon in a Bottle story line from Iron Man (first series) # 120-128, collected in the trade paperback The Power of Iron Man was groundbreaking stuff, ahead of its time and easily as good as anything put out today, while their Armor Wars in 1988 remains a Shellhead benchmark.

To us the definitive Iron Man has been and will always be from the team of Michelinie and Layton. No one else since has come close to making this character come alive.

Bottom Line: Count on Iron Man: The End being on our pull list in November or whenever it hits stores. Stay tuned.


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