Wednesday Q&A: Matt Fraction

Wednesday Q&A: Matt Fraction

By Jim Beard

It's not easy finding a free moment in writer Matt Fraction’s work schedule; you see, he’s busy conquering the Marvel Universe as we know it.

Currently involved in such titles as AVENGERS VS. X-MEN, INVINCIBLE IRON MAN, THE MIGHTY THOR and DEFENDERS, Fraction’s expertise covers all bases, making him one of the most sought-after authors in the business of comics.

But we had lots of questions and we weren’t about to take “no” for an answer. What about AvX rocks his world? What’s up next for Tony Stark? Where’s the Mighty Thor’s head at these days? And could the Defenders’ book be any more insane? Well, we asked and the writer responded—check it out for yourselves!

NOTE: This interview took place prior to C2E2

Avengers Vs. X-Men #2 cover by Jim Cheung Matt, how would you define your role on the AvX team? What about the event gets you pumping?

Matt Fraction: The sleepy one? The dumb one? I dunno. What gets me excited as a writer was a chance to break a story with some of my best friends in the business where the sky was the limit and everyone's egos were checked at the door; everybody wanted to write a barn-burner of an event. I got to play the ultimate game of make-believe with my friends. How amazing is that?

As a reader, this is what super hero comics are all about, man. This is the kind of stuff that, when I read SECRET WARS as a kid, made me a fan-for-life. And you've only seen the tip of the tip of the iceberg. So, as a young comic reader, what exactly was it about books like SECRET WARS that made an impression?

Matt Fraction: It meant the coolest toys in the toybox were trying to tear the arms and heads off of one another and how cool was that? My favorite fights were, well, all of SECRET WARS, culminating in both Doctor Doom vs. The Beyonder—“Thus…thus falls Doom?” So awesome; and then Everybody vs. Doom. Thinking of that history, how would you quantify the story arc of the Marvel Universe up to AvX? And how will the event further define the Universe?

Matt Fraction: Quantifying the arc of the Marvel Universe is a bit outside my wheelhouse, I think, but I can tell you that it will further define the Universe by upending the status quo. If I told you its impact you'd think I was messing with you. In your opinion, of the two sides in the event, Avengers and X-Men, who is right? Who is making the best argument and why?

Avengers Vs. X-Men #3 cover by Jim Cheung

Matt Fraction: I see three sides to the event, and that third side is the one I find myself on. When you write, though, you gotta write it like everybody believes to the core of their being that they're the good guys, that they're in the right, and that their ends will always justify the means. Everybody makes points; there's no simple answer to any question the characters in AvX ask one another. Or demand of one another. As the go-to Iron Man guy at Marvel, what do you feel is Tony's role in the overall AvX event? How much is he following Cap's lead and how much is he striking out on his own?

Matt Fraction: Tony is the bad tooth and unsteady foot. He absolutely follows Cap's lead and his own instincts. See INVINCIBLE IRON MAN for how well that's been working out for Tony lately. Speaking of INVINCIBLE IRON MAN, what's coming up next for Tony that you're really excited about? New characters? New tech?

Matt Fraction: I don't think I can say. The future. The future is always what's next for Tony. Then, what’s his present, as far as, where’s Tony at in his life's journey? You've taken him through so much over the past few years; how much more can the guy take and survive?

Matt Fraction: He's been around for 50 years now; I promise he can take more. This is what we read these characters for; this is what drama is. The worst is somehow yet to come and that's always somehow when Tony is at his best. But what can really challenge Tony these days? What's still the weak spot in his psyche, the place that's most vulnerable there?

Invincible Iron Man #516 cover by Salvador Larroca

Matt Fraction: Tony remains as ever a slave to his demons. Unchecked arrogance, overconfidence, and an inability to ask for help are his weaknesses. Tony will defeat himself more ferociously and more decisively than his foes ever will. Over in the world of THOR, what's coming up that may really surprise readers? How will you continue to define his relationship to Earth and the people on it?

Matt Fraction: Well, if I told you, it wouldn't be a surprise! But fans will have had some very big, very fun, very awesome news coming out of C2E2 this past weekend. Let’s wrap it up with DEFENDERS: how will the non-team continue to evolve in terms of membership, leadership or mission? What kinds of things can we look forward to in that book?

Matt Fraction: Again, C2E2 will have told the tale, but: Namor's secret history, a serial murderer picking off the Immortal Weapons, Wakanda, and beyond.

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