Posted by:
Byron Brewer

Phoenix Rising: Iron Man Traverses Time in 'Iron Age' event


Tony Stark has always considered himself a “futurist,” one who is working for the betterment of days ahead. But it will be days gone by that Stark and his super-heroic alter ego, Iron Man, will be discovering much more about over the summer in a series of one-shots from Marvel Comics collectively called the Iron Age event.

The seed of this story comes from Iron Man’s long-ago run in Tales of Suspense and a character name Dr. Donald Birch. Birch was the head of New Products at Stark Industries but was continually frustrated because Stark never seemed to have the time to discuss his problems. Birch decided to destroy Stark Industries in order to get revenge. (No job security worries here, folks.)

Adopting the identity of the Phantom, Birch began planting bombs or sabotaging and destroying other projects at Stark Industries. As the attacks continued, the local unions threatened to pull their workers due to the risks, and the Department of Defense considered cancelling their contracts and moving them to another company. Staying on guard as Iron Man around the clock, Stark finally caught up with the Phantom and chased him into a prototype spaceship, capturing him within its capsule.

The Phantom was unmasked as Birch before being taken away by the police, but his story did not end there!

As will be revealed in the coming Iron Age, Birch since his presumptive release has “managed over the years to assemble different parts of Doctor Doom’s time machine, so he uses this time machine to bring Dark Phoenix … to effectively destroy the planet Earth,” said writer Rob Williams in a CBR interview; Williams, newly exclusive to Marvel, is overseeing the mini-event. “Tony Stark escapes through the time machine, and the story from there is Tony going through time to get different parts of the time machine … that's the MacGuffin and his drive to eventually get back to save things.”

The storyline begins this June in The Iron Age: Alpha, written by Williams with art by Rebekah Isaacs. The saga runs through a number of one-shots and concludes in August in The Iron Age: Omega.

Shellhead finds himself in some of the most classic moments of Marvel history, always in search of heroes of the time to help save the world from the power of Dark Phoenix. Ultimately, a “one time only” super-team will build out of the characters Stark has visited, which Williams said he worked to make feel like a real natural unit working towards a goal together.

Asked how he approached the task of using Dark Phoenix, a character that to this day draws strong fan opinions across the readership, Williams said, “I concentrate on telling a satisfying story, really … You have to respect that kind of thing, but you have to work on moving things forward … She is such an amazing threat. She's not in Alpha a tremendous amount, but as we go through things and get into the X-Men story which takes place in the classic Hellfire Club story where she's still Jean Grey, we get to deal with that in a more character-centric, empathetic way.”

After Alpha, there will be three issues in July which each have two stories focusing on Tony's quest to connect with past heroes. The first issue features an Avengers team with Rhodey in the armor due to Tony's alcoholism and a Captain Britain ready to defend the British Isles against an American invader.

On art, discussions at one point centered around finding some old school artists for the project, but eventually the influence of Isaacs -- who Williams likened to a young Adam Hughes in line work and storytelling -- helped the team decide to bring on artists like Ben Oliver for the Captain Britain story and Roberto De La Torre on the X-Men chapter. Those are the three parts that will be written by Williams directly.

Further teams for The Iron Age #1 include Christos Gage and Lee Weeks on Avengers while issue #2 features Jen Van Meter and Nick Dragotta on Power Man and Iron Fist as well as Elliot Kalan and Ron Frenz on Fantastic Four with a focus on a young Human Torch. Finally, issue #3 also features Louise Simonson and Todd Nauck on Dazzler.

Different eras, different heroes and a whole other ballgame for the Armored Avenger arrive this summer – along with a whole lot of fun – with The Iron Age!

The Iron Age: Alpha ships this June from Marvel and will be 48 pages!