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Old 07-31-2009, 12:03 PM   #1
Keyser Soze
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Default CBR Interviews Matt Fraction

Iron Man once protected the world, but these days he's on the run from it. When Norman Osborn began his Dark Reign over the Marvel Universe, he inherited Tony Stark's old job as the U.S. Government's top superhuman law enforcement officer. But one thing Osborn didn't inherit was a database containing the secret identity of every superhero on the planet -- that information was kept locked away in Tony's brain.

Chasing Iron Man down is… just about everybody: the intelligence agency H.A.M.M.E.R; the U.S. Government's superhuman army, the Initiative; and a secret criminal Cabal made up of the world’s worst villains. To make matters worse, the only way Tony could make sure Osborn wouldn't get his hands on the database was to wipe that information from his brain. Unfortunately, Stark lost much of his own knowledge and memories as well.

How much longer can Tony evade Norman Osborn? Will the evil S.H.I.E.L.D. Director suit up in his own Iron Patriot armor and personally take Stark down? For the answers to these questions and more, CBR News spoke with “Invincible Iron Man” writer Matt Fraction.

In “World's Most Wanted,” Tony Stark has been confronted left and right by the mistakes he made as Iron Man, like failing to anticipate the shapeshifting Skrulls’ Secret Invasion of Earth, which ultimately lead to Osborn's rise to power. It hasn't been all bad, though. On this journey, Tony's been reminded of the close friendships he’s forged over the years, like Pepper Pots and Dimitri Bukharin a.k.a. the Crimson Dynamo. “When I came on to the book I said there was a reckoning coming for Tony and I wasn't just talking about his recent history. I meant really for his entire life, his entire history,” Fraction told CBR. “It's not all been bad. He's definitely made good choices along the way and met good people. He's done a lot of great things but he's got some dark chapters in his life. He's made some decisions with a lot of heavy consequences and this is sort of a marathon run through his entire history.”

The trip of “World's Most Wanted” has also been a transformative one for Stark. “I think we're reducing him to his most primal self. I wanted to strip him to his core essence without the trappings of wit, money and the other billionaire playboy elements,” Fraction explained. “I wanted to really get down to the absolute core of what is it about Tony Stark as a man that makes him innately a hero in spite of the mistakes he makes.”

Tony is gradually losing memories and chunks of his superior intellect. This may remind some readers of the classic science fiction story “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes, or the 1968 film adaptation of that story, “Charly,” starring Cliff Robertson. “I never actually read 'Flowers for Algernon' but I get the reference,” Fraction said. “This story wasn't a deliberate homage. It's actually a very classic Campbell Hero's Myth structure turned inside out.”

In “Invincible Iron Man” #15, on sale now, readers saw just how much of his memory Tony Stark lost when he asked Pepper Pots who Happy Hogan was. Before tragically dying in a fight with the villainous Spymaster, Hogan was one of Stark's closest friends and most trusted confidants. “The 'Who's Happy?' line came to me really early on,” Fraction said. ‘I was writing issue two or three of 'World's Most Wanted' and I was very glad to finally get to the line here. I hope it speaks to the stakes of what's going on here; the fact that Tony could lose the entirety of Happy Hogan. If it's not clear by now, that should indicate that we're playing for keeps. These are very high stakes and this is a serious journey that Tony is on. I hope that's resonating now.”

The stakes became even bigger for Tony Stark when his former lover and frequent adversary, Madame Masque -- who had been hunting Stark for Norman Osborn -- captured Pepper and threatened to torture her unless Stark did exactly as she ordered. Madame Masque joined the Hood's supervillain syndicate and has been more of a “New Avengers” cast member in recent years, so Fraction enjoyed the chance to reunite the two characters. “She has such a regular thing with the Hood at the moment and Tony is sort of forbidden fruit — the one that got away. And that's really exciting,” Fraction stated. “She's supposed to have this other steady gig going and she's sort of on another job, so to speak. That's what I find most intriguing about her. She's been a big part of Tony's life and I think she's an interesting human reflection on Tony's philosophy on the world, its problems, and how to fix them. She's also an interesting reflection on Tony's failures. It's interesting to me that despite everything that's going on between Madame Masque and the Hood, here's this one guy that she's just not over. And I think all of us have been or known that person. No matter how bad the object of their desire treated them they'll never be able to say no. It doesn't matter how self destructive or unhealthy the relationship is when some people fall, they fall hard and forever.”

