Thursday, May 27, 2010

Iron Man - Empires - Matt Duarte

The Invincible Iron Man in "Empires" by Matt Duarte

This page is to be laid out in six panels, two columns by three rows. The first four are all set in a nebulous past, not specific to any time period, but just in the general past where Iron Man is still wearing a pre-Extremis armor, though his identity is publicly known. The last two panels are set in a more recent and specific time, which should be made clear by what's going in them. Panels 1, 4, and 5 are supposed to resemble each other, while panels 2, 3, 6 are also similar, making a > and < figure respectively.

Panel 1

Description: Iron Man is standing all by himself, with one arm raised and clearly aiming at something (looking towards the right of the page, we can see his whole body). There's determination in his eyes (which we can see through the armor), as well as in his body language, somewhat threatening but still confident as Tony Stark is wont to do. He is inside one of the many bases of the Mandarin, and it is full of colorful traditional Chinese art hanging in the walls, ornate vases and imposing wide columns. The color of the room actually matches the gold and red armor that Iron Man is wearing.

IRON MAN: Give it up, Mandarin. You are done, and your criminal empire is going down.

Panel 2

Description: A close up on the Mandarin (we can only see his head and shoulders), slightly bruised, he has just received a beating from Iron Man. He is in the same room as before, opposite from Iron Man, who we can't see in this panel. He is looking towards the left of the page, so that he is facing Iron Man from the previous panel. He is wearing his typical green and yellow long flowing cape, and his traditional fu manchu, which looks slightly disheveled.

MANDARIN: So much bravado, so much swagger, but for all your technological know-how, you are still as ignorant as a plebeian.

MANDARIN (lower bottom of the panel): All empires fall, Stark.

Panel 3

Description: A close up of Iron Man, meant to be similar to the previous panel, we can only see the shoulders and head of Iron Man. Through his armor we can see Tony Stark's eyes, not as determined as before, but more puzzled by the words coming from the Mandarin. Still in the same room as in Panel 1, and still looking in the same direction, towards the right of the page.

MANDARIN (off page): It is what empires do, they fall, they crash, and they burn. They disappear, are forgotten into the ether... and ultimately, they rise again.

Panel 4

Description: Mandarin is now sitting in the floor, with his legs crossed in front of him. His arms are also crossed, with his hands touching at the thumbs the palms towards his chest, all his fingers extended and they are full of rings (it looks like a "W", the way you would make a bird out of your hands). Despite the beating he just got, he now looks confident, with malice in his eyes and venom in the words coming out from his mouth. This scene is still set in the same room as the previous three. He is about to perform a vanishing act with his rings, though Iron Man doesn't know that. His body looks somewhat translucent as he is about to make his exit, and just like in panel 2, he is looking towards the center of the page.

MANDARIN: The real trick, what takes years of knowledge and study, is for the emperor to be intelligent enough not to be dragged down by his falling empire. I am sure than in due time, you too, will know what that is like.

MANDARIN (lower bottom of the panel): Farewell, Stark...

Panel 5

Description: This panel and the next one are set in the recent past, immediately after Secret Invasion. The scene is set inside what used to be Stark towers, though now it is in control of Norman Osborn. Norman Osborn is wearing a black three piece suit, he is standing behind a desk with his hands on them. The room has a huge window behind him, but is otherwise pretty empty. He has just been instated as head of H.A.M.M.E.R. and he believes himself unstoppable. He is mildly exasperated, looking towards the right of the page.

NORMAN OSBORN: Stark! Please, pay attention! I am trying to savor the fall of your empire as much as possible, and I can't do that when you clearly have something else in your mind.

Panel 6

Description: A close up on Tony Stark (we can only see his shoulders and face), this time without armor, just a dress shirt sans tie and the first two unbuttoned buttons. His hair is not very slick, and he is sporting a five o'clock shadow besides his normal facial hair. He has just lost his position as the head of S.H.I.E.L.D., and even though he clearly is having a bad day, he is smirking at Osborn's choice of words, which interrupted his trip down memory lane.

TONY STARK: Just thinking about empires, Normie. Just thinking about empires...

The End.


  1. Cool, very moody. I'll catch-up on the previous entries.

  2. What an ending you've got. Given the lead-up, I was expecting to see Tony's empire falling -- but instead you've got a great parallel going. Tony, like the Mandarin, is about to pull a great escape, while Osborne as we now know is doomed to failure. I really enjoyed this.

    My one critique (you'll have to forgive me, I've not consumed enough caffeine to really take this script apart and examine all its pieces) is that you are too specific in your descriptions. As an artist, I would find this annoying, as you're effectively curtailing my creative license with your script.

  3. Matt, excellent use of parallel stories on the one page. It works really well and it's nice to see you work within the constraints of recent continuity.

    I agree that your panel descriptions are wordy, but you mostly fill them with emotional description, which can only help an artist, and you're relatively specific about layout because you are trying to do something very specific with the page.I think that is okay, sometimes, other times you have to let the artist do their thing but this time you have to be the boss.

