'Thor: The Dark World' Villain to Plague Iron Man in 2014

A new storyline for Marvel's "Iron Man" comic book brings Tony Stark up against Malekith, the "dark elf" from the most recent Marvel Studios release.

If Thor: The Dark World left you wondering what would happen if villainous "dark elf" Malekith went after other Marvel superheroes, then you might want to pay attention to Marvel's Iron Man comic series next year -- especially if you're curious about what he'd do with some Mandarin-esque enhancements.

" 'Iron Man versus the villain of this year's Thor movie' is an easily understandable story idea for people who aren't reading the book," series writer Kieron Gillen told Comic Book Resources about the upcoming "Rings of the Mandarin" storyline. "I'm also a big fan of seeing a hero confront someone who isn't normally thought of as being in their wheelhouse."

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The storyline, beginning in Iron Man #23, will continue a plot thread from the series' current "Iron Metropolis" story, which established that the super-science rings of the (apparently deceased) Mandarin are somehow searching for individuals with a grudge against Tony Stark -- with one finding its way into the hands of Malekith.

"On some level the somewhat idiosyncratic, magical-thinking nature of the Elves does feed into it," Gillen admits. "What manner of elf wouldn't hate a man of iron, after all? All elves hate iron. … This does play with certain themes already working in my run -- the boundaries of knowledge, rationality versus belief, science and magic."

Iron Man #23 -- officially, #23.NOW as part of Marvel's "All-New Marvel NOW!" promotion -- will be released digitally and in comic stores in March.