Fraction has also used “World's Most Wanted” to give readers a parallel story featuring Maria Hill, former director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and now a close friend and confidant of Tony Stark. “I love Maria. She's terrific,” Fraction said. “We're seeing her going through some real stuff that nobody gets out of unscathed. We're taking Maria Hill to a place we've never seen, which is always exciting.”

Maria Hill's story in “World’s Most Wanted” saw her recover some secret and sensitive data for Tony Stark. Doing so lead to a mental and emotionally scarring confrontation with the supervillain known as the Controller, and the tension of that meeting is starting getting to Hill. She desperately tried to convince the Black Widow to aid her, and the Widow agreed -- only after being convinced of the deadly seriousness of Hill's mission.

“Things are dire for Maria. She's a soldier and above all the mission is supreme. Orders are orders and you see the mission through,” Fraction explained. “When she went up against the Controller she lost control of who she was. Even though it was for just a split second, the Controller got inside her head. She's never had that experience before and it's going to haunt her and shake her up for some time to come.”

“World's Most Wanted” comes to a conclusion this fall, and Maria Hill and Tony Stark's separate missions will start to overlap as things move forward. “All the walls come crashing down in issues #18-#19, the arc's last two issues. Everything comes together,” Fraction confirmed. “Tony goes back to where it all began and gets to reap a little bit of what he sewed. Hill and Widow make their move for good or for ill, and only one person comes out of that bunker . . .”

Matt Fraction has to be vague about the end of “World's Most Wanted,” but promised before the arc is over fans will get the fight they've been clamoring for. “You're nuts if you think I've been writing this storyline for about a year and I'm not going to have Tony and Norman Osborn scrap at the end,” he said. “Even Salva is asking, 'When are they going to fight?'”

Salva is of course Salvador Larroca, Fraction's artistic collaborator on “Invincible Iron Man.” The writer feels that both Larroca and colorist Frank D'Armata have done a remarkable job with their pages for “World's Most Wanted,” especially the storyline's final chapters. “Frankie is the Bill Pope of colorists and this is some of the best stuff of Salva's career,” Fraction stated. “I've been a fan of both of them for an awful long time and I feel like we've hit a groove. Wait till you see what happens.”

Fraction obviously couldn't say much about what happens after “World's Most Wanted” but could offer a few hints about what readers can expect from November's “Invincible Iron Man” #20. “Rian Hughes has done a gorgeous redesign of the book's trade dress and I believe that issues #20 will be the first book to feature that brand new look. It will look like a book from the future,” Fraction teased. “'Iron Man' will look like an elegant, aggressive, and forward thinking piece of quite frankly gorgeous design. It will be a design artifact appropriate for the coffee table of any forward thinking home.

“The title of the story arc gives away and suggests a few things so I can't reveal it, but I'll give you the initials. They are T.S.D. So look for T.S.D. with issue #20. Also starting that issue, ‘Invincible Iron Man’ is going to leap 10 feet off the racks. You'll be able to see it a mile away. I'm so excited to have gotten to work with Rian.”

“World's Most Wanted” is an epic 12-part story and Matt Fraction hopes readers enjoy the finale as much as he did writing it. “I'm having the time of my life writing this book,” Fraction said. “Hopefully folks will be surprised with where it goes and feel satisfied, staggered, and dying to know where we're going in issue #20.”

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Old 07-31-2009, 05:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: CBR Interviews Matt Fraction

By the way, if no one heard, Invincible Iron Man won the Eisner for best new series. Very happy to see an Iron Man series get such a great award.
I hope that Fraction will stay on after this 20 issue run, but its hard to keep a writter on very long.
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Old 07-31-2009, 05:41 PM   #3
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Default Re: CBR Interviews Matt Fraction

He says in that interview he's starting a whole new arc with 20, so I'd imagine he'll be around a while yet.

