Dan Slott’s run on Amazing Spider-Man has left us with some incredible stories and a monumental legacy. The writer might be done with Spider-Man (for now, at least), but he’s sticking around at Marvel and preparing to set out on some brand new journeys. We already know that Slott’s very first assignment following his final issue of Amazing Spider-Man #801 will be on Iron Man, and that’s cause for excitement.
It’s unclear what the Iron Man status quo will be in six months time. Doctor Doom and Riri Williams are still filling the role to different extents, while Tony Stark is dead or missing in action. We can’t predict what pieces Slott will pick up following the conclusion of Bendis’ run, but we can look at what skills and talents he is taking from his time with Spider-Man. Slott will be following a murderer’s row of top Marvel talent on the character, including Bendis, Ellis, and Fraction. However, Slott has also distinguished himself as a unique superhero writer who is well suited to the long game of capes comics.
Here are the top five things we want from Slott’s Iron Man run based on his decade of Spider-Man stories and other top-notch adventures.
An Expanded Supporting Cast
While working with Spider-Man, Slott recognized one of the character’s greatest assets was the diverse people who surrounded the hero at home and work. J. Jonah Jameson, Aunt May, Mary Jane, and others have become as recognized and well-loved as Spider-Man himself over the years. Slott not only played on these strengths, but worked on updating and expanding that supporting cast. Jameson’s family grew and integrated with the Parker line. Max Modell and his fellow scientists offered a great new setting and cast of players. Carly Cooper and Anna Maria Marconi have stuck around as valuable characters beyond their initial introductions as love interests.
Tony Stark needs this same size and diversity of supporting characters. Whether as Iron Man or CEO of Stark Enterprises, Tony is bigger than life and requires people to both contrast his personality and keep him grounded. Pepper Potts and Happy Hogan are not nearly enough. We hope to see Slott expand the workplace with memorable associates and provide people in Tony’s personal life who can challenge the man with no biological relations left. Ordinary people are what ultimately remind Iron Man he’s a good guy, and Slott should be able to fill his life with them.
Find What Makes Tony Stark Uncomfortable
Slott’s work on Spider-Man also focused on pushing Peter outside of his comfort zone (as well as readers). Some might think that killing Spider-Man would be enough, but Slott pushed the hero to his limits in life as well. In the pages of “No One Dies”, Slott dug deep into Spider-Man’s psyche to exploit his most foundational trauma. Recently, he has also placed him outside of his underdog shell by making Peter Parker a powerful CEO. The key to the last 10 years of Spider-Man was that nothing should ever feel familiar to the hero.
Delivering that level of discomfort is a steep bill for Tony Stark who is everything Peter Parker is not, notably self-assured and suave. Yet that’s what makes Slott’s upcoming run so promising. He can focus on what undermines Iron Man’s core character traits in order to both reveal why he is a hero and what makes him courageous. While it’s difficult to imagine a terrified or overwhelmed Tony Stark, we believe Slott is more than up to the task.
Slott created some memorable new villains in his Spider-Man run, but his most significant work came in making classic villains feel different or more important. Cleaning up the mythos behind Morlun in “Spider-Verse” is still a shocking achievement, while smaller additions to villains like The Rhino and Electro have made them much more engaging. Even Spider-Man’s biggest baddies, Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus, have been redefined through the events of Superior Spider-Man and Slott’s upcoming finale.
Iron Man has one of the largest rogues galleries in superhero comics, but they’ve never stacked up to those of Spider-Man, Batman, or The Flash. Slott coming on board provides an opportunity to change that. Bronze age B-listers like Spymaster are begging for an update and more iconic villains like The Mandarin are in desperate need of a defining story. Iron Man’s villains are capable of greatness and Dan Slott is a writer capable of giving an upgrade to every villain he writes.
Great Artistic Collaborations
Dan Slott is only half of the equation on his Spider-Man run. Every peanut butter needs its jelly, and Slott found a few throughout his time with the Webslinger. Modern greats like Marcos Martin (returning for Slott’s final issue) and Stuart Immonen have also left a lasting mark on Amazing Spider-Man and Slott’s writing. It’s apparent from these collaborations that both writer and artist tend to bring out the best in one another.
That’s why we hope that Slott is paired with an artist equally prepared to change Iron Man forever and for the better. It could be someone Slott is already comfortable or an exciting new or returning voice to superhero comics capable of challenging the writer. Slott gives us a lot of confidence that the new run on Iron Man will be great, but it’s the complete creative team that will seal the deal.
At Least One BIG Story
The pièce de résistance of Slott’s run on Amazing Spider-Man remains the interlude in which Superior Spider-Man took over. This story in which Doctor Octopus assumed both of Peter Parker’s identities was originally planned for only a single arc, but blossomed into a yearlong event. In spite of initial skepticism, the story delivered some excellent individual adventures along with one of the greatest Spider-Man sagas of the current century.
Iron Man needs a story of this scope and size. He is a character looking for a defining mega-event that will push him into the unknown and remind readers why they love the hero. While this might not be a story we need right away, we hope Slott has another epic like Superior Spider-Man in him and that he’s ready to redefine Tony Stark with it.