    How are we seeing Stark's eyes through the armour, are the eye plates open? That part confused me. I also think Iron Man's first line could be streamlined, it seems a bit wordy, maybe "Give it up, Mandarin. You're done, and your criminal empire is, too." I don't know, sometimes it just depends on how you're hearing the words in your head, is he breathless, excited, etc.

    Does Stark call Osborn 'Normie', that kind of threw me, but maybe he's been doing that in the comics. I don't know. But I'd prefer Osborn, or even Ozzie instead of Normie, but maybe that's just because I don't like Normie.

    Great work, Matt. Were keeping up a very solid week.

  4. You've done this brilliantly. It really looks like a comic script and the execution is down pat and then some.

    My only criticism is to echo James, in that you are too specific in your panel descriptions, something that can limit an artist's ability to express their style in any given story. It's a problem I suffer myself (as you'll see soon enough), and can take a pitch-perfect script and lower it that crucial notch down to just plain great.

  5. Thanks for the kind words everyone, and thanks for the criticism too. I will try to address it as much as I can (and in the process show how neurotic I am about this stuff, too).

    Regarding the overly wordy and specific descriptions, well, I am a man with a vision, haha. In all seriousness, I know that comics are collaborations, and I wouldn't drop something like this on an artist without discussing it firsthand about what works, how the page should be laid out, etc. Since for this occasion I was the lone judge, jury, and executioner, I went full out and probably overboard.

    That being said, there's reason behind this madness (and this is the part where I show how neurotic I am). The facing panels is meant to signify the enmity between the two parties looking at each other, the panels where we can only see the "talking heads" are the passive ones (not necessarily passive in their actions, but more in their behavior), while the ones where we can see their bodies are the "active" ones, where the character in them is in charge and in control of the situation. Iron Man has his repulsor ray, Mandarin has his rings, and Osborn has the political power.

    Yeah, I really pour over these kind of things.

    Ryan: I actually looked up the discussion that WAS shown in the comics (Invincible Iron Man), and Stark doesn't call him "Normie", but I wanted to convey that sense of smugness and having the upper hand, so I took some creative liberties. And regarding the eyes thing, Tony's older armors didn't have visors so you could see his eyes through the opening in the helmet. Take a look here through some of the older ones...

    I'll concede that maybe you shouldn't be able to see them in first panel, but definitely in the third one.

  6. Hey guys, here's your first reader submission:

    It's absolutely amateurish, I haven't written much outside of school papers, but it's an attempt.

    I'm not a native English speaker, so feel free not only to offer an honest critique, but to also correct eventual mistakes I might have made.

  7. Aaaand I just found out Tony lost the Extremis abilities, which makes my script somewhat nonsensical. Well, I still think it's "timeless" enough as it is, hope your enjoyment is not affected.

  8. I'm down with this, Matt. I can't add anything that hasn't been said, so I'll just say this: based on this script, I'd buy this comic. Nice job!

    Ivan, I apologize, but I'm barely awake. I shall check your entry out tomorrow. :)

  9. @Matt - oh, cool, so long as you know why you used the name it's fine by me. And I wasn't sure about the eyes, forgot about the old armours, good call.

    @Ivan - our first play at home contestant and I could not be happier. Your script has a lot of words, but many of the panels don't require art that hits to the bleed, so you'd possibly get away with it. I like your scene, it plays Stark well against Pepper and seems in keeping with both characters. I just like the stomp from Galactus line. That's what I know I'm going to love this site for, great little lines and ideas. Thanks for adding something, man, and I hope you'll join in with us for a few other characters as well.

  10. I love this script. It is awesome. Addictive, self contained and interesting. It could be my love for Norman showing, but this script really spoke to me. Well done Matt

  11. Hey Ivan, finally got to read your script. I really rather liked it. We've got humorous RDJ Tony channeled here. It was a bit wordy, but like Ryan said it probably could work. Keep it up, man. I hope you can join us with Molecule Man.

  12. Nice work, Matt, you really drew me into this one and wrapped it all up with a nice little smile. I thought "Normie" worked well as a way of putting NO down / puncturing his ego, and though Stark wouldn't use it all the time, he might well do in circumstances like these. The only line that stood out slightly from the rest of the script was the opening line. At first I thought you were going for the old-school scripting approach, as appropriate to the flashback, but the dialogue in the rest of that scene wasn't as traditionally comic-booky, so I maybe agree with Ryan that this cut have been cut down or modified slightly.

    Also, one point in the panel description I didn't quite get, from panel 5...

    "Norman Osborn is wearing a black three piece suit, he is standing behind a desk with his hands on them."

    Should that be "hands on it" (the desk?) or am I missing something?

  13. Rol, you are absolutely right about that mistake, it should "hands on it", because it's referring to the desk.

  14. Thanks Brandon and Ryan, I'm glad you liked it!

    It took me a while to get what RDJ stood for. I was trying to remember which comic book writer has those initials, lol.

    Yeah, I think that script got very "movie-ish" as far as the exchange and Stark's personality goes.

    I wrote this in under an hour, in a psyched state of mind after reading Matt's stuff. I'm not sure about Molecule Man, maybe during this week something will come to me. :)


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