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Old 08-01-2009, 07:11 PM   #4
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Default Re: CBR Interviews Matt Fraction

^^ Indeed.

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Old 08-02-2009, 05:58 PM   #5
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Default Re: CBR Interviews Matt Fraction

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyser Soze View Post
He says in that interview he's starting a whole new arc with 20, so I'd imagine he'll be around a while yet.
Very good to hear, I've really enjoyed his writting and I really beleive Iron Man is over due for a signature writter he hasn't had in more than a decade, usually once they get going with good stories Marvel pulls them off and puts them elsewhere.

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Old 08-04-2009, 04:04 PM   #6
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Default Re: CBR Interviews Matt Fraction

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Originally Posted by Ironfan72 View Post
Very good to hear, I've really enjoyed his writting and I really beleive Iron Man is over due for a signature writter he hasn't had in more than a decade, usually once they get going with good stories Marvel pulls them off and puts them elsewhere.
Yeah. Warren Ellis could have been that great, definitive Iron Man writer, but he left the book far too quickly. I see Matt Fraction's Invincible Iron Man run as a kind of spritual successor to Extremis, picking up where Ellis left off and building on it.

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Old 10-26-2009, 01:23 PM   #7
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Default Re: CBR Interviews Matt Fraction

I just ordered the first two invincible Iron Man HC's by Fraction. I've read the "Big" storylines in IM history (Demon In A Bottle, Armor Wars, Extremis).

Will I be able to read the two new books without problems?

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Old 10-26-2009, 02:33 PM   #8
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Default Re: CBR Interviews Matt Fraction

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Originally Posted by The Bruce View Post
I just ordered the first two invincible Iron Man HC's by Fraction. I've read the "Big" storylines in IM history (Demon In A Bottle, Armor Wars, Extremis).

Will I be able to read the two new books without problems?
I imagine so. Matt Fraction's Invincible Iron Man was pretty much designed to be an accessible entry-point for new readers attracted by the movie. The only thing you really need to know that the movie (or, indeed, the big storylines you mentioned) doesn't tell you is that Tony Stark is, at the start of Invincible Iron Man, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. after the events of Civil War. Secret Invasion happened between The Five Nightmares and World's Most Wanted, so a vague working knowledge of the status quo changes of that event might be helpful - though it's all kinda explained to you in the first chapter of World's Most Wanted anyway.

All I can say is, I've read Extremis by Warren Ellis, but none of the other Iron Man graphic novels by the Knaufs that followed, and I read Civil War but not Secret Invasion, and I understood everything in Fraction's Invincible Iron Man with no problems. The only other advice I can give is have some patience. The Five Nightmares is good, but World's Most Wanted is much better IMO, so even if you're not blown away by The Five Nightmares, keep reading.

I hope you enjoy the books!

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Old 03-12-2010, 08:47 AM   #9
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Default Re: CBR Interviews Matt Fraction

New Matt Fraction interview from Newsarama

http://www.newsarama.com/games/Fract...ic-100309.html

My favorite part of the interview:

Quote:
Fraction: Oh, sure, sure. Yes, to both cases. I have a big bee in my bonnet about letting Tony be Tony, the essential Stark-ness of it all. But no one should be able to do exactly what Tony does. No one can invent another Iron Man suit, just an imitations. Tony's the effing captain. That's my biggest thing.

And I did it in the comic, that's why I put the thing in his chest and blew up every other Iron Man suit, it didn't make sense for him to have a warehouse of them, and still say that he couldn't get them out to other people. And all these villains take them all the time, so it takes away from the specialness of Tony and Iron Man. He's not a pilot, he's THE pilot. That's the difference for me.
I agree with Matt, I could never stand it when anyone (like Osborn, some writers and some readers) though anyone could just put on the suit and be Iron Man. It was never that simple.

I'm glad he's doing it this way, I hate it when they try to take the uniqueness away from Tony.

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Old 08-11-2010, 06:05 AM   #10
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Default Re: CBR Interviews Matt Fraction

ETREEMIS volume 2 isn't out yet right?


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