Interview: Fred Van Lente on Marvel’s Power Man and Iron Fist

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Power Man & Iron Fist #1

Power Man & Iron Fist #1

Fred Van Lente is the popular writer of such books as Action Philosophers, Amazing Spider-Man, Incredible Hercules, and various Marvel Zombies miniseries. This month, he writes Marvel’s Power Man & Iron Fist, pairing Danny Randy with the new Power Man, Victor Alvarez. Westfield’s Roger Ash recently spoke with Van Lente to learn more about this new miniseries.

Click here to listen to the interview or continue reading below!

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Westfield: Power Man & Iron Fist spins out of Shadowland. If someone hasn’t been reading that, what should they know before picking up this book?

Fred Van Lente: They don’t need to know a whole lot. Iron Fist is still running a dojo in Harlem. He still manages, or at least funds, the Rand Foundation which is a non-profit with various ties to the community. With a young Dominican kid named Victor Alvarez, the new Power Man, he teams up and, for the Rand Foundation, goes out and rights various wrongs as they are brought to him.

Westfield: Looking at the description for this book, as opposed to the old Power Man and Iron Fist with Luke Cage, which was a partnership, this seems to be a more like a mentor/apprentice relationship. Is that correct?

Van Lente: It is. Iron Fist definitely sees his role as to guide Vic in learning to use his powers. Iron Fist knows that Vic is unusually powerful and his power to absorb life force can both be used for great good and great evil. Iron Fist would definitely like to steer Vic toward the right path. Unfortunately, Vic is also a very hot headed young kid who has his own ideas about these things. He definitely sees it as more of a partnership. They don’t quite see eye to eye on that.

Westfield: What can you tell us about the miniseries?

Van Lente: The arc is called Men of Mystery. It is a classic P.I case of the kind that Cage and Danny used to get into in their old book and brings back a lot of the characters from that old series. Jennie Royce is back as the head of the Rand Foundation. She’s not Danny’s secretary anymore, but definitely his right hand woman. We’re bringing back a lot of characters like Crimebuster and Professor Gamble makes an appearance. Black Tiger. And we’re also going to see the return of one of the most popular Power Man and Iron Fist characters, El Aguila. Unfortunately, El Aguila has been depowered. He was a mutant who was depowered on M Day. His problems are just beginning there because he has been incarcerated for the murder of his girlfriend, a crime he claims he didn’t commit. Because part of the Rand Foundation’s mission is to exonerate unjustly convicted people, Power Man and Iron Fist are on the case.

Westfield: Will some of the classic villains be returning as well?

Van Lente: I’m actually going to end up using new villains. I’m creating a whole bunch of new villains for this book. One of whom, who’s proved kinda popular, is a character I created in another book, Taskmaster, is The Don of the Dead. We’re going to have all new villains including the mysterious Noir. The Commedia Dell’Morte as headed by Don Pagliacci. They’re a European criminal syndicate who are after El Aguila for their own reasons. And the Dick Tracy-esque villain, Poker Face. It’s going to be all new villains. It’s going to have a feel of what I liked about Power Man and Iron Fist when Jo Duffy was writing it, and Kurt Busiek; the inventiveness and where it seemed like you constantly had new characters introduced every issue. I’m definitely trying to continue that tradition with this book.

Power Man & Iron Fist #2

Power Man & Iron Fist #2

Westfield: Will you be introducing new supporting characters, new heroes, into the book as well?

Van Lente: Yeah. It’s very questionable as to whether or not Noir is a hero or a villain. The easiest way I can describe here is she’s kind of a lady Shadow, as in “who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men.” She’s definitely going to be a major part of the book. Mike Perkins just turned in a terrific cover with her, the second issue, where you get to see her for the first time.

Westfield: What can you say about the artist you’re working with on the book?

Van Lente: Wellinton Alves is terrific. He’s currently kicking ass on the Shadowland: Blood on the Streets miniseries. I worked with him before on Marvel Zombies Return so I’m very excited to get the chance to work with him again on characters who are living.

Westfield: This is a miniseries. Do you hope to do more Power Man and Iron Fist in the future?

Van Lente: Oh, always. As things go in comics, as long as the audience responds to them really well, they just keep going until they stop. I certainly hope the reaction to this is pretty special. Collectors take note: this will be the first ever Power Man and Iron Fist #1, I believe. Power Man and Iron Fist began with issue #50 because it took over the numbering from Luke Cage’s solo series.

Westfield: Are there other projects you’re working on that you’d like to mention?

Van Lente: Like all Marvel writers, I’m working on various secret projects and the chip in my head will explode if I say what they are.

Westfield: Any closing comments?

Van Lente: The reaction I’ve been getting from the Shadowland: Power Man series has been nothing short of incredible and I’d just like to thank everybody for that and all the terrific letters, emails, and tweets I’ve received. It’s really been great. I hope folks dig this sequel series.


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