Iron Man: Armored Adventures season two story editor Brandon Auman talks to Marvel Animation Age about the teenaged Tony Stark's upcoming adventures and why fans can't miss a single one.
Marvel Animation Age: First off, tell us a bit about yourself and your role in season two of Iron Man: Armored Adventures.
Brandon Auman: I'm the story editor, which basically entails me coming up with the stories to assign to the freelancer writers, and writing episodes when I have the time. It's great because you get to collaborate with writers and execs on season arcs, create original stories and even adapt classic Iron Man comics into episodes. It's a lot of work, but incredibly fun... so that more than makes up for it.
MAA: The first season ended with Tony discovering his father is actually alive and Khan discovering five more rings to find. Where does season two pick up?
BA: Tony's been flying all over the world, trying to hunt Gene Khan down. He's slowly giving up hope that his father is alive, thinking that Gene lied to him so he could get the upperhand and escape. Now Gene is out there, seeking out the last five Makluan rings... and Tony has no idea that these other five even exist. So yeah, Tony isn't exactly in a trusting frame of mind anymore. We see that reflected in some of the early episodes. Tony's changed... he's a bit angrier. Of course he still has his Stark sense of humor, but he's definitely older and wiser. After all, he's turning 17... a year closer to gaining control of Stark International. Obadiah Stane isn't happy about this; he wants to figure out a way to lock Tony out, to keep the company. So I think it's interesting that as our heroes grow and change, our villains change as well. We'll get to see Obadiah go further down his dark path...
MAA: Why does Iron Man receive a new armor? Can you describe some of the upgrades and additions to the new suit?
BA: Tony needs to create the Mark 2 armor because his old enemies are upgrading. He needs something heavier, with better defenses. And yeah, its armed with new weapons... sonic disruptors, missile launchers, aerial mines, flame throwers, more powerful repulsors and force fields. All of these new weapons and gadgets are influenced from the comics and movie versions of Iron Man. Oh yeah - and the armor's also shinier, too, ha! It doesn't look like plastic anymore, it actually looks like iron!
MAA: What will be some of the overall themes and plots Iron Man: Armored Adventures will explore in the second season?
BA: Season 2 gets pretty dark. Our themes are taken seriously... we deal with trust, loss, failure, racism, even the notion of being a hero. I don't want to reveal too many plots, but I can talk about one of Iron Man's biggest threats in Season 2 - Justin Hammer. He's in his 20's, and is a rich, suave, arrogant, sociopathic billionaire. He was influenced partially by the comics, and partially by the Sam Rockwell version of Hammer in Iron Man 2. His company, Hammer Multinational, is now the biggest tech and weapons manufacturer on the planet. Since Howard Stark disappeared, Stark International is losing tech contracts, including deals with S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hammer is sweeping up. This puts even more pressure on Obadiah Stane to stay on top - to build new weapons to compete. And now they're both after the Iron Man armor, and they'll stop at nothing to get it.
MAA: The second season of Iron Man: Armored Adventures is 26 episodes. Does having such a large episode order allow for more breathing space when it comes to plotting out the season and exploring episode ideas?
BA: Absolutely. We get to follow some interesting arcs, and of course pick up on threads left over from season one. Even though some of the episodes may feel a bit "stand alone", they will all tie into our various arcs in some way. One of the later episodes, inspired by a comic from Warren Ellis, will literally alter Tony's life forever... that's all I can say. I think fans of our series - and the comics - will be pleased.
MAA: The first season had guest-stars, including Nick Fury, Black Panther and the Hulk. Rumor has it that Dr. Doom, Magneto, and Black Widow will debut this season. Is that true? Who can we expect to see as guest stars, both good and bad, in this second season?
BA:We're gonna see a lot of guest stars; we've got Magneto, Doctor Doom, Black Widow, Justin Hammer, Titanium Man, Iron Monger... all these great, iconic Marvel characters. Black Widow's intro into the series will have a "classic" bend to it. And Doom is really vicious -- a real monstrous villain that will stop at nothing to fulfill his agenda. And we'll be introducing one or two of the X-Men, which is incredibly exciting. The Hulk will return, angrier and more out of control... a bigger threat than ever. I don't want to give away too much, but we'll even have a few episodes with a certain Avenger. He's one of my favorite Marvel characters... I wish I could mention who he is, but we've got to have some surprises!
MAA: Christopher Yost was the showrunner for the first season. Does he leave big shoes to fill as you step in to run the series for it's second season?
BA: Hulk-sized shoes! Chris is one of the best writers/story editors in the business. I worked with him on the first season of Iron Man: Armored Adventures and on The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. We discussed what season two should resolve, he gave me an idea for an episode or two, but other than that... he told me to go crazy. At the time, he was still on The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, so I think he was swamped. But he loved working on the first season of Iron Man: Armored Adventures and is excited for season two.
MAA: To be blunt, how does this season raise the stakes from the first season? What are our heroes fighting for?
BA: Well, the "kid gloves" are definitely off this time around. It's not just second and third string villains like Unicorn and the Black Knight. When you have heavyweights like Dr. Doom, Titanium Man, Iron Monger - the stakes you are fighting for is your life! Iron Man is also fighting for his integrity. Tony is still trying to make sure that Stark International isn't using his tech to hurt anyone. And in all honesty - he fails. Early on, something precious is taken away from Tony. His worst fears are coming true. Did you ever read the early Matt Fraction The Invincible Iron Man run, "The Five Nightmares" ? Well, three of those nightmares are starting to come true...
MAA: Now, this may be getting ahead of ourselves, but is there a chance fans can expect a third season of Iron Man: Armored Adventures?
BA: I know fans hate to hear this, but it all depends on how well season two does! If the fans are into it, who knows? As I worked on season two, I roughly outlined 12 - 13 episodes for a possible third season... bringing in new heroes and villains. Of course it was all hypothetical, stuff I wrote down in my notebook at 4 a.m. Nothing official, just brainstorming. So yeah... it's too early to know.
MAA: Finally, please convince us why we should tune in to Nicktoons Network on July 13th, at 8:30pm (ET) for the season season premiere of Iron Man: Armored Adventures!
BA: Because it has EXPLOSIONS! And MAYHEM! And NEW SUPERHEROES and SUPER VILLAINS!! And did I mention
EXPLOSIONS?! But seriously, I love the relationship between Tony and his friends - that's my favorite aspect.
There are only so many lasers and explosions anyone call tolerate... if it doesn't have a core of strong characters
you can identify with, you don't care. And on top of all that, we've got some great writers working on the show.
A lot of the guys from The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, and even comic writers and creators like
David Michelinie and Bob Layton, famous for writing Iron Man stories like "Armor Wars" (or "Stark Wars"). I think
Iron Man fans will be surprised how we integrated all decades of comic stories into many of the episodes.
And of course... we've got Magneto and Doctor Doom